Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program

Accessibility Notice: If you cannot access the following content, please contact the On-line Services Helpdesk by email at webapp@nserc-crsng.gc.ca or by telephone at 613-995-4273. Indicate the email address and telephone number where you can be reached.

Overview
Duration Five years, renewable once
Application Deadline There is no competition currently scheduled for this program.
How to Apply See below
Application Forms
  • Form 100 – Personal Data Form
  • Form 183A (form-fillable) – Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs
  • Additional free form required
  • Terms and Conditions of Applying Form (form-fillable)
To create or access a Form 100, select On-line System Login. To view forms and instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.

To complete Form 183A and the Terms and Conditions of Applying Form, select the links above.
Contacts See below
Chairholders Current Chairholders
Previous Chairholders

Introduction

The Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) Program was launched in 1996. The goal of the program is to increase the participation of women in science and engineering, and to provide role models for women active in, and considering, careers in these fields. The CWSE Program is regional—with one Chair for each of the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, and British Columbia/Yukon regions. NSERC funding must be matched by cash contributions from supporting organizations.

Objectives of the Chair Program

  • Develop, implement and communicate strategies to raise the level of participation of women in science and engineering as students and as professionals, specifically to:
    • encourage female students in elementary and secondary schools to consider careers in science and engineering;
    • increase the enrolment of women in undergraduate and graduate programs in science and engineering in all Canadian universities and colleges;
    • increase the profile and retention rate of women in science and engineering positions;
    • eliminate barriers for women who wish to pursue careers in science and engineering; and
    • promote the integration of female students and professionals both within and outside academia.
  • Provide female role models who are accomplished, successful and recognized researchers in science and engineering.
  • Develop and implement a communication and networking strategy to ensure a regional and national impact on opportunities for women in science and engineering.

Terms of Support

Chairs are tenable at any NSERC-eligible Canadian university within a designated region. Chairholders are approved for a five-year term, renewable for an additional three to five years.

NSERC will match cash contributions from the host university and supporting organizations (partners) up to a maximum of $70,000 per year. NSERC will also consider matching in-kind contributions consisting of staff time, salaries, equipment, and any other resources provided by the supporting organizations.

In addition, NSERC will match host university cash contributions of $20,000 with $25,000 to support a postdoctoral fellow or research engineer to help the chairholders maintain their research activity at a high level during their tenure as a CWSE. Note: The Chair must hold NSERC research funding as the primary investigator to be eligible to receive the $25,000 for a postdoctoral fellow.

Chairholders are expected to contribute up to 50 percent of their time to the activities of the Chair and the remaining time to their professor/researcher activities at the university. If the chairholder’s salary is wholly covered by the host institution, the portion of the salary corresponding to the Chair’s activities (commensurate with the release time granted by the host institution) will be considered as a contribution that can be matched by NSERC funds (project component). Alternatively, NSERC and supporting organization funds may also be used to cover a portion of the salary corresponding to the Chair’s activities (salary component). For instance, if the candidate proposes to spend 50 percent of her time on Chair-related activities, the contributions from NSERC and the supporting organization(s) can be used to defray up to 50 percent of her salary. The university will be responsible for any salary increments over the course of the award due to merit, progression through the ranks and inflation. Applications that contain a salary component must be clearly indicated as such.

If additional funding commitments are secured after a chair has started, NSERC will consider adjusting its level of funding. Requests for additional matching funds (up to the maximum total of $95,000) must be supported by a full description of the changes that will result from the additional funding and by a revised budget.

All expenses charged to CWSE moneys must abide by the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide (TAFAG) on the use of grant funds. In addition, the salaries and non-discretionary benefits for a Project Manager for assistance in the development and general management of the Chair’s program and activities is considered an eligible expense for this program. Note: administrative tasks are not an eligible expense as per the TAFAG.

Supporting Organizations

Supporting organizations (which must include a minimum of one private-sector organization contributing in cash) may include private- or public-sector organizations, universities (other than the host institution), communities or individuals.  

Interactions with the Chair’s supporting organization(s) helps expand the visibility and reach of the Chair and increases awareness of issues surrounding women in science and engineering to sectors beyond academia. Although NSERC encourages interactions between the Chair and its supporting organizations, such interactions are not mandatory. There is no requirement that formal collaborations take place between the Chair and supporting organizations.    

Eligibility

Chair candidates must be women and meet NSERC's regular eligibility criteria to apply for or receive NSERC funding. Candidates (already holding a faculty appointment at a Canadian university) must either hold a current NSERC Discovery Grant or be awarded one prior to taking up the Chair.

