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Melanie Bechard

Queen Elizabeth Scholars program receives $20 million gift from Government of Canada in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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September 19, 2022 – Today the Government of Canada announced a gift of $20 million to the Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) program in recognition of the legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“The Queen’s legacy of service and steadfast leadership will live on in the countless lives that she touched and as an inspiration to us all. Her example inspired many young Canadians to dedicate their lives to service, give back to their communities, and become the leaders of today and tomorrow,” said the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. “I join Canadians in thanking Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for over 70 years of selfless service and honouring her extraordinary life marked by grace, dignity, and an unwavering sense of duty.”

The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship program, known as the QES, is led by the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF) in collaboration with Universities Canada, and with founding support from Community Foundations of Canada (CFC).

“On behalf of the RHF, the QES program, its scholars, our partners and our many supporters, we are deeply grateful to receive this gift in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said Teresa Marques, President and CEO of the RHF. “This gift will ensure that generations of youth have the opportunity to develop a global outlook, empathy, and understanding – all of which are essential for navigating the complexities of today’s world.”

This gift will make international experiences possible for post-secondary students who would not otherwise be able to benefit. Approximately 3,000 additional students will now have the opportunity to advance their studies and research, and develop their leadership and civic engagement skills through global collaborations. This funding provides the seed support for a new legacy campaign by the Rideau Hall Foundation to make the QES program permanent. The RHF will seek to build on this very generous gift through additional public and private donations to ensure QES remains a permanent legacy to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, supporting generations of scholars in Her name.

QES is a made-in-Canada initiative that promotes international student exchange and civic engagement through project-based scholarships. The program was established in 2012 to celebrate and honour The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. To date, 106 projects have been funded at 46 Canadian universities and in 72 countries around the world, and more than 2,200 young people have completed the program.

“The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is laying the foundation for the next generation of leaders: innovative people committed to making Canada, and the world, a better place. What an exceptionally fitting tribute to Her Majesty The Queen, who valued the importance of diplomacy of knowledge and a commitment to service and leadership,” said the Right Honourable David Johnston, Chair of the RHF and 28th Governor General of Canada

To learn more about the program, visit:

Media Inquiries:

Jill Clark
Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Rideau Hall Foundation


About the Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation is an independent national charitable organization established to mobilize ideas, people, and resources across the country to tap into our national spirit and help ignite our shared potential. Working towards a better Canada, the RHF celebrates what is best about Canada while working with partners to meaningfully improve lives and foster the conditions for more Canadians to succeed and thrive.

Learn more about the RHF at




Inspiring Futures: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships – Advanced Scholars Program

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The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship – Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) program is about global citizenship.

“Global Citizenship is about the shared human experience. It acknowledges and celebrates that, wherever we come from and wherever we live, we are here together. Our well-being and success are ultimately interdependent. We have more to learn from one another than to fear about our future.” – World Economic Forum (WEF)

Through its international reach and research-focused programming, the QES-AS program has helped shape hundreds of global citizens equipped to find solutions to complex global development problems.

From 2017 to 2021, the QES-AS program provided opportunities for Canadian universities to engage with partner institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and to develop the next generation of community, research and academic leaders. It did so by offering promising scholars the chance to participate in international research mobility with invaluable training to help them grow as researchers, professionals and global citizens.

A total of 369 scholars from diverse backgrounds, genders and educational levels participated in the QES-AS program.

The program exceeded its target of having at least 75% of participating scholars come from LMICs and achieved its target of supporting at least 50% female scholars. Scholars ranged from early-career to doctoral and post-doctoral levels.

Participating scholars reported improvements in their leadership and teamwork skills, ability to conduct research and skills related to publishing and research communications, among other benefits. Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, over 87% of QES-AS scholars reported that they met or exceeded their learning goals.

