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Food from Thought Research Assistantships

The University of Guelph’s Food from Thought program, supported by the Government of Canada’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), accepts applications for Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) for students entering or in a graduate program in the spring of each year.  The program seeks emerging scholars who are not only academically outstanding but also passionately committed to ensuring that future generations are well fed, that diets are nutritious and equitable, and that agriculture is sustainable.

As a complement to their graduate research, successful applicants will provide leadership within multi-disciplinary teams of graduate students, who will work with community, government and industry partners, and University of Guelph experts to tackle challenges in sustainable agriculture and food production. Participation in the GRA program will include a commitment of between 5 to 10 hours per week. This is a unique opportunity to be a part of the ‘Food from Thought’ research program, a $76.6 million investment from CFREF

Number of Research Assistantships & Value

For 2018-19 (September 2018- April 2019), Food from Thought will select up to 20 GRAs valued at $17,500 stipend per year. The stipend will be paid in form of biweekly payments through the University of Guelph payroll system.


Students currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Guelph, or who are entering a graduate program no later than the Fall semester following the application deadline. Students must also have a minimum first class (A-) admissions average and their research must align with the goals of the Food from Thought.

Selection Criteria

The GRA will be awarded following a selection process through which all application files will be screened and then reviewed by a research assistantship selection committee based upon the following criteria:

Criterion Description
Outstanding academic achievement  

Has demonstrated strong academic achievement, including through the receipt of awards and recognition, and completion of publications and presentations in respected and high-profile journals and conferences.


Relevance of research experience  

Has demonstrated research experience in agri-food and/or biodiversity that relates directly to the goals and objectives of the Food from Thought initiative:

•       Leveraging the potential of big data for agri-food innovation

•       Global scale – to transform agriculture’s impact on biodiversity

•       Landscape scale – to sustainably intensify food production

•       Micro-scale – to enhance food safety and livestock health


Entrepreneurial and innovation experience / interest  

Has demonstrated experience as an entrepreneur or innovator, or has a strong interest in entrepreneurialism as demonstrated through personal or volunteer interests.  This could include commercial and social entrepreneurship, as well as policy innovation.



Effectiveness /experience as a team member  

Has demonstrated experience and skill as an effective member of a team, including leadership, negotiation, conflict management, organizational, problem solving and related skills.


Application Deadline

Deadline for September 2018 intake: April 15, 2018

Anticipated notification of results: July 9, 2018

How to Apply

  • If not already in-course, applicants must apply for admission to a graduate program at the University of Guelph with a plan of research that is compatible with Food from Thought goals. For a complete listing of the many graduate programs and application information, review the website for Prospective Students. For insights into some of Guelph’s agriculture and food scholars, go to Experts at the University of Guelph. For information on the Food from Thought program, please visit the Food from Thought page.
  • In addition to applying for admission to a graduate program, applicants must also submit the following application documents to the Offices of the Associate Dean, Research & Graduate Studies in their prospective Colleges, with the subject line ‘Food from Thought Graduate Research Assistantships 2018-19’):
  1. a statement of research interests and personal motivations related to Food from Thought (maximum of 3 pages, 11-point font minimum);
  2. a current CV;
  3. a letter of support from the prospective advisor (or current advisor for students in-course) confirming the applicant has been accepted into a graduate program.

Department Contacts

College of Arts:   Andrew Bailey, Associate Dean of Research,

College of Biological Science:  Sarah Bates, Research Manager,

College of Business and Economics: Cori Wells, Graduate Program Assistant,

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences: Nicolas Dery, Research Manager,

College of Social and Applied Human Sciences:

Ontario Agricultural College: Gwen Dalton, Awards and Scholarships Assistant

Ontario Veterinary College: Gordon Kirby, Associate Dean of Research,

Conditions of Funding

  • Recipients will be expected to participate in collaborative projects with other Food from Thought Research Assistants and Arrell Food Institute Scholars.
  • Recipients must maintain satisfactory progress in their graduate program


If you have questions about the application process, please email Food from Thought program in the Office of Vice president of Research