Tips for completing your Indigenous Graduate Award (IGA) application

Research Proposal or Statement of Study 

This section of the funding application should explain the research project in lay terms, as this will help adjudicators from other disciplines understand the idea you are proposing. Keep your explanations and terminology simple!

Your proposal should answer these questions

  1. What key question(s) will your research address? If you are unsure of the exact question(s) because you are new to your graduate program, explain the area you will be exploring in the greatest detail possible – this may require additional research on your end, so begin your research proposal early!
  2. How will you answer the question(s) guiding your research? Why is this the best way to answer the question(s)/inquiry? This is also referred to as ‘methodology’ and will require some additional research.
  3. How is your research new? Why is your research important to the general public/your discipline/the university/etc.? What does your research answer? This information is important to the research proposal as it provides opportunity to note the advancement(s)/contribution(s) your research is bringing forward.

When writing, keep in mind

  • Many students just starting their program do not have a defined research question - that is okay! However, it is important that the research proposal be as specific as possible, even if a definitive question has not been decided upon.
  • Ensure that what you are proposing is achievable in the time frame of your degree! For example, if the degree is two years, evaluate your timeline before including this in your proposal – ask yourself “is this achievable?” and always plan for unexpected circumstances (i.e., personal leave, prolong ethics approval, community timeline, etc.).
  • The research proposal can also contain components from a statement of study.This includes an explanation about why you are engaging in this topic of research. This should include your personal skills, knowledge, and ability to be the best suited to be involved.
  • Ensure that the quality and originality of the proposed project are stated as this will help catch reviewers attention!

Use sub-headings

Ensure that your research proposal is easy to read – this can be achieved by placing subheadings in. Some examples of sub-headings include: Context and Purpose, Objectives, Methods, Analysis, Expected Outcomes and Significance, and Conclusion.

For further direction about how to organize your proposal, contact resources in your department/faculty as this structure tends to vary across disciplines.

Contributions (presentations, performances, and exhibitions)

Allocated space to explain contributions can be vaguely described at times in a funding application. Due to the academic nature of a funding application as a graduate student, this section is meant to highlight your academic accomplishments. It is important to note that contributions will vary based on your discipline/nature of the research/profession/ and so forth and you should list only those that are relevant to your program.

Some examples of contributions that may be relevant to your discipline

  • Local, Provincial, National, and International Conferences (i.e., oral or poster presentation)
  • Community Events (i.e., fundraisers, open mics, campaigns, etc.)
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Artistic Collaborations/Performances e. Competitions – relevant to your research area/interests
  • Panels/Presentations/Public Speaking/Advocacy Work/Exhibitions
  • Teaching/Tutoring/Seminars 

When listing your contributions 

Ensure that as much information as possible is included. Each contribution should have a description of:

  • Author, year, and title of the contribution
  • Location of the contribution/description of this location (i.e., community event where composition was performed)
  • What did your contribution look like? Provide a description so reviewers understand why this is relevant to your application/discipline.
  • Your connection to the contribution (i.e., coordinator, student representative, employee, volunteer, advocate, etc.) 

The more detail you provide in the contribution list, the better! This will help viewers understand who you are and the relevance you have to your area of research.

Contributions (publications)

Similar to the previous section, publications can be viewed by applicants as being merely academic/peer reviewed only. However, the term publication varies based upon the applicant’s discipline and area of research. Below are a few examples of publications that can be included in your application, pending your academic discipline:

  • Musical Compositions
  • Peer Reviewed Journal Publications
  • News Paper Articles
  • Novels
  • Community Reports
  • Website Publications (i.e., blogs)
  • Videos
  • Guides
  • Protocols
  • Bulletins
  • Fact Sheets

Most importantly… Do not leave sections of your application blank! For further direction about how to complete to application as per your area of research or discipline, please contact the Graduate Awards Team or your graduate program administrator

Information for this document contributed to by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Graduate Leader mentors, graduate students and Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement (SAGE) UCalgary program coordinator, Ashley Cornect-Benoit (