The QES-AS program involved 21 Canadian universities, 109 LMIC institutions and 222 Research Placement Partners (RPPs). It was successful in forming new, global partnerships while strengthening existing ones. Of the 109 LMIC institutions, 52.7% were new partners for Canadian universities. Similarly, 73.4% of participating RPPs represented new collaborations and relationships. The impact of the QES-AS program on forming beneficial, global partnerships for Canadian universities and institutions is undeniable.

The QES-AS program also strengthened research capacities of LMIC institutions by encouraging knowledge transfer and global talent mobility involving applied research and specialized training. The program’s success was bolstered by the collaborative relationships developed between Canadian universities and their LMIC partners.

Read the full report on the QES-AS program here. Article courtesy of Universities Canada.

Expanding horizons: The career benefits of scholars going abroad

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Research shows that international scholarships can enhance intercultural competencies, strengthen global citizenship and build leadership. However, less is known about the professional and career benefits that participants experience after completing these programs. For instance, do international experiences impact participants’ professional achievements or shape career trajectories?

With the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Universities Canada is conducting a research project to explore just that: What is the impact of international mobility programs on participant career paths, skills and community involvement? The study also aims to reveal best practices for designing equitable and inclusive international research programs.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholars – Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) is one such program that gives young scholars and early career researchers the opportunity to collaborate on their research internationally. As the ideal program to inform research on international mobility, Universities Canada analyzed the experiences of former QES-AS scholars and participating universities and institutes to determine its impacts on individuals, organizations and communities.

The early results? Many former QES-AS scholars report diverse and impressive professional accomplishments and career benefits they attribute to the program. Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, participants authored publications, presented research findings, gained international exposure for their work and experienced both academic and career advancement. Hear the stories of a few scholars below. (Note that their names have been changed and certain details have been omitted to maintain confidentiality.)


QES-AS scholar and graduate student, Bala, travelled across the world to spend several months conducting his research in Canada. With the guidance of his supervisor, he learned how to work effectively with industry and about the different models of public/private partnership in Canada. This new knowledge transformed the way he thought about research collaboration and allowed him to form meaningful partnerships later in his career.

Due to the pandemic, Bala was required to return home early, before completing his research. Despite this bump in the road, he continued his work with ongoing, online support from his supervisor in Canada and his fellow QES-AS scholars. His international experience and newfound support networks helped him achieve his goal of completing and publishing his research in a reputable journal, as well as presenting it at an international conference. Now, Bala enjoys higher recognition and a good reputation in his field of study.

Given his success, he went on to publish two more joint manuscripts and now works at a highly-ranked university in his home country. He credits his remarkable career advancement to his QES-AS experience.

Looking forward, Bala intends to continue furthering his research. He currently leads a research team and modelled his new lab after the one at his Canadian host university. His lab developed and patented a new technology, and received funding to collaborate with a company who will help produce it.


Another QES-AS scholar, Claudia, arrived in Canada to conduct her research just a few months before the pandemic. This posed some serious challenges, as her university campus was forced to close and labs became backlogged. However, she persevered and used the time during lockdowns to complete data analysis and writing—an investment that paid off. During this time, she formed valuable connections with American researchers working on a similar project and managed to present her findings in several papers and academic presentations.

Thanks to her new network in the states and her research success, Claudia was inspired to pursue a post-doc in the USA after completing the QES-AS program. Upon return to her home country, she obtained a more senior position at her university, which she credits to these experiences.


For Liam, the QES-AS experience had an astounding ripple effect on his professional reputation and career. Despite publishing his research from the program a few years ago, he remains recognized for it and continues to receive invitations to present his work to international audiences at top institutions.

Liam’s outstanding research and international exposure caught the eye of his government, who has asked him to expand his study nation-wide. Once completed, his findings will be presented to top policymakers, including those working in the ministry and the nation’s president. It has the potential to effect change throughout his home country.

The results

Initial data from Universities Canada’s study on QES-AS experiences shows how transformative international mobility scholarships have been to the lives and livelihoods of participants. The networks of people, newfound skills and international exposure have helped springboard many in their careers and expand their horizons of what’s possible.

