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Subatomic Physics Major Resources Support Program

The NSERC Subatomic Physics Major Resources Support Program accepts new grant applications for review by the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section.

Overview
Duration Up to three years
Application Deadline August 1 (Notification of Intent to Apply)
October 1 (Application)
Application Procedure See below
How to Apply
  • Canadian Common CV
  • Notification of Intent to Apply
  • Application
To create a Canadian Common CV, select This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV.
To create or access a Notification of Intent to Apply or an application, select Research Portal.
To view instructions, select Instructions.
Contact Consult the Contact list.

Important Information

Objective

The objective of the Subatomic Physics Major Resources Support (SAP-MRS) Program is to facilitate the effective access by Canadian academic researchers, working in the field of subatomic physics, to major and unique national or international (based in Canada) experimental or thematic research resources by financially assisting these resources to remain in a state of readiness for researchers to use. SAP-MRS grants are not intended to support resources that are standard in a discipline or commonly available in Canadian universities. The SAP-MRS Program also aims to facilitate access by Canadian academic subatomic researchers, who come together as national consortia, to major international resources located outside Canada, the equivalent of which is not available in Canada. This support is intended to enable access by researchers from more than one project, and it excludes any direct financial support towards the operating and maintenance costs of such foreign resources.

Research resources are defined as experimental research facilities or thematic research organizations such as institutes. An institute is defined as a research resource that promotes and triggers national, and possibly international, interactions within a given research community and provides a place where researchers meet, collaborate and exchange ideas. Institutes are infrastructures that provide an environment that serves to accelerate research.

Description

SAP-MRS grants assist major and unique national or international subatomic physics experimental and thematic research resources located in Canada to cover their operating and maintenance costs. Supported resources are those that cannot fully cover such costs by using other research grants or by user fees, or those where user fees cannot be leveraged. The grants assist resources that are significant in size, value or importance, and that are not customary in the discipline or commonly available in Canadian universities.

Supported resources must be used by researchers from several institutions across Canada including universities, or government laboratories.

Major resources supported by this Program may include:

  • Unique specialized experimental facilities or items of research equipment;
  • Thematic research institutes that promote and trigger interactions within the constituents of relevant communities;
  • A team of highly skilled technical or professional research support staff essential to the research activities of users;
    • The team (resource) must be national or international1 in the nature of their support, i.e., they must provide support to a national base of users, beyond one institution or region.
    • The team must be accessible to members of the community beyond the host institution or a region, and beyond a single project or collaborators. Availability of the team and the access procedure must be made known to the subatomic physics community.

SAP-MRS grants also assist Canadian researchers from more than one project, who come together as national user consortia, to access major resources located abroad, the equivalent of which is not available in Canada. Such support excludes any direct contribution toward the operating and maintenance costs of foreign resources. The support is not given to individual researchers, but rather to the user consortia, which must be composed of researchers from several institutions (including universities, or government laboratories) across Canada.

Applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training. Applicants should strive for diversity and increased gender equity when developing their group of co-applicants, collaborators and trainees.

Eligible Costs

Support of Resources Located in Canada

SAP-MRS grants provide funding to assist coverage of the following costs:

  • Salaries of technical and professional research support staff employed to operate and maintain the resource, and provide assistance to users;
  • Operation and maintenance of the resource;
  • Materials, supplies and minor equipment essential to the operation and maintenance of the resource;
  • Travel expenses for resource support staff of the facility to attend conferences, as part of the resource’s plan to keep abreast of scientific and technical advances;
  • Dissemination costs, as part of the resource’s outreach activities towards relevant user communities; and
  • Operation of scientific review panels and governing bodies.

Furthermore, in the case of thematic resources, MRS grants also provide funding to assist in paying the following costs, which should be listed as part of the operating costs:

  • Remuneration of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows involved in a context of thematic or collaborative programs;
  • Visitor expenses, including travel and local support; and
  • Honoraria for distinguished speakers.

In the case of resources that apply user fees for their access, the costs of operating the facilities should be split into two major components: non-recoverable and recoverable costs.

  • Non-recoverable costs are those expenses necessary to keep the experimental resource in a state of readiness for researchers to use, and to increase the potential user communities’ awareness of the activities and opportunities offered by the resource. They are independent of the number of researchers actually using the resource and are not associated with specific research projects.
  • Recoverable costs comprise expenses directly incurred when researchers and their highly qualified personnel use the resource. An example of such costs is the cost of consumables that are used for a specific project. The same user fees should be applied to all Canadian academic researchers and their students, without regard to their institution or project.

Support of Access to Resources Located Outside Canada

SAP-MRS grants assist national users groups, beyond one single project, in accessing major resources located abroad, the equivalent of which is not available in Canada. Such support excludes any direct contribution towards the operating and maintenance costs of such resources. The following costs are eligible for SAP-MRS funding:

  • Membership or access/user fees;
  • Minor equipment needed to accommodate the specific needs of the Canadian users;
  • Travel related to the use of the foreign resource (i.e., field work); and
  • Salaries of Canadian technical and professional research support staff employed to assist in the use of the resource by Canadian users.

