Read the program description in the Program Guide for Professors before you complete the application.
The applicant must complete an Application for a Grant (Form 101) and include all required documentation using the On-line System. In addition, the Personal Data Form (Form 100) must be completed by applicants and co-applicants and linked to the application form.
You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected, or be at a disadvantage, in comparison with those that are complete and respect the presentation standards. Where page limits are stated, pages in excess of the number permitted will be removed.
For more information, read the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
Your application must be received at your institution’s research grants office by their internal deadline date; contact your research grants office for those deadlines.
For programs with deadlines, the application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on the deadline date. If it is not received by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected.
The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC are outlined in the following policy statements:
The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in Info Source Publications.
Title of proposal
The title will be used for publication purposes. It should describe the subject of the research to be supported. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.
Time devoted to proposed research/activity
Enter the time devoted by the applicant (in hours per month) to the proposed research/activity.
Research subject codes
Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary research code.
Area of application codes
Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary area of application code from the list of Area of Application Codes.
Provide a maximum of 10 key words that describe the proposal.
Before completing this page, consult the Policies and Guidelines of the Program Guide for Professors concerning the requirements for certain types of research.
Research involving humans: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the appropriate certification indicating that research involving humans has been reviewed and has received the required approval.
Research involving human pluripotent stem cells: If you select Yes, or if through peer review the application is found to fall into this category and is recommended for funding, it will be forwarded, with your consent, to the Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research: Guidelines for CIHR-Funded Research. The SCOC review is in addition to the normal review by local Research Ethics Boards (REBs). Funding will not be released until approval has been obtained from the SCOC.
Research involving the use of animals: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the animal care committee at the institution that the experimental procedures proposed have been approved and that the care and treatment of animals is in accordance with the principles outlined in the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) guide.
Research involving hazardous substances: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the biosafety committee at the institution that the laboratory procedures being used comply with the safety precautions necessary for the level of containment required by the research.
Environmental impact: The Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment.
The cover letter is optional and should only be used if you wish to provide NSERC with additional information that will not be shared with external reviewers, such as a justified request that an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization not be involved in the review of your proposal. NSERC will take such a request into consideration. The cover letter must contain your name, the NSERC program to which you are applying, and the title of your application.
Note: This letter may be accessible to these individuals under the Privacy Act.
Identify co-applicants who will participate on your application. Co-applicants must provide their NSERC Personal Data Form (Form 100). Co-applicants, except those from the applicant's institution, must advise the authorized officer of their organization that the applicant, or the applicant's institution, will be seeking their signature prior to submitting the application to NSERC, agreeing to their participation.
To invite co-applicants to link their Personal Data Form (F100) to the application, enter the e-mail address of the co-applicant as it appears in the co-applicant's Form 100, as well as the family name. When you select Save, an automated e-mail message will be sent to the person(s) to whom you have granted access to your application, informing them that they have been invited to participate in your application. The status will appear as Not Linked.
When a co-applicant links a Personal Data Form (F100) to the application, his/her personal information will appear in the Co-applicant page, and the status will change to Linked. At this point, enter the time (in hours per month) each co-applicant will devote to the proposed research/activity or the use of equipment or facility.
By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as co-applicants have been informed of the precise uses and disclosures of their personal information by NSERC (see Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC) and have authorized the release of the information by the applicant.
Collaborators are expected to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project or program of research and to bring their own resources to the collaboration. The collaborator will not have access to the grant funds and must be qualified to undertake research independently. Examples of collaborators are: government scientists, academic researchers, company staff members or research scientists.
Enter information about each co-applicant organization's signing officer (other than the applicant’s organization). For supporting organizations such as an industrial partner or a government department, enter information about the authorized representative(s).
The applicant must ensure that the co-applicants from other institutions obtain the appropriate signature from the authorized officer of their organization prior to submitting the application to NSERC (see Signatures requirements within this document).
The summary is intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand.
Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the work to be done. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, the anticipated outcomes and how your field and Canada will benefit.
This plain language summary will be available to the public if your proposal is funded.
If you wish, you may also provide a summary in the other official language in the text box identified for that purpose.
List the activities/steps required to achieve the objectives for each year of the grant.
Indicate the start and end dates for the activities leading to the milestones, as well as the major results expected.
Use the guidelines outlined in the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards to provide the requested information in a document to be attached to the application.
Using the headings below and in a maximum of 10 single-sided pages (this page limit does not include references), describe your proposal. For large and complex projects, contact NSERC staff if you feel additional pages are needed to appropriately describe what is being proposed.
Refer to the description of the Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants - Selection Criteria for a list of criteria that will be considered by reviewers when evaluating the applications.
If the application is a continuation of research undertaken in a recently completed or nearly completed CRD project, an additional report detailing the results achieved may be required (see “Other Documents”).
