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Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program

Instructions for Completing an Application

General Information

About the Program

Read the program description in the Program Guide for Professors before you complete the application.

Am I Eligible to Apply?

Consult the Eligibility Criteria - For Faculty to ensure that you can participate in this grant program as an applicant or a co-applicant.

Who Completes the Application?

The applicant and co-applicant(s) must complete their respective sections of the application as per the instructions, using the Research Portal. In addition, an NSERC This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV) must be completed by the applicant and each co-applicant and be linked to the application.

Presentation Standards

In the application, applicants and co-applicants must submit all requested information in agreement with NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards. 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.

Application Deadlines

Your application must be received at your institution's research grants office by their internal deadline date; contact your research grants office for this deadline.

The application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. If it is not received by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected. The application deadline is indicated in the program description, as well as on the Application Deadlines and Notification of Decision page.

Once an application has been submitted to NSERC it may not be updated or modified, before or after the deadline.

Collection and Use of Personal Information

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act and stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Information about programs and information holdings. Details on the use and disclosure of this information are described in Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC, in the NSERC program literature and below. The personal information is used in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Whom should I contact for help?

Completing the Application

Create an Application

  • Sign in to the Research Portal.
  • Select the Funding Opportunity and click Create.
  • Complete your Eligibility Profile and click on Validate
  • Click on Continue and Create Application
  • Under Applications, Open the application.
  • Click on Edit to complete the different sections.


Administering Organization

Organization – Select the organization that will administer the grant.

Department – Enter the department where you hold your eligible position. If your department is not in the list, select Head Office.


Application Title – The title must be short and should describe the equipment requested. It may be used for publication purposes. Restrict the use of acronyms (e.g., DNA, NATO, etc.), and avoid company or trade names.

Language of the Application – Indicate the language in which the application will be submitted.

The main body of the application should be written in either English or French and not in a mix of both official languages.

Note: The applicant and co-applicant(s) can each write their NSERC CCV in either official language.

Suggested Evaluation Group – Select the evaluation group that best fits your research discipline. Your suggestion is used for the preliminary assignment of your application to the appropriate RTI selection committee. NSERC makes the final decision on the assignment.

Hours per month to be devoted to the research/activity, or use of equipment or facility - The applicant and each of the co-applicants must complete this section.

Enter the number of hours per month you plan to devote to the use of the equipment requested.

Summary of Proposal

A limit of 2,500 characters is allowed in the text box.

Provide a summary of the proposal in plain language that the public can understand. It will be available to the public if your proposal is funded.

Using simple terms, briefly describe the equipment that is requested, what it will be used for, and the research activities it will enable. Indicate why and to whom the research activities are important, their anticipated outcomes and the benefits to the research field and to Canada.

If you wish, you may also provide a summary in the other official language in the text box for that purpose.

Proposed Expenditures

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.

Type of Expenditure Eligible Costs Non-Eligible Cost
(Costs not eligible for funding must not be included in the application.)
Equipment Purchase or rental of equipment including taxes, shipping and handling -


  • Transportation/shipping costs for purchased equipment
  • Fabrication, assembly, and installation of the equipment
  • Extended warranty or service contract
  • Brokerage and customs charges for the importation of equipment and supplies
  • Testing/calibrations costs
  • On-site costs of training staff to use equipment
  • Software licensing or upgrades
  • Salaries and benefits
  • Travel
  • Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles
  • Laboratory infrastructure
  • Costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities
  • Equipment or items intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards

Applications for computing equipment are considered on the same basis as all other equipment applications. RTI grant funds may be used to purchase hardware and/or to pay for the acquisition of software.

Cash Contribution

Indicate any cash contributions from university, industry or other sources, if applicable.

Use the Budget Justification section explained under Attachments below to explain and justify each budget item and any contributions from other sources towards the purchase of the equipment.

Activity Details

Certification Requirements

Before completing this section, consult 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 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 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 to CIHR’s Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with  This link will take you to another Web site chapter 12, section F, of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. 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.

Environmental Impact

If you select Yes to any of the questions, you will be asked to answer additional questions as appropriate to address the requirements of the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

NSERC is subject to CEAA 2012. The Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment describe the circumstances under which environmental reviews or assessments must be conducted, and the administrative processes that will be followed by NSERC to ensure that legal obligations are met with respect to CEAA 2012.

Research Subject Codes

Consult the Research Subject Codes. A primary research subject code is required.

Area of Application Codes

Consult the Area of Application Codes. A primary area of application code is required.


Provide a maximum of 10 keywords that best describe your proposal.

Eligibility Profile

You must re-validate your eligibility profile. Review your information and ensure it accurately reflects the details of your eligible position. If your position is not in the list provided, enter free-form text. Click on Save and validate.


In the Application Overview page, click Attach to include each required document. Attachments are free-form and must respect NSERC's presentation standards and page limits, where applicable.

IMPORTANT: You must preview all of your attachments in the Research Portal to ensure that the documents have been uploaded correctly and that the content is viewable. NSERC will not accept corrupt or protected files that cannot be opened or viewed.


Limit of four pages.

Refer to the Selection Criteria section of the Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program description and address the points below. The applicant prepares the proposal with input from co-applicants, as required:

  • the research program(s) to be supported;
  • the need and urgency to purchase the proposed equipment to undertake the research program(s) effectively; including availability of, and access to, similar equipment;
  • the suitability of the requested item(s) for the proposed research program(s);
  • the importance of the equipment for the training of highly qualified personnel.