Applications may be submitted by any NSERC-eligible Canadian university located in the appropriate region, or jointly by two or more eligible institutions located within the same region.

Application Procedures

Description and guidelines

The applicant must be the senior administrator (e.g., Department Head, Dean, Vice-President or President) with direct or ultimate responsibility for the proposed Chair. The applicant cannot be the candidate for the Chair. There is no special application form for this program. The application should follow these general presentation guidelines:

  • Set margins at 3/4 of an inch (1.9 cm) (minimum) all around.
  • Print must be in black ink and of letter quality.
  • Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines per inch.
  • The accepted font is Times New Roman regular 12 pts, or any comparable font; nothing smaller.
  • Condensed font, and applications completed strictly in italics, are not acceptable.
  • Printed single-sided on 8 1/2 x 11 inch (21.5 cm x 28 cm) white paper (if submitted by mail).

Note: If an application does not meet these standards, it may be rejected.

Structure of the proposal

Apart from the basic structure outlined below, the proposal is free form. This 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.

Summary (maximum 1 page)

The summary should clearly outline, in point form, the proposed activities and where they will have an impact with respect to the program objectives.

University’s strategy towards women in science and engineering (maximum 5 pages)

The university should outline its strategy in the context of the objectives of the CWSE program, noting:

  • the general nature and level of current activities related to women in science and engineering within the university and the region;
  • the vision and anticipated evolution of these activities including plans for expansion, enhancements and other changes;
  • strategies to enhance the prestige, status and profile of the Chair for women in science and engineering within the university and the region;
  • the positioning of the proposed Chair, and its role and importance with respect to the university’s strategy to promote women in science and engineering; and
  • specific contributions to date by the university and/or the candidate in support of women in science and engineering.

Action Plan (maximum 10 pages)

All of the objectives have equal importance and must be addressed in the proposal, but it is left to each individual Chair candidate as to how she wishes to focus on these objectives. The first objective has several sub-points that do not all necessarily need to be addressed in the proposal, but are included as a guideline. There has to be a balance in the activities of the Chair between science promotion, research into factors and institutional mechanisms that influence the participation rates of women in science and engineering, as well as public advocacy and role-modeling. The balance among these activities depends on the interests of the Chair, and the situation and needs within the university and the region.

Proposals should include a detailed action plan that describes how the chairholder will address the goals and objectives of this Chair program. Specifics of the proposed strategies are left to the discretion, creativity and motivation of the host university, supporting organization(s), and the proposed chairholder. Action plans should include the following:

  • short- and long-term objectives;
  • a description of the strategies that will be followed to address the objectives of the Chair program;
  • a detailed budget outlining expenditures for all the funds provided by the host institution, supporting organization(s) and NSERC;
  • a description of the reporting and monitoring mechanisms to be put in place for the activities of the Chair;
  • a description of the measures that will be put in place to assess the impact and effectiveness of Chair-related activities;  
  • a description of the regular professorial/research activities expected of the chairholder, including teaching load;
  • a description of how the chairholder will collaborate with others (including the supporting organization(s), as applicable) to ensure that the Chair has a regional impact;
  • a description of how the chairholder will collaborate with other chairholders and participate in initiatives on a national scale, notably the National Network described below; and
  • a description of how successful strategies and programs will be publicized and communicated across Canada.

Full Application

Full applications must include the above-mentioned proposal and:

  • an up-to-date Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the proposed chairholder, including a full description of her research achievements;
  • two letters of reference for the Chair candidate (maximum 2 pages each);
  • a completed Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs Form (Form 183A) for each supporting organization;
  • a letter from each supporting organization stating the level of its cash contribution, its reasons for supporting the proposed Chair and any additional support it may provide beyond the cash contribution; and
  • Terms and Conditions of Applying Form (completed by the proposed chairholder).

How to send the application

Electronically: Via the Secure Submissions for NSERC’s Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program site. Documents must be submitted in Portable Document Format (PDF). The following documents must be uploaded separately: 1) the proposal; 2) Form 100; 3) Form(s) 183A, the supporting organization letter(s), and the two reference letters; and 4) the Terms and Conditions of Applying Form. Form(s) 183A, the supporting organization letter(s), and the two reference letters must be merged into one PDF document for submission.

Note: Original signatures are required on documents, but they can still be submitted electronically.

By mail: Alternatively, completed applications can be sent to the following address:

Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering
Scholarships and Fellowships Division
NSERC
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1H5

Documents sent to NSERC should not be bound or stapled. Please use clips to hold the copies together.

