Read the grant description in the Program Guide for Professors before you complete 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.
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.
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. Application deadlines are indicated in each of the program descriptions, as well as on the Application Deadlines and Notification of Decision page.
Material or updates received under separate cover (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted.
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 Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP). The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in Info Source.
See the instructions for completing Form 183A.
It is very important that the letters from the supporting organizations address the points outlined in the instructions for Form 183A. Where the supporting organization is a government organization, the letter of support must be signed by a Director General (or an individual occupying a position at an equivalent level).
Applications submitted under an international agreement should also refer to the Detailed Application Instructions for International Collaborations – Concurrent Call for Joint Research Projects.
Title of proposal
The title will be transferred from the letter of intent.
Time devoted to proposed research/activity
Enter the time devoted by the applicant (in hours per month) to the proposed research/activity.
Target area and research topic
The target area and research topic will be transferred from the letter of intent. Use the Proposal section to explain why the research you propose is strategic and how it addresses the research topic. If the research you propose falls outside the priority research topics listed (“Exceptional Opportunity Outside the Research Topics”), provide an explanation in the Proposal section.
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.
Provide a maximum of 10 key words that describe the proposal.
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 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.
Identify co-applicants 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 (Form 100) 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 (Form 100) 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.
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).
A collaborator is a member of the research team that is applying for a group grant. The collaborator will not have access to the grant funds and must be qualified to undertake research independently. Collaborators are expected to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project or program of research and to bring their own resources to the collaboration. Examples of collaborators are: government scientists, academic researchers, company staff members or research scientists.
Only identify collaborators in this section if their role in the project is similar to that of a co-applicant. Use the Other Documents section to attach a curriculum vitae (maximum six pages) for each collaborator. Other researchers providing specialized expertise can be briefly described in the Proposal section.
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.
This plain language summary will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded.
If you wish, you may also provide a summary in the other official language in the text box identified for that purpose.
List the activities/steps required to achieve the objectives for each year of the grant. A project planning chart (e.g., Gantt chart) may be included in the Budget Justification section.
Indicate the start and end dates for the activities leading to the milestones, as well as the major results expected.
Note: This section is assessed under Criterion 3 - Project Work Plan in conjunction with the PROPOSAL page of the application.
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.
Provide a Proposed Expenditures page for each major theme area or sub-project (if applicable). If you are filling out your application on-line, the Proposed Expenditures page "Sum Total" for the entire project will be calculated and printed automatically.
Use the Budget Justification section to explain and justify each budget item.
Note: This section is assessed under Criterion 3 – Project Work Plan of the application.
You are not required to submit the Contributions from Supporting Organizations section unless direct contributions to the project are being made by industry, universities or other sources.
Use this page to report the contributions committed by the supporting organization(s)—including the industrial partner(s)—to the research project. Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult the Use of Grant Funds page of the NSERC Program Guide for Professors concerning the eligibility of expenditures for the direct costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds, and Guidelines on Eligibility and Value of In-Kind Contributions.
Provide the information for each supporting organization.
List the resources the supporting organization will provide to support the proposed activities including:
Use the Contributions from Supporting Organizations (Attachment) page to provide an explanation of the cash and eligible in-kind contributions.
Form 183A and letter of support (and attachments, as required)
See the instructions for completing Form 183A.
A completed Form 183A, letter of support and any other required documents must be attached for each organization participating in a research project. Either the applicant or the supporting organization must complete all applicable pages of the form and provide the required documents.
To allow a supporting organization the ability to link a Form 183A to your application, use the Access Manager page of Form 101. For details on how to use this function, refer to the Access Manager instructions.
For applicants who are filling out Form 183A on behalf of the participating organization use the Link Manager page of Form 183A to link to your application. For details on how to use this function, refer to the Link Manager instructions.
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. This page should only contain information pertinent to the budget.
Salaries and benefits
Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of the 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. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. The purchase of major equipment items or systems is limited to a maximum of $150,000.
Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).
Materials and supplies
Provide details and explain major items.
Note: Equipment and materials obtained from a supporting organization must be provided as an in-kind contribution. NSERC funds must not be used to buy products and services from a supporting organization.
Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed research.
Provide details of publication costs, user workshops or other activities.
List all items not relevant to previous categories, and provide a brief explanation for major items.
Report the need for ship time, and show the amount requested in the budget.
Summary of expenditures related to aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering
Provide a summary of all expenditures related to aspects incorporated into the proposal that are outside the natural sciences and engineering. These expenditures must not exceed 30 percent of the total project costs.
Provide a detailed explanation of the in-kind contributions to the direct costs of research. This information will be used to assess the level and nature of the supporting organization’s—including the industrial partner(s)’s—involvement, the importance of their contribution to the success of the project and an appropriate cost-sharing ratio.
Quotations are no longer required. The Quotations page on the On-line System does not need to be completed or submitted.
Use the guidelines outlined in the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards to provide the requested information in a document to be attached to the application.
Structure this part of the application as described below using a maximum of 11 pages. Any additional pages will be removed. It should be printed single-sided on regular white paper with the applicant's Personal Identification Number and Family Name on the top of each page, as described in the General Presentation standards. Do not include any colour figures or tables.
