Alliance International

Review of your application

When NSERC receives an Alliance International application, it first undertakes an administrative assessment to ensure the application is complete and that it complies with all requirements. Once the administrative assessment is satisfactorily completed, NSERC proceeds with the merit assessment of the application.

Merit assessment mechanisms

Approximate thresholds
Catalyst grants Collaboration grants

From $20,000 to $25,000 for 1 year

From $20,000 to $100,000 per year, for 1 to 3 years

Merit assessment mechanism
Catalyst grants Collaboration grants

NSERC file managers  

Evaluation supported by existing NSERC peer review (the applicant and each co-applicant must hold, as primary applicant, an active peer-reviewed grant from NSERC at the time of application)

NSERC file managers

Peer review undertaken by international collaborator’s funding organization

NSERC reserves the right to select the most appropriate review process, regardless of the amount of funding requested.

Merit evaluation criteria

The merit of your application is evaluated using the following five equally weighted criteria. The proposal must address all of the criteria and sub-criteria to be considered for funding.

Relevance and expected outcomes

  • Significance of the research and the intended outcomes, and the potential for generating new knowledge in natural sciences and engineering (NSE) and further developing areas of Canadian research strength and leadership


  • Added value of the proposed international collaboration for Canada and the rationale for the selected international collaborator(s)


  • Opportunities for enriched training experiences for research trainees (undergraduates, graduates, postdoctoral fellows) to develop relevant research skills as well as professional skills such as leadership, communication, collaboration and entrepreneurship (where possible and relevant, international experiences for Canadian trainees are encouraged)

Equity, diversity and inclusion

Need for funds

  • Budget commensurate with the requirements of your participation in the international research project
  • Appropriateness of, and justification for, the planned expenditures

NSERC uses established merit indicators to rate each evaluation sub-criterion/criterion.

Risk assessment

At all times, Canadian researchers are encouraged to exercise appropriate levels of due diligence when managing their research and establishing and/or continuing partnerships with national, international, and multinational partners. Resources to do so are provided by the Government of Canada on the Safeguarding Your Research portal, including the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships. NSERC reserves the right to request additional information, as needed, before making a final funding decision.

Funding decision

NSERC’s funding decision will take into consideration the merit evaluation, as well as the assessment of potential risks for Canada’s national security, when applicable.

NSERC will use the merit indicator ratings assigned to applications to select proposals for funding on a competitive basis. Decisions stemming from the national security risk assessment will be based on the risks identified and the mitigation measures proposed.

Expected assessment time
Catalyst grants Collaboration grants

5 to 9 weeks

5 to 9 weeks (not including the time taken for the international funding agency’s peer-review of the proposal submitted by the international collaborator[s])

NSERC is committed to achieving these service standards for 80% of applications, recognizing that some proposals may require additional time.

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Application deadline
No deadline

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