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Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program

The RTI Grants Program provides the primary avenue to obtain up to $150,000 in support for research tools and instruments with a total net cost between $7,001 and $250,000.

Based on the outcome of our consultations with stakeholders, NSERC will continue to conduct a national competition for RTI. Moving forward, universities will be provided with a quota of the number of RTI applications that they can submit to NSERC. This quota will be based on the number of NSERC-funded researchers in the natural sciences and engineering at the university. The university will decide which applications to submit to NSERC. NSERC encourages universities to inform their faculties of their internal selection process.

Awards Available

Research Tools and Instruments

For information relating to Research Tools and Instruments Grants specific to Subatomic Physics please refer to the program description.

Application Deadline

October 25

Note: Your institution will have an earlier deadline for submission of the application to the research grants office. Contact your research grants office for that deadline.

How to Apply See below
Application Forms
  • Form 100 – Personal Data Form
  • Form 101 – Application for a Grant
To create or access an application, select On-line System Login. To view forms and instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.
For More Information Consult the Contact list.

Note: This program is intended for university researchers. College researchers should apply to the College and Community Innovation Program Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants.

Important Information


Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering by supporting the purchase of research equipment and installations.


RTI Grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 to support the purchase or development of research equipment with a total net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding taxes, shipping and handling). While the RTI Grants Program provides the primary avenue to obtain support for research tools and instruments costing more than $7,000, equipment of any value can be purchased using a Discovery Grant. We also encourage the research community to explore other avenues for funding research tools and instruments, including NSERC's many programs that include the purchase of equipment in eligible expenses.

NSERC will accept applications that include various tools and instruments that form a comprehensive system intended to support a single or multiple research programs. However, bundling of unrelated tools and instruments, or of duplicate tools and instruments intended for different uses, will not be accepted. NSERC will accept applications for equipment with a total net cost of more than $150,000 and up to $250,000, provided that the applicant can secure funding from other sources to bring the amount requested from NSERC to $150,000 or less. This funding must be in place and confirmed at the time that the application is submitted. Such sources may include NSERC Discovery Grants held by the applicant or co-applicants. The use of other types of NSERC grants is permitted, provided that prior written authorization is obtained from NSERC.

NSERC will pay a portion or all of the applicable taxes as well as the shipping and handling expenses, as long as the overall grant does not exceed $150,000. The applicant will be responsible for any amount in excess of $150,000.

RTI grants must be used to purchase only the specific type of equipment for which the grant was awarded. Grantees who wish to purchase equipment different from that specified in the application must obtain written permission from NSERC prior to its purchase. Grantees may, however, buy a model different from that requested in the application without prior NSERC approval.

NSERC will accept only applications for equipment that is purchased after the application deadline. Grantees should explore all possible avenues with the institution to cover the cost of equipment that is purchased before the application deadline (refer to the paragraph on Residual Balances in Agency Accounts under Administrative Matters in the Financial Administration section of the Program Guide for Professors).

Institutions will be provided with a quota of the number of RTI applications that can be submitted to NSERC.

Application Procedures

To apply, submit an Application for a Grant (Form 101) and a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and each co-applicant to your institution's research grants office by the internal deadline date (contact your research grants office for that deadline). The institution will then consider which applications to submit to NSERC on the basis of its own internal selection process.

Only applications from applicants and co-applicants who currently hold or are applying for an NSERC research grant (e.g., Discovery, Strategic, Collaborative Research and Development, Canada Research Chairs) at the time of application will be accepted.

If a cash contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization (other than the applicant's and or co-applicants' institution[s]), a letter is required from the organization confirming this commitment.

Such letters should clearly explain the support that the organization will provide, including its involvement in the research and its financial contribution (cash or in-kind) to the purchase and installation of the equipment.

Review Procedures and Selection Criteria

Universities will be provided with a quota of the number of RTI applications that they can submit to NSERC1. All applications for RTI grants submitted to NSERC are reviewed by experts on a competitive basis. Experts on NSERC RTI Selection Committees follow the guidelines in the Peer Review Manual.

Criteria for review are as follows:

  • excellence of the applicant(s);
  • merit of the proposed research program(s);
  • need for and urgency of the equipment, including availability of and access to similar equipment2;
  • suitability of the proposed equipment for the proposed research program(s); and
  • importance of the equipment for the training of highly qualified personnel.

For more information on eligible expenses under the RTI program, see the instructions on how to complete an RTI application.

1 Please consult your institution for information regarding its internal selection process.

2If you anticipate use by or benefit to other sectors, describe the support secured from these sources or demonstrate the efforts made to obtain such support.

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