Policies and Requirements
To hold an award, you must:
- accept the terms and conditions of the award, as set out in this guide, in the Notice of Award (including attachments) and in the program description found in the NSERC Program Guide for Students and Fellows;
- have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or have been a foreign Ph. D. graduate from a Canadian postsecondary institution who obtained a post-graduation work permit, at the time of your nomination;
- have completed your doctoral degree in a discipline of science or engineering that NSERC supports, within the last five years (up to seven years in exceptional circumstances only, and a maximum of nine years for reasons of maternity leave or to raise a child).
For the duration of the award, you will be an employee of the company where you hold the award. Your activities will be governed by the same terms and conditions of employment as other regular employees who are engaged in similar work.
Awards may be cancelled without notice if the conditions under which they are granted are violated. Any payment made for a period during which you were not eligible to hold the award must be reimbursed.
Change of Address
Please ensure that you immediately notify NSERC of any change of address you may have during your fellowship, by email to
Acceptance or Refusal of Award (new IRDF holders only)
- You must notify NSERC within six weeks of the date on the Notice of Award of your decision to accept or refuse the award.
- To accept the award, send NSERC the following information: 1) your name and personal identification number (PIN); and 2) the expected start date of your award by email to
or by fax to 613-943-1222.
- To refuse the award, submit an email or fax to NSERC, specifying the reason for refusal (e.g., employment at another organization).
- NSERC may cancel any award not accepted by the above deadline.
- Notification by telephone is not acceptable.
- NSERC expects that you will take up your fellowship within three months after the results are announced. In exceptional cases, and with NSERC’s approval, the award may be taken up within six months of the announcement. If you do not take up the fellowship within the required time frame, NSERC may cancel it.
- With the approval of the company and NSERC, deferment prior to the start of the award is permitted for reasons of illness, child-rearing or health-related family responsibilities only.
- The start date of the award cannot be prior to the date of your notice of award.
- All doctoral degree requirements, including the thesis defence and submission of the final corrected thesis, must be completed before the start date of the award.
Duration of Award
An Industrial R&D Fellowship provides support for two years. Support for the second year will be subject to:
- your continuing to meet the program's eligibility criteria and objectives;
- the company continuing to meet the program's eligibility criteria and objectives;
- a progress report, acceptable to NSERC, that the company submits at the end of the first year;
- the availability of funds.
Value of Award
- The value of your award is $30,000 per year for two years, plus the company’s contribution.
- You may not concurrently hold another award from NSERC or from another Canadian federal granting agency (CIHR or SSHRC).
- In any situation where an IRDF fellow is involved in contracts, no double billing is allowed. Only the portion of the fellow's salary over and above NSERC's contribution can be claimed under the contract.
- The total salary should be comparable to the ones offered to other employees of the company with similar qualifications, experience, and responsibilities.
- Fringe benefits should be comparable to those of other employees of the company.
- Fellows should receive the same salary increments and merit increases as other employees of the company.
Note: It is up to the candidate to negotiate their salary and fringe benefits with the company.
- NSERC may approve a travel allowance for the actual costs you incur to travel to the company's work location. The maximum allowance is an amount equivalent to economy air fare between your place of residence at the time of nomination for the award and the company's location.
- NSERC will provide an allowance (as deemed reasonable by NSERC’s Finance and Awards Administration Division) for ground transportation costs to and from your residence and your point of departure (e.g., airport, train station, bus station). Original receipts must be provided.
- This allowance is not designed to offset your daily commuting costs to and from the company.
- NSERC does not provide an allowance for the cost of transporting excess baggage or removing household effects.
- A further allowance may be paid for a fellow when accompanied by a spouse and/or children.
- The company may also assist you in paying relocation expenses.
- Claims for travel reimbursement must be submitted to NSERC within two months following the termination of your fellowship.
Note: Frequent flyer points will not be reimbursed.
To apply for a travel allowance, complete the Application for a Travel Allowance – IRDF (Form A
). You or the company should send it, along with your original receipts, to the Finance and Awards Administration Division at NSERC.
Part-time Industrial R&D Fellowships
IRDF support is available to those who are restricted to part-time research employment for reasons of disability or family responsibilities. For fellows whose request for part-time status is approved by both the company and NSERC, the stipend will be the equivalent of a full-time award spread over a longer period of time. All other IRDF requirements will apply.
- For purposes of holding an award part-time, disability is defined as "a functional limitation resulting from a physical, sensory, or mental impairment, which, for an indefinite period, affects the ability of the fellow to perform the activities necessary to participate fully in his or her research."
- If you intend to pursue part-time research in a field supported by NSERC because a disability prevents you from pursuing full-time research, you must write to NSERC explaining your need to hold your award part-time for reasons of disability. A letter supporting your request must also be sent by your supervisor at the company.
- Supporting documentation may be requested by NSERC staff.
- For purposes of holding an award part-time, family responsibility is defined as "the primary responsibility for providing the personal care to a dependent family member (e.g., pre-school children, infirm spouse or parent) which affects the ability of the fellow to perform the activities necessary to participate fully in his or her research."
