|Duration||Up to five years|
|Application Deadline||August 1 (Notification of Intent to Apply)
November 1 (Application)
|Application Procedure||See below|
|How to Apply||
To create or access a Notification of Intent to Apply or an application, select Research Portal.
To view instructions, select Instructions.
|For More Information||Consult the Contact List|
The Discovery Grants Program assists in:
The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research (with long-term goals) rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances, whether made individually or in teams. Researchers are free to work in the mode most appropriate for the research area.
Recipients of Discovery Grants are not restricted to the specific activities described in the application, but may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC’s mandate.
Researchers can apply for only one Discovery Grant at a time, either individually or as part of a team, but not both. Researchers can hold only one Discovery Grant at any given time. If you are currently the sole holder of a Discovery Grant, you may participate in an application for a Discovery Grant with other researchers on the understanding that the Discovery Grant you currently hold will be cancelled. If you currently hold a team grant and wish to apply individually, consult NSERC. Researchers who hold an individual Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another individual Discovery Grant until the last year of their current award.
Researchers who apply individually can use their grants to participate in collaborative efforts and should describe these in their proposal. Researchers who see advantages in working together in a long-range collaborative program are encouraged to combine their efforts and apply as a team. The added benefits and costs associated with the collaboration are taken into account in the assessment.
NSERC does not consider requests for supplements to existing Discovery Grants, except for Steacie Fellows and Northern Research Supplements holders. Recipients may, however, apply for all other types of NSERC grants.
Discovery Grants are awarded for one to five years, the normal duration being five years. A shorter duration can be requested, at the time of application, by researchers phasing out their research program. Applicants requesting a shorter duration for other reasons must provide a strong justification for this request. NSERC may award a grant of the normal duration, even if a shorter period is requested.
NSERC recognizes that, while being of a grant- in-aid nature, Discovery Grants must be sufficient to support a program of quality research that can have a meaningful impact on the field of study. NSERC applies the principle of a discipline-specific minimum Discovery Grant amount to ensure that any funded researcher receives sufficient funds to support at least one graduate student, or, in the case of institutions without graduate programs, two undergraduate students. This principle recognizes that the training of highly qualified people is an essential element of the evaluation process and an important selection criterion. Special cases may arise where less than the minimum is awarded, but these will have to be justified on a case-by-case basis.
To apply for a Discovery Grant, you must first submit a Notification of Intent to Apply (NOI) by the deadline date. The NOI is a mandatory step in the application process. It allows NSERC to start the review process (e.g., preliminary assignment to an Evaluation Group [EG], selection of appropriate external reviewers and verification of the eligibility of the subject matter).
You must then complete and submit the application by the deadline date.
Applicants and co-applicants are required to complete the Canadian Common CV for this program.
Note: If NSERC determines that the subject matter is outside of its mandate at any time during the review cycle, the application will be rejected.
Applications are reviewed by Evaluation Groups (EGs). There may also be input from external reviewers.
NSERC assigns applications to EGs on the basis of the research topics, the objectives of the proposed research program and input from applicants and EGs. At the NOI stage, you are asked to suggest which EG you believe to be the most appropriate to review your application, but NSERC will make the final decision.
If your research is interdisciplinary, appropriate review of your application will be ensured by identifying appropriate EG members to review the application, as well as by selecting appropriate external reviewers. Please see Guidelines for the Preparation and Review of Applications in Interdisciplinary Research.
Applicants cannot submit the same proposal to both NSERC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (see Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency and Relationship Between NSERC Proposals and Other Sources of Funds.)
Applications are rated according to the following criteria. The onus is on applicants to address these explicitly in their proposal.
The overall merit assessment of each application is based on the combination of ratings agreed to by the EG for each selection criterion. The final rating assigned and the outcome of the assessment of the relative costs of research will determine the grant level.