Students at Royal Roads University are getting support to pursue advanced degrees in priority areas like science and technology, thanks to a new $180,000 graduate student scholarship fund to boost research and innovation throughout the province.
“Graduate students at Royal Roads University are tackling real-world problems,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “They’re figuring out how we can be environmentally sustainable, how communities can be more inclusive and how technology can enhance learning. Giving them the support they need to follow their dreams builds a stronger B.C. for everyone.”
The new merit-based scholarships, administered by Royal Roads University, are part of a $12-million investment announced last month by Premier John Horgan. The scholarship fund will support awards of $15,000 each for students pursuing graduate degrees in research-intensive or professional graduate-degree programs.
The scholarships are research focused with an emphasis on provincial priorities, including Indigenous students, and the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“With this graduate scholarship fund, we are helping Royal Roads University attract and retain the best grad students within B.C. and across Canada,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “We are known for our world-class talent, and Royal Roads plays an important role in providing programs and research opportunities to prepare workers for B.C.’s thriving tech industry.”
The $12-million investment will provide 800 graduate awards to the end of 2020-21, throughout the province. This is part of a larger tech-expansion plan, and marks the government’s commitment to encourage excellence, keep B.C. competitive, and assist students with the costs of pursuing advanced degrees.
About 16,000 domestic students are enrolled in graduate-degree programs at 10 public post-secondary institutions throughout the province. Royal Roads University has approximately 3,500 students in graduate programs.
Student groups, and other post-secondary sector partners, have long advocated for a graduate scholarship program, as British Columbia has lagged behind other provinces with a comparable graduate-scholarship program.
As part of the tech-expansion plan, B.C. is investing in 2,900 new tech spaces and Women in Technology scholarships, with 10 annual $10,000 scholarships awarded, including at least one award to an Indigenous woman.
Allan Cahoon, president and vice-chancellor, Royal Roads University –
“With 70% of our programs at a graduate level, Royal Roads is the only university in Canada that is primarily a graduate post-secondary institution. As such, graduate research is an essential part of what Royal Roads students do. This scholarship fund will help make graduate studies even more accessible, and allow us to continue to attract some of the best student researchers in the province, who will then apply what they learn to make positive change in our communities.”
matthew heinz, vice-provost, research and interdisciplinary studies, Royal Roads University –
“We welcome innovative, practical research here at Royal Roads. Our focus is on making a difference through applied research, such as improving water sanitation, understanding the effect of microplastics on environmental systems, and how to improve our education and health systems. This scholarship fund will allow more mid-career professionals to join us in tackling real-world problems with evidence-based solutions.”
Maria Anderson, doctor of social sciences student, master of arts in leadership graduate, student representative on Royal Roads University board of governors –
“Royal Roads University graduate students come with life experience and the commitment to step into a learning journey that requires tremendous support for us to be successful. Pursuing a graduate degree is a decision not made lightly, especially for mid-career professionals with families. We need support from our families, faculty and cohort, but there is also a financial burden to furthering our learning. This scholarship funding sends a message of extraordinary support to current and prospective graduate students that the work we have undertaken is valued by senior leaders and our communities. For some, it will mean the difference between pursuing post-secondary education, or never having that chance.”