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Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

Select your question to go directly to the answer.

Help/Support

  1. Whom should I contact if I need help?
  2. When is support available?
  3. When can I expect maintenance and upgrades to the system?

Registration and Login

  1. What is the difference between my Account name and my Personal Identification Number (PIN)?
  2. How do I create my own Account name and Password?
  3. How do I re-activate my Account name and Password if locked?
  4. May I use my Account name and Password for other purposes?

My Portfolio Page

  1. How do I create a Personal Data Form or another form?
  2. How do I create multiple Personal Data Forms or other forms?

Navigation

  1. How do I change the language of my profile?
  2. My form is in French. Why do the buttons in my pop-up window say OK and Cancel, and not OK and Annuler?
  3. Is my data automatically saved when I change screens?
  4. Can I use my Web browser's menu to navigate?
  5. How do I know which fields are mandatory?
  6. Can I "cut and paste" information to complete text boxes?
  7. Can I include special characters on my form?

Printing

  1. How do I print my form?
  2. My printed application/attachments have changed in size – how do I correct this?
  3. I'm having printer problems. What can I do?
  4. When I select Preview, my screen is blank. What do I do?
  5. How do I save my form (PDF version) on my system?

Other Technical Issues

  1. What browsers and operating systems are supported by NSERCís On-line System?
  2. I have a Macintosh and I'm having problems with Internet Explorer. What do I do?
  3. I completed a French form and the characters look unusual. What do I do?
  4. I selected an entry using the List... button and I can't see the complete text. What do I do?
  5. I selected the List... button and the pop-up window doesn’t appear. What do I do?
  6. What happens when I select Verify or Verify completeness?
  7. What should I do if I have difficulty attaching documents?

Form-Fillable PDF

  1. Can I save my data using a form-fillable PDF?
  2. I'm having problems opening my form-fillable PDF using Internet Explorer. What do I do?

Status Definitions

  1. What is the definition of each message to identify the status of the electronic submission of my application?

Help/Support

1. Whom should I contact if I need help?

Contact us if you have questions regarding the on-line system or program to which you are applying (e.g., content of application, program deadlines, eligibility).

2. When is support available?

The Helpdesk is open between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (ET), five days a week. During peak periods, the Helpdesk offers extended hours.

Peak period extended hours
September 7-11, 2015 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
September 14-18, 2015 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
September 21-November 13 2015 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
November 16-20, 2015 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

3. When can I expect maintenance and upgrades to the system?

Maintenance and upgrades are scheduled to take place Monday to Friday between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., and on Saturdays between 8:00 a.m. and noon, if necessary. Unless otherwise specified, the On-line System remains available during regular maintenance and upgrades.

Registration and Login

4. What is the difference between my Account name and my Personal Identification Number (PIN)?

Account name

The Account name is a confidential identifier that gives you access to the On-line System. Your Account name can be changed and validated anytime. The security system is designed to allow you to use the same account name, even if you hold more than one role (e.g., applicant and reviewer).

Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Your PIN uniquely identifies you in NSERC’s corporate database. Your PIN is used as a reference number by NSERC to quickly refer to your file. If you don’t have a PIN, leave that space blank on the form and we will assign this number to you when we receive your application.

5. How do I create my own Account name and Password?

You must register for NSERC On-line Services and create your Account name and password. Your Account name may be up to 30 alphanumeric characters. It must begin with a letter and should not contain any spaces. Do not use any special characters such as ! @ # or $, except the underscore (_).

Your Password must be at least eight, but not more than 10, characters. It may contain numbers, but should not contain any spaces. You must use at least one special character ( ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) + = { } | < > \ _ - [ ] / ? ). Your Password is case-sensitive.

We recommend that your Password consists of both letters and numbers so that other users cannot easily guess it.

6. How do I re-activate my Account name and Password if locked?

If you attempt to login to the system using an incorrect Account name or Password, your session will be terminated for security reasons after three attempts. You must then contact the Helpdesk at telephone number 613-995-4273 or or complete an On-line Services Support Request to have your Account name and Password re-activated.

7. May I use my Account name and Password for other purposes?

Your Account name and Password must be used only for the purposes of logging in to NSERC’s On-line System.

My Portfolio Page

8. How do I create a Personal Data Form or another form?

A Personal Data Form (F100) will be created for you automatically once you register for NSERC On-line eServices. Once you have successfully logged in to the system to start a session, you will be brought to the eConsole main menu page. Select the link that applies to you under Forms Management. You will be transferred to the My Portfolio page. Under the heading Personal Data Form (PDF) select Edit to complete the form.

To create another form, on the My Portfolio page, under Applications, select the form that applies to you by choosing a form in the drop-down window “select form to be created” and click on Create. Once your blank form has been created, you will be transferred to the Application - Create a New Application page where you will apply for one of the programs listed therein. Select Create to start completing your form (grant application or other). Should you decide to stop your session at this point, you will be able to access your in-progress application (or other form) later by selecting Edit on the My Portfolio page.

