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Policies and Requirements

General Requirements

To hold an award, you must:

  • accept the terms and conditions of the award, as set out in this guide, in the Notice of Award (including attachments), and in the program description found in the NSERC Program Guide for Students and Fellows;
  • have been unconditionally accepted into a recognized graduate studies degree program in a field supported by NSERC; and
  • be registered and progressing satisfactorily in a graduate studies program at an eligible university.

Awards may be cancelled without notice if the conditions under which they are granted are violated. Any payment made for a period during which you were not eligible to hold the award must be reimbursed.

Start Date

  • Shown on award letter.
  • Must not be changed without prior authorization by NSERC.

Value and Duration of Award

  • The value of the award is $15,000 per year, plus a minimum sponsoring organization contribution of $6,000 per year paid to the university.
  • The duration of your award is detailed in your award letter.
  • The value and duration of your award may be adjusted if your registration status changes (e.g., early completion of your degree or termination of your graduate studies program).

Please notify NSERC of any changes in your registration status.

Holders of IPS 1: Your scholarship support will not extend beyond the 28th month of your master's program. If you have completed more than four months' full-time equivalent in a master's program at the time you take up your award, the normal 24-month term will be decreased by the number of months in excess of four that have been completed at that time.

Request for the balance of the IPS 1 support if the duration of your award is less than the maximum of 24 months:
You can request the balance of the award if you transfer to a doctoral program during the term of your award, or if you complete your master's degree prior to the termination of your award and enter immediately into a doctoral degree program. To request the balance of your award, please contact NSERC.

Holders of IPS 2: The scholarship support will not extend beyond the 52nd month of your doctoral program (the 64th month if you were admitted to the doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s program).

Part-time Industrial Postgraduate Scholarship

  • IPS support is available to those who are pursuing part-time graduate studies in the natural sciences and engineering at an eligible Canadian university. See the Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships Program for details.
  • If you are changing your status from full-time to part-time, you must contact NSERC.

Deferment of Award

  • If you want to defer your award, contact NSERC to determine the requirements.

Payment of Award

  • NSERC and the sponsoring organization will send their payments to the university. The university will then ensure the distribution of funds to the student.

Interruption of Award

Any interruption (paid or unpaid) requires prior agreement from the university, the sponsoring organization and NSERC.

  • You may interrupt your award only for the reasons described in: Unpaid Leave for Reasons of Maternity, Child Rearing, Illness or Health-Related Family Responsibilities; Paid Parental Leave; Leave for Relevant Work Experience; and Termination of Support by the Sponsoring Organization.
  • For approved interruptions, NSERC will suspend payment of your award for the duration of the interruption and will resume payment when all the conditions of your award are once again being fulfilled; generally, this is the case when you return to full-time studies. The interruption will not reduce the total amount of support available to you, and the end date of the award will be adjusted.
  • For the purpose of determining eligibility for future NSERC scholarships, NSERC will not count these interruptions when it is calculating the number of months spent in graduate studies, regardless of your registration status.
  • You may not interrupt your award in order to take up another award (including an Industrial R&D Internship [IRDI] or MITACS ACCELERATE internship) or to pursue studies other than those for which you received funding.
  • IPS award holders must submit all necessary documentation to NSERC for approval. Please see the relevant subsection below.
  • Specify the start date and expected end date of the interruption.
  • NSERC should receive an e-mail from the sponsoring organization agreeing to the interruption and the new end date of the award.

Unpaid Leave for Reasons of Maternity, Child Rearing, Illness or Health-Related Family Responsibilities

  • You are eligible for a leave of absence of up to three years for reasons of maternity, child rearing, illness or health-related family responsibilities, provided your university permits such leaves.
  • To request this leave of absence, contact NSERC. You must provide supporting documentation, such as birth or medical certificates, justifying and substantiating the reason for interrupting your award, as well as a letter of support from the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • The end date of your award will be adjusted.
  • NSERC should receive an e-mail from the sponsoring organization agreeing to the interruption and the new end date of the award.

Paid Parental Leave

  • If you will be interrupting your studies/award within six months following a child's birth or adoption in order to be the primary caregiver for the child, you may request a paid parental leave supplement for up to four months* from NSERC. Please note that the sponsoring organization is not obliged to provide a comparable supplement (unless that was included in the original agreement). You and/or your university must discuss this matter with your sponsoring organization.
  • You may not receive this supplement while your award is being deferred.
  • The maximum period of paid leave is four months*, even in cases of multiple births or adoption of more than one child at the same time.
  • If both parents are supported by NSERC, each parent may take a portion of the leave for a combined maximum duration of four months*.
  • To request the paid parental leave, you must contact NSERC and provide a letter in which you confirm that during the parental leave you:
    • will not be engaged in your research activities or employed;
    • will be the primary caregiver of your child during the parental leave; and
    • are not eligible for and will not receive employment insurance or other maternity/parental benefits from other sources.
  • NSERC should receive an e-mail from the sponsoring organization agreeing to the interruption and the new end date of the award. The end date of your award will be adjusted.
  • Please request the paid parental leave at least four months before the proposed start date of the leave.
  • As soon as possible after the birth/adoption of the child, you must submit a copy of the child's birth/adoption certificate to NSERC in order to activate payment. A paid parental leave supplement from NSERC for a four-month leave will be equal to the stipend paid during the four-month period before the interruption. If your leave is less than four months, the supplement will be reduced proportionately.

*Six months for a paid parental leave starting on April 1, 2015 or later.

