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Discovery Frontiers - New Materials for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency

Instructions for Completing an Application Form 101

General Information

About the Program

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

Who Completes the Application?

The applicant must complete the application and include all required documentation using the On-line System. In addition, the Personal Data Form (Form 100) must be completed by applicants and co-applicants and linked to the application form.

Presentation Standards

You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. 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.

For more information, read the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.

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 those deadlines.

For programs with deadlines, the application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on the deadline date. If it is not received by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected.

Personal Information

The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC are outlined in the following policy statements:

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP). The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Info Source.

Help with Program Information

  • Contact the staff responsible for the program to which you are applying.

Help with the NSERC On-line System

  • Check the Frequently Asked Questions on how to use the On-line System;
  • Review the instructions available in the application;
  • Contact the On-line Services Helpdesk. Send an e-mail to: webapp@nserc-crsng.gc.ca or call 613-995-4273. Include your e-mail address and telephone number.

Completing the Application

Application Profile

Title of proposal

The title will be used for publication purposes. It should describe the subject of the research to be supported. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

Time devoted to proposed research/activity

Enter the time devoted by the applicant (in hours per month) to the proposed research/activity.

Area(s) of Research

Research subject codes

Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary research code.

Area of application codes

Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary area of application code from the list of Area of Application Codes.

Key words

Provide a maximum of 10 key words that describe the proposed research/activity.

Certification/Requirements

Before completing this page, consult the Policies and Guidelines of the Program Guide for Professors concerning 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 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, with your consent, to the Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with This link will take you to another Web site Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research: Guidelines for CIHR-Funded Research. 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.

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 hazardous substances: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the biosafety committee at the institution that the laboratory procedures being used comply with the safety precautions necessary for the level of containment required by the research.

Environmental impact: The Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment.

Co-Applicants

Identify co-applicants to the proposed research program who will participate on your application. Co-applicants must provide their NSERC Personal Data Form (Form 100). 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 signature prior to submitting the application to NSERC, agreeing to their participation.

To invite co-applicants to link their Personal Data Form (F100) to the application, enter the e-mail address of the co-applicant as it appears in the co-applicant's Form 100, as well as the family name. When you select Save, an automated e-mail message will be sent to the person(s) to whom you have granted access to your application, informing them that they have been invited to participate in your application. The status will appear as Not Linked.

When a co-applicant links a Personal Data Form (F100) to the application, his/her personal information will appear in the Co-applicant page, and the status will change to Linked. At this point, enter the time (in hours per month) each co-applicant will devote to the proposed research/activity or the use of equipment or facility.

By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as co-applicants have been informed of the precise uses and disclosures of their personal information by NSERC (see Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC) and have authorized the release of the information by the applicant.

Supporting Organizations

Enter information about each co-applicant organization's signing officer (other than the applicant’s organization). For supporting organizations such as an industrial partner or a government department, enter information about the authorized representative(s).

The applicant must ensure that the co-applicants from other institutions obtain the appropriate signature from the authorized officer of their organization prior to submitting the application to NSERC (see Signatures requirements within this document).

Collaborators

List foreign or other collaborators; their NSERC personal identification number (PIN), if known; the time (in hours per month) each will devote to the proposed research program; and their organization/department.

Note: Funding is for Canadian university research and training programs. Government and international researchers, and other partners or collaborators are expected to obtain the required resources to support their involvement in the projects.

By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as collaborators have been informed of the precise uses and disclosures of their personal information by NSERC (see Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC) and have authorized the release of the information by the applicant.

Summary of Proposal

The summary is intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand.

Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the work to be done. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, the anticipated outcomes and how your field and Canada will benefit.

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

Proposed Expenditures

Before completing this page, read the instructions and 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. The grants cannot be used to pay for any indirect costs of research or expenses that are central, or departmental institutional costs. Examples of such indirect costs include, but are not limited to, those for the maintenance and renovation of research spaces and buildings, leasing costs of spaces and equipment, utilities, general technical support to laboratories, security and occupational safety, financial and administrative support, or insurance. Moreover, the grant cannot be used to pay for the establishment, construction, or infrastructure expansion of a research facility.

Use the Budget Justification section (free-form attachment) to explain and justify each budget item.

Provide a four-year budget.

Budget Justification – Attachment

Using a maximum of five 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 resources requested are appropriate. These pages should only contain information pertinent to the budget.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (including non-discretionary benefits) of students, postdoctoral fellows, and research staff. Briefly describe the responsibilities for each position and indicate the percentage of time they will be spending on this project over its life span. Do not include salaries of faculty in project costs.

