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Canada Graduate Scholarships-Masterís Program

Instructions for completing the reference assessment form

General information

The reference assessment form is to be completed if you have agreed to provide a reference assessment for a Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS M) applicant. References must be capable of making an informed assessment and cannot be from a proposed supervisor unless they are or have been the applicant's supervisor.

The applicant cannot submit their application until your reference assessment form has been completed and submitted in the Research Portal. We recommend that you submit your reference assessment well in advance of the applicant’s deadline (December 1, 8:00 p.m. ET) to allow enough time for the applicant to complete and submit their application. As the deadline approaches, delays may occur due to high traffic on the Research Portal; this may prevent the timely submission of your assessment, and you should plan accordingly. No deadline extensions will be given to applicants who are unable to submit because of missing reference assessments.

Whom should I contact for help?

For technical issues related to the Research Portal, contact the This link will take you to another Web site Helpdesk. The agencies aim to respond to inquiries within 48 hours. However, during peak periods (November to January), the response time may be delayed.

Completing the reference assessment form

Detailed instructions on how to complete the reference assessment form can be found below in text form, or you can refer to the video tutorial Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's – Instructions for completing the reference assessment form.

Receiving an invitation to complete a reference assessment form

Applicants enter the family name and email address of their references into their CGS M application. Once this information is saved in the application in the Research Portal, you will receive a system-generated email from the Research Portal with an invitation to complete the reference assessment form.

If you do not receive this email immediately after the applicant enters your information into the Research Portal, you should confirm that it is not in your “junk” or “spam” email folder. If you are still unable to locate the email invitation, the applicant should re-invite you using a different email address.

Accepting the reference assessment invitation form

To accept the invitation, you must create a Research Portal account (if you are a new user) and follow the steps in the system-generated email.

Once you have logged into your Research Portal account, you must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions for References that appear in a pop-up window during the submission process. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records. If you accept the terms and conditions, the system will create the reference assessment form for you to complete. After accepting the invitation, you will have access to the reference assessment form and applicant’s application.

To view the application before completing the reference assessment form, click the triangle on the Applicant bar, which will allow you to see the sections of the application (applicant’s form, attachments and Canadian Common CV uploaded).

Note: Some web browsers may not be compatible with the Research Portal. If technical difficulties occur while you are completing the reference assessment form, ensure that your browser is the most recent version available, or try using a different browser.

Completing and submitting the reference assessment form

To complete the reference assessment form, click Edit under the Participant tab.

Note: The Research Portal has a time-out period of 20 minutes within each section. You must remember to Save and Validate frequently; otherwise, the information you have entered will be lost. After 60 minutes of inactivity, you will be logged out of the Research Portal.

While completing the reference assessment form, you will be able to modify, save and validate the information provided at any time, as long as you have not yet submitted the form.

For your reference assessment to be considered complete, you must:

  1. Indicate how long you have known the applicant and in which capacity (how many years and/or months).
  2. Provide a percentage rating and comments for three selection criteria. The applicant’s strengths and limitations should be assessed, including examples of the applicant’s accomplishments and contributions to support your assessment:
    • Academic Excellence, as demonstrated by past academic results, transcripts, awards and distinctions:
      • Rating: Top 2%, Top 5%, Top 10%, Top 25%, Below Top 25%, and Unable to comment;
      • Provide a written assessment of the applicant’s skills, abilities, achievements, awards, experience and contributions related to this criterion, use concrete examples (2,400 characters maximum, including spaces).
    • Research Potential, as demonstrated by the applicant’s research history, their interest in discovery, the proposed research, its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field, and any anticipated outcomes:
      • Rating: Top 2%, Top 5%, Top 10%, Top 25%, Below Top 25%, and Unable to comment;
      • Provide a written assessment of the applicant’s skills, abilities, achievements, awards, experience and contributions related to this criterion, use concrete examples (2,400 characters maximum, including spaces).
    • Personal Characteristics and Interpersonal Skills, as demonstrated by the applicant’s past professional and relevant extracurricular interactions and collaborations:
      • Rating: Top 2%, Top 5%, Top 10%, Top 25%, Below Top 25%, and Unable to comment;
      • Provide a written assessment of the applicant’s skills, abilities, achievements, awards, experience and contributions related to this criterion, use concrete examples (2,400 characters maximum, including spaces).
  3. Press the Save and Validate button.

Press the Submit button to attach your assessment to the application. The Submit button will only become available once all sections of your assessment have been completed, saved and validated.

Once a reference assessment has been submitted, the applicant will receive a notification in their application advising them that the assessment has been submitted. However, the applicant will not be able to view the content of the assessment (refer to Collection and Use of Personal Information).

No changes or updates can be made to the assessment after it has been submitted. Once the assessment is submitted, you will only be able to view a printer-friendly or PDF version of the reference assessment form by selecting the Export participant’s form to PDF.

Selection process

For information on the merit review of CGS M applications that is carried out by institutions with an allocation, refer to Information and instructions for scholarships liaison officers for managing the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program.

Accessing historical references

You can access your past reference assessments by:

  • entering the Research Portal;
  • looking under the column Role for entries listed as Reference;
  • opening the entry.

If you have forgotten your password, click on the Forgot password link on the login page.

Collection and use of personal information

For more information on the Collection and Use of Personal Information, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program description.

Signatures

There is no need for original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically using the Research Portal.

Note: The electronic submission of your assessment to the granting agencies using the Research Portal means that you have read these instructions, including the Signatures section, and that you consent to the uses and disclosures described within.