Synopsis: Provide a concise overview of the scientific or technical objectives, approach, and the new knowledge, expertise, or technology that could be transferred to Canadian industry. Indicate the benefits expected to accrue to Canadian industry, to the academic institution, and to the scientific or engineering discipline.
Background: Relate the proposal to current scientific, technical and commercial developments in the field, referring to the current literature and market conditions. Describe the background research on which the project is built.
Detailed proposal: Discuss the scientific issues, research problems or technical complexities, and describe the research methodology and experimental design proposed to explain or resolve them. Provide a work plan and relate it to the milestone schedule from the Activity Schedule section. Describe the roles of any undergraduate or graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows who will be involved in the project. If applicable, clearly justify the need for any additional support staff such as research assistants, technicians or other professional staff who may be required to carry out the project.
Team expertise: Explain how the knowledge and experience of each researcher relates to the expertise needed to accomplish the project objectives, and how the contributions of the team members (including, if applicable, industrial partner(s)’s) will be integrated. If the applicant or any co-applicant anticipates taking sabbatical or other leave during the grant period, describe the impact on the research.
Research management: Provide a plan for how the project will be managed to provide both day-to-day direction and scientific leadership, as well as maintain good communication between the university research group(s) and the industrial partner(s). If applicable, please detail the project manager's qualifications, involvement, role and responsibilities.
Training of highly qualified personnel: The proposal must include a student training component. Describe how the knowledge and experience gained by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants or others, including industrial partner(s)’s personnel, is relevant to the advancement of the field, to developing practical applications of knowledge, or strengthening the industrial research base. The number of undergraduate and graduate students trained is expected to be commensurate with the size of the project. Students and postdoctoral fellows are expected to enhance their skills through interactions with the industrial partner(s) (e.g., participation in planning meetings, active exposure to industrial processes such as R&D, manufacturing, regulatory, IP, commercialization, etc.). Describe the nature of the proposed interactions where appropriate.
If this is a joint CRD grant–Mitacs Accelerate internship application, please use additional pages to provide:
A proposed workplan for the Mitacs internship unit(s) (IU): Summarize the workplan by showing which intern will work on which objective and when. You may use a Gantt chart or the table from Section 1.9 in the standard Accelerate template. For each intern or subproject, provide the following information: Name of intern; specific objectives of the internship or subproject; expected deliverables; benefit to the intern; partner interaction (indicate which activities will be performed on-site at the partner organization and indicate the percentage of time during the project that the intern will spend on-site at the partner’s location. The expected minimum interaction is 50%; if different, please include a justification).
Value of the results and industrial relevance: Describe the anticipated value of the project results, highlighting the industrial relevance of the scientific or technical advances, or the innovative techniques, processes or products that will be developed. Clearly identify how the work will benefit the company by showing how the outcome will address a current or future industrial or market need. To the extent possible, indicate the additional work the industrial partner(s) will have to do to exploit the results of the research for commercialization. Describe how the exploitation of the project results will benefit the Canadian economy within a reasonable time.
Benefit to Canada: As well as the economic benefit to Canada described in the previous section, outline any additional economic, social, and/or environmental benefits that will or could be realized in Canada.
University support: For large and complex proposals (requesting at least $200,000 per year from NSERC), describe the specific commitments made by the university for the project, including financial and technical support as well as equipment and/or facilities.
Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide for information about the eligibility of expenditures for the direct costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds.
Enter the amounts planned to be spent in each budget category for each year of the project. A breakdown of each category and its detailed justification will be requested in the next section.
Salaries and benefits
Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of the non-discretionary benefits) of students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff and the project manager. Briefly describe the responsibilities for each position and indicate the percentage of time they will be spending on this project over its life span. Do not include salaries of faculty in project costs.
Refer to Form 100 instructions for information regarding obtaining consent to name individuals in your proposal.
Equipment or facility
Give a breakdown of the items requested. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).
Materials and supplies
Provide details and explain major items. Equipment and material obtained from the industrial partner(s) must be provided as in-kind contributions. NSERC and the industrial partner(s)’s funds cannot be used to buy equipment, products and services from any industrial partner.
Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed research.
Provide details of publication costs, user workshops or other activities.
Technology transfer activities
List the expenditure for field trials, building prototypes, scale-up costs, demonstration projects, workshops, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item identified in the Proposed Expenditures page. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate. This page should only contain information pertinent to the budget. Provide sufficient detail to allow reviewers to evaluate whether the level of industrial cash commitment is appropriate. Refer to the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnership Programs for a discussion on industrial contribution levels.
Any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with work supported by NSERC or other funding sources must be explained.
Use an additional page to provide the following information:
The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to evaluate the relationship between this application and other sources of support, the incremental value of additional support from the program, and to recommend the appropriate NSERC funding level.
The consequence of not providing adequate information to assess the relationship to other research support is that the reviewers may recommend reduced or no funding.