Refer to Form 100 instructions for information regarding obtaining consent to name individuals in your proposal.

Equipment or facility

Give a breakdown of the items requested, models, manufacturers, prices, and applicable taxes. Justify each item requested.

Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).

Also report the need for beam time or other special facilities, and if time has been allocated for these.

Materials and supplies

Provide details and explain major items.

Travel

Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed research.

Dissemination

Provide details of publication costs, user workshops or other activities. Under the category "Outreach to user communities", provide the costs related to outreach activities whose objectives are to increase the awareness of the potential user communities of the activities and opportunities created by this research. Any other eligible dissemination cost, such as that of publications, should be listed under category (b) (to which an appropriate name of your choosing should be assigned). All costs must be fully explained in the Budget Justification section.

Knowledge transfer activities

List the expenditures for the transfer of knowledge to users or user communities through education, outreach, demonstration projects and other means.

Contributions from Supporting Organizations

If appropriate, you may submit the Contributions from Supporting Organizations page.

Use this page to report the contributions committed by the supporting organization(s) to the research project. Before completing this page, consult the Use of Grant Funds page of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide and Guidelines on Eligibility and Value of In-Kind Contributions.

Provide the information for each supporting organization.

List the resources that will be provided by the supporting organization to support the proposed activities including:

  • the cash contributions to direct costs of research;
  • the in-kind contributions to the direct costs of research (e.g., donations of services, materials and equipment);
  • the in-kind contributions to the indirect costs; and
  • an indication of the amount paid to the institution for overhead.

Contributions from Supporting Organizations – Attachment

Use the Contributions from Supporting Organizations - Attachment page to provide an explanation of the cash and eligible in-kind contributions.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Relationship to Other Research Support – Attachment

See This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency and Relationship Between NSERC Proposals and Other Sources of Funds.

Any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, between proposed activities and activities supported by other funding sources must be explained. There is a maximum of two pages for the Relationship to Other Research Support section.

Use up to two additional pages to provide the following information:

  • Information on the conceptual and budgetary relationship or difference between this application and all other support for similar research (currently held or applied for).
  • For each grant currently held or applied for supporting similar research, briefly describe the main objectives.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Activity Schedule

List the activities/steps required to achieve the objectives for each year of the grant.

Indicate the start and end dates for the activities leading to the milestones, as well as the major results expected.

Proposal – Attachment

Use the guidelines in the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards to provide the requested information in a document to be attached to the application. The information must be contained within a maximum of 25 single-sided free-form pages.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Follow the instructions and address all the selection criteria for the New Materials for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency initiative.

Using individual headings that relate to each criterion, explain how your proposed research meets the following criteria:

Research Proposal

  • Research Context and the Originality
    • To what extent does the proposed research lead, extend and/or complement national and international work in the area?
    • To what extent does the proposed research reflect creative, original thinking?
    • To what extent could the proposed research have an impact beyond the field of materials science?
  • Research Plans
    • How appropriate are the methods and approaches (including handling of data and resources) in terms of the research objectives?
    • How feasible is the research given the projected resources and timelines?
  • Research Expertise
    • How appropriate is the expertise of the research team in terms of realizing the research goals?
    • How effectively will the project bring together expertise from complementary disciplines?
  • Research Environment
    • How suitable are the available facilities and equipment?

Benefits

  • Deliverables
    • To what extent have the applicants identified appropriate deliverables in terms of their potential to have practical applicability to the research community?
  • Expected Benefits
    • How significant are the anticipated benefits described in the proposal?
    • What is the potential for the initiative to achieve excellence in the training of highly qualified personnel?
  • Strategy for Realizing Benefits
    • How appropriate is the plan for access to, and dissemination of, the tools and methodologies developed?
    • Quality of the plan describing how the deliverables from the research will be transferred, disseminated, used, and/or applied to realize the benefits.
    • How high is the potential for community impact and/or uptake, regardless of the type of dissemination plan proposed?
  • Expertise for Realizing Benefits
    • To what extent are likely end-users involved in the project and the strategy to realize benefits?