9. How do I create multiple Personal Data Forms or other forms?

Participants (applicant/principal investigator, co-applicants and collaborators) should complete, or update, their own Personal Data Form. You can only maintain one Personal Data Form in our system to ensure that your record is kept up to date.

You (applicant/principal investigator) can create multiple applications under your own name.

Navigation

10. How do I change the language of my profile?

The language of your forms will initially be determined when you select either French or English in the Correspondence field on the Registration page. To change the form's language after you have passed the Registration page, follow these instructions:

  • On the eConsole page, select Maintain User Profile to change the language.

11. My form is in French. Why do the buttons on my pop-up window say OK and Cancel, and not OK and Annuler?

Unfortunately, we have no control over the language of the buttons in the pop-up windows. The text in the title bar and on the buttons are determined by your Web browser (i.e., if you've downloaded the French version of Netscape, the text will appear in French; otherwise, the text will appear in English).

12. Is my data automatically saved when I change screens?

You will be prompted to save your data before you exit a screen or if you select another screen. After 60 minutes from the last interaction with our system (e.g., Save, Preview, etc., but not entering data or selecting List...), your session will be terminated and you will have to log in again. We recommend you save periodically (i.e., every 10 to 15 minutes).

To avoid a time out session and losing any data, we suggest that you prepare your comments on a word processor, then copy and paste the information into the text box. Please remember that you can only type regular text (upper and lower case). The system will not accept underlined text, bold or italics, script or formulas. To confirm that your text will fit on the printed copy, save your information and select Preview.

13. Can I use my Web browser's menu to navigate?

You should avoid using the navigation tools (Back/Forward buttons and the Refresh/Reload Screen buttons) provided with your Web browser. If you do use these buttons, you risk losing any unsaved information.

14. How do I know which fields are mandatory?

Mandatory text boxes are marked by boldfaced labels. The mandatory designation is to indicate the minimal requirements for your application to be reviewed. If you forget to complete any of the mandatory fields, you will be prompted to complete them when you use the Verify option of your Personal Data Form, or an application, on the My Portfolio page.

15. Can I "cut and paste" information to complete text boxes?

Yes, this is highly recommended. You also have the option of typing the information directly into the space or cutting and pasting text from your own word processor.

16. Can I include special characters on my form?

Remember that you can only type regular text (upper and lower cases). The system will not accept underlined text, bold or italics, script or formulas, curved or slanted apostrophes, double quotation marks or long dashes. This is a limitation of HTML, the language used by the Web browser.

Macintosh system users can eliminate the non-ASCII characters that seem to be a source of problems by exporting a text file (generated in Word, or some other program) to BBEdit, and using the "Zap Gremlins" option.

Printing

17. How do I print my form?

To print and view the application form itself, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you are not using a computer with network access or do not have Acrobat Reader installed, you may download the latest version free of charge from This link will take you to another Web site http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions. If you have an older version of the Acrobat Reader you must first uninstall it from your computer to download the current version following the instructions on the Adobe site.

To print your form, you can either select Preview located at the top or bottom of each screen or you can go back to the My Portfolio page. Select the form/document that you wish to print and select Preview. This will launch your Adobe Acrobat Reader and transfer the information you have entered in the form. You may then print the application using the Print command in the file toolbar.

To ensure that the font size remains acceptable, within Adobe Acrobat, in the Print window, select None in the Page Scaling field.

You may print your form at any time while you are still working on it. Once the application process is complete, you can verify that the required information has been entered by selecting Verify on the My Portfolio page. Forms that have been verified and that are complete will show Verified at the bottom of the first page when printed.

18. My printed application/attachments have changed in size; how do I correct this?

If your application looks fine during the preview stage but, upon printing, the size or margins appear to have changed, your print settings may require a slight adjustment.

To adjust the print settings, select File, then Print. In the Zoom section, select No Scaling from the Scale to paper size pull-down menu.

19. I'm having printer problems. What can I do?

Not all printers can easily print forms. If you can't print your form, or only parts of the form are printing, save your application form (PDF file) on your desktop and print it using a high-speed printer.

20. When I select Preview, my screen is blank. What do I do?

We have identified a problem with Internet Explorer. When you select Preview to proceed with the previewing of your application, the browsers indicate "Document done," but the screen remains blank. To address this problem, try this:

In Adobe Acrobat Reader, proceed as follows:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Select the Edit menu option.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Select Internet.
  5. In the displayed window on the right, de-select (un-check) the check box "Display PDF in Browser" and then select OK.
  6. Exit Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  7. Re-boot your computer if prompted.