Use this page to report the contributions committed by the supporting organization(s) including the industrial partner(s) to the research project. Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult the Use of Grant Funds page of the NSERC Program Guide for Professors concerning the eligibility of expenditures for the direct costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds, and Guidelines on Eligibility and Value of In-Kind Contributions.
Provide the information for each supporting organization.
List the resources the supporting organization will provide to support the proposed activities including:
Use the Contributions from Supporting Organizations - Attachment page to provide an explanation of the cash and eligible in-kind contributions.
Form 183A and Letter of Support (and attachments, as required)
A completed Form 183A, letter of support and any other required documents must be attached for each organization participating in a research project. Either the applicant or the supporting organization must complete all applicable pages of the form and provide the required documents.
To allow a supporting organization the ability to link a Form 183A to your application, use the Access Manager page of Form 101. For details on how to use this function, refer to the Access Manager instructions.
For applicants who are filling out Form 183A on behalf of the participating organization use the Link Manager page of Form 183A to link to your application. For details on how to use this function, refer to the Link Manager instructions.
Provide a detailed explanation of the in-kind contributions to the direct costs of research. This information will be used to assess the level and nature of the supporting organization’s—including the industrial partner(s)’s—involvement, the importance of their contribution to the success of the project and an appropriate cost-sharing ratio.
NSERC's Policy on Intellectual Property supports the premise that every effort should be made to exploit the results of NSERC-funded research in Canada, for the benefit of Canadians. For most projects, a copy of the final and signed research agreement between the industrial partner and the university is reviewed by NSERC to ensure that it conforms to the NSERC IP Policy.
Discuss plans for the protection and disposition of intellectual property arising from the grant. Outline the broad terms of the agreement between the industrial partner(s) and academic institutions on the rights to the research results, and on the freedom to publish (see Policy on Intellectual Property in the Program Guide for Professors).
Note: An agreement is not required by NSERC if all results will be openly disseminated and there will be no publication restrictions; however, if an agreement has been or will be negotiated, NSERC does require that a signed copy be submitted for review by NSERC. NSERC program staff should be consulted to determine if an agreement is required.
For projects where the results will be exploited by the industrial partner(s) for competitive advantage, a signed research or intellectual property agreement between the academic institution and the industrial partner(s) covering the full duration of the grant will be required (see Policy on Intellectual Property in the Program Guide for Professors). If available, such agreements should be included in the application, even in a draft form. If the project is approved, funds will not be released until a signed agreement compliant with NSERC’s IP policy is received. Failure to submit the signed agreement within six months from the date of the conditional award will result in the withdrawal of the letter of offer. Such agreements are considered confidential and are not made available to peer reviewers.
If you need to provide other documents, such as a collaborator's curriculum vitae (CV), a report on an ongoing or past CRD project, or an application for Mitacs internships, give a brief description of the document and submit it as an attached PDF file.
Note: For upload purposes, all other documents must be saved into a single PDF document.
Report on an ongoing or past CRD grant: If the application is a continuation of research undertaken in a recently completed or nearly completed CRD grant of at least $100,000 per year from NSERC, an additional report (maximum three pages) detailing the results achieved is required. The report must be uploaded as a PDF under Other Documents. The industrial partner(s) providing a continuing commitment in the new CRD application must clearly indicate the impact of the ongoing or the past CRD project in the new letter(s) of support.
Joint CRD grant–Mitacs internship: Applications for a joint CRD grant–Mitacs Accelerate internship must include a modified Accelerate application as a PDF attachment to the CRD grant. Please contact a Mitacs business development representative to access the Accelerate application template.
Note: By submitting an application to the NSERC/Mitacs joint funding opportunity, you consent to the two organizations sharing information contained in the application, including personal information, or related to the administration of a resulting grant/award, which may include project reports required as a condition of award. You also confirm that you have obtained the consent of any individuals whose personal information is contained in such documents to share this information in the same manner.
An Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental impact page if required.
Suggest the names of five independent experts competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the academic community, the government sector and at least one expert from the industrial sector. As appropriate, also include people competent to assess the research aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering.
Give the name, complete mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, e-mail address and the area(s) of expertise of potential external reviewers (referees).
External reviewers (referees) should be able to review the proposal in the language in which it is written.
You may also request, in a cover letter, that some individuals or companies not be involved in the review of your application. Your request will be taken into account by NSERC.
Suggested external reviewers (referees) should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for more information. In addition, reviewers must sign the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers before they access the application material.
NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its On-line System. The electronic submission of applications through this system represents approval and replaces the traditional "physical" or "wet" signatures. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Program Guide for Professors for more details.
Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your Personal Data Form to an application, you must read and agree to the the Terms and Conditions of Applying 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.The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that:
If you are both the applicant or co-applicant and a principal of a collaborating organization, another senior official must sign on behalf of the organization.
Use the following list to make sure your application is complete.