  • Management Plans and Expertise
    • How well does the management plan cover project governance, accountabilities of personnel, and processes for decision-making on research direction and strategy for realizing benefits?
    • How convincing is the management plan in terms of coordination of current and future partnerships?
    • How realistic is the project schedule?
    • To what extent do the project leaders have experience in managing projects with multi-disciplinary teams involving research and the application of results?
    • How good are the plans to ensure that an adequate number of highly qualified personnel—both support personnel (e .g., technicians) and trainees (e.g., post-doctoral fellows)—are available to meet the needs of the proposed research through recruitment and/or training?

  • Budget and Expenditure Controls
    • How reasonable is the proposed budget in terms of the anticipated level of effort and deliverables?
    • To what extent does the proposal provide assurance that expenditures from a funded project would be closely and critically monitored?

References – Attachment

  • Use this section to provide a list of literature references. Your list of references must not exceed two pages on the printed copy.
  • Do not refer readers to Web sites for additional information on your proposal.
  • Do not introduce hyperlinks in your list of references.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Other Documents – Attachment

In a maximum of 25 pages, please provide a brief curriculum vitae for each collaborator listed under the Collaborator section.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Letter(s) of Support – Attachment

Applications may be accompanied by a one- to two-page letter from partner organizations (signed by an authorizing manager) confirming their commitment of resources required for the duration of the project, and describing the priority this project has for their organization. Other additional documents, such as general letters of support without material contribution (cash or in kind), must not be submitted and will be removed. The exception to this rule is letters from users attesting to the nature and the significance of confidential technical and internal reports described in your Personal Data Form (Form 100). For additional information, refer to the Guidelines for the Review and Preparation of Applications in Engineering and the Applied Sciences.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a single PDF file.

Cover Letter – Attachment

A new one-page cover letter is optional and should only be used if you wish to provide NSERC with additional information that will not be shared with external reviewers, such as a request that an individual or group of individuals not be involved in the review of your proposal. NSERC will take such a request into consideration. The cover letter must contain your name, the NSERC program to which you are applying and the title of your application.

Note: This letter may be accessible to these individuals under the Privacy Act.

For uploading purposes, all the documents in this section must be saved into a PDF file.

Environmental Information Form (Appendix A)

An Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental impact page if required.

External Reviewer (Referee) Suggestions – Appendix C

Suggest the names of five people competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the academic community, the government sector and, for industrially-relevant research, at least one expert from the industrial sector.

Give the name, complete mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, e-mail address and the area(s) of expertise of potential referees.

Referees should be able to review the proposal in the language in which it is written.

You may also request, in a cover letter, that some individuals or companies not be involved in the review of your application. Your request will be taken into account by NSERC.

Suggested referees should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for more information. In addition, referees (external reviewers) must sign the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers before they access the application material.

Signatures

NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its On-line System. The electronic submission of applications through this system represents approval and replaces the traditional "physical" or "wet" signatures. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Program Guide for Professors for more details.

What do the electronic or original signatures on the application mean?

For applicants

Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your Personal Data Form 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 as 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 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 applicant and co-applicant(s) have met, or will meet, the eligibility requirements;
  • prior to submission of this application, the institution has obtained written approval from any other institutions involved in the application process; and
  • if the applicant discloses any potential intellectual property (IP) arising from the research, he or she and the institution will endeavour to obtain the greatest possible economic benefit to Canada from the resulting commercial activity. Note: This requirement for disclosure is not intended to supersede any IP ownership policy that the institution already has in place.

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.

List for a Complete Application

Use the following list to make sure your application is complete.

  • Application for a Grant (Form 101)
    • Application profile (including areas of research, certification requirements)
    • Co-applicants
    • Supporting organizations
    • Collaborators
    • Summary of proposal for public release
    • Proposed expenditures
    • Budget justification (attachment)
    • Contributions from supporting organizations
    • Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment)
    • Relationship to other research support (attachment)
    • Activity schedule
    • Proposal (attachment)
    • References (attachment)
    • Other documents (attachment)
    • Letters of support (attachment)
    • Cover letter (attachment)
    • Appendix A (Environmental Information Form), if required
    • Appendix C (Referee Suggestions)
  • Personal Data Form (Form 100) – for the applicant and each co-applicant
    • Personal information (appointment, academic background, HQP)
    • Experience
    • Research support
    • List of HQP
    • Contributions
    • Appendix A (Personal Data)
    • Appendix B – Eligibility Questionnaire, if required
    • Appendix C (Description of Applicant's Activities), if required
    • Appendix D (Consent to Provide Limited Personal Information About Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) to NSERC); forms must be retained by the applicant and made available to NSERC upon request.
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