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DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants

Instructions to Referees – Form 140

Before Proceeding

Please read the  Instructions to Referees on the Privacy Act, Confidentiality and the Use and Disclosure of Information.

Note: Your signature on the paper version of the review form, or transmission of your final evaluation to NSERC either by mail or by using the electronic evaluation process, means that you have read these instructions and that you consent to these uses and disclosures.

In addition, you may refer to:

Information on the following topics is provided below:

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Conflict of Interest

If you are in a conflict of interest or for any other reason unable to act as a referee, please contact us directly or send us an email at as soon as possible. In order to identify yourself and the application(s) you are unable to review, please indicate your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and the committee and application number in the SUBJECT line of your e-mail message.

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.

Allegations of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct must be treated separately from the peer review process. Should your review reveal concerns of possible misconduct, please report any allegation separately to the Research Ethics Coordinator. Your report should only address the application and selection criteria and make no mention of the misconduct concerns.

How to Evaluate the Proposal

Please assess the proposal using the evaluation criteria described below. For each criterion, please provide your comments in the text box located on the Referee Report/Application for a grant (Form 140).

Note on student identification: Applicants should not be penalized for not having the specific names of students if generic information is provided. NSERC requires applicants to obtain consent forms from students before including their names on a Personal Data Form (Form 100). As this is not always feasible, applicants also have the option of providing information on students without providing their names (this information might be more generic).


A fundable proposal must satisfy five general conditions:

  1. The project must be scientifically sound, technically feasible, and promise either discovery of new knowledge or the innovative application of existing knowledge that has industrial relevance. The objectives and conduct of the project must be consistent with, and beneficial to, the educational and research missions of the university.

    Projects that only involve the implementation of existing technology, provision of routine analytical services, data collection without interpretation of underlying mechanisms, or the exercise of professional practice or provision of consulting services, per se, do not qualify for support.

  2. The assembled research team under the leadership of the principal investigator must, collectively, possess all the expertise required for the successful execution of the whole project. Expertise may reside primarily with the principal applicant, with co-applicants, or within the collaborating company, and may be augmented by other members of the research team.

  3. The proposal must demonstrate industrial relevance and/or reasonable probability of economic payback to the Canadian economy within a reasonable time frame. High-risk projects and those with indirect or long-term payback are supportable where the potential for scientific and/or socio-economic benefits is commensurate with the cost.

  4. The collaborating company or group of companies must demonstrate both the capability and the willingness to exploit successful research results to the benefit of the Canadian economy. It must also contribute its own resources to the proposed activity in a measure appropriate to the risk and/or reward involved.

  5. The proposal must indicate how the knowledge and experience gained by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants or others, including company personnel, is relevant to the advancement of the field, to developing practical applications of knowledge, or to strengthening the industrial research base.

Evaluation criteria

In assessing the merits of the proposal, please comment (as appropriate) on the criteria listed below and then clearly state your overall funding recommendation.

  1. Relevance to DND and NSERC research priorities
    The extent to which the proposed research activity addresses the following research priorities, as agreed by DND and NSERC:
    • Electronics – Technologies that ensure the secure transmission of information over the entire electromagnetic spectrum;
    • Undersea Systems – Undersea sensor and response systems, including integration of undersea systems;
    • Information Systems – Integration of technologies for decision-making and for distribution of data and information among users;
    • Air Vehicles – Technologies (and their integration) that relate to flight in the earth's atmosphere;
    • Naval Platforms – Technologies that relate to the safe, efficient and effective operation of surface ships and underwater vehicles;
    • Mobility Systems – Technologies that affect mobility of land vehicles;
    • Surveillance Systems – Systems that exploit the electromagnetic spectrum for detection, tracking and classification of objects;
    • Human Systems Integration – Technologies that support the maximization of personnel readiness and performance through effective training strategies, human information processing, human-computer and human-machine interfaces; and
    • Life Support Systems – Technologies that are concerned with human effectiveness, protection, health, safety and survival in operational environments.

  2. Merit of the research proposal
    • The originality and quality of the research;
    • The focus and coherence of the research proposal;
    • The appropriateness and advantages of a collaborative approach to the proposed research;
    • The quality of the research team, including the mix of expertise and the contribution individual participants will make to the research effort;
    • The availability and suitability of the equipment and facilities;
    • The benefits of the proposed research and its potential impact, within a reasonable time, on Canada's defence capabilities, economy, industry, and/or society; and
    • The justification for the level and duration of funding requested vis-à-vis the stated objectives.

  3. Interactions and partnerships
    • The nature and extent of the contributions and potential contributions from all participants;
    • The ability of the participants to exploit the research results to the benefit of Canada;
    • A plan for ensuring effective interaction among all participants in the research; and
    • A strategy for communicating the achievements and results of the project to all interested parties.

  4. Training
    • The extent to which all participants are involved in the training of highly qualified personnel; and
    • A plan to facilitate the training of highly qualified personnel in settings that encourage interaction with the participants.

  5. Management and budgeting
    • The appropriateness of the overall budget, which includes the funds requested from NSERC and the contributions from other sources;
    • The level of commitment of the applicant and key researchers to the project and its management; and
    • Where appropriate, a management structure that will ensure effective research, research planning, budgeting, and interaction among all participants.

Other considerations

  • Any likely adverse environmental effects that might result from the proposed research, if applicable.
  • The necessity and appropriateness of animal-based methodologies and of the participation of humans, if applicable.


On the balance of its strengths and weaknesses, would you recommend funding this proposal?