Alliance International

Frequently asked questions

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Communicating NSERC’s decisions



Are Alliance International grants open to college applicants?

Only Canadian university researchers who are eligible to receive NSERC funds can apply for an Alliance International grant. However, college faculty members can participate as co-applicants in Alliance International grant applications provided they meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria.

Who owns the rights to intellectual property (IP) from research activities supported by an Alliance International grant?

NSERC does not claim any ownership of IP or stipulate who must own any IP resulting from the research collaboration. However, the ownership and protection of IP generated by research supported through an Alliance International grant must follow the principles described in NSERC’s policy on intellectual property. For any Alliance grant, NSERC recommends that you and your institution follow the best practice of signing a research agreement with the collaborating organization(s).


Can I apply for both a Catalyst grant and a Collaboration grant at the same time?

Yes. You can apply for one Catalyst grant and one Collaboration (one of each) in a 12-month period. These can involve collaborations with the same, or different, international academic colleagues.

I am already working with an international academic collaborator on a project. Can I still apply for a Catalyst grant with that person?

Yes. However, the Catalyst grant should be used to initiate a new collaboration and not fund the pre-existing project.

Where can I get information on how to prepare my application?

The Alliance International web page provides information on how to apply through NSERC’s online system. Before starting to prepare your application, you are strongly encouraged to carefully read all sections of the program description and the instructions for completing an application. You should also consult the following document and web pages: Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application; Equity, diversity and inclusion in your training plan and Safeguarding Your Research portal.

If you have questions regarding the program or the application process, you may also contact NSERC at

What is the page limit for the proposal section? Does it include the text that is already in the application template?

The maximum length of the proposal is three pages. The application instructions include a table presenting the suggested section lengths for each section. Please note that the text in the proposal template counts toward the overall page limit and must not be removed.

Do the font type and size prescribed in the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards apply to text inside tables and figures?

No. The font type and size requirements do not apply to text inside tables and figures. Still, for text inside tables and figures, you must use a font type and a font size that are clearly legible. NSERC reserves the right not to accept your application if it does not meet this requirement. Note that figures and tables count toward the specified page limits. The above requirements apply only to the NSERC proposal. They do not apply to your international collaborator’s proposal.

Is it mandatory for my application to include the completed risk assessment questionnaire and risk mitigation plan of the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form?

NSERC Alliance International grants are intended to fund academic-to-academic collaborations. Partner organizations, such as companies, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations, are not required and should not be included in the project. As a result, it is not necessary to complete the risk assessment questionnaire on the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form. Nonetheless, Canadian researchers are encouraged to exercise appropriate levels of due diligence when managing their research and establishing and/or continuing collaborations with international organizations. 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 on your grant application.

Is it mandatory for my application to include a student and/or postdoctoral training component?

Yes. Your application must include a training component principally intended for undergraduate, graduate and/or postdoctoral trainees. Trainees cannot consist exclusively of research professionals. As part of the application’s merit assessment, NSERC will evaluate the project’s opportunities for enriched learning experiences for undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral trainees to develop research and professional skills.

Do I need to include the Common CV in my application? Is a form 100A also required?

You and your co-applicant(s) must each complete a personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A). This form provides information that complements that in the CCV, such as a discussion of up to five most significant contributions to research over the last six years. It is the same supplemental information collected for NSERC Discovery Grant applications. Your international academic collaborator does not need to complete a form 100A or CCV. You must, however, attach a two-page (max.) biosketch for each collaborator.

Do I need to hold an NSERC grant to apply?

At the time of application, you and any Canadian co-applicants must hold an active NSERC peer-reviewed grant, as primary applicant.


Can my collaborator be a scientist from a government laboratory or an international research institute instead of a university?

No. The Alliance International funding stream is intended to fund academic-to-academic collaborations. Your international collaborator must be from an accredited degree-granting post-secondary institution.

Does my international academic collaborator need to secure their own funding before I apply to NSERC? What are the cost-sharing requirements?

There is no cost-sharing requirement when it comes to the Catalyst grant. NSERC will provide 100% of the funding for an Alliance International Catalyst grant, up to $25,000 for one year.

The amount you can request for an Alliance International Collaboration grant will depend on the amount of funding obtained by your international academic collaborator from their own national funding agency. This contribution must be at least equal to the amount requested from NSERC (in Canadian dollars). NSERC will provide up to $100,000 per year, for up to three years, to support the costs of your participation in the international project. To secure the maximum amount ($100,000 per year) your international academic collaborator(s) must obtain at least $100,000 per year from their national funding agency. In the Budget justification section of your proposal (form 101), you must include information on the annual support obtained by your international collaborator(s) (all amounts in Canadian dollars).

Please note that when you apply to NSERC for a Collaboration grant you must attach a copy of the proposal that was completed by your international collaborator(s), and peer-reviewed by their national research funding agency. This proposal must have included a description of your research project and your contribution to the international collaboration. It is expected that the Canadian researcher or research team will be an integral part of the larger international project. Include confirmation that this proposal was funded, such as the award letter received by the international collaborator(s).

My international academic collaborator secured their grant some time ago. Can I ask NSERC to recognize this funding for cost-sharing purposes?

Grants awarded to international collaborators after September 21, 2021, (three months before the launch of the NSERC program) will be accepted for cost-sharing purposes until March 31, 2022. Consistent with other Alliance streams, we will accept, on an ongoing basis, applications where international collaborators are already in place (have secured their funding) for up to three months before an application to NSERC is submitted. For example, if your international academic collaborator secures their funding on July 1, 2022, then you will have until October 1, 2022, to submit your Alliance International Collaboration grant application to NSERC. The three-month window aligns with our current policy for recognizing contributions from partner organizations for cost-sharing in Alliance Option 1 and Option 2 streams. In all cases, the Canadian research team, and a description of their research component and contribution to the project, must have been included in the proposal submitted by the international academic collaborator to their national funding agency


What is the success rate?

As the program is new, it is difficult to predict what percentage of applications will typically be funded. NSERC will make funding decisions regularly, drawing from the program’s budget throughout the fiscal year, to help ensure that funds are available for the most meritorious proposals, regardless of when they are received.

Communicating NSERC’s decisions

How will NSERC communicate its decision about my Alliance International application?

NSERC will communicate its decision and share all documents related to the assessment of your application using your applicant library on the secure Alliance grants extranet. This is a new portal that is available only to the applicant. NSERC will provide you with a link to your applicant library and login instructions. If you have submitted an Alliance application and do not have access to your applicant library yet, you will receive information on how to access it once the merit assessment stage is complete. If your Alliance International application is funded, NSERC’s post-award decisions will also be communicated using your applicant library.

NSERC will no longer communicate its decisions by mail or email. The onus is on you to share NSERC’s decisions with your collaborator(s) and any co-applicants.


Can I request an extension in time for my Alliance International grant?

If you cannot complete your planned research activities within the specified term of your grant, you must notify NSERC. You may then be allowed an additional one-year period to complete your project using existing funds.

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