Leave for Relevant Work Experience

  • You are not entitled to receive your award payments during such interruptions.
  • To request an interruption, contact NSERC.
  • To request an interruption of your award for this leave, you must notify NSERC four weeks in advance in writing, and your request must be supported by your supervisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies. NSERC may require an amendment to the agreement.
  • You are permitted one four-month interruption during the term of the award, provided the sponsoring organization and university approve it. Please note that this work experience does not count toward the 20 percent of your time that you must spend at the sponsoring organization.
  • The end date of your award will be adjusted.
  • You may not interrupt your IPS award to hold an Industrial R&D Internship (IRDI) or MITACS ACCELERATE internship.

Vacation Leave

  • Your university's policies and requirements will apply regarding vacation leave.

Reinstatement of Award

  • To reinstate a deferred or interrupted award, you must notify NSERC in writing at least eight weeks before resuming your studies or research, confirming the exact date you want your award reinstated. Before your instalment payment can be issued, you must also provide confirmation from your university (Faculty of Graduate Studies) that you have resumed the studies or research for which the funds were awarded. See the Payment of Award section.
  • Awards will be governed by the policies and requirements applicable at the time of reinstatement.

Change of Research Project

  • If your program of study or research is in a discipline that falls under the mandate of more than one federal granting agency (e.g., psychology, management studies, geography, physical education, bio-medical engineering, health sciences, bioinformatics, biostatistics, etc.), you must obtain prior approval from NSERC to change your research project. To do so, send an outline of the proposed research, including the proposed supervisor's name, to NSERC.
  • A change in research project must be approved by the supervisor at the sponsoring organization.
  • If you modify your research project to the extent that the field of study is not under NSERC's mandate, you will no longer be eligible to hold the award and it will be cancelled.

Change of University/Location of Research

  • If you wish to change your university of tenure/research location, you must obtain prior approval from NSERC to confirm your eligibility to hold the award at the new university. Such requests should be made as soon as possible, preferably eight weeks prior to your start or transfer date.
  • You must submit a new agreement signed by the new university, the sponsoring organization and other concerned parties, and a modified plan for the fulfillment of the 20 percent of your time to be spent at the sponsoring organization. If you also change supervisors, you must describe to what extent it changes the research project.

Termination of Support by Sponsoring Organization

If your sponsoring organization is no longer willing or able to support your research or contribute to your award, please contact your university Scholarship Liaison Officer (SLO) and NSERC. If you have at least twelve months left from the award, you may interrupt your award for three months while you search for another sponsor to support the completion of the award. Otherwise, the award must be terminated.

Other Sources of Income (Employment and Other Awards)

  • You may not concurrently hold another award from NSERC or from another federal granting agency (CIHR or SSHRC). You may, however, accept awards from other sources, regardless of value (e.g., foreign sources, provincial awards, private organizations, your university, etc.).

Full-time IPS holders

  • NSERC expects full-time IPS award holders to devote the majority of their time to the expeditious completion of their degree program. NSERC limits the number of hours of employment to 450 per 12 months, starting at each anniversary date of the award. (Note: NSERC scholarship holders are not employees of NSERC, the university, or [in most cases] the sponsoring organization.)
  • Payment of the award during paid internships and co-op work terms is permitted (except for Industrial R&D Internships (IRDI) or MITACS ACCELERATE internships) regardless of your registration status, provided that they are a requirement of your program of studies.
  • You may accept supplements from NSERC grants. There is no limit on the value of such supplements. Any such funding is to be in support of your work as a graduate student and is not to be remuneration for additional duties performed.
  • You may not be paid a salary or work on contract during the periods you report as 20 percent of the time spent at the sponsoring organization.
  • If you accept full-time employment, you must contact NSERC regarding your award.

Part-time IPS award holders

  • There is no restriction on the number of hours worked.

Annual Progress Reports

As the holder of the scholarship, it is your responsibility to provide a progress report to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Each year during the tenure of the award, full-time and part-time award holders must submit a progress report to the Dean of Graduate Studies one month prior to the anniversary date of the award.

The first progress report must be received at NSERC one year after the start date of the award. For holders of three-year awards or of part-time awards, subsequent progress reports are due at NSERC every year on the anniversary date of the award.

Details of the content of the progress report are included in the Progress Report Checklist. Use it to ensure your report is complete.

Payment of further instalments of the scholarship is contingent upon the progress report proving satisfactory to NSERC.

If your progress report is not received at NSERC within two months of its due date, NSERC may cancel your award.

Termination of Award

  • If you have submitted your thesis, you are still eligible to receive your payments until the defence is successfully completed, provided you have not accepted full-time employment or started another program of studies, and you are still registered full-time in the graduate studies program for which funding was awarded. You must complete an Exit Survey.

Full-time award holders

  • If you terminate your full-time registration status or accept full-time employment before the end of the period covered by the award (except as permitted by policies and requirements governing your award as outlined in Interruption of Award and Other Sources of Income [Employment and Other Awards]), you must contact NSERC to make the appropriate arrangements.
  • You will have to reimburse any overpayment of your award.

Exit Survey

  • At the end of your award, you must complete an Exit Survey and return it to NSERC. You must also give a completed copy of this survey to the SLO in the Office of Graduate Studies at your university.

Taxation and Other Issues

Taxation

  • Your university will issue a T4A income tax slip to award holders.
  • NSERC is unable to dispense advice on income tax matters to individual students and fellows, given the uniqueness of each award recipient's personal financial situation. Consequently, you are encouraged to seek advice from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), or from a qualified income tax specialist.
  • You are referred to two documents published by CRA:

Insurance

  • NSERC is unable to assume liability for accidents, illness, or losses that may occur during the tenure of an award. You are responsible for ensuring that you have appropriate insurance.

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