|Duration||Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks:
Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects:
1 to 3 years
|Application Deadline||Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks:
preliminary applications: April 1
full application: (only if invited by NSERC)
Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects:
|Contact||Consult the Contact List|
Note: Updated target areas and research topics are now in place. Areas and topics accepted in the past may no longer be eligible. Check the updated Strategic Partnership Grants Target Area Descriptions prior to preparing your application.
The goal of NSERC’s Strategic Partnership Grants is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years. Research and training under these grants must be conducted through a partnership between academic researchers and industry or government organizations.
It is expected that these grants will:
Other participants such as non-governmental organizations, government research laboratories, hospitals and clinics, foreign research institutions, venture capitalists, implementation sites, or potential customers may be included, but these participants do not qualify as eligible supporting organizations. Consult Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships for more information on eligibility.
Given that interaction between personnel from academic institutions and other sectors contributes to knowledge sharing and the development of highly qualified personnel, NSERC encourages secondments, cross-appointments, co-supervision of students, internships, reciprocal laboratory visits and joint workshops. (For details, see the Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training.)
NSERC’s Policy on Intellectual Property supports the premise that every effort should be made to exploit the results of NSERC-funded research in Canada, for the benefit of Canadians. In general, all partners are expected to have unrestricted, non-exclusive access to all IP generated as a result of the grant.
In recognition that the ability to implement policy or directly apply the research results can depend on socio-economic considerations as well as scientific understanding, applicants are encouraged to collaborate with experts who work in fields other than the natural sciences and engineering, where appropriate. Academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may participate in Strategic Partnership Grants proposals as co-applicants if they meet NSERC’s eligibility requirements with respect to type, duration and nature of appointment. Research costs for these collaborations may comprise up to 30 percent of the project costs and must be identified in the project budget. All project expenditures will be subject to NSERC’s Use of Grant Funds guidelines.
In its efforts to increase the impact of Canadian natural sciences and engineering research within the global research community, NSERC encourages applicants to incorporate international collaborations into their project proposals. Network proposals are required to have an international engagement strategy. Current policies enable researchers to interact with foreign colleagues in a variety of ways to enhance collaboration and increase the impact on international research. Please refer to NSERC’s guidelines on the Use of Grant Funds.
The proposed research must support the goal of Strategic Partnership Grants and fall within the targeted areas defined below.
Highlights for the 2016 Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks (SPG‑N) Competition
Updated target areas are now in place. Check the descriptions prior to preparing your application.
For the 2016 competition the preliminary applications must address one or more of the Strategic Partnership Grants target areas (Advanced Manufacturing, Environment and Agriculture, Information and Communication Technologies or Natural Resources and Energy). Applications are encouraged in clean technologies across all four target areas and with a focus on the impacts of climate change; including climate change mitigation and adaptation (if appropriate).
Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks (SPG‑N) fund large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects in targeted research areas that require a network approach and that involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. The applicant should be an established researcher with a solid track record in collaborative research, student training and grant management, and who demonstrates the leadership and other skills necessary for managing a complex, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project.
Strategic Networks may be national, regional or, under exceptional circumstances, local. NSERC has two application categories—A and B.
Applicants must identify where similar networks exist and justify, in the preliminary application, the fit to the appropriate category for their application; and commit to fulfill the requirements of that category if invited to submit a full application. To be funded, a SPG‑N proposal must meet the following requirements:
Cash contributed before the full application is submitted may be recognized as an eligible contribution; however, NSERC will not recognize partner funds spent prior to the date of invitation to submit a full application. NSERC funds cannot be applied to expenses incurred before an award was approved.
For the preliminary application competition, only proposals in the following target areas will be accepted:
Read the Active Networks Web page to ensure that your network proposal does not overlap with any existing or previous networks.
