Scholarship in Food Insecurity

The Centre provides scholarships that recognize the contribution of David Emerson, Wallace McCain and Purdy Crawford as past Chairs of the Maple Leaf Foods’ Board of Directors. Three scholarships are distributed each year for three years, beginning in the 2020/2021 academic year, to support research that advances a better understanding of food insecurity in Canada. They support master or PhD students who propose to pursue research that contributes to the body of knowledge on food insecurity, including determinants, risk factors, impacts and the efficacy of potential interventions such as programs, policies and market instruments.

The application period for the 2021/2022 academic year will open in November 2020 and applications will be due by February 12th 2021. Scholarships will be awarded in May 2021.

Scholarship process

Three $15,000 scholarships will be awarded each year for research spanning up to two years in length. A call for proposals will be issued in November for the following academic year. The Research Sub-Committee of the Centre’s Board reviews all applications and makes recommendations to the Centre’s Board for approval.


For applicants to be considered, they must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • A master’s or PhD student of any discipline, enrolled at a Canadian university
  • In good academic standing with their academic institution
  • Entering their second or third year of post-graduate study and/or are prepared to commence their thesis research in the 2021/2022 academic year
  • Conducting thesis research focused on the determinants, risk factors, impacts, and efficacy of proposed interventions on food insecurity in Canada

Proposal requirements

  • A curriculum vitae CV
  • A letter of reference from a research supervisor (this letter can be sent by your supervisor directly to the Centre, if preferred)
  • An overview of the following (this section should be no longer than 6 single-spaced pages, excluding references)
    • The research purpose, research question, target population, and objectives
    • A brief background and rationale
    • Proposed methodology
    • How the research fills knowledge gaps about food insecurity in Canada, and plans for sharing research findings
    • Other sources of funding for the research
    • An explanation of how the research aligns with the Centre’s goal

Candidates will be selected based on their academic preparedness, match of research to the Centre’s goal, and quality of the submission, including feasibility, methodological rigor, and potential contribution of the findings to the body of knowledge on food insecurity in Canada (such as determinants, risk factors, impacts, and interventions).

Proposal submission instructions

Full proposals are to be emailed to with the subject line “Scholarship in Food Insecurity” no later than 11:59 PM [EST] on February 12th, 2021. For research supervisors who are emailing a reference letter directly to us, please include the full name of the candidate in the title of the letter.

Scholarship requirements

Upon completion of the research, the following will be required of scholarship recipients:

  • A final research report that shares findings once the work is completed
  • A summary of how the funds were spent and how they enabled the student to amplify their work

Students may be invited to present their research to the Centre partners and/or Board.

2021/2022 Scholarship Recipients

  • The Wallace McCain Scholarship in Food Insecurity was awarded to Samantha Stewart, PhD candidate at Ryerson University: Determining how public discourses on food security policy have changed over the last decade and what implications this has for the development of a Food Policy for Canada
  • The David Emerson Scholarship in Food Insecurity was awarded to Suvadra Datta Gupta, PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan: Exploring potential funding models and policies for a national school food program in Canada, as well as parent and decision-maker perceptions of school food programs
  • The Purdy Crawford Scholarship in Food Insecurity was awarded to Vanessa Cunningham, MA candidate at the University of Guelph: Better understand the lived experience of food insecurity among post-secondary students in Canada

2020/2021 Scholarship Recipients

  • Michelle Aktary, MSc candidate at the University of Calgary: Examining the impact of the British Columbia Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupon Program on diet quality and household food insecurity of low-income adults
  • Lindsey Vold, PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan: Assessing the impact of community food programs in northern communities
  • Bochu Liu, PhD candidate at the University of Toronto: Examining time, transportation and geographic constraints on food access in urban environments