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Nomination for an Industrial R&D Fellowship

Instructions for Completing an Application – Form 183C

Information About the IRDF Program Wind Down

In Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada indicated that Ce lien ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre Mitacs will become the single delivery agent of federal support for postdoctoral industrial R&D fellowships. As a result, NSERC will wind down the Industrial R&D Fellowships Program, with resources being redeployed to other priorities within NSERC.

Applications for this program will no longer be accepted. Existing funding commitments will be honoured.

General Information

About the Program

Important: This form must be completed using the On-line System and cannot be submitted electronically. Once completed, the application must be printed and the original copy sent by mail to NSERC.

Read the program description in the Program Guide for Students and Fellows before you complete the application.

Who Completes the Application

The applicant must complete the application and include all required documentation using the On-line System.

Presentation Standards

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.

For more information, read the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.

Application Deadlines

There are no set deadlines. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Personal Information

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 This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Info Source.

Confidentiality/Review Procedures

NSERC understands the value of the proprietary information submitted in confidence by organizations. Please be assured that we manage this information in a secure manner commensurate with its sensitivity. It will be used only for the purpose for which it was originally collected, and it will be disclosed on a strict "need-to-know" basis. NSERC is subject to federal information laws (Access to Information Act and Privacy Act), policies and standards that govern how sensitive information is treated. Members of the NSERC Industrial R&D Fellowships (IRDF) College of Reviewers are advised about these and are required to sign detailed non-disclosure agreements.

Here are some ways your organization can help us safeguard its information:

  • Provide only the information we request. Bear in mind that NSERC must have sufficient information to assess the scientific or engineering content of the application;
  • Clearly mark sensitive information as "Protected" or "Confidential." Alternatively, include a memo or covering letter with your application describing the particular information you consider sensitive and the injury that would result from its disclosure;
  • Always manage your organization's sensitive information in a secure manner;
  • Nominations for IRDFs will be reviewed by two members of the NSERC IRDF College of Reviewers, composed of federal government employees from departments and agencies with an interest in research and development, and academic researchers who have experience with industrial research collaborations (through NSERC’s Partnerships Programs). Members of the College of Reviewers may also confer about specific applications with other colleagues (who are also subject to security and confidentiality requirements) with relevant expertise. If your organization does not wish certain individuals or groups to see the proposal, these should be clearly identified in a covering letter; and/or
  • Consult NSERC staff if you still have specific concerns about the protection of your information.

Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

Note that NSERC’s Intellectual Property Policy does not apply to this program.

Help with Program Information

  • Contact the staff responsible for the program to which you are applying.

Help with the NSERC On-line System

  • Check the Frequently Asked Questions on how to use the On-line System;
  • Review the instructions available in the application;
  • Contact the On-line Services Helpdesk. Send an e-mail to: or call 613-995-4273. Include your e-mail address and telephone number.

Completing the Application

IRDFs aim to provide a meaningful industrial R&D experience to a recent doctoral graduate, therefore the main focus of your proposal should be on the R&D project(s) and, as much as possible, the specific activities in which the fellow will be involved. No more than two projects may be proposed under an IRDF application.

Write your research proposal in plain language. IRDF applications are evaluated by a College of Reviewers, comprised of research scientists and engineers.

Ideally, you should avoid the use of acronyms in your proposal. If you use acronyms, provide a reference list with full names/titles of the terms used.

Nominee Profile

Title of proposal

The title will be used for publication purposes. It should describe the subject of the R&D activities for which you are seeking support. It should not contain an organization or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

General Information on the Organization

Consult the NSERC Code Tables to find the appropriate Industry/Products and Services Codes. These are not the research subject codes.

Note: Universities and government agencies or departments are not eligible to participate in the Industrial R&D Fellowships.

Provide the name and position of the person at the organization whom NSERC should contact, if necessary, regarding the application and subsequently, if a fellowship is awarded, regarding the administration of the award.

This information will be used to provide the reviewers with basic background data on the organization (e.g., the size of the organization and the research environment in which the nominee would be located).


Nominating organization

Provide the complete mailing address for the organization.

Note: The nominating or host organization is the organization submitting the application and will be the employer of the Industrial R&D Fellow. Any other organizations involved in the project are collaborating organizations.

Research and Development Environment

Indicate the requested research and development (R&D) information.