- As an award holder, you must write to NSERC justifying your need to hold your award part-time for family responsibilities. A letter supporting your request must also be sent by your supervisor at the company.
Deferment of Award
- Before commencing your award, you may request permission to defer it for up to three years, provided that the nominating company agrees, but only for reasons of maternity, child rearing, illness, or health-related family responsibilities. You may not defer your award in order to take up another award, or to pursue studies or other employment.
- If the period of deferment is longer than 12 months, you must describe how this delay will affect the project and the milestone. NSERC may request a new proposal.
- You must complete a Request for Deferment or Interruption of Award – IRDF (Form B) and send it to NSERC for approval as soon as possible, but no later than three months from the date of your Notice of Award. Supporting documentation (e.g., birth, adoption or medical certificate) confirming the reason for deferment must also be included with the request.
- Even though you intend to defer your award, you must submit confirmation to NSERC that you have completed all requirements of your doctoral degree (if not already submitted with your application), or your award will be cancelled.
Payment of Award
- To activate your award, the company must complete a Request for First Instalment – IRDF (Form C
) and submit it to NSERC's Research Partnerships Directorate at the end of the first four-month period of tenure, based on your actual starting date. For example, for an award taken up on July 15, the first form should cover the four months ending November 14. No payment will be made until NSERC has received the required documentation.
- NSERC may cancel your award without further notice if the request for first instalment is overdue by two months or more.
- Payment will not be approved for any period prior to the official notification of the fellowship.
- Proof of Ph. D. or a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies confirming that all requirements for the doctoral degree have been successfully completed, must accompany the request for the first instalment, if not already submitted with the application. (See Request for First Instalment – IRDF [Form C]).
- Payment will not be approved for any period prior to completion of all doctoral degree requirements, including thesis defence and submission of final corrected thesis.
- Do not submit your request for payment or progress report prior to the end of the four-month period for which payment is being sought. Payment will not be approved prior to the end of the fourth-month period.
- Exception: For instalment periods that end at any time during February or March, the appropriate form (Form C, D or E) will have to be submitted between February 1 and 15 for the entire payment period (e.g., December 1 to March 31) to ensure payment during the federal government’s current fiscal year.
Note: NSERC’s fiscal year is April 1 to March 31.
- Fellows should be paid in accordance with the company's normal practices.
- At the end of each four-month period of tenure, the company will be reimbursed by NSERC for its contribution to your salary.
- NSERC reserves the right to adjust the value of your award to take account of a change in your period of tenure.
- To initiate subsequent instalments, the company must submit a completed and signed Request for Subsequent Instalments (second, fourth or fifth) – IRDF (Form D) or an Annual Progress Report/Request for Third Instalment – IRDF (Form E), whichever is appropriate, to NSERC at the appropriate intervals. These forms are used to request payment of NSERC’s contribution to the fellow’s salary, and must be signed by the supervisor.
- Payment requests are due immediately upon completion of, and no later than, one month after each four-month period.
- NSERC no longer has the flexibility to carry over payments into the following fiscal year.
Payment – Direct Deposit
In support of the Government of Canada’s efforts to modernize the way it does business, NSERC launched a direct deposit initiative to transition away from federal government cheques. NSERC therefore requires the company to register for direct deposit in order to receive the next award payment.
To register, the company must complete a direct deposit form (see Direct Deposit) and submit it to NSERC. The form can be faxed to 613-996-0458, scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the following address:
Accounting Services (Direct Deposit)
350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
For more information, consult Direct Deposit – Frequently Asked Questions.
If you or the company have any questions about direct deposit or need help completing the form, contact the finance department by email at
Note: There may only be one payments receivable address per company. If the company changes its address during tenure of the award, they must notify email@example.com immediately.
Holidays and Leave
- Industrial R&D fellows are entitled to holidays, sick leave, etc., in accordance with the company’s policy. Periods of absence for which the company is not prepared to authorize payment of salary at the regular rate must be reported to NSERC and will result in a prorated reduction in the NSERC contribution to the fellow's salary.
- You must notify NSERC once the company has approved any interruption of your award by submitting a completed and signed Request for Deferment or Interruption of Award – IRDF (Form B). You must also submit a Request for First Instalment – IRDF (Form C), a Request for Subsequent Instalments (second, fourth or fifth) – IRDF (Form D), or an Annual Progress Report/Request for Third Instalment – IRDF (Form E), whichever is appropriate, covering the period from your last payment until your interruption of award.
- Arrangements for maternity and/or parental leave will conform with the company's policies. If maternity and/or parental leave with pay is granted by the company, NSERC's contribution may be prorated in relation to the company's actual contribution to the fellow's salary. The company and fellow may elect to suspend the award for the duration of the maternity and/or parental leave. The maximum time NSERC will suspend contributions to the fellow's salary is 24 months.
- An award holder may take a period of up to two years of leave without pay for reasons of illness, child rearing or family responsibilities, if this is in accordance with the company's policy. The award, and NSERC's contribution to the fellow's salary, will be suspended for the duration of the leave and will resume upon return to full-time duties.