NSERC must receive the preliminary application (paper submission only) by the deadline date at 4:00 p.m. (ET).
|Preliminary Applications||Category A||Category B|
|An Application for a Grant (Form 101).||Complete pages 1, 2 and 3 only and include the appropriate signatures from the host university only; signatures from other participating post-secondary institutions are not required at this stage. The designated reference page cannot be used for any other section of the preliminary application|
|Maximum of 12 pages (this includes the one page for references). Any additional pages will be removed
Category A applications must use one of the twelve pages to discuss the uniqueness of their network and the justification to Category A. This page cannot be used for any other information.
|Maximum of 16 pages (this includes the one page for references). Any additional pages will be removed
Category B applications must use five of the sixteen pages as a separate section to provide the following information, with emphasis on the fourth, fifth and sixth bullets:
A description of the proposed Network should include:
|Personal Data Forms (Form 100)||For the applicant and theme leaders (maximum of eight Forms 100);|
|Partner Statements of Interest||A signed letter on official letter head including the full contact information and title of the signatory from each industrial and government partner (letters from federal government departments must be signed at the Director General-level or equivalent). Letters not meeting these requirements will be removed.|
|University Letters||Letters from the host university and/or participating Canadian academic institutions are not required and will be removed from the application.|
|International Collaborator Statements of Interest||Each letter should include how the parties would work together and benefit both countries (maximum of five  international letters accepted)|
|Cover Letters||Cover letters are optional but are not included in the peer reviewer assessment|
An Application for a Grant (Form 101, pages 1, 2 and 3) can be prepared using the On-line System, but two printed copies must be mailed, along with an unlocked electronic copy of the preliminary application saved into a single PDF document. Preliminary applications cannot be submitted online. All preliminary applications must follow the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
Preliminary Application Review
Preliminary applications are reviewed by Strategic Partnership Grants selection committee(s). Subsequent to committee recommendations, NSERC will invite full applications based on the proposal's strength in the following criteria:
Applicants invited to submit a full proposal must do so within six months of the notification of acceptance of the preliminary application. NSERC will review requests for up to $25,000 to assist in defraying the costs of preparing a full Network proposal. This should be sent to the NSERC contact person assigned to the file in the form of a two page itemized request estimating the preparation costs and the portion to be paid by NSERC and the partners.
A full application includes:
Refer to the instructions for completing a SPG-N application.
Full Proposal Review Procedures
Each Network proposal is reviewed by external reviewers and a Site Visit Committee. In addition, NSERC will assemble a committee of appropriate experts to evaluate the applications (taking into account the comments from external reviewers and the Site Visit Committee report) and make funding recommendations to NSERC. Decisions on Networks are usually made within four months of receipt of the full application.
SPG-N proposals are evaluated according to the following criteria:
Grantees must submit a mid-term progress report to NSERC, which will be reviewed by members of the original Site Visit Committee and, where appropriate, by members of the NSERC evaluation committee. Continuation of funding is contingent upon satisfactory progress. Partners are required to confirm their commitment to the network annually.
Three months after the completion of network funding, all grantees must submit a final report on the network’s achievements with respect to its objectives. Each partner in the network will be asked to evaluate it. Grantees are informed of the requirements for such reports at the appropriate time.
Highlights for the 2016 Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects Competition:
Updated target areas and research topics are now in place. Check the descriptions prior to preparing your application.
The anticipated budget for the 2016 Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG‑P) competition is expected to result in about 15 to 18 new awards per target area. To manage expectations and keep the burden on the research and peer review communities at an acceptable level, the following measures will continue:
It is no longer necessary to identify if your application is a re-submission. However, your new application should take the concerns of the selection panel into account.
NSERC and Environment and Climate Change Canada have a three-year agreement under which Environment and Climate Change Canada will fund or co-fund selected Strategic Projects related to the environment.
Where a government organization is a supporting organization, the letter of support accompanying Form 183A must be signed by a Director General (or equivalent level).
Applicants are encouraged to incorporate international collaborations into their proposals. One mechanism for international collaborations is a call for collaborative proposals under international agreements.
Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG‑P) fund early-stage project research in targeted areas. To be funded, a research project must meet the following requirements:
NSERC has signed a number of agreements with international agencies to foster international collaboration in research through concurrent calls for joint research projects, which are implemented through the SPG‑P competition. For more information refer to the Detailed Application Instructions for International Collaborations, or contact SPG_international@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.
