About the Grant
Read the grant 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. In addition, the Personal Data Form (Form 100) must be completed by each chair candidates and sent with 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 5:00 p.m. local time (at your location) 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 .
Contact the staff responsible for the program to which you are applying.
The person submitting a CDE proposal [the "applicant" on an Application for a Grant (Form 101)] must hold a senior administrative position in the university (such as department head, dean, vice-president or president), with direct or ultimate management responsibility for the proposed Chairholder. The applicant cannot be the Chair candidate or, for a renewal application, the current Chairholder. Applicants are encouraged to contact NSERC staff before submitting a proposal.
Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships (Form 183A)
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.
The title of the Chair in Design Engineering will be used for publication purposes and must adhere to a specific format. The convention to be followed for the title of the Chair in Design Engineering is as follows:
NSERC/Supporting Org 1/Supporting Org 2/etc. Chair in Design Engineering in “Title” or
NSERC/Supporting Org 1 Chair in “Title” Design Engineering
The title must begin with the word “NSERC,” and may contain the names of other supporting organizations, if appropriate (see Notes below). “NSERC” and each of the names of the supporting organizations must be separated by a forward slash (/), for instance, NSERC/RIM. In the event that there are multiple supporting organizations, the organization names must each be separated by a forward slash, for instance, NSERC/RIM/IBM. “NSERC” and the names of the supporting organizations must be followed by “Chair in Design Engineering” and the subject of the program to be established. Scientific symbols or acronyms in the title must be spelled out.
The following are examples of valid titles:
NSERC Chair in Design Engineering in Urban Systems Environmental Design
NSERC Chair in Design Engineering
NSERC Chair in Innovative Design Engineering
Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary research code.
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.
If you check the box of Form 101 (form-fillable), 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.
If you check the box of Form 101 (form-fillable), 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.
If you check the box of Form 101 (form-fillable), 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.
If you check the box of Form 101 (form-fillable), 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.
The Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment.
Enter the name of each Chair candidate.
Universities may nominate more than one Chair candidate jointly. Enter the time devoted by each Chair Candidate (in hours per month) to the proposed research/activity.
Note that a university may hold more than one design Chair from NSERC from different competition years. However, the incremental benefit from awarding a second Chair in this area must be substantial – the Chairs must be complementary and synergistic. Multiple applications from a university to the current competition would tend to call the university’s design strategy into question.
A Chair may have a number of “satellite” positions attached to it to allow the Chairholder to recruit different design experts from inside and outside the university for certain periods of time, depending on need and opportunity. There may be a need for “horizontal” product- or problem-oriented Chairs (covering a number of disciplines and departments), or “vertical” discipline-based Chairs (dedicated to a single discipline or department).
Another variation might be a Chair and co-Chair arrangement, involving a tenured “academic” Chairholder with an adjunct professor from industry as the “industrial” co-Chair. There may also be opportunities to appoint prestigious part-time Chairholders from business or industry, a model that is highly successful in engineering schools in Europe. “Design engineer in residence” may be another interesting concept.
For supporting organizations (such as an industrial partner or a government department), enter information about the authorized representative(s).
If the application is being submitted in paper format, a signature must be provided by each authorized representative of the supporting organization (such as an industrial partner or a government department).
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 (read the Signatures requirements within this document).
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 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.
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 overall support (combined salary and program portions) to the Chair budget by the eligible industry partner(s) must equal or exceed the amount requested from NSERC. The NSERC versus industry funding distribution between the salary and program components may vary. The NSERC manager responsible for your grant will assist in establishing the ratios upon releasing the funds, if successfully awarded.
Specific to the Chairs in Design Engineering, NSERC will allow administrative expenses up to a cost of $40,000 per year. These expenses must be paid only from partner funds. This is in recognition of the substantial administrative tasks required to support the many interactions with partners typical in Chairs in Design Engineering involved with undergraduate design projects.
It is NSERC’s expectation that if more than one Chair is proposed, the Chairs will work jointly on the proposed action plan, but may receive separate salary amounts.
For each proposed Chairholder, list the following for each year of the grant:
Use the budget table in Form 101.
Use additional pages to explain and justify the need for each item listed in the program costs.
Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate, clearly linking the expenses to the proposed action items.
Give the categories of employment and proposed salaries (including non-discretionary benefits) of students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff, and the project manager. Describe the roles of any undergraduate or graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows who will be participating in the program.
If applicable, any additional salary requests for support staff specifically required to help achieve the research outcomes (research associates/assistants, technicians, project manager, or other professional staff) must be clearly justified and their roles explained. It is expected that the number of support staff should be in a clear minority in comparison to the students and postdoctoral fellows mentioned above.
Note: Industrial partner staff salaries are not an eligible program cost.
Give a breakdown of the items requested. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Quotations may be required. The Quotations page allows you to describe the quotations to be sent with the proposal.
Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).
Note: Equipment purchases from the industrial partner are not an eligible program cost.
