Financial Support for Graduate Students
Below are some sources of support for Graduate Students at SFU.
- Research Assistantships. From the point of view of making progress on your thesis research, the best funding frees you up to do just that. I usually don't have enough funds to put you on a full-time research assistantship all year round. One or two semesters a year is normal depending on my funding, our agreements, and your progress.
- Teaching Assistantships. These have been fairly easy to get recently, but are subject to budget availability. A typical workload is that you are assigned funding for around 150 hours a term. What this translates into in terms of actual work hours will depend on the course that you are helping with. An advantage to a TAship is that it gives you some teaching experience.
- SFU scholarhips. These include the following.
- Graduate Fellowships. This supports your research for one term.
- Intelligent Systems Awards. These are small, usually around $1,000 but not hard to apply for.
- The above two I have the most experience with, but there are numerous other programs. Please check this website, which also lists helpful hints on grant writing.
- Government Scholarships. These are great to get, but quite competitive. A sample:
- NSERC Post-graduate Scholarship. From the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, for both Master's and Ph.D students. Whether foreign students are eligible depends on the program and sometimes on the year. NSERC tells me that at least the industry collaboration scholarships are open to foreign students too.
- The Vanier Scholarships. For foreign doctoral students. Unfortunately, they seem to be supercompetitive.
Industry Collaborations. These days much government funding goes into supporting researchers to collaborate with industry. Fortunately there is some demand for machine learning and data analysis in industry, so these opportunities come up fairly regularly. Usually there are more opportunities than I have available graduate students. The downside is that they are usually fairly short (one or two terms), and I cannot predict when an industry partner will be available, so it's tricky to plan around these things. There are several such programs, and their list seems to be growing. The two I have had experience with are the following.
- MITACS Accelerate. Requires matching funds from the company for a 4-month full-time internship for a total amount of $10,000 for student support. The student spends half their time on-site and half the time at the university. There are variations, like applying for two terms or having two students apply at the same time.
- NSERC Engage. This supports a joint project for 6 months. Provides up to $25,000 overall. No matching funds required from the company.