Project Location

Indicate the actual location where the project(s) proposed for the fellowship nominee will be carried out. This location must be eligible to host IRDFs.

Background of the Project (Attachment)

Provide the following information in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards (maximum one and one-half pages).

Relate the proposal to scientific, technical and commercial developments in the field, referring to the current state of the art and the prevailing market conditions. Put this into the context of the organization's existing capabilities, and short- and long-term goals.

If this proposal is a part of a larger project or program within the organization or if it is related to a currently or previously funded NSERC IRDF project, provide a brief overview and explain how it relates to the proposed project for the IRDF nominee.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Detailed Project Proposal (Attachment)

The Detailed Project Proposal should be specifically focussed on the project and research activities in which the IRDF will be engaged.

In order for a project to be successful, the opportunity for the nominee's growth as a researcher and the suitability of the project for a doctoral-level researcher are essential. The quality of the R&D element of the overall proposal, and the nominee's role, will be carefully evaluated. It will be important to demonstrate how the nominee's research abilities will be developed, and the support that will be provided—in terms of suitably qualified supervision, mentoring, technical support (as required by the project), equipment, etc. If appropriate supervision is not available within the organization, it may be possible for a collaborating organization to assist in this regard. If the nominee's background training and experience are lacking some of the expertise needed for the project, explain how the organization will accommodate this requirement (e.g., are there other people within the organization who will carry out that aspect of the project; will specific training be provided to the nominee?).

Provide the following information in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards (maximum four pages).

Under the following separate headings:

  1. discuss the main scientific issues, research problems and technical complexities of the proposed project;
  2. describe the research methodology and/or experimental design proposed to explain or resolve the issues;
  3. show the novelty of your proposed approach, process or product compared to the current state of the art or to competing technologies;
  4. clearly explain the nominee’s role within the project, and provide a short description of how the nominee’s qualifications meet the requirements of the project;
  5. identify the supervisor, mentor and other key participants. The roles of the supervisor and other major participants should be identified; and
  6. identify the physical resources available for the project.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Curriculum Vitae (Attachment)

Provide a brief curriculum vitae (c.v.), not exceeding two pages, for each supervisor and other major participants.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Work Plan and Milestones

Provide a detailed two-year work plan for the nominee and a timetable for the project tasks. Identify measurable milestones and decision points in the project timetable. The milestone definition and work plan will be used to assess whether a project is feasible and whether the available resources are adequate to complete it on schedule.

You may substitute your own project scheduling tool and add it to the final printed version. Please indicate the starting date for the first milestone as “Month 0” and progress to “Month 24” for the final completion date (two pages maximum).

Significance of the Research

Describe the anticipated value of the project results, highlighting the relevance of the scientific or technical advances, or the innovative techniques, processes or products that will be developed. Show how the outcome will address a current or future industrial or market need. As much as possible, quantify the benefits to the organization and the importance to its overall goals and objectives. If possible, estimate the expected increase in revenues and the resulting increased employment within the organization if this project is successful. To the extent possible, indicate the additional work required for commercialization and the potential impact, within a reasonable time, on Canada's economy, industry, society and/or environment.

Value of the Experience and Future Opportunities for the Nominee

Discuss how the nominee's research abilities will be developed during the two years of the fellowship, other learning opportunities, opportunities to publish and opportunities to participate in conferences, etc. Also discuss the future opportunities or anticipated future plans for the nominee within the organization after the fellowship expires.


Justify the need to obtain NSERC funding in order to employ the nominee or to carry out the proposed research. If NSERC funding were not forthcoming, how would this affect the organization and the proposed project? Indicate how the organization's long-term R&D capacity would be enhanced if this fellowship were approved.

Collaboration with Other Organizations

Although Industrial R&D Fellows are expected to spend all or the vast majority (minimum 80 percent) of their time in the R&D facilities of the nominating organization, it may be necessary for the fellow to spend time within the facilities of a collaborating organization because of the requirements of some projects. Because the prime objective of the program is to provide recent doctoral graduates with industrial experience, in such cases, the organization must clearly justify the need for the fellow to be located outside the organization, provide details on the interactions the fellow will have with the organization throughout the duration of the award, and provide sufficient information about how the arrangement will result in the fellow's industrial experience, in order that the reviewers will be satisfied that the objectives of the program will be met.