The research of most SPG‑P is at the early stage of the innovation spectrum where there are few issues related to intellectual property. Consequently, a signed research agreement is not usually required. However, if it is anticipated that the proposed research will lead to disclosure of intellectual property or if a research agreement already exists, then a copy of the research agreement between the supporting organization(s) and the university must be submitted to NSERC and reviewed for conformance to NSERC’s Policy on IP prior to the release of funds.
The competition budget is expected to be approximately $12 million for Year 1 of the projects, which could fund about 15 to 18 new awards in each target area. Priority will be given to applications that address the research topics identified in each target area. Projects that make a compelling case for research within the Context section of a target area description, but are outside the research topics, will be considered “exceptional” and may be funded subject to the availability of funds. No more than 20 percent of the budget will be allocated to “exceptional opportunities.”
NSERC must receive the application by the deadline date.
A complete application includes:
Please refer to the instructions for completing an SPG‑P application.
Applicants who require equipment to conduct the research must incorporate their request for equipment (up to a maximum of $150,000 for major items or systems) into the research proposal and justify the need for the equipment to conduct the research. Separate equipment requests will not be accepted.
Certain expenditures related to project management are now eligible as a direct cost of research up to a maximum of 10 percent of the total direct costs (see the Guidelines for Research Partnerships Programs Project Management Expenses).
NSERC evaluates applications in an annual competition. All applications are screened for completeness and adherence to program requirements. NSERC reserves the right to assign an application to a target area that is different from the one selected by the applicant. Applications that do not meet all program requirements will be rejected. Applicants are notified in June if their proposal has been rejected.
If the number of applications is very high in relation to the expected number of awards, selection panels may apply a pre-selection process. Applications meeting all program requirements are reviewed by experienced selection panel members to determine their overall relative competitiveness using the seven selection criteria. Those deemed to be insufficiently competitive will be removed from the competition. The number of applications removed from the competition at this stage depends on the number of applications received. Applicants are notified by mid-July if their application has been removed from the competition. This decision is not appealable.
External reviewers evaluate the proposals that pass the pre-selection. In late August, selection panels review the proposals and make recommendations to NSERC. The awards are announced in October.
NSERC and Environment and Climate Change Canada have entered into a three-year agreement (2013–16) whereby Environment and Climate Change Canada will fund or co-fund selected Strategic Projects related to the environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada will flag successful proposals for funding under its Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) program.
The EDF is a specified purpose account, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, to provide a mechanism for directing funds received as a result of fines, court orders, and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit our natural environment. More detailed information on the EDF program is available on the Environmental Damages Funds page.
Applicants will be contacted to confirm their interest in being considered for these funds and to obtain their consent for the sharing of application material with representatives of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Following the selection panel meetings, NSERC will contact applicants whose proposals were identified for EDF support to discuss dispositions for receiving project funds from NSERC and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Note that Environment and Climate Change Canada representatives may attend selection panel meetings as observers and will have full access to funding applications during the meetings where consent has been attained. They will be required to sign NSERC’s Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers and Observers.
The NSERC-Environment and Climate Change Canada agreement will continue to be in effect for the 2016 competition.
Applications are evaluated according to the following criteria. More details on each criterion, along with a rating scale, are provided in the application instructions. Each criterion is given equal weight in the evaluation.
During the second year of the project, all grantees must submit a progress report and supporting organizations will be asked for their feedback. NSERC will pay the final installment of the grant only if satisfactory progress and collaboration with the supporting organizations have been demonstrated.
Three months after the project end date, all grantees must submit a final report on the project’s achievements with respect to its objectives. Each supporting organization in the project will be asked to evaluate the project. NSERC may use the supporting organization’s evaluation when reviewing subsequent Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects applications from the same applicants.
During the five years after project completion, NSERC will collect information on the impacts of the funded research. Of particular interest is the fate of the trainees involved in the project, the benefits derived by users from outside the university sector and tangible evidence of knowledge and/or technology exploitation resulting from the research.