21. How do I save my form (PDF version) on my system?

Just select File, then Save a Copy and save the form to your computer hard drive.

Note: Remember that you may not be able to edit your application in this format.

Other Technical Issues

22. What browsers and operating systems are supported by NSERC’s On-line System?

We have optimized our System to work with the following browsers and operating systems:

 
Windows XP
Internet Explorer
Firefox




23. I have a Macintosh and I'm having problems with Internet Explorer. What do I do?

Microsoft is no longer supporting Internet Explorer on a MAC. It is recommended to use Safari or Firefox.

24. I completed a French form and the characters look unusual. What do I do?

If you are typing French characters and they look unusual (using Windows), you should use the Roman-ISO character set.

25. I selected an entry using the List... button and I can't see the complete text. What do I do?

After selecting an entry using the List... button the text will pop into the box. Due to field length limitations, you may not see the complete entry until you've saved the information on the screen and printed it. Select the Preview option and print the PDF version to make certain that the selection is correct.

26. I selected the List... button and the pop-up window doesn’t appear. What do I do?

You most likely have a pop-up blocker installed on your computer system. These pop-up blockers are designed to get rid of commercial pop-up windows, now popular with Internet marketing companies.

Applicants who have pop-up blockers on their system are not able to activate the List…. function, nor read some of the error messages.

All pop-up blocker software have a disable feature. The most popular pop-up blockers allow you to temporarily disable the pop-up blocker feature by holding down the control key and then selecting the List… button.

Alternatively, in order to ensure that pop-up windows from NSERCís On-line System are never suppressed, users may choose to set their pop-up blocker to always allow pop-ups from the site. Please see your pop-up blocker's help section for more information, or contact your local IT support representative for assistance.

27. What happens when I select Verify or Verify Completeness?

When you select Verify, the system ensures that all mandatory sections and fields on the selected form have been completed. The system will then generate a Verification Report which lists the information to be provided or corrected before your form is considered complete.

28. What should I do if I have difficulty attaching documents?

Page Cannot Be Displayed or Unexpected Errors
Print the PDF, scan it, make a new PDF and upload that version.


Password-Protected

Documents that have been password-protected cannot be read and, therefore, cannot be attached. Do not password-protect documents you plan to submit electronically.

Viruses
All documents are scanned by our firewall. Those suspected of containing a virus (some form of executable code) will not be accepted and, therefore, not attached. Run a virus scan on documents prior to attaching them. Clean any document found to contain a virus before attempting to attach the document. Any attachment having an ".exe" file extension (e.g., FileName.exe) must be removed.

End Notes
Including end notes in your Microsoft Word documents can cause the conversion process to fail. Try uploading a Word document that does not contain end notes.

Macros
Documents containing macros will cause the conversion process to fail. Macros cannot be used.

Bookmarks
Documents that use bookmarks will result in a conversion and/or preview failure. Bookmarks must not be used.

Hyperlinks
Documents with hyperlinks will cause a preview failure and should not be used. Hyperlinks are not accessible through a PDF document. If a hyperlink is critical, then it must first be placed in a text box. Please refer to the text box instructions found in the Images section above.


Form-fillable PDF

29. Can I save my data using a form-fillable PDF?

No. Some versions of Adobe Acrobat will let you save to a directory. But once you've closed your document, your data is lost. You cannot save a form-fillable PDF file and re-open it.

30. I'm having problems opening my form-fillable PDF using Internet Explorer. What do I do?

Note to Internet Explorer users: If you are having problems opening the form-fillable PDF using Adobe Acrobat Reader, proceed as follows:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Select Edit from the menu.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Select Internet.
  5. In the displayed window on the right, de-select (un-check) the "Display PDF in Browser" and then select OK.
  6. Exit Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  7. Re-boot your computer if prompted.

Status Definitions

31. What is the definition of each message to identify the status of the electronic submission of my application?


  Status Definitions - Form 100

Status

Definition

In Progress

The form is being prepared and is not considered complete.

Completed

The form has been successfully verified and is considered complete. A form must have a Completed status before it can be linked to an applicant's primary form.


Status Definitions - Form 101

Status

Definition

In Progress

The form is being prepared and is not considered complete.

Completed

The form has been successfully verified and is considered complete.

  • Completed status is only granted when all identified co-applicants and/or participating organizations have linked their appropriate forms to the applicant's primary form.
  • Only a form with Completed status can be submitted to post-secondary institution authorities for approval.

Submitted

The form has been submitted to the postsecondary institution authorities for approval. A form with Submitted status is "view-only" and cannot be updated.

Returned

The postsecondary institution authorities have viewed the form and have returned it to the primary applicant for revision.

Approved

The postsecondary institution authorities have reviewed the form and have approved it for evaluation by NSERC.

Received

NSERC has transferred the application to its internal network.

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