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Discovery Frontiers Call for Proposals: Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it a requirement that the lead applicant be an NSERC funded researcher?
  2. Is it required to include Social Science and Humanities aspects in order to submit an application?
  3. Does this Call require international collaborators?
  4. Are the international collaborators eligible for financial support?
  5. Are applications required to indicate cash or in-kind contributions from collaborators?
  6. Can a person be included in more than one application?
  7. Should the focus of the proposal comprise both Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems?
  8. Could the field work location be located outside of Canada and are field expenses eligible?
  9. What is the success rate for the Discovery Frontiers past calls?

1. Is it a requirement that the lead applicant be an NSERC funded researcher?

It is not a requirement that the lead applicant be an NSERC funded researcher. All applicants and co-applicants must meet NSERC's Eligibility Criteria for Faculty and be at an institution eligible to receive NSERC funds. There is no limitation to the number of co-applicants. International researchers or postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to hold NSERC funds and therefore could contribute as collaborators or participants only.

2. Is it required to include Social Science and Humanities aspects in order to submit an application?

It is not a requirement for the applicants to include some aspects of social sciences and humanities to submit an application. However, if it’s appropriate for the research being proposed, applicants can do so provided that the main focus remains within the natural sciences and engineering. Research costs for these collaborations may comprise up to 30% of the project costs and must be identified in the project budget. All project expenditures will be subject to NSERC’s Use of Grant Funds guidelines.

3. Does this Call require international collaborators?

Yes. The objective of the 2017 Discovery Frontiers call is to support the establishment of a major initiative with strong international linkages. This must be demonstrated through, for example, the participation of international scientists in the initiative, in international collaborations or in relevant international initiatives. The degree to which international collaborators are integrated in the proposal will be considered as part of the review criteria.

4. Are the international collaborators eligible for financial support?

International collaborators will not be eligible to receive direct financial support. Funding allocated through the Discovery Frontiers program is subject to the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide. International collaborators are not eligible to hold NSERC funds. However, funds could be used to support collaborators’ travel and subsistence expenses related to research planning and exchange of information with the grantee or the dissemination of research results. For more information regarding the Eligible expenses please see the section entitled “Use of Grant Funds”.

5. Are applications required to indicate cash or in-kind contributions from collaborators?

Co-investment is not a requirement for this program.

6. Can a person be included in more than one application?

Yes, given that a limited number of applications will be invited from the Letters of Intent submitted and that the intent is to involve the best-qualified researchers in this research, it is acceptable to be included in more than one proposal.

7. Should the focus of the proposal comprise both Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems?

Your proposed program can be focused on biodiversity and/or adaptation of biosystems. Notwithstanding the research program you propose, keep in mind that the review process at the Letter of Intent stage is intended to select those proposals that best fit the program objectives and best address the Letter of Intent review criteria, with an emphasis on the merit of the proposal. You will have to demonstrate to the Selection Committee why your program should be funded according to those criteria.

8. Could the field work location be located outside of Canada and are field expenses eligible?

Yes, you could present a program of research centered outside of Canada. However, you should link the research questions to Canadian global challenges and questions in Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems. Like all Discovery Frontiers projects, the proposed research must generate substantial impact for the benefit of Canada. Fieldwork expenses are eligible under the Discovery Frontiers program. The Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide provides information about the eligibility of expenditures for the direct costs of research, as described in the “Use of grant funds” section: “Travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) include reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for field work, research conferences, collaborative trips, and historical research, for the grantee, research personnel and students working with the grantee, and visiting researchers.”

9. What is the success rate for the Discovery Frontiers past calls?

This is a fourth Discovery Frontiers Call for Proposal. For previous calls, we received about 30 Letters of Intent and 6 or 7 applicants were invited to submit a full application. Like the previous call, this call will fund one initiative on Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems at a level up to $1 million per year for 4 years.

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