Alliance Missions grants

Call for proposals: Critical minerals research

How to apply

Applicants must begin by submitting a letter of intent (LOI) before the LOI deadline. All eligible applicants will then complete a full application to be submitted before the full application deadline.

Step 1 – Letter of intent

The principal applicant must submit an LOI to NSERC using the NSERC’s online system before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on September 7, 2023. The NSERC eligibility criteria for faculty apply.

Provide a summary of the main objectives and research challenges of the proposed research as it relates to critical minerals. In your summary, briefly explain how your proposed research responds to the research topic for this call and provide a brief description of the planned involvement of the partner organization(s). This plain language summary will be available to the public if your proposal is funded.

Applicants may participate in only one Alliance Missions grant application for this call, either as the principal investigator or a co-applicant.

The eligibility of the applicant and co-applicants will be reviewed internally by NSERC. If you are unsure about the eligibility of an individual, please contact NSERC at prior to submitting your LOI.

No changes in the academic research team composition are permitted after an LOI is reviewed and approved by NSERC.


  1. Log in to NSERC’s online system and choose Create a new form 101.
  2. Select Research partnerships programs, then Alliance grants.
  3. For the Proposal type field, select Letter of intent.
  4. For the Type of call field, select Missions – Critical minerals research from the drop-down menu.
  5. Follow the instructions to invite co-applicants you wish to participate on your application, if applicable.
  6. Provide a summary of the proposal as described above and following the instructions provided through NSERC online.
  7. Suggest the names of five independent experts competent to assess the technical aspects of the planned research.
  8. Submit your completed LOI and supporting documents, including the personal data form with CCV attachment for the applicant and all co-applicants, through NSERC’s online system.

Step 2 – Full proposal

A full application form will be made available to you in the online system within two weeks after the LOI deadline. Teams will be notified that they cannot submit a full application if their LOI is not complete and/or does not adhere to program requirements and objectives.

Applications from eligible applicants will be accepted at any time until November 9, 2023, before 8:00 p.m. (ET).


  1. Log in to NSERC’s online system.
  2. Select the appropriate form 101 from your portfolio (Form 101 – Missions – Critical minerals research created at the LOI stage).
  3. Following the instructions for completing an Alliance grant application, fill out the proposal template (maximum 10 pages regardless of $ amount requested) and complete the other sections of your application.
  4. Delete the Public impact value proposition section from the proposal template—it does not apply to Alliance Missions grants, even though NSERC provides support for 100% of the eligible costs of research.
  5. In the case where your application involves one or more partner organizations from the private sector (including industrial associations or producer groups), including when these organizations participate alongside other organizations from the public and/or not-for-profit sectors, also complete the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form.
  6. Submit your completed application and supporting documents, including the personal data form with CCV attachment for the applicant and all co-applicants, through NSERC’s online system.
  7. Your partner organization’s contact person will be invited through the online system to provide information about the organization following the partner organization instructions.

By submitting your application, you and your co-applicants (when applicable) agree to the terms and conditions of applying for applicants. By participating in your application, your partner organizations agree to the terms and conditions of applying for partner organizations. You also agree that any information contained in your letter of intent or full proposal may be shared with Natural Resources Canada for purposes consistent with the program objectives.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and is aligned with the objectives of the Tri-agency EDI action plan.

Excellent research considers EDI both in the research environment (forming a research team, student training) and in the research process. For Alliance grants, EDI considerations are currently evaluated in the training, mentorship and professional development opportunities for students and trainees. The aim is to remove barriers to the recruitment and promote full participation of individuals from underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities. Applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of underrepresented groups as one way to enhance the excellence in research and training. For additional guidance, applicants should refer to Alliance grants: Equity, diversity and inclusion in your training plan and the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research.

What’s next?
Review of your application
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Letter of intent deadline
September 7, 2023, 8:00 p.m. (ET)

Application deadline
November 9, 2023, 8:00 p.m. (ET)

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