- You may not interrupt your award in order to take up another award, or to pursue studies or other employment.
Reinstatement of Award
To reinstate a deferred or interrupted award, the company must send NSERC a notification by email to
stating that you have begun/resumed your research with the company.
Awards will be governed by the policies and requirements applicable at the time of reinstatement.
Research and Development Activities
During tenure, you are expected to engage in research and development activities, and/or research project management. You must be involved in one (or at most two) challenging projects in a work environment that will provide you with an opportunity to grow as a researcher.
During tenure, you are expected to spend all or the vast majority (minimum 80 per cent) of your time in the R&D facilities of the company, unless otherwise approved by NSERC.
Changes to the Fellowship Activities During Tenure
- If there is any departure from the original objectives of the research and development activities proposed in the nomination documentation, the company must immediately notify NSERC in writing. The company does not have to notify NSERC about modifications in its approach to achieving the original objectives.
- Any collaboration arranged after approval of an award that involves spending a period of more than one month in the facilities of other organizations must be authorized by NSERC.
- From time to time, it may be necessary for the company to temporarily assign you to special projects. These assignments are acceptable to NSERC as long as they are short-term projects and do not take up more than 20 per cent of your time.
- If you complete the proposed research activities before the end of the two-year term, the company may assign you to other research or development projects. NSERC does not expect the company to terminate your employment.
- If the activities cease to be eligible under NSERC's mandate, or are not considered to be appropriate for an IRDF, the award will be terminated. However, you may be permitted to transfer the remainder of the award to another eligible company.
Transferring Your Fellowship
In some cases, NSERC may approve a request to transfer your fellowship from one eligible company to another. However, NSERC must be satisfied with the reasons for transferring; justification must be provided. Transfers will only be allowed for fellows who have spent a minimum of six months at their original company and have a minimum of six months left in their award, except when the reason for the transfer is the company’s inability to financially sustain the fellowship. Before the transfer will be approved, NSERC must receive:
- a completed and signed Request to Transfer – IRDF (Form F) supported by the proposed supervisor at the new company;
- an updated cover page and pages 1-3 of the Application for an NSERC Scholarship or Fellowship (Form 200);
- a Nomination for an Industrial R&D Fellowship (Form 183C) completed by the new company to which you are requesting a transfer;
- the new company's official letter or contract offering you employment, conditional upon NSERC's approval of the transfer.
Note: NSERC must approve your transfer before you move to a new company.
Send all requests for transfers and all supporting documentation a minimum of six weeks before the proposed date of transfer to the new company. If the company has not been previously approved for participation in this program, all requests and documentation, including an Application (new or renewal) for Eligibility of Organizations to Participate in NSERC's Industrial R&D Fellowships Program, Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships Program and Experience Awards (Form 183B), must be submitted to NSERC approximately two months before the proposed date of transfer.
You have six months from the last day of employment at your original company to transfer your award.
Only one transfer is permitted per IRDF award.
- The company must submit an Annual Progress Report/Request for Third Instalment – IRDF (Form E) that outlines the work you carried out to date. This report must be prepared at the end of the first year of the award.
- Payment of NSERC's contribution for the second year of the award will not be released until receipt and review of the progress report.
- NSERC may cancel the award if your progress is judged unsatisfactory.
Final Report and Payment
At the end of tenure of the award, the fellow will be contacted by NSERC to comment on their IRDF experience. A message with instructions for completing the report will be sent to the email address indicated in the application. Notify firstname.lastname@example.org of any contact information changes.
In order to be reimbursed by NSERC, companies will be contacted by NSERC to confirm the final payment made to the fellow and to obtain comments on the company’s experience. At the end of the tenure of the award, a message with instructions for completing the report and requesting reimbursement will be sent to the email address of the company representative indicated in the application. Notify
email@example.com of any contact information changes.
Companies will not be reimbursed if the response described above is received more than two months after the end of the IRDF.
Termination of Award
- A company may, at any time, terminate your appointment for unsatisfactory performance.
- You may also, at any time, terminate your appointment by following normal company resignation procedures and by notifying NSERC of your decision.
- For instructions on how to terminate your award, send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org stating the reason for terminating your award and your expected last day of employment at the company.
- NSERC will contact you and/or the company to reclaim any overpayment of your award.
- Companies may offer their industrial R&D fellows permanent positions at any time during the term of the award. NSERC will continue to contribute to the salary until the expiration of the fellow’s award.
Taxation and Other Issues
- The company will issue you a T4 or T4A.
- NSERC will issue a T4A income tax slip to you for any travel expenses NSERC paid directly to you.
- NSERC is unable to dispense advice on income tax matters to individual students and fellows, given the uniqueness of each award recipient's personal financial situation. Consequently, you are encouraged to seek advice from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), or from a qualified income tax specialist.
- You are referred to two documents published by CRA:
NSERC is unable to assume liability for accidents, illness, or losses that may occur during the tenure of an award. You are responsible for ensuring that you have appropriate insurance.
The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act
We encourage you to read the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act as they relate to application information.