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Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program

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

Universities are provided with a quota for the number of RTI applications that they can submit to NSERC. This quota is based on the number of NSERC-funded researchers at the university. The university decides which applications to submit to NSERC.1 NSERC encourages universities to inform their faculties of their internal selection process.

Duration 1 year
Value Up to $150,000
Awards Available For information relating to Research Tools and Instruments Grants specific to Subatomic Physics please refer to the Subatomic Physics Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program.
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
  • Application
  • Canadian Common CV
To create an Application, select Research Portal.

To create a Canadian Common CV, select This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV.

To view instructions, select 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.


RTI Grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 that assist in the purchase or fabrication of research equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding taxes, shipping and handling). The research community is also encouraged to explore other avenues for funding research tools and instruments, including NSERC's other programs that include the purchase of equipment as eligible expenses, such as Discovery Grants.

NSERC will only accept requests:

  • For tools and instruments that form a comprehensive system intended to support NSERC funded research in the natural sciences and engineering (bundling of unrelated tools and instruments, or of duplicate tools and instruments intended for different uses, will not be accepted);
  • For the purchase of new, used or refurbished equipment, or for the repair or upgrade of equipment, or for the fabrication of equipment that is not readily available off the shelf; and
  • For equipment that is purchased after the application deadline.

Note that equipment and items that are part of laboratory infrastructure or intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards are not eligible for RTI support.

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

RTI awards 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 Finance prior to its purchase. Grantees may, however, buy a model different from that requested in the application without prior NSERC approval.

Eligibility to Apply

In addition to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for faculty, applicants and co-applicants must each currently hold or be applying for one of the following NSERC research grants at the time of application: Discovery Grant, Strategic Partnerships Grants, Collaborative Research and Development Grants, Canada Research Chairs, and/or Canada Excellence Research Chairs.

In the event the applicant is not successful in obtaining a Discovery Grant while concurrently applying to the RTI Program, each case will be reviewed to determine if there are ample funds from other NSERC research grants to conduct the research linked to the RTI request.

Application Procedures

To apply, complete and submit an Application for Research Tools and Instruments. Each applicant and co-applicant must also submit a Canadian Common CV (CCV). The application and CCV(s) must be submitted 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. If a cash or in-kind 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 from the organization confirming this commitment is required. Such letters must clearly explain the financial contribution that the organization will provide to the purchase of the equipment.

Cash contributions from the applicant’s or co-applicant’s NSERC Discovery Grant do not require written authorization from NSERC. The use of funds from other types of NSERC grants must be accompanied by evidence that authorization was obtained from NSERC.

Review Procedures and Selection Criteria

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 Research Tools and Instruments Peer Review Manual.

Applications to the RTI Program are assessed on the basis of the five following selection criteria. The onus is on the applicant(s) to thoroughly address each criterion in their application and to provide detailed information.

Criteria for review are as follows:

  1. excellence of the applicant(s);
  2. merit of the proposed research program(s);
  3. need and urgency for the equipment—including availability of, and access to, similar equipment;2
  4. suitability of the proposed equipment for the proposed research program(s); and
  5. importance of the equipment for the training of highly qualified personnel.

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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