The roles and responsibilities of the Council are set out in the NSERC Act and By-laws.
The Council collectively represents the academic research and private sector R&D communities in natural sciences and engineering, as well as other stakeholder groups in the Canadian innovation system. The Council’s main responsibilities are to set the strategy and high level policies for NSERC, and to review and evaluate performance. The Council works to achieve the maximum strategic impact for Canada from the expenditure of public funds, and to advance Canada’s research and development agenda.
The Council approves funding allocations to broad program areas for grants, scholarships and fellowships. The responsibility for reviewing applications rests with NSERC’s various selection committees. Council members are not normally involved in these reviews. However, the Council may be asked, on an exceptional basis, to give final approval on certain awards.
The Council is advised on policy and programming matters by standing committees that are responsible for overseeing, where appropriate, the work of selection committees and panels. The committee structure adopted by the Council enables it to devote most of its deliberations to broad policies, strategic direction and financial issues.