NEWS banner
Very rubin observatory, Credit: Rubin Obs/NSF/AURA

Four PhD students awarded Vanier Scholarships

account_circle By Tenille Bonoguore
They came to Canada chasing big questions. What they found is a country willing to invest in their potential to find answers.
Portraits of Fiona McCarthy, David Schmid, Florian Hopfmueller, and Anna Golubeva in the atrium of PI
from top left: Fiona McCarthy, David Schmid, Florian Hopfmueller, and Anna Golubeva

Four PhD students at Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo have received prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.

Anna GolubevaFlorian HopfmuellerFiona McCarthy, and David Schmid will each receive $50,000/year for three years during their doctoral studies. 

The “Vaniers,” as they are known, are designed to help Canadian institutions attract highly talented doctoral students from all around the world. Scholars are chosen based on academic excellence, research potential, and leadership qualities.

For Schmid, who came to Canada from the United States in order to study quantum information with Perimeter Faculty member Robert Spekkens, the scholarship is a “vote of confidence” in his research. 

“I came to Canada because I believe Canada is especially supportive of foundational research in physics,” he said. “Winning this award feels like a personal validation of that belief.”

Hopfmueller initially came to Perimeter from Germany in 2015 to take part in Perimeter Scholars International (PSI), the institute’s one-year master’s program. He stayed in Waterloo to pursue his PhD in the field of quantum gravity.

“Receiving the award gives me more time for my PhD studies than I would otherwise have had, and gives me more confidence,” he said. 

“Both of these things allow me to be more ambitious, and think bigger. I feel fortunate and appreciated – and challenged to give back something through my work.”

The awards also help each student cover the costs of travel for conferences and collaborations, which they said was essential in forming research connections. 

“Getting the Vanier award means for me having more freedom and opportunities – in essence, it provides me more time for my research,” said Golubeva, a PSI graduate from Russia whose work now focuses on quantum machine learning.

“PSI brought me to Canada. My current supervisor, Roger Melko, and Perimeter Institute made me choose to stay in Canada for my PhD. Getting an award like this is super motivating to me, so I guess it makes me work even harder.”

About PI

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 

For more information, contact:
Mike Brown
Manager, Communications & Media
519-569-7600 x5131