Polar Knowledge Canada - Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) 2024


Polar Knowledge Canada - Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP)


The Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) is administered by Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR). It was established in 1961 to encourage Canadian universities to participate in training northern specialists to meet national needs. Today, it is the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) and provides supplementary funding to over 300 students annually at over 35 universities across Canada. The program is administered by POLAR as part of its mandate to foster science and technology in Canada’s North.
The objective of the NSTP is to increase the number of students who have specialized in some aspect of northern studies and who have northern research experience. This objective is attained by encouraging the formation of multidisciplinary focal points for northern studies within Canadian universities and Northern post-secondaries (i.e. Northern Studies Committees) and by providing supplementary financial assistance for eligible students to offset the high cost of northern research (i.e. transportation costs, living costs, shipping costs and interpreter fees).
Universities receiving Northern Scientific Training Program support are encouraged to develop a special focus for training in northern studies, to orient students towards northern studies and northern careers, and to foster an exchange of information among scholars of various disciplines with an interest in the Canadian North.


Eligible applicants
  • Students must be enrolled in a degree program at a Canadian university.
  • Students must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Summer and winter projects are eligible.
  • Post-doctoral researchers and research assistants  are not supported. 
Students are also encouraged to apply for NSTP funds for the purpose of dissemination or reporting back to the community.
Supported fields of research

The program funds projects on northern topics from all disciplines and in multidisciplinary fields.

Geographical focus

The NSTP supports projects that lie north of the southern limit of the discontinuous permafrost zone as well as the other seven circumpolar countries (Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.A. (Alaska).

Note for 2023: Due to the sanctions imposed in response to the gravity of Russia’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and grave human rights violations that have been committed in Russia, POLAR will be unable to fund projects taking place in Russia or involving collaborations with Russian organizations for the 2024–2025 fiscal year.

Use of Northern Scientific Training Program funds

The program’s funds are restricted. They are a supplement meant to offset the additional costs of northern research (e.g. transportation and living costs). The NSTP is not intended to be a source of primary support for students pursuing northern research.

Maximum Project Value

The average NSTP allocation is up to $6,000 per student. 

NSTP will provide one year of funding for thesis-based research at the undergraduate level, up to two years of funding for thesis-based research at the Master’s level and up to three years of funding for thesis-based research at the Doctoral level. Students may apply and be granted funding in any year of their programs.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

The program is based on winter projects falling between December 1st and March 31st of the following year. The field component is typically one to three months.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Students are required to complete an application and, upon completion of their research, a research report, using the web-based forms available at Online Forms. Once the online forms have been completed, they are to be submitted to the universities' Northern Studies Committee via the online system. An incomplete application may result in a rejection of funding.

Frequently Asked Questions page is available online.

Internal Deadline

Faculty supervisor adds comments online to new student submissions in NSTP online application and reporting system AND submits a signed OR-5 form (1 form per research group) along with copies of application(s) to Research.Services@uoguelph.ca

Previously Awarded 2022 Projects: Faculty supervisors who supervised students between April 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 must submit the faculty portion of the report to the Chair, Dr. Brunet, by this date.

External Deadline

NSTP Chairperson submits spreadsheets of applications, reports along with University Information Sheet, Northern Studies Committee Information Sheet, Student nominations, and Research Reports (General Overview) and Application for Funds. General Overview to NSTP Secretariat.

For Questions, please contact

Nicolas Brunet, Chairperson Northern Studies Committee
School of Environmental Design & Rural Development
519-824-4120 ext. 54414

Northern Scientific Training Program
Polar Knowledge Canada
Nathalie Robillard-Bergeron: (613) 222-9537

Office of Research

Laurie Gallinger, Awards & Agreements Officer
Research Services Office

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