Provide sufficient information and justification to address each criterion.
Introduction (approximately one page, addressing how the proposed research fits the target area)
Using the target area descriptions, identify the target area and research topic that your proposal addresses. Clearly explain why the research you propose is strategic and how it fits the target area. The explanation must address all parts of the target area description—the context, the description of the research topic, and the limitations within the research topic. If the research you propose falls within the Context section of a target area but outside the priority research topic descriptions, you must provide justification for it to be considered. Insufficient information on this aspect can result in the rejection of a proposal.
NSERC will give priority to those applications which clearly fall within the priority research topics. However, the selection panel may allocate up to 20% of the target area’s budget to fund proposals that they deem to be "exceptional opportunities outside the research topics."
Section 1 (approximately seven pages, addressing selection criteria 1 to 4)
Describe the objectives of the project, both short and long term. Explain how the research relates to the current scientific, technical and commercial developments in the field with references to literature pertinent to the proposal, and describe the background research on which the project is built. Use the REFERENCE module for the literature review.
Describe the approach, the research methodology, the experimental design and techniques, and how the new knowledge and technology is expected to impact on the field of the proposed research. Specify the pertinent expertise, the individual roles and the expected contributions of the members of the research team to the project. Provide evidence that the necessary expertise to conduct the project is available. Refer to the Personal Data Forms as needed.
Provide a project work plan that includes details of collaboration and communication among the researchers, how the research team and the project will be managed and the availability of the equipment and infrastructure. Justify the need for funds referring to the Budget page of the application.
Section 2 (approximately one page, addressing selection criterion 5)
Describe the training plan for the project, including information on how the supporting organizations are involved in the training and the potential to provide highly qualified personnel with skills relevant to the needs of Canadian organizations.
Section 3 (approximately one page, addressing selection criterion 6)
Describe the interactions with the supporting organizations and ensure that the material required from them is attached to the application. Describe the plan for knowledge and technology transfer, including the strategy for communicating the research results. Use the Intellectual Property (Attachment) section to attach a copy of any research or intellectual property agreement related to this project that exists between the academic institution and the supporting organizations. Agreements must conform to NSERC’s Policy on Intellectual Property.
Section 4 (approximately one page, addressing selection criterion 7)
Describe the potential benefits to Canada and the supporting organizations that will arise from the project. Explain how they might be realized and the time frame over which they can be expected. Where possible, describe the potential benefits in terms of an existing or future value chain.
All applications will be evaluated against the established selection criteria (see below). External reviewers and the Selection Panel will use the same criteria and statement sets to evaluate the proposals. Each criterion is of equal value.
The originality of the research will be assessed on the following points using the scale 1 to 6 given below:
The proposed project:
The quality of the research will be assessed on the following points using the scale 1 to 6 given below:
The proposed project:
The project work plan will be assessed on the following points using the scale 1 to 6 given below:
The project work plan:
The quality of the applicants as researchers will be assessed on the following points using the scale 1 to 6 given below:
Note: Individual applicants should demonstrate that their expertise meets the needs of the project.
The training plan will be assessed on the following points using the scale 1 to 6 given below:
The proposed project:
Interactions with the supporting organizations will be assessed on the following points using the scale 1 to 6 given below:
The proposed project:
Using the scale 1 to 6 given below, the benefits to Canada arising from the proposed research will be assessed on their potential impact and the degree to which they will occur within a time frame that is realistic for the sector.
Potential benefits to Canada and the supporting organizations arising from the proposed research may include, but are not limited to:
The proposed project:
Any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with work supported by NSERC or other funding sources must be explained.
For each project grant currently held or applied for, clearly describe the main objective and provide a brief outline of the methodology, budget details and details on the support of highly qualified personnel. In addition, the relationships to the NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects application must be explained.
The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to evaluate the relationship between this application and other sources of support, the incremental value of additional support from the grant, and to recommend the appropriate NSERC funding level.
The consequence of not providing adequate information to assess the relationship to other research support is that the reviewers may recommend reduced or no funding.
If available, include a copy of the research or intellectual property agreement that exists between the academic institution and any supporting organizations (see Policy on Intellectual Property in the Program Guide for Professors).
Such agreements are considered confidential and are not made available to peer reviewers.
If you need to provide other documents, such as a collaborator's curriculum vitae (maximum six pages), give a brief description of the document and indicate whether you will be submitting it as an attached file or as a paper copy. Do not use this section to provide additional information related to the Proposal section.
Note: For upload purposes, all other documents must be saved into a single PDF document.
An Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental Impact page if required.
Suggest the names of seven 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. As appropriate, also include people competent to assess the research aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering.
Give the name, complete mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, e-mail address and the area(s) of expertise of potential external reviewers (referees).
External reviewers (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 external reviewers (referees) should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for more information. In addition, reviewers must sign the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers before they access the application material.
The 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 or selection panel members, 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 grant to which you are applying and the title of your application. Do not describe how the concerns of a previous selection panel have been addressed.
Note: This letter may be accessible to these individuals under the Privacy Act.
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.
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 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.
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.