Canadian, West African researchers get support to tackle national and global challenges

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OTTAWA, December 15, 2020 – Two hundred Canadian and West African researchers and advanced scholars will be receiving funding from the new QES Advanced Scholars West Africa program to work together to find solutions to the world’s increasingly complex challenges.

The funding supports research-focused exchanges for doctoral researchers, post-doctoral fellows and early career researchers in universities in Canada and West and Central African countries.

Each of the QES-AS West Africa projects focuses on (or clearly integrates) gender equality – the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 – and puts particular emphasis on increasing partnerships between Canada and Francophone countries. All scholars will also participate in leadership development and community engagement activities and in the broader network of Queen Elizabeth Scholars.

Descriptions of the 11 supported projects at Canadian universities are on the QES website.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program was created in 2014 to improve global talent exchange between Canada and other nations. The program aims to develop the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders by providing enriched academic, professional and cross-cultural experiences and by facilitating lasting local and global community engagement.

QES is a collaborative initiative led by the Rideau Hall Foundation and Universities Canada. The International Development Research Centre first invested in 2016, with $10 million for a new component supporting advanced scholars (AS) along with $2.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Earlier this year, to coincide with the Centre’s 50th anniversary, IDRC invested a further $3.5 million to expand the QES-AS program to support doctoral researchers, post-doctoral fellows and early career researchers from eligible West African countries and Canada.

Since its inception, the QES program has offered more than 2,200 scholarships, engaged 44 Canadian universities in every Canadian province, and involved activities in more than 70 countries to build a community of young leaders through a global exchange of talent between Canada and other nations.



“As a 50-year-old Canadian organization with longstanding connections in West Africa, IDRC believes this new investment in the QE-AS program will increase opportunities for young researchers in the region as well as provide Canadian researchers with experience in the global environment. IDRC’s partnership with the Rideau Hall Foundation and Universities Canada bodes well for a lasting legacy of closer academic ties between Canada and West Africa.”

Jean Lebel, president of the International Development Research Centre


“The QES program has continued to move forward with these new opportunities for the benefit of our global scholars and researchers, despite the disruptions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Through QES, we are supporting the next generation of world leaders with a particularly Canadian perspective by focusing on the pillars of leadership development and community engagement.”

Teresa Marques, president and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation


“2020 has demonstrated that global connections are more important than ever. QES scholars are the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders in Canada and around the world.

Through their applied research, creative leadership, and professional networking, these scholars will contribute to stronger economies and prosperous societies, and significantly enrich the knowledge base within their respective fields.”

Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada


About IDRC

Part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, IDRC invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve the lives of people in the developing world. The research we support builds evidence to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities, and help people live healthier and more sustainable lives. Learn more at

Media contact: Morgan Waters,

About Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation is an independent and non-political charitable organization established to mobilize ideas, people, and resources across the country to tap into our national spirit and help realize our shared aspirations. Learn more at

Media contact: Mélanie Béchard,


About Universities Canada

Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. Learn more at

Media contact: Brenna Baggs,

Fifth Call for Proposals Launched

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Following four very successful Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program (QES) calls for proposals through which 95 projects managed by 44 Canadian universities have been funded, Universities Canada is pleased to announce a fifth call.

QES Advanced Scholars – West Africa

Thanks to the generous financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), up to $3 million CAD will be allocated via the expansion of the QES Advanced Scholars program, which will support doctoral researchers, post-doctoral fellows and early career researchers from eligible West African countries and Canada.

This call will support projects contributing to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with preference given to proposals that focus on or clearly integrate SDG 5 (gender equality) as a crosscutting or mainstream goal. QES-AS West Africa projects will focus on one or more of the following areas: climate resilience and sustainable food systems; education and innovation systems; ethics in development research; health equity; inclusive governance; and sustainable inclusive growth.

The program will require all scholars to participate in leadership development and community engagement activities and in the network of Queen Elizabeth Scholars.

More information is available here.