Applications submitted to any of the College and Community Innovation (CCI) funding opportunities are assigned to reviewers who possess the required experience and/or expertise (individual or collective) to properly assess the applications. Their review is based on the funding opportunity’s objectives and evaluation criteria. The evaluation is completed by either a group of reviewers, known as Peer Review Committee members, or it’s done by independent external reviewers (not part of a committee). Across the CCI program, assessment is supported by reviewers from post-secondary institutions as well as non-academic reviewers, including industry-, government- and community-based representatives.

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Peer Review Committee members and external reviewers for the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program are recognized experts in their fields and bring a track record of excellence and dedication to their assessments. They provide consistent, fair and high-quality reviews of all applications submitted to funding opportunities within the CCI program. All reviewers learn about new research developments in their field, engage and network with peers, and gain insight into the assessment process itself. If you’re interested in becoming an external reviewer or a Peer Review Committee member, please fill out the Expression of Interest Form.

Expression of interest form
The application process described above uses the Expression of Interest Form, not the Nomination of Members for NSERC Committees (Form 250).

Within the CCI program, the appointment of Peer Review Committee members is guided by the Guidelines Governing Membership of NSERC’s Peer Review Committees. After reviewing the Expression of Interest Forms, NSERC staff make membership recommendations to senior management and the selected individuals are contacted with further information.

The CCI program is working toward more equitable, diverse and inclusive nomination and recruitment processes for its Peer Review Committees and external reviewers. The program is also dedicated to the representation of both official languages. The recruitment and selection processes take these considerations into account.

The CCI program offers funding opportunities across tri-agency domains. As such, it welcomes a wide range of expertise in natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities, and health research. Individuals from post-secondary institutions, the private and public sectors, and not-for-profit organizationscan become external reviewers or peer review committee members. The program welcomes candidates who have experience conducting, managing or using research.

Moreover, because funding research that respectfully involves and engages First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and communities and their perspectives is an important aspect of the CCI program, NSERC is interested in reviewers with knowledge and expertise relevant to this endeavour. The program is actively seeking candidates with experience related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the postsecondary ecosystem and research that is led by or involving and engaging Indigenous Peoples and communities.

To promote equitable, diverse and inclusive recruitment and nomination processes, NSERC also encourages the following individuals to sign up: those who belong to equity-deserving groups (including, but not limited to, women, racialized minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities) or who are from diverse career stages (such as established and early-career).

The expression of interest form includes an identifier section with questions about specific domains of knowledge and experience, expertise in languages, EDI and research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities.

Refer to the Guidelines Governing Membership of NSERC's Peer Review Committees for details on membership terms, reimbursement of expenses and other considerations.

Collection and use of personal information

The information you provide is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. The collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of your personal information are outlined in the following policy statements: The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, Data retention information, Privacy notice as well as Use and disclosure of personal information provided to the College and Community Innovation program. For more information, refer to the Personal Information Banks described in NSERC's Info Source.

Should you be selected, note that under Canada’s privacy laws, your review of an application is considered personal information belonging to the applicant.

Throughout the review process and after its completion, the details regarding the reviewers of specific applications remain confidential.

Self-identification information

Once Peer Review Committees are formed, members are asked to fill in the self-identification questionnaire as part of the agency’s commitment to EDI. You can find the details in the Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan for 2018–2025. You must complete the self-identification questionnaire, but you may select “I prefer not to answer” for each category. Your completion of this questionnaire will help NSERC better understand the diversity of its committee members.

Current Peer Review Committee membership

Application review process and funding decisions

Review process

Following an administrative assessment by NSERC staff, grant applications undergo 1 of the following types of reviews (depending on the particular funding opportunity):

  • Internal review (by NSERC staff)
  • External review (by external reviewers or review by Peer Review Committee members)
A Peer Review Committee member or external reviewer cannot be involved in the review of an application if they have a conflict of interest (COI). Refer to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations and Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers for more information. If you’re not sure if you have a COI, please communicate with the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program staff.

Funding decisions

All notices of decision are made available to applicant(s), co-applicant(s), and research grants officer(s) in the Convergence portal. Supplementary information may also be made available, depending on the funding opportunity. Expected assessment times are indicated on the Application deadlines and notification of decision page. For further details on how applications are selected for funding, please refer to the individual funding opportunities review section.

Roles and responsibilities

All external reviewers and Peer Review Committee members will be responsible for:

Peer Review Committee members have extra responsibilities when reviewing applications for the following funding opportunities:

  • College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF)
  • Mobilize grants
  • Technology Access Centres (TAC) grants
  • Applied Research Tools and Instruments (ARTI) grants

When reviewing such applications, Peer Review Committee members are also responsible for:

  • participating in orientation and calibration meetings, which provide committee members more details about the organization of the committee meeting, the application’s content, the deliberation process that’s used to reach consensus on a decision, and the committee’s approach to ensuring consistent assessment
  • rating applications based on the relevant criteria
  • providing comments to the applicant, if required
  • participating in a virtual adjudication meetings to discuss applications and reach consensus on their ratings
  • providing funding recommendations to CCI senior management

Membership term

Committee members for the CCSIF, Mobilize, TAC and ARTI funding opportunities participate in the review process in offset, 3-year terms (length is subject to change). During their term, members are expected to be available to participate in the review process. The offset terms of different members maintain the committee’s core stability while providing a mechanism for membership renewal. The average term length of 3 years ensures an appropriate balance between incoming members (who will need to become familiar with NSERC’s policies and procedures) and existing members (who can share their knowledge and experience with new members while also avoiding committee duty fatigue). Responsibilities are shared, and the committee benefits from the new perspectives of incoming members.



If you have any questions, please email

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