|Value||Up to $1 million per year for four years|
|Application Deadline||April 17, 2017 – Letter of Intent
June 1, 2017 – Invitation to Apply
August 25, 2017 – Application, if invited to apply
|Application Procedure||See below|
|For more Information||See below|
Discovery Frontiers (DF) grants are initiatives that identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities where Canada can benefit from its world-class capacity to take a leadership role in key areas of research and innovation. Discovery Frontiers address national research priorities and global challenges by supporting a small number of major new transformative and integrative activities. These initiatives will generate substantial impact from a one-time injection of funding for a defined period, addressing challenges and seizing leadership opportunities in areas of national importance.
Discovery Frontiers grants support a limited number of large international activities, opportunities or projects that are of high priority in the context of advanced research in Canada. These will be led by world-class Canadian researchers and will comprise multi-institutional teams that will generate substantial impact, for the benefit of Canada.
This initiative will bring together groups of researchers in new ways to address a major research challenge. The groups will incorporate new and emerging ideas, and combine their complementary expertise to conduct transformative, paradigm-changing research.
The fourth call for proposals is in the area of Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems.
Humans are changing global habitats at a faster pace than ever through climate change, deforestation, ocean acidification and overfishing. Globally, over one in five species of vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants are now at risk of extinction (critically endangered, endangered, or threatened). Moreover, recent estimates show that climate change is playing an increasing role in this threat. In order to devise realistic and viable conservation and mitigation strategies for biodiversity and to address this global challenge, a comprehensive understanding of natural and managed environments from genes to ecosystems and how they respond or adapt to complex changing conditions is essential. In addition, harnessing ecological and evolutionary knowledge has the potential to spur adaptation where needed (to improve productivity in agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, fisheries) and to limit adaptation where undesirable (to prevent emerging diseases and resistance to pesticides or drugs).
To address the ongoing and alarming disappearance of species on Earth, Discovery Frontiers will support a program that will be paradigm-shifting, "transdisciplinary" in nature, open new fields or integrate existing fields in new ways, involve international collaboration, and accelerate the establishment of expertise and capacity.
This Discovery Frontiers initiative spans a range of disciplines including: evolution, climate change, productivity in managed systems, population dynamics, conservation, invasive species, extinctions, adaptation, and the diversity of life. It will bring diverse researchers together to conduct transformative and integrative research of international impact through studies, assessments, comprehensive experiments and the development of models that will inform and ultimately provide solutions to the global biodiversity-loss crisis and generate new knowledge on the nature of adaptation. This will also be an opportunity to develop improved methods for understanding and facilitating the adaptation, conservation, and health of ecosystems.
Given the nature of the research to be supported through this call for proposals and in recognition that the ability to implement policy or directly apply the research results can depend on socio-economic considerations as well as scientific understanding, proposals may include collaboration and integration across several disciplines. Proposals requesting funds from NSERC can include aspects of social sciences and humanities, provided that the main focus remains within the natural sciences and engineering. Research costs for these collaborations may comprise up to 30% of the project costs and must be identified in the project budget. All project expenditures will be subject to NSERC’s Use of Grant Funds guidelines.
The anticipated outcomes of this collaborative research initiative will redefine biodiversity science and likely lead to the following benefits:
Approaches used will emphasize new ideas, perspectives and solutions and interdisciplinary thinking with potential for long-term impacts. International linkages will be required.
Other than the general eligibility criteria found in the Discovery Frontiers grants description, there are no additional eligibility criteria for individuals that apply to this call for proposals.
Discovery Frontiers projects funded under this call for proposals are encouraged to promote approaches that increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to foster excellence in research and training. Diversity and increased gender equity must be considered when developing their group of co-applicants, collaborators and trainees.
Applicants must outline the measures that will be implemented to advance gender equity within the structure of the proposed network and its activities. Examples include strategies for any of the following:
Further guidance on how to incorporate these gender equity measures within the full proposal, and how they will be assessed, will be provided prior to the full application stage.
Applicants begin by submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI must include a cover page (one page), a research proposal (maximum five pages) and biographical information on the team (maximum two pages). All documents should follow the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
The cover page must include:
The research proposal should include:
The biographical information should contain short biographies of the applicant and co-applicants and their areas of expertise.
The LOI should be saved as a single portable document format (PDF) document, and uploaded to NSERC’s secure portal before the deadline.
Note that details concerning proposals that are successful at the LOI stage will be published on NSERC’s website.
An international committee will review the LOIs. The review process at the LOI stage is intended to select those proposals that best fit the program objectives and best address the LOI review criteria with an emphasis on the merit of the proposal. The review criteria are as follows:
Merit of the research proposal
Excellence of the applicants and complementarity of expertise
Potential for value-added training of highly qualified personnel
Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will be given further instructions on submission details at the time of invitation.
Full proposals will be reviewed through a rigorous independent peer review process, undertaken by a multidisciplinary international committee, to assess their eligibility, research merit and potential for benefits to the research community as well as to ensure that sound management and financial practices are implemented. Excellence in terms of the review criteria at the very highest of international standards must be demonstrated for funding to be awarded to the most meritorious proposal.
The applications will be reviewed using the following criteria. Please note that the descriptive phrases that follow the criteria below are not exhaustive.
Research Context and Originality
Research Plans and Research Environment
Expected Benefits and Strategy for Realizing Benefits
Management Plans and Expertise
Budget and Expenditure Controls
Refer to the Use of Grant Funds section of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide for details on eligible expenses.
Regular reporting will be required for this award. A scientific review committee will assess scientific progress annually. The review will provide information regarding the progress of the project according to the proposed timelines. The scientific review committee can also provide advice to the project team if it feels that changes to project milestones or direction are necessary. NSERC will use the scientific review committee’s report to determine whether funding for the project will be continued, reduced or terminated. Financial reports will also be reviewed annually.
Specific details on the format and schedule and other required information will be available at the time of award.
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