Provide details and explain major items.
Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed design activities.
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.
For the Chairs in Design Engineering grants, NSERC will match cash contributions from sponsoring private and public organizations up to a maximum of $200,000 per year, or $1 million over the five-year term of the Chair.
Although industry funding for the Chair is highly desirable, it is not mandatory, provided the total funding available is adequate to support the Chair and the Chair's Action Plan. NSERC will accept, for matching purposes, funding from any source other than the federal granting agencies, including incremental contributions from the university itself, industry, government, or any other private or public sector organization.
NSERC will also consider matching in-kind contributions consisting of staff time, salaries, equipment and any other resources provided by the business and industry partners of the Chair. The total eligible matching commitment in any five-year term must be at least equal to NSERC's commitment during the same period. To be considered “cash equivalent,” the in-kind contribution, in the form of goods or services, must represent an incremental expense that the supporting organization would not incur outside of the Chair program, and would have to be purchased with grant funds if not donated. (Please consult NSERC staff to determine whether “cash equivalent” in-kind contributions by an industrial partner may be considered for NSERC leveraging.) Note that eligible cash contributions from supporting organizations must be deposited in a university grant account.
If additional financial commitments are secured after the Chair has started, NSERC will consider adjusting its level of funding (up to the maximum totals discussed above) on an annual basis. Requests for additional matching funding from NSERC (up to the maximum totals) should be made at that time. The request should be supported by a full description of the incremental impact that will result from the additional funding, and by a revised budget.
The contributions from NSERC and the Chair's sponsors can be used to cover the Chairholder's remuneration (contract, retainer, honorarium, fee, salary and benefits, etc.) plus the cost of design teaching, design and development practice and design-oriented or design-related activities, including the promotional activities undertaken by the Chair.
List all contributions from organizations that are eligible for matching funding, and from other supporting organizations that are not eligible for matching funding by NSERC.
For each supporting organization, list:
If listing more than one supporting organization, complete a Contributions from Supporting Organizations Form (form-fillable) for each organization and include it/them with your submitted application.
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.
If you are submitting your application in paper format and the supporting organization(s) is filling out Form 183A, you must request paper copies of the form, letter of support and any other attachments required.
Explain the rationale for including this contribution as a "cash equivalent" in-kind contribution. Justify the value of each item. Clearly show that this contribution represents an incremental expense that the supporting organization would not incur outside of the Chair's research program.
Justify the value of each item. Clearly indicate how this contribution will enhance the overall quality of the program.
Provide two recent quotations for items or systems costing more than $25,000 before taxes. Provide justification if two quotations are not available.
Discuss plans for the protection and disposition of intellectual property arising from the grant. Outline the broad terms of the agreement between supporting organizations and academic institutions on the rights to exploit the research results, and on the freedom to publish. (See the Policy on Intellectual Property in the Program Guide for Professors.)
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).
An application will be accepted even if a signed copy of the Intellectual Property Agreement between the industrial supporting organization and the university is not available at the time of submission (the Agreement can be sent as a follow-up). However, if the grant is awarded and if considered necessary, a signed Agreement must be provided to NSERC for review before funds can be released. Such agreements are considered confidential and are not made available to peer reviewers.
Note that there are two sections to this document: the first section must be completed by the university applicant; and the second must be completed by the Chair candidate.
The CDE objectives cover four interdependent and overlapping areas:
This objective is aimed at increasing the number and the quality of design engineers coming out of our engineering schools, and providing high-quality education and training in design engineering to all undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students. It focuses on innovation in teaching and learning, and on equipping engineering students with all the right skills (hard and soft skills), knowledge and professional and personal attributes that the engineering profession and future employers require.
This objective addresses the design and development of new and improved products, processes, systems and technologies in addition to innovation in design practice, tools, methodologies and approaches. Explanation of the integration of the research activities of the proposed Chair should be outlined.
Design engineering is a multidisciplinary and multi-functional profession, and linkages to professionals and experts inside and outside the university are, therefore, a vital aspect of a Chair's work.
This objective is aimed at the creation and development of effective relationships leading to collaborative activity and synergies involving:
The aim of this objective is to generate an increased awareness and appreciation, in both the research and outside communities, of all aspects of design engineering.
As advocates for design engineering, all Chairs give advice, teach, give specialized courses and lectures, and promote innovative designs and design practices. The Chair should present a plan for design advancement, including plans for publications and presentations in both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed vehicles.
Apart from the basic structure outlined below, the proposal is free-form. It allows the university the flexibility to be creative and innovative in structuring the Chair and the Chair's Action Plan. The university should make the best possible case for the establishment of the best possible Chair, in line with the university's goals, priorities, aspirations and resources.
The proposal itself consists of five parts and must be structured with the following sections:
Summary (up to one page)
Outline, in point form, the proposed activities and their impact in relation to the objectives of the Chairs in Design Engineering.