Budget Justification

Limit of two pages

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 items resources requested are appropriate.

This section must only contain information pertinent to the budget and relationship to other research support.


Give a breakdown of the items requested in the Proposed Expenditures page. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices, exchange rates and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Ensure that you include quotations, when applicable. Provide a clear justification if the number of quotations required cannot be provided (refer to quotations section below).

Other expenses

List all items not relevant to the previous category, and provide an explanation.

Relationship to Other Research Support

Explain any relationship and/or overlap (conceptual or financial) between equipment supported by other funding sources and the current application. You must provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to assess the relationship between this application and other relevant sources of support, including those of the co-applicants. Other sources of support include grants and contributions from funding agencies, organizations, the private sector, institution start-up funds, research chairs, the primary place of employment (for adjunct professors), and other institutional research support.

Refer to This link will take you to another Web site  Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency for additional information.


Two sections with a file size limit of 10Mb each.

You must provide two (2) recent quotations for any items or any systems costing more than $25,000 before taxes.  If the required number of quotations cannot be submitted, you must provide a justification in the Budget Justification section.

The application will be rejected if the quotations or the justification are not submitted with the application.

Confirmation of Financial Contributions

File size limit of 10Mb.

The RTI Grants Program provides the primary avenue for university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering to obtain up to $150,000 in support for research tools and instruments. NSERC will accept applications for research equipment whose total net cost is up to $250,000, provided that the applicant is able to secure funding from other sources to bring the amount requested between $7,001 and $150,000 (before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation costs). This funding must be in place and confirmed at the time that the application is submitted.

Note: Net cost represents the purchase cost of the equipment after any discount from the vendor and before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation costs. To be eligible for RTI funding, the net cost of the equipment should be less than $250,000 (before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation costs).

If a financial contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by the applicant’s and co-applicants’ institution[s], no letter is required confirming these commitments. If submitted, those letters will not be provided to the reviewers.

If a financial contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization (other than the applicants' and or co-applicants' institution[s]), a letter is required from the organization confirming this commitment. Such letters must clearly explain the cash support that the organization will provide to the purchase of the equipment.

If funds from other types of NSERC grants (with the exception of DG funds) are used towards the purchase of the equipment, an authorization from NSERC confirming the use of funds must be submitted.

All letters must be combined in a single PDF file.

The application will be rejected if the required letters are not submitted with the application.

Letters that do not confirm a financial contribution and any other material not relevant to this section will be removed.


Inviting Co-Applicants

Include only major users (who frequently use the equipment) as co-applicants. There is no typical number of co-applicants.

From the Application Overview page in the Invitations section, click on Manage Invitations. Provide the email address and the last name of each co-applicant. An email will be sent to each participant with instructions on how to accept the invitation.

Information Required from Co-applicants

In addition to information that must be provided to the applicant for the proposal, co-applicants must accept the invitation as specified in the invitation email. In the Research Portal, complete the Eligibility Profile, provide the number of hours per month to be devoted to the use of the equipment, and upload your NSERC CCV.

A Submit button will be displayed once you have validated the information, and uploaded your NSERC CCV. Select Submit to send your part of the application to the applicant.

Note: 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 authorized officer's signature and agreement to the co-applicant's participation before the application is submitted to NSERC.

Uploading your NSERC CCV

The applicant and each of the co-applicants must submit a CCV

  • In the Application Overview page, click Attach.
  • Enter your CCV confirmation number. Refer to the NSERC CCV instructions for information on how to obtain your CCV confirmation number.
  • Click Upload.
  • Click Back to Application Overview.
  • Preview your CCV in the Research Portal and verify that it was uploaded correctly and that it contains all of the entries that you wish to submit for peer review.

Submitting the Application to NSERC

Once you have validated all the sections of your application and uploaded your NSERC CCV, a Submit button will be displayed.

  • Click Submit.
  • On the Application Overview page, click Export Application and Attachments to PDF and save a copy of your submission for your records.

When you submit your application, it is sent to your Research Administrator for approval and submission to NSERC. The status of your application will be changed to Received by Administrator. Once your Research Administrator has approved and forwarded your application to NSERC, the application status will be changed to Received by Agency.

Note: The retention period in the Research Portal is three months after the deadline date.


NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically using the Research Portal. User ID/password-based "signatures" allow applicants, supporting organizations and authorized institutional representatives—such as Research Grants Officers, Scholarships Liaison Officers and Business Officers—to "sign" and submit on-line applications and other documents to NSERC. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Program Guide for Professors for more details.

What do the “signatures” mean?

For applicants and co-applicants

Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or upload your NSERC CCV to an application, you must read and agree to 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:

  • the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities set out in the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions ("the Agreement") with the three federal granting agencies, including the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide, and the relevant program literature;
  • as required by the Agreement, the applicant and co-applicant(s) meet the eligibility requirements for the relevant funding opportunity;
  • prior to submission of the application, the institution has obtained written approval from any other institutions involved in the application process;
  • you will not use or disclose any information that you obtain or view on the Research Portal for any purposes other than your participation in the agency's process; and
  • you understand that the agency reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to terminate or restrict your access to the Research Portal at any time, without notice.

The “signatures” of authorized officers of other supporting organizations certify that the organization:

  • agrees with the content of the application and will provide the committed resources; and
  • agrees to the release of the public summary of the award and to the publication of the organization's name as a supporter of the initiative.

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.