As part of the Government of Canada's efforts to return to balanced budgets, the NSERC Major Resources Support (MRS) Program will no longer be accepting new applications at this time. Commitments for existing instalments will be honoured, however there will be a moratorium on the MRS Program.
|Duration||Up to three years|
|Application Deadline||May 1
(Letter of Intent)
(Letter of Intent – subatomic physics)
|Application Forms||Letter of Intent
Form 181 and instructions
Letter of Intent – subatomic physics
Form 181 and instructions
Form 100* and instructions
Form 101* and instructions
* This link is for reference only. To create, or access this application, visit the On-line System Login page.
|How to Apply||See below|
|Program Contacts||View Contact Information|
The objective of the MRS program is to facilitate the effective access by Canadian academic researchers 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. MRS grants are not intended to support resources that are standard in a discipline or commonly available in Canadian universities. The MRS program also aims to facilitate access by Canadian academic 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 excludes any direct financial support towards the operating and maintenance costs of such 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 within disciplines, as well as to promote links between different disciplines, thus fostering interdisciplinary research.
MRS grants assist major and unique national or international (located in Canada) 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 a discipline or commonly available in Canadian universities. Supported resources must be used by researchers from several institutions (including universities, government laboratories, or companies) across Canada.
Major resources supported by this program may include:
MRS grants also assist Canadian researchers 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, government laboratories, or industry) across Canada.
Support of Resources Located in Canada
MRS grants provide funding to assist coverage of the following costs:
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:
In the case of experimental resources, the costs of running the facilities should be split into two major components: non-recoverable and recoverable costs. Only non-recoverable costs are eligible for MRS funding.
|Type of User||Appropriate Fee|
|Academic researchers (internal and external) and their students||Lowest rate|
|Non-academic users from organizations contributing to the resource||Intermediate rate|
|Non-academic users from non-participating organizations||Highest rate|
Due to the nature and purpose of thematic resources, costs directly incurred when researchers and their highly qualified personnel use such resources are eligible for MRS funding. This is in addition to the expenses necessary to keep the resource in a state of readiness for researchers to use, and to increase the awareness of the potential user communities of the activities and opportunities offered by the resource.
Support of Access to Resources Located Outside Canada
MRS grants assist national users groups 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 MRS funding:
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 section of NSERC’s Program Guide for Professors. Furthermore, MRS grants cannot be used to pay for the establishment, construction or infrastructure expansion of a resource.
Any application to the 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 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 MRS Selection Committee.
The first step in applying to the MRS program is to submit a Letter of Intent to Apply for a Major Resources Support Grant (Form 181) to NSERC. Full applications that are submitted without first submitting a Form 181 will not be considered.
NSERC must receive the required material by the deadline date.
NSERC will acknowledge receipt of the Letters of Intent through e-mails to the applicants no later than three weeks after the submission deadline.
For subatomic physics applications:
In the case of subatomic physics resources, Form 181 will be used solely to determine the most appropriate review mechanism for the grant application. All subatomic physics applications will be accepted. NSERC will not communicate with the applicants to invite them to put forward their grant applications. NSERC must receive the required material by the deadline date.
For all other applications:
Letters of Intent will undergo a review process to ensure that the resources meet the program’s objectives and key guidelines.
Only those applicants whose Letters of Intent are accepted will be invited to put forward grant applications. Letters of Intent will also be used to determine the most appropriate review mechanism for the grant application. NSERC will communicate with all applicants by the end of July to inform them about the status of their Letter of Intent and to invite the successful applicants to put forward grant applications. NSERC must receive the required material by the deadline date.
For all resources, the amounts requested in the Form 181 must not differ by more than 10 percent from those that would be included in the grant application F101, if invited. Should there be any unusual reasons for a larger deviation, the resource will need to justify the latter and obtain NSERC’s approval before submitting the grant application.
Letter of Intent (excluding subatomic physics resources)
An NSERC internal committee will review the Letters of Intent. In addition to the general objectives of the program, the only selection criterion to be assessed in this review will be the major character and uniqueness of the resource. This assessment will be made on the basis of the following factors:
Copies of the Letters of Intent that were rejected by NSERC’s internal committee, or for which additional expert opinion is needed, will usually be sent to external consultants. These consultants will be former members of the Major Facilities Access (MFA)1 or MRS Grant Selection Committee or MFA/MRS ad hoc review committees. Each consultant will receive the Letters of Intent that are closely related to his/her discipline. The consultants will be asked to make written recommendations to NSERC on the eligibility of the reviewed resources on the sole basis of the major character and uniqueness of the resource, according to the four factors listed above. The consultants’ extensive and up-to-date knowledge of the disciplines will allow them to be well-informed critics of these factors.
Concurrently, copies of the Letters of Intent that were rejected by NSERC’s internal committee, or for which additional expert opinion is needed, will usually be sent to current members of the MRS Selection Committee. The members will be asked to provide NSERC with written recommendations on the eligibility of the corresponding resources.
The final decision on any Letter of Intent will rest with NSERC’s internal committee. Applicants whose Letters of Intent are accepted will be invited to put forward full grant applications.
Grant Applications (excluding subatomic physics resources)
Applications to the MRS program are reviewed by a multidisciplinary Grant Selection Committee. This Committee is composed of distinguished members who have extensive expertise in, and broad practical knowledge of, experimental and thematic resources in the various disciplines that NSERC serves.
For each application, expert input will be sought from individual referees with relevant expertise. Alternatively, a discipline-based ad hoc committee, comprised of former or current members of NSERC’s discipline-based Discovery Grants review committees and possibly other distinguished scientists, may be used to review all the applications in a certain discipline. The referees or ad hoccommittees will be asked to provide NSERC with a written report addressing the eight selection criteria. No explicit funding recommendation (amount) will be requested in such a report.
Furthermore, for any application requesting an average (over the requested duration) of $1,000,000 per year or more, the MRS Grant Selection Committee 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 resource that applies to the MRS program, even for requests that are less than an average of $1,000,000 per year. Resources requesting an average (over the requested duration) of $1,000,000 per year and more may also be invited to make an oral presentation to the MRS Grant Selection Committee.
The MRS Grant Selection Committee makes the conclusive recommendation to NSERC on any application.
Grant Applications (subatomic physics resources)
In the case of subatomic physics resources, grant applications are only reviewed by the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section. No external input is usually sought. The Section may request, however, expert input from individual referees in other disciplines, 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 subatomic physics grant application to the MRS program.
Conflicts of Interest
NSERC’s Guidelines on Conflict of Interest will be strictly applied throughout the review process.
MRS grants can be awarded for up to three years.
For grants whose average is of $500,000 per year or higher, the payment of the second and any subsequent yearly instalment (up to Year 3) is conditional on the submission of an annual activity report to NSERC. The submission deadline for this report is February 1.
The applicant and all co-applicants must be eligible for NSERC funding. You are invited to consult NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria before submitting a Letter of Intent. Major users who do not meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria may be listed as collaborators.
Refer to the instructions for Form 181 and instructions for Form 101 for information on how to submit a Letter of Intent to Apply for a Major Resources Support Grant and a full grant application, respectively.