I am currently enrolled in a science research PhD study in Canada. I am co-supervised by 2 people in different fields. The problem is that I started my PhD ~1.5 years ago and was told that there was funding but there wasn’t; something didn’t work according to plan, I am not sure what happened. Since 2017, I have written every grant and submitted it under my primary supervisor’s name to get my PhD funded. The issue is that my primary supervisor told my co-supervisor that they had funding and told the department they had funding when they didn’t. However, I am not sure how the primary supervisor is funding the situation, but at times I have to incur expenses and am told I will be reimbursed. Is that normal? I also heard that grad students are not required to write the whole grant applications but can assist in sections if required? Should I speak up about having added stress of writing grant applications, which isn’t even my job? Furthermore, at one point, I would have to constantly ask for my monthly stipend. I have repeatedly asked them about the funding situation and the primary supervisor seems to be quite nonchalant about the whole issue and does not have any urgency regarding the matter. I am not sure if I should speak up to anyone about these issues, but I also don’t want to go over my primary supervisor’s head, betray them, and besmirch their words.

Summary questions: 1. should I tell anyone that all our grants are rejected and there isn’t any funding? 2. Should I be having to incur expenses for my own research? (edit: costs related to research expenses, not conference or food. Even in the past the conference expenses were not covered and I had to pay out of pocket) 3. Should I speak to my advisor about how I shouldn’t have to write the grant applications?

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    Oh, I just noticed the date this was posted. Necromancy time. If you really do get reimbursed, then that part is not abnormal. If you get told you will be reimbursed but don't get the money, that's no good.
    – puppetsock
    Nov 18, 2019 at 19:01
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    How does a prof get away with telling the department he has a grant but he does not? Surely he is required to pay for certain things? As to writing the grant proposal: You could look on it as a potential position of power. Write it so your area of research gets 70% of the funding.
    – puppetsock
    Nov 18, 2019 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


Normal? Regrettably I would consider this semi-normal.

A good situation? Absolutely not.

Is the situation likely to get any better? From your description, definitely not.

As you say that you only started 1.5 years ago, and you are in a bad situation, change groups, and if that isn't possible leave or change university.


This situation (stop funding) could be happened, but rare. I recommend you should check the funding reports in Canada. It should be opened. So, you can check the status of the budget of your lab. For example, in USA we can check how much the lab has got or will get the governmental fund. Another recommendation from me is to write not a grant but a fellowship. It is much easier to get "your own" budget. A lot of fellowships are floating in the USA/Canada.

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