Ineligible Costs

SAP-MRS grants cannot be used to pay for any indirect costs of research or expenses that are central or departmental institutional costs. Examples of such indirect costs include, but are not limited to, those for the maintenance and renovation of research spaces and buildings, leasing costs of spaces and equipment, utilities, general technical support to laboratories, security and occupational safety, financial and administrative support, or insurance. Other ineligible costs can be found in the Use of Grant Funds page of NSERC’s Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide. Furthermore, SAP-MRS grants cannot be used to pay for the establishment, construction or infrastructure expansion of a resource.

Selection Criteria

Any application to the SAP-MRS Program will be assessed on the basis of the eight selection criteria listed below. Each criterion lists the factors that will be considered. To be eligible for SAP-MRS funding, a resource must meet all eight criteria. The onus is on the applicants to thoroughly address each criterion in their application and provide detailed information to the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section.

  • Uniqueness of the resource
    • The research resource is not standard in a discipline and is not commonly available in Canadian universities.
    • The national or international nature of the resource.
    • The uniqueness of the resource compared to any other Canadian resources that may be providing similar services.
    • Significant use of the resource by a sufficiently large number of users from outside the host institution and region.
  • Use of the resource by the research community
    • Past (if applicable), current and projected level of use of the resource.
    • Accessibility of the resource to, and actual use by, researchers beyond the host institution and region.
    • Potential for collaboration with complementary Canadian or, if applicable, international resources.
    • Extent to which the resource can accommodate the specialized needs of the users.
    • Demonstrated outreach to the potential Canadian or, if applicable, international user communities.
  • Need for access to the resource for the research programs
    • Impact of the resource on the advancement of the research programs of current and projected users and, when applicable, on the dissemination and use of the knowledge generated in the supported area(s) of research.
    • Consequence of the loss of access to the resource on the users’ research programs.
  • Merit of the research programs that rely on access to the resource and excellence of the user community
    • In the case of experimental resources: quality, significance and pertinence of ongoing research programs of the users.
    • In the case of thematic resources: quality, pertinence and impact of the past (if applicable); current and planned scientific activities; and significance of the research themes to the related communities.
    • Excellence of the users and, in the case of thematic resources, excellence of activity organizers and users and their level of commitment to the activities within the resource.
    • Scientific (knowledge and technology) return on the investment in the resource.
  • Demonstrated need for support through an MRS grant
    • Demonstrated need for, and effectiveness of, support through an MRS grant as opposed to other NSERC grants and contributions from other sources.
    • Nature and extent of the commitment and support from universities and other organizations.
    • Justification of the requested funds from NSERC.
    • Proposed sharing of costs, including user fees (if applicable).
    • Rationale for the proposed user fees (if applicable).
  • Management of the resource
    • Effectiveness of the management structure.
    • Administration and allocation of access to the resource by different users (internal and external, from universities, government, or industry).
    • Plan and budget for maintenance and operation.
    • Plan of the resource to keep abreast of scientific and technical advances, as well as to sustain well-coordinated and leading edge research activities.
  • Contribution of the resource to the training of highly qualified personnel (see Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training)
    • Quality and impact of past training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) (e.g., postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, technicians), including:
      • training environment provided for HQP;
      • HQP awards and research contributions;
      • outcomes and skills gained by HQP.
    • Quality, suitability and clarity of the planned training of highly qualified personnel, including:
      • overall training philosophy;
      • research training plan for individual HQP.
  • Synergy
    • Defined as the extent to which a grouping of equipment, staff or participants enhances the value and capability of a resource and enables researchers to obtain results or carry-out studies that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible.

Application Procedures

The first step in applying to the SAP-MRS Program is to submit a Notification of Intent (NOI) to Apply for a SAP-MRS grant by the deadline date. The NOI is a mandatory step in the application process. It allows NSERC to determine the most appropriate review mechanism for the grant application. Resources for which an NOI is not submitted will not be able to submit a full application.

You must then submit the application by the deadline date.

Applicants and co-applicants are required to complete and submit the NSERC version of the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV) at the NOI and application stages for this program. The CCV can be updated between the time it is submitted with the NOI and the application deadline.

Review Procedures

SAP-MRS grant applications are reviewed by the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section. No external input is usually sought. The Section may request, however, expert input from individual referees, if necessary. Furthermore, for any application requesting an average (over the requested duration) of $1,000,000 per year or more, the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section may also receive input from an expert ad hoc committee that would perform an on-site evaluation and review of the resource. NSERC reserves the right to perform an on-site evaluation and review of any subatomic physics resource, even for requests that are less than an average of $1,000,000 per year. According to the internal procedures of the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section, resources may be invited to make oral presentations during the Large Project Day held every year by this Committee.

The Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section makes the conclusive recommendation to NSERC on any grant application to the SAP-MRS Program.

Duration and Conditions

SAP-MRS grants are awarded for up to five years, the normal duration being three years. For thematic resources, duration of up to five years may be requested. If you plan on requesting support for more than three years, contact the Program Officer responsible of the Subatomic Physics suite of programs.

For grants whose average is of $500,000 per year or higher (over the requested duration), the payment of the second and any subsequent yearly instalment is conditional on the submission of an annual activity report to NSERC. The submission deadline for this report is February 1. NSERC reserves the right to request an activity report from any supported subatomic physics resource, even for grants that are less than an average of $500,000 per year (over the requested duration).

1The international scope of a resource requires the latter to first serve a national community of users, in addition to significant use by a sufficiently large number of users from outside of Canada.

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