Letter(s) of Agreement (Attachment)

For all types of collaborations, letters of agreement must be provided at the time of nomination, signed by an authorized representative of the collaborating organization (e.g., Dean, Director of Research, etc.) on the organization’s letterhead. The letters of agreement must describe, in detail, the nature and extent of the collaboration and assistance, and how the organization expects to benefit from the collaboration.

Where projects involve collaborations with other organizations, discuss the plans for the disposition of the intellectual property arising from the project. Outline the broad terms of the agreement between the organization and the collaborating organization(s) on the rights to exploit the technology.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Approximate Annual Cost of the Fellow's Project

The organization should record the cost of discretionary benefits (i.e., organization’s own fringe benefit package), equipment, technical assistance and travel. Please note that the fellow’s fringe benefits should be comparable to those of other employees in the organization.

The resources budgeted in the approximate annual cost of the fellow’s project are committed once the application is signed. The organization is responsible for honouring these commitments.

Other Sources of Funds

Identify any other financial contributions, either held or applied for, from other government agencies (federal or provincial) for the research program related to this IRDF application. Explain how it relates to this application and why funding is required from NSERC.

If any funding expected from other organizations is still at the application stage, when is a decision on the funding expected? If the application is not successful, explain the impact on the proposed project and the employment of the nominee.

Other support, held or applied for, may not be used as part of the minimum $15,000 organization contribution towards the Industrial R&D Fellow’s salary. These funds must come directly from the nominating organization. If organizations other than the one that is nominating the fellow will be contributing towards the salary, these contributions must also be paid through the host organization as part of the total salary.

Conditions of Employment

This section must be completed and signed by the officer of the organization who is authorized to offer employment.

The nominee is required to sign the form to ensure that he or she is aware of the contents of the research proposal.

Original signatures are required. Refer to the Signatures section in this document.

Previous Participation in the IRDF (Formerly the IRF)

For all awards which are "complete" or "terminated", indicate whether the fellow was offered a permanent position, title and, where relevant, the date the fellow left the organization. "Terminated" refers to all those who did not complete the full two years of the award.

Letter of Offer of Employment (Attachment)

Provide a copy of your letter of offer of employment provided to the nominee. This letter must be co-signed by the nominee and include the normal details that such a letter from your organization would include, and must also specify:

  • The total salary to be offered (including NSERC's contribution);
  • Fringe benefits being offered (based on the total salary, including both NSERC's and the organization's contributions). Industrial R&D Fellows must receive fringe benefit packages comparable to those of regular employees;
  • Start and end dates of the term of employment or a statement that employment is for a minimum of two years (please allow a minimum of six weeks between the date of receipt of the complete application and the expected start date);
  • A statement that employment is conditional upon receipt of the Industrial R&D Fellowship.

Note: The organization may not offer the nominee a long-term offer of employment between the date of submission of the nomination to NSERC and receipt of the notification of decision, unless the offer is conditional upon receipt of the fellowship.

In the exceptional cases where a short-term employment contract has been offered to the nominee, the organization must also attach a copy of this contract. The offer of employment should state clearly that subsequent employment is dependent upon the receipt of a fellowship. Please note that candidates may not begin working on the proposed IRDF project during this time.

The organization may offer the nominee a permanent position, provided that employment is conditional upon receipt of the fellowship.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.


What do the Signatures on the Application Mean?

For the nominee

Before you, as a nominee, submit your application to NSERC, you must have read and agreed to the terms and conditions listed on the instructions for the Application for an Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship, an Industrial R&D Fellowship or a Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Government Laboratories (Form 200). Refer to the Signatures section, under For IRDF applicants.

Note: Original signatures are required on the Conditions of Employment when submitting Form 183C.

For the authorized organization representative

Before you, as an authorized organization representative, submit your application to NSERC, you must read and agree to the following terms and conditions.