University's design strategy (up to two pages) – to be completed by the applicant. The applicant should outline the design strategy in the context of the four objectives noting:
Chair’s Action Plan (up to 13 pages) – to be completed by the Chair candidate(s)
The Action Plan details the activities and contributions to be undertaken by the Chair in response to each of the four objectives (training, design and development, collaboration, and promotion). All relevant citations are expected to be incorporated into the proposal. The Plan also outlines the anticipated results and the significance of their impact on achieving those objectives. The Plan must include, in tabular form, a list of the milestones, initiation and completion dates, and performance indicators organized by objective. It is expected that some of the proposed activities will be in support of more than one objective. It is anticipated that the action plan will outline the impact of the Design Chair outside the host institution.
The four elements of the Action Plan include:
For each of the four elements of the Action Plan, discuss:
Metrics and Performance Indicators (one page)
The Chair is required to provide quantitative and qualitative output measures and performance indicators that will be used to measure and assess progress and performance in the Chair's Action Plan.
The plan must include, in tabular form, a list of the milestones, initiation and completion dates, and performance indicators organized by objective.
Summarize and explain why the university feels the proposed candidate is the best possible candidate. In addition to this one-page summary, include information and documents (such as a CV, original letters of support and other evidence of contributions and performance), using as many pages as are needed, to make the best case for the nomination of the proposed candidate.
The proposed Chairholder(s) should include a CV that clearly demonstrates the candidate’s contributions to design engineering, design engineering training and design-oriented research. It is not necessary to use the standard NSERC Form 100 to present the candidate’s CV; however, the following sections should be highlighted:
All the relevant information, including about the publications—dates, details of paper (conference, journal, refereed, etc.) must be listed. Any relevant grant information, including the funding amount, must be included.
Describe the nature of the position(s) to be created; the qualifications, background and personal qualities of the candidate(s); and how these match the requirements of the position.
This section explains, and makes the case for, the proposed Chair candidate and the candidate’s status, rank, title, terms of employment and remuneration.
The purpose of this section is to demonstrate:
Use the proposed expenditures (Form 101 form-fillable) to provide the following information for each of the five years of the Chair.
List all expenditures for each line item in the operating budget and explain how the amount was derived. The following items are defined as direct costs and are eligible expenditures:
Refer to the description of the Chairs in Design Engineering (CDE) Selection Criteria in the Program Guide for Professors for a list of criteria that will be used to evaluate the application.
You must print it out and mail two copies of the paper version, along with an electronic copy (e.g., on a USB key, Compact Disc, etc.) of the application. Applications cannot be submitted on-line, and they must follow the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
Completed applications should be sent to the following address:
350 Albert Street
Three letters of reference, for each proposed candidate, must be sent directly to NSERC. These letters must be provided by experts who are external to the host university and who can attest to the stature and scientific and design reputation of the candidates. For each Chair candidate, give the name (mandatory) and the organization and country (optional) of each of the three persons who will be providing letters of reference.
An Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental Impact page if required.
Suggest the names of five people competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the academic community and the government sector, and must include at least one expert from the industrial sector. As appropriate, also include people competent to assess the aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering.
Give the name, complete mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, email 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.
Conflict of Interest
To avoid any conflict of interest, an external reviewer (referee) should not:
Suggested reviewers 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.
If you need to provide other documents, such as a collaborator's curriculum vitae (C.V.), give a brief description of the document and indicate whether you will be submitting it as an attached file or as a paper copy.
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 (referees), 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.
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, submit your application to NSERC or link your Personal Data Form to an application, you must read and agree to the following terms and conditions.
Note:For administrative reasons, the term applicant refers to the proposed Chairholder in this section and the next.
By submitting your application or linking your Personal Data Form, you are certifying that:
By submitting your application or linking your Personal Data Form, you are also confirming that, during tenure of the grant/award, you will comply with the terms and conditions of the grant/award.
Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information: You understand that maintaining public trust in the integrity of researchers is fundamental to building a knowledge-based society. By submitting any application, by linking your Personal Data Form (Form 100 or 103CV) as a co-applicant to an application, or by accepting funding from CIHR, NSERC and/or SSHRC, you affirm that you have read and you agree to respect all the policies of these agencies that are relevant to your research, including the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. In case of a serious breach of agency policy, the agency may publicly disclose your name, the nature of the breach, the institution where you were employed at the time of the breach and the institution where you are currently employed. You accept this as a condition of applying for, or receiving, agency funding, and you consent to such disclosure. If you do not agree to the disclosure of your personal information, you cannot participate in this application.
Note: If you have any concerns about your ability to comply with the terms and conditions listed above, contact your institutional official or NSERC staff responsible for the program immediately. Do not agree to the terms and conditions and do not submit your application or Personal Data Form until you are certain that you can and will comply with all of the requirements.
The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that:
The signatures of authorized officers of other supporting organizations certify that the organization:
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.
Use the following list to make sure your application is complete.