Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program

Supporting collaboration and communication to further research, scholarship, and creative practice for the public good.

What is the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program?

The Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program is part of the core offerings of the Centre for Graduate Professional Development. Public impact scholarship, through the lens of higher education, is inquiry that makes meaningful contributions to the public. Public impact spans science and technological innovation, as well as cultural innovation, with the goal of social benefit. This covers all academic disciplines. With that in mind, fellows from PhDs for Public Impact program will focus on engaging the public through a scholarly agenda. This could involve a range of activities, from describing their work in a public forum to partnering with a school, community organization, or cultural institution in an ongoing two-way exchange of knowledge and practices.


Each fellow will be awarded $12,500 for the year (a $10,000 fellowship to be used as a top up to their stipend and $2,500 towards professional development and project expenses) to do innovative and impactful research, scholarship, and creative practice.


Fellows will participate in a broader program of specialized skills training in public scholarship, as well as networking opportunities.

Defining Public Impact

The key to defining public impact is explaining the societal benefit and relevance of the work to a general audience. Please note the categories and examples below are for illustrative purposes and not meant to be exhaustive; additionally, many research projects may cover multiple categories:

  • Social and Cultural Innovation — work that positively influences culture and society (e.g., art, literature, social movements, understanding civilizations)
  • Reconciliation and Social Inclusion — work that forwards our goals of repair with Indigenous communities and other disadvantaged groups (e.g., facilitating goals of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, creating systems of anti-oppression and anti-racism)­
  • Community-Engaged — work that addresses important questions that are of relevance to and done in partnership with our communities (e.g., working with a non-profit, working with newcomer groups)
  • Global Scholarship — work that has the potential to have impact beyond our local communities or brings diverse global work to our local setting (e.g., ethnography of Indigenous communities across the globe, multi-site studies)
  • Social Responsiveness — work that is critical to the key questions of today (e.g., mental health, racial disparities, climate change, COVID-19 research)
  • Technological Innovation — work that harnesses technology to transform our systems (e.g., artificial intelligence, clinical devices)
  • Fundamental Basic Discovery — work that helps us understand basic elements of our world better (e.g., neuroscientific discovery, theoretical physics and mathematics)
  • Transdisciplinary / Interdisciplinary — work that breaks down disciplinary boundaries to better address questions (e.g., clinical computational neuroscience, mixed methods research designs)
  • Public Policy — work that influences social, economic, local and global policies to transform different sectors of society (e.g., agricultural policy, foreign policy, law, government relations)
  • Health Care Innovation — work that positively influences the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities (e.g., mental health interventions, new biomarkers for illness, neuroscience of illnesses, healthcare systems evaluation)

A public scholar engages with empathy, responsibility, and compassion with their research and research participants in the interest of challenging traditional ways of scholarship.

Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellow (2022–23)

Program Goals

To broaden graduate education in order to:

Fellow Responsibilities

Fellows are expected to:

Why should I apply?

Engagement in this program will offer students a transformative experience. Fellows will gain:

I’m looking forward to being part of a community of fellows who are leading the way in making an impact through creative expression, community advocacy, policy change, and more.

Madison Giles, 2022-23 Connaught Public Impact Fellow

“Learning from and working with the cohort gives me a unique understanding of where the field is moving in a variety of disciplines.”

Peter Serles, 2022-23 Connaught Public Impact Fellow

At this stage in my academic career, I have realized that the greater impact of research work comes from disseminating scientific information to the general public. Going forward, I can’t imagine not doing this sort of profoundly satisfying and meaningful work.

Anam Shahil Feroz, 2022-23 Connaught Public Impact Fellow

Ready to apply?

Want to learn more about the Connaught PhDs for Public Impact Fellowship Program? Attend the virtual information session on December 13, 2023 from 3-4pm to learn more about the program.

Get familiar with what you need to submit in your PhDs for Public Impact fellowship application.

Submit your application by March 1, 2023.

Fellows will be announced in Spring of 2023. In the mean time…

Advisory Committee

Fellows in the News