Canada-China Norman Bethune Health Research Scholarships Program

Important Dates

Application Deadline 2010-03-20
2010-05-20 (Updated: 2010-03-15)

Table of Contents


The Canada-China Norman Bethune Health Research Scholarships Program offers up to 30 health research doctorate scholarships annually to top students from China to pursue their PhD degree in a health-related research field currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research (STIHR) Programs. The scholarships can be for tenures of four or five years. In China, this program will be coordinated by the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of the Ministry of Education (MOE), and implemented by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), who will ensure that the country's top students which are expected to have an exceptionally high potential for future research achievement and productivity have the opportunity to train in Canada.

Dr. Norman Bethune's contributions to medicine in both China and Canada are acknowledged through this scholarship. Dr. Bethune serves as an excellent role model for young researchers, demonstrating the impact one individual can have on the lives of many.

Funds Available

CSC will provide each Scholarship holder (up to 30 scholarships annually) a minimum living allowance of $14,400 per year for up to 5 years (which includes a Student Health Cover), plus a return airfare to Canada by the most economical route and visa application fees.

On the Canadian side, each potential Scholarship holder accepted into the CIHR STIHR Funded Programs will receive a supplement to their living allowance from the grant sufficient to cover the cost of their tuition fees at a Canadian university. The supplement from the grant will be sufficient to ensure that each scholarship holder will receive a total stipend of at least $17,850 (therefore the STIHR grantee will pay a minimum of $3,450) per year to cover costs plus, depending upon factors such as the local cost of living and tuition fees at a particular university, the grantee should actually pay the student a higher stipend (the amounts may change depending on the STIHR grantee).


The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are:

  • To enable students of outstanding academic merit and potential from the People's Republic of China to pursue research leading to the degree of PhD at Canadian universities and their affiliated research institutes
  • To provide recognition and funding to students from the People's Republic of China early in their academic research career, providing them with an opportunity to gain research experience
  • To provide a reliable supply of highly skilled and qualified researchers
  • To facilitate exchanges of researchers and graduate students of Chinese Universities and Research Institutions with Canadian experts
  • To foster scientific collaboration and promote mutually beneficial joint projects amongst Chinese and Canadian Universities and Research Institutions

Applications are invited in all areas of health research.


  • Only students from the People's Republic of China (non-Canadian resident) may apply for awards.

Additional information concerning the eligibility of applicants can be found on the appropriate CIHR STIHR Funded Program's website or by contacting the Principal Investigators of the CIHR STIHR Funded Programs. For additional information concerning the CSC eligibility requirements please view the CSC website (Mandarin only).

Specific Eligibility Requirements

  • Awards must be approved by CSC.
  • Awards will take effect only after the recipient has registered in a full-time PhD program in Canada.
  • The research for which support is being sought should be under the supervision of a Principal Investigator who holds research funds obtained through the recognized competitive peer review process of the CIHR STIHR Funded Programs.
  • Awards must be taken up within 12 months of the earliest possible start date and must start May 1, September 1 or January 1 following the offer of award.

How to Apply

As of April 2009, CIHR offers the Canada-China Norman Bethune Research Scholarships Program through the CIHR STIHR Recently Funded Programs. Through the STIHR, CIHR funds with partners almost 45 Research Training Programs at Canadian universities and their affiliated institutions in virtually every area of health research. Each training program consists of a group of health research mentors/educators who work collaboratively to offer research training to trainees at one or multiple sites across Canada.

In Canada:

  • Contact a Principal Investigator who holds research funds obtained through the recognized competitive peer review process of the CIHR STIHR Funded Programs in a research area of interest.
  • Obtain acceptance into the relevant CIHR STIHR Funded Program.
  • Register for a full-time PhD program (in Canada) at the Canadian Institution where research will be undertaken.

In China:

  • Send registration documents for the full-time PhD program (in Canada) to CSC.
  • Send the acceptance letter from the Principal Investigator who holds research funds obtained through the recognized competitive peer review process of the CIHR STIHR Funded Programs to CSC.
  • Apply to CSC following the guidelines found at the following website (Mandarin only). Please note that students can apply to CSC for the Canada-China Norman Bethune Health Research Scholarships Program from February 20th to March 20th of each year. Please note that CSC has two round evaluations. Deadline of the first round application is March 20, 2010. Deadline of the second round application is May 20, 2010. (Updated: 2010-03-15)

Please visit the funding decisions for a complete list of CIHR STIHR Funded Programs or consult Josée Lacroix, Program Delivery Coordinator, Research Capacity.

Conditions of Funding

All conditions specified in CIHR General Grants and Awards Policies shall apply to applications funded through this Funding opportunity. Conditions cover areas such as Applicant and Institutional Responsibilities, Ethics, Official languages policy, Access to Information and Privacy Acts, and Acknowledgement of CIHR's Support.

Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

All personal information collected by CIHR about applicants is used to review applications, to recruit reviewers, to administer and monitor grants and awards, to compile statistics, and to promote and support health research in Canada. Consistent with these purposes, applicants should also expect that information collected by CIHR may be shared as described in Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to CIHR for Peer Review.

CIHR as a federal entity is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, therefore the requirements of these two statutes will apply to all information located in CIHR's premises including, without limitation, cost-sharing agreements related to this funding opportunity and all matters pertaining thereto.

While respecting the application of the Privacy Act to federal entities, all signing parties involved in a collaborative agreement will also be bound by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). All personal information (as identified by the PIPEDA) collected, used or disclosed in the course of any commercial activity under collaborative agreements related to the Funding opportunity will be collected, used and disclosed in compliance with the PIPEDA.

Communication Requirements

Grant recipients are required to acknowledge CSC, MOE, CIHR, its institutes and partners in any communication or publication related to the project. See CIHR General Grants and Awards Policies, Public Communication and Acknowledgement of CIHR's Support for details on CIHR's communication requirements. The contributing institutes / partners will be identified on the Authorization for Funding and decision letter.

Performance Measurement

CIHR is committed to demonstrating results to Canadians for the money invested in health research. Therefore, processes for monitoring progress and appropriate use of funds, as well as for performance measurement and program evaluation are in place. As a result, funding recipients must:

  • contribute to the monitoring, review and evaluation of CIHR's programs, policies and processes by participating in evaluation studies, surveys, workshops, audits and providing data or reports as required for the purpose of collecting information to assess progress and results;
  • encourage their associates, trainees and administration to participate in the monitoring, review and evaluation of CIHR's programs, policies and processes as required.

Contact Information

For questions specific to the Canada-China Norman Bethune Health Research Scholarships Program, including CIHR funding, funding guidelines and how to apply contact:

Josée Lacroix
Team Lead, Research Capacity Development
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Telephone: 613-954-0574

For questions specific to the Canada-China Norman Bethune Health Research Scholarship Program, including CSC funding, funding guidelines and how to apply contact:

Wang Renfeng
Project Officer, China Scholarship Council
Telephone: 86-10-66093950
Fax: 86-10-66093945

Partner/Collaborator Description

About CIHR
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

About Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China (MOE)
MOE is the central government body under the State Council, whose mandate includes the formulation and implementation of policies, strategies, guidelines and standards on education reform and development at all levels as well as international cooperation and exchanges in the education sector.

About China Scholarship Council (CSC)
The China Scholarship Council (CSC) is a non-profit institution with legal person status affiliated with the Ministry of Education. The objective of the CSC is to provide, in accordance with the law, statutes and relevant principles and policies of China, financial assistance to the Chinese citizens wishing to study abroad and to the foreign citizens wishing to study in China in order to develop the educational, scientific and technological, and cultural exchanges and economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries, to strengthen the friendship and understanding between Chinese people and the people of all other countries, and to promote world peace and the socialist modernization drive in China.

Who is Dr. Norman Bethune?

Dr. Norman Bethune was born in Gravenhurst, Ontario in 1890. He received his M.D. from the University of Toronto in 1916, after returning from World War I where he had worked as a stretcher bearer.

Bethune's tuberculosis which was expected to be fatal was cured by compression therapy or thoracic treatment, a controversial new treatment at that time which Bethune heard of as he was preparing to die. Following his recovery he went to Montreal to study under Dr. Archibald, one of 13 doctors in the world practiced in this technique.

From 1928 to 1936, Bethune worked as a thoracic surgeon in Montreal where he became famous for his treatment of tuberculosis patients. His concern about the effects that poverty had on the health of his poorer patients led him to propose a plan for universal medicine, which was rejected as too radical by the government and the medical establishment. He also wrote extensively on the development of new surgical instruments, helping to establish a body of work that became an essential reference for surgeons.

From 1936 to 1937 Bethune served in the Spanish War, heading the Canadian Medical Unit. While in Spain, Bethune did pioneering work with blood transfusions, developing the world's first mobile medical unit. Bethune returned to Canada in June 1937.

In 1938, Bethune went to China and became the Red Army's Medical Chief. He established teaching and nursing hospitals and developed mobile medical services and led mobile units through the mountains on horseback. In October 1939, after operating without surgical gloves on a wounded soldier, Bethune developed an infection that, without the needed penicillin, developed into blood poisoning. He died on November 12, 1939. A statue, pavilion, museum, school and hospital are all dedicated to him in China where he is honoured as both a doctor and humanitarian.