Your application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. If it is not received by NSERC by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected. If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, your application must reach NSERC by the following working day.

Review Procedures

Applications will be reviewed by a CWSE Selection Committee. Membership will be drawn from Canadian universities and colleges, foreign institutions, and industry and/or government laboratories. Recently retired individuals who remain active in research may be considered as potential members.

Selection Criteria

The CWSE Selection Committee will evaluate all Chair applications according to the following criteria:

  • the research achievements and stature of the candidate;
  • the experience and/or the potential of the candidate to make a contribution to Chair-related issues;
  • the merit and projected impact of the proposed strategies;
  • the communication and networking plan to ensure maximum impact at both the regional and national level;
  • the support of the host institution(s), including the integration of the Chair with existing Chair-related initiatives in the region; and
  • the cash and in-kind contributions secured from the supporting organization(s).

The CWSE Selection Committee will give equal importance to each element when evaluating proposals.

Discovery Grant Application

In addition to the Chair application, candidates who either do not hold a Discovery Grant or whose Discovery Grant is in its final year must submit an application for a Discovery Grant, using the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV and Research Portal. Candidates whose Discovery Grant is not in its final year must agree to authorize NSERC to make the results of their most recent Discovery Grant evaluation, including referee and Evaluation Group comments, available to the CWSE Selection Committee. The Discovery Grant proposal will help reviewers to assess the research stature and potential of the proposed candidate.

In order to provide the Chairs with stable research funding, their Discovery Grant may be extended for the first five-year term of the Chair. Stable funding will allow each Chair to put in place the necessary framework to help ensure that their research program remains active at a time of intense community service. Candidates whose Discovery Grant is not in its final year will have the option of extending their current grant for the five-year Chair term or re-applying in accordance with the original schedule. In the latter case, the Chair accepts the decision of the Evaluation Group, including a possible reduction or nil.

Chairholders may apply to all other NSERC programs and to other funding agencies for research support not related to the Chair.

National Network Grant

In September 2006, the five regional Chairs were formally linked through the creation of a National Network Grant, funded by NSERC. The network is currently funded at a level of $80,000 per year and provides mechanisms to facilitate interactions among the five Chairs in order to:

  • increase the effectiveness of the five regional programs through shared information and resources;
  • enhance communication among the regional Chairs through regular face-to-face meetings;
  • increase the visibility and impact of CWSE activities at a national level; and
  • undertake research activities that support the common objectives of the CWSE Program.

Towards these goals, the National Network undertakes a range of collaborative research, communication and networking activities such as contributions to national and regional conferences. Current research projects include:

  • national survey of graduate students in science and engineering;
  • institutional support indicators including statistics for recruitment, retention, tenure and promotion within a set of Canadian institutions;
  • career transitions with a focus on intentions at the completion of an undergraduate degree; and
  • curriculum and pedagogy.

Public Announcements

NSERC will approve a public announcement only after a chairholder has formally accepted the position and after all the conditions for holding the award have been met. Refer to the General Guidelines for the Public Announcement of Major NSERC Awards in planning a public announcement of a Chair award.

Reporting

The chairholder must submit progress reports every 24 months and a final report at the end of the Chair (i.e., at the end of the fifth year if the chairholder does not wish to renew her Chair, or at the end of the second term if a renewal is granted). Continued NSERC support for the Chair depends on favourable reviews of the activities and progress of the Chair, and the continued contribution of the host university and supporting organization(s), which must be confirmed annually.

Renewal

Renewal applications are due six months prior to the end date of the Chair. The decision to renew a Chair for a second term will be based on the fourth year progress report, a proposed action plan for the second term, supporting documentation from the supporting organization(s), a statement of impact from the host university, and an up-to-date Form 100. Renewal applications will be evaluated by the CWSE Selection Committee. Chairs are encouraged to renew their Discovery Grants; however, at the CWSE renewal stage, holding an active Discovery Grant is not a requirement.

If the evaluation is positive and the supporting organization(s) are willing to continue financial support (or new supporting organization(s) are secured), the Chair may be renewed once for a second term of three to five years. Terms of support for the second term are identical to those in the first term.

Contacts

Applicants and Chair candidates are encouraged to contact the NSERC staff members responsible for this program:

Johannie Duhaime and Natalie Weiskopf
Program Officers
Scholarships, Fellowships & Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering
Tel.: 613-996-2009 (Johannie), 613-944-6240 (Natalie)
Fax: 613-996-2589
Email: cwse-cfsg@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

People Discovery Innovation