Institutional Eligibility Requirements
The requirements are currently under revision. Contact the persons listed below for up-to-date information.
An institution that wishes to authorize applications and administer NSERC grants, scholarships and fellowships must submit an eligibility request. An institution will be approved as NSERC-eligible only when NSERC has received all the documentation and is satisfied that the institution meets all the Requirements for universities and/or colleges.
Note: An institution that is federated with, or affiliated to, or a constituent portion of another institution that is already eligible to authorize grant applications will not normally be accorded its own independent authority.
Requirements for universities and/or colleges
Universities and colleges must meet the following eight requirements and submit the supporting documentation, accompanied by a written request signed by the president/principal or delegate of the institution, specifying the type of eligibility requested—university or college. The first three requirements apply in one way to universities and in another way to colleges, and the last five requirements apply in exactly the same way to both universities and colleges.
A university must grant degrees in the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) fields, at least at the bachelor’s level.
A college must offer diplomas in the NSE fields.
- A short history of the institution;
- A complete list of degree/diploma programs, with highlights on programs in the NSE;
- Areas of research with highlights in the NSE; and
- Number of students and faculty.
The degrees granted by the university are generally accepted by other Canadian universities for direct admission into their own postgraduate degree programs, without the necessity of a period of qualifying study.
This requirement does not apply to colleges.
Supporting documentation: Letters from Deans of Graduate Studies from at least three NSERC-eligible universities attesting to this fact.
The university’s faculty members in the NSE fields are required to engage in research, and the university will ensure that these faculty members have the time to conduct research.
The college’s faculty members in the NSE fields are permitted to engage in research, and the college will ensure that these faculty members have the time to conduct research. Note: Research includes innovation-related activities such as developing new or enhanced products and processes; disseminating and bringing new knowledge to market; building and testing prototypes; and carrying out non-routine laboratory testing or field studies, etc.
- A statement attesting that the faculty members are permitted to engage in, and have the time to conduct, research;
- Relevant section(s) of the institution’s mission statement;
- The institution’s policy on research;
- A list of past, current and proposed research projects;
- The institution’s strategic plan, if available; and
- The most recent annual report.
The university or college will provide the basic facilities and services (including space) to enable its NSE faculty members to conduct research.
- A statement attesting that the university or college will provide the basic facilities and services (including space) to enable its NSE faculty members to conduct research; and
- A short description of the research facilities and services in the NSE and the general terms governing their use or availability.
The university or college will absorb the indirect costs of research undertaken through NSERC grants.
Supporting documentation: A statement attesting that the university or college will absorb the indirect costs of research undertaken through NSERC grants, indicating that it understands and will abide by the policies and regulations presented under Responsibilities and Accountability in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.
The university or college will be required to sign and adhere to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards.
- A statement affirming which of the options described in article 5.3 Ethics Review of Research Involving Animals of the MOU applies to the institution:
- For Option 1 (i.e., animals are used for research and/or for teaching and testing), include a copy of the institution’s Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of GAP – Good Animal Practice® or a formal written agreement with another institution that complies with Appendix III (Requirements for Indirect CCAC Certification) of the CCAC policy statement on: certification of animal care and use programs (duly signed by the two institutions) and approved by CCAC. The other institution must currently hold a valid GAP.
- For Option 2, a statement affirming that animals are not used for research, teaching or testing and that, as of the date of signing the MOU, no member of the institution uses any animals for research, teaching or testing, whether in indoor facilities (the institution’s own or other facilities) or in the field, and whether animals are to be used for NSERC-funded work or not. In the event that any member of the institution intends to carry out animal-based research, teaching or testing, the institution will promptly inform NSERC and will make all necessary arrangements to comply with, and will be bound by, the guidelines set out in Schedule 3: Ethical Review of Research Involving Animals;
- A statement affirming which of the options described in article 5.13 Research Involving Biohazards of the MOU applies to the institution;
- A completed Federal Agencies’ Grant and Award Management Questionnaire
(Note: The questionnaire is available in portable document format [PDF] only. It must be printed and completed by hand then scanned as a PDF);
- A statement affirming that the institution has a policy and procedures that conform to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research;
- A statement affirming that the institution has a policy on conflicts of interest in research;
- For research involving humans:
- If an institution conducts research involving humans: A statement affirming that the institution has a policy and procedures that conform to the
Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS 2): Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, or has a formal written agreement with another eligible institution (duly signed by the two institutions) reflecting the details of the arrangement with the other institution; and
- If an institution does not conduct research involving humans, it has up to one year from the date of signing the MOU to put in place a policy or a formal written agreement with another eligible institution that adheres to the TCPS 2. In those cases, the institution must include a statement indicating that none of the research currently conducted under the institution’s auspices falls within the purview of the TCPS, and that, until the approved policy or written agreement is in place, the institution agrees that it will not allow the conduct of research involving humans under its auspices and will not submit any applications to NSERC for research involving humans.
The university or college agrees to abide by the policies on radioactive materials and research in the Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, etc., as detailed in the Requirements for Certain Types of Research.
Supporting documentation: A statement affirming that the university or college will abide by these policies.
The university or college has adequate safeguards to protect the sensitive information that NSERC entrusts to it so that the university or college can administer applications and awards.
- A statement affirming that the institution meets this requirement; and
- References to provincial legislation or institutional policies concerning data protection.
Once you have assembled all the documentation mentioned above, send it to:
Coordinator, Eligibility of Institutions
350 Albert Street
Direct your enquiries to the following contacts, based on the subject matter of your question:
General process or requirements
Coordinator, Eligibility of Institutions
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research
Management of grants and awards