By submitting the application, you are certifying that the organization:

  • certifies, to the best of its knowledge, that the information provided in the funding application and related documents is true, complete and accurate;
  • agrees with the content of the application and will provide the committed resources;
  • will use the grant/award only for the purpose for which it is awarded;
  • will meet financial and other reporting requirements specific to the grant/award or granting program;
  • acknowledges and accepts that NSERC reserves the right to defer or cancel a grant/award instalment if the continued need for funds is not demonstrated, if the program objectives and/or eligibility criteria are not being met, or subject to the availability of funds;
  • will inform NSERC of any changes in the status of the grant/award holder hosted in their organization or changes in the organization’s status;
  • will inform grant/award holders of their role, responsibilities and obligations with respect to any research requirements, including laws, regulations, standards or policies (the "Research Requirements") in the organization’s jurisdiction;
  • is aware of the requirement for grant/award holders to comply with the relevant provisions of the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research and with the terms and conditions set out in the program description;
  • certifies that it takes full responsibility for complying with any Research Requirements in its jurisdiction and will advise NSERC immediately, in writing, of any allegations or findings of breach of any Research Requirements in the organization by the grant/award holder;
  • will strive to provide an environment that supports the best research and that fosters researchers’ abilities to act honestly, accountably, openly and fairly in the search for knowledge. As best practices, the organization is referred to the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Council on Animal Care policies, guidelines, and recognized standards;
  • understands that maintaining public trust in the integrity of researchers is fundamental to building a knowledge-based society and is aware that in case of a serious breach of agency policy by the grant/award holder, the agency may publicly disclose the grant/award holder’s name, the nature of the breach, the organization where the grant/award holder was employed at the time of the breach and the organization where he/she is currently employed;
  • will acknowledge, wherever possible, NSERC's funding assistance;
  • agrees to the release of the organization's name in relation to the grant/award and/or as being eligible for NSERC industrial programs; and
  • accepts that non-compliance with, or misrepresentation of, any of these matters may result in actions by NSERC, including the disentitlement from eligibility for future funding.

By submitting the application, you are also confirming that the nominee is not permanently employed by the organization at this time and agree to:

  • pay the fellow on a regular basis and arrange for regular deductions for personal income tax, Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, and such other deductions as may be required for workers’ compensation, hospital and health insurance, etc. The organization will pay its share, as is the practice for regular employees, of any plan the fellow may be privileged to join for which payments are made on a shared employer-employee basis. All benefits and deductions should be based on the fellow’s total salary including NSERC’s contributions;
  • forward to NSERC, at the end of each four-month period, confirmation of the fellow’s continuing employment/request for NSERC’s contribution to the fellow’s salary, and any reports necessary; and
  • arrange for the fellow to receive a T4 slip (statement of earnings) at the end of each calendar year for income tax purposes.

Note: Original signatures are required on Page 1 and on the Conditions of Employment when submitting Form 183C.

List for a Complete Application

Use the following list to make sure your application is complete. The original of each of the following must be submitted by mail:

  • Nomination for an Industrial R&D Fellowship (Form 183C)
    • Nominee Profile
    • General Information on the Organization
    • Addresses
    • Research and Development Environment
    • Project Location
    • Background of the Project (Attachment)
    • Detailed Project Proposal (Attachment) – The research proposal is normally completed by the nominating organization and co-signed by the nominee. If the nominee participates in writing the proposal, a statement should be added explaining the nature of the nominee's contribution (this may be included within the Detailed Project Proposal)
    • Curriculum Vitae (Attachment)
    • Work Plan and Milestones
    • Significance of the Research
    • Value of the Experience and Future Opportunities for the Nominee
    • Incrementality
    • Collaboration with Other Organizations
    • Letter(s) of Agreement (Attachment)
    • Approximate Annual Cost of the Fellow’s Project
    • Other Sources of Funds
    • Conditions of Employment
    • Previous Participation in the IRDF (Formerly the IRF)
    • Letter of Offer of Employment (Attachment)
    • Terms and Conditions of Applying Form (Attachment)
  • Application for an Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship, an Industrial R&D Fellowship or a Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Government Laboratories (Form 200), to be completed by the nominee
  • Application (new or renewal) for Eligibility of Organizations to Participate in NSERC's Industrial R&D Fellowships Program, Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships Program and Experience Awards (Form 183B) if not completed within the past three years. Form 183B must be completed for each specific subsidiary, branch, division or location of the organization wanting to host a student or fellow.

Mailing Address

Please use the list to ensure that the application is complete and then return the fully completed application to the address below. Please allow eight weeks for processing complete applications. Submission of incomplete applications will result in further delays.

Industrial R&D Fellowships
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1H5
Tel.: 613-996-1900
Fax: 613-943-1222