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Community-engaged learning fund for Indigenous students

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) supports Concordia Indigenous graduate students by providing awards up to $6000 for community-based research and the implementation of Indigenous methods.


About the award

The Community-engaged learning fund for Indigenous students (CELFIS) recognizes Indigenous knowledge and methodologies as important contributions to academic knowledge and supports Indigenous students in anchoring their work in Indigenous communities. The goal of the awards is to contribute to positive change in Indigenous communities by mobilizing Indigenous students’ energy and expertise.

Applicant eligibility

  • Applicants must be registered in a master’s or PhD program at Concordia University. Students can be enrolled in any discipline.
  • Applicants must be First Nations, Inuit, or Métis in Canada and registered with the Otsenhákta Student Centre. This includes both status and non-status Indigenous students living on or off-reserve.
  • Any individual currently funded by the Office of Community Engagement or the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation is not eligible.

Eligible projects

  • The project is research that involves the active participation of Indigenous community members whose lives are affected by the issue being studied and are involved in various parts of the research. Community members can help identify the research’s objectives (community-driven), they can be co-researchers (participatory) or be the beneficiaries of the research’s result (action-oriented). Learn more about community-based research.
  • The project should rely on the engagement and impact on the collective rather than the individual.
  • The community that is engaged with and benefits from the project can be urban, rural or remote. It can also be a community organization, a community of interest, peers who are forming a collective, or a grassroots initiative. More than one member of a community must be involved.
  • The research is relevant to the community concerned and meets the community’s needs.
  • The project contributes to the development of capacities, skills, knowledge and/or the well-being of the community concerned in order to have a positive impact.
  • The project uses Indigenous research methods. This includes research that is grounded in relationships and relational accountability, is conducted by Indigenous scholars, and involves Indigenous participants and communities. Learn more about Indigenous research methodologies.
  • The project contributes to the student’s academic pursuits.

Examples of eligible projects and expenses

  • Research in community (“field work”)
  • Experimenting with Indigenous research methodologies (workshops, ceremonies, podcast, beadwork, etc.)
  • Organizing knowledge mobilization or community capacity building activities (training, presentation of results, exhibition of research findings, etc.)
  • Paying for community expertise (Elders, Knowledge Keepers, etc.)
  • Expenses related to complying to local community protocols
  • Expenses related to creating ethical space(s) for research
  • Expenses related to maintaining good relationships with collaborators

Selection process

CELFIS applications will be evaluated against the following three criteria by an external Indigenous selection committee:

  • Use of a community-engaged research approach
  • Anchoring in Indigenous methods
  • Potential positive impact for the community concerned

Selected projects will be awarded a maximum of $6000 per project. Students may only receive funding for one project. 


If you have questions or are unsure how your project aligns with CELFIS, please contact Geneviève Sioui at

In collaboration 

CELFIS is a collaboration between Concordia University’s Office of Community Engagement and the SHIFT Centre for Social Transformation.

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