NSERC-German Research Foundation (DFG) call for proposals on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry


Canadian university researchers working in partnership with German collaborators from the academic sector

How much?

$20,000 to $100,000 per year

How long?

1 to 3 years


Canada and Germany enjoy long-standing cooperation in science and technology. Recognizing the importance of international collaboration in promoting scientific discoveries, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on research cooperation. The MOU provides an overarching framework to enhance opportunities for collaborative activities between Canadian and German research communities and sets out the principles for developing jointly supported activities.

To facilitate the support of collaborative work between Canadian researchers and their German counterparts under this MOU, NSERC and the divisions of Physics and Chemistry (PC) and Engineering Sciences (ING 1) at the DFG are pleased to announce a call for proposals focused on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry. The proposed Canada-Germany collaborative research projects must focus on basic and fundamental research and are expected to generate new knowledge and address one or more research challenges related to environmental sustainability. Typical, but not exclusive, examples include

  • sustainable polymerizations
  • novel types of catalysts or catalytic reactions
  • separation and purification technologies
  • sustainable chemistry and engineering
  • tools for life-cycle assessment

Applicants are encouraged to incorporate multi- and interdisciplinary approaches in their research and to look at systems and processes as a whole rather than one component of a system or process. Collaborative research proposals will be accepted to DFG subject areas 321 to 327 and 403 and 404 (refer to DFG’s subject classification.

Proposals that do not fit the topic of this call for proposals and/or that do not have a primary research focus in these subject areas will not be funded.

This call for proposals on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry includes a two-stage application process whereby Canadian researchers must first submit a modified Alliance International Collaboration grant application to NSERC by the application deadline. NSERC will convene a selection panel to assist it with the assessment of applications. The selection panel will assess the applications according to the merit evaluation criteria and merit indicators, and the most highly rated applications will be invited to continue in the process. Consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in the research and training environment will be used by NSERC as a screening criterion, and only those applications that meet this criterion will be retained for assessment by the selection panel. The eligibility of the Canadian researchers will also be reviewed internally by NSERC.

If invited to continue, Canadian and German research teams will then submit a single collaborative research proposal (submitted by the German principal investigator) that will undergo a scientific review process led by DFG. Only proposals from applicants that have been invited to submit will be accepted by DFG. Successful Canadian participants will receive funding from NSERC via an Alliance International Collaboration grant to support their involvement in the joint project, while eligible German participants will be supported by DFG.

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 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.

Who can apply?

If you are a Canadian university researcher who is eligible to receive NSERC funds, you can apply on your own or as a team with co-applicants who are also eligible academic researchers. You must also include at least one academic collaborator from Germany who meets DFG’s eligibility requirements. For this collaborative call for proposals, collaborators and partner organizations from outside academia are not permitted. You are limited to one application as either Canadian principal applicant or co-applicant.

What's next?
German Collaborator(s)
Apply now


Alliance International Collaboration grant application deadline (submitted to NSERC)
December 7, 2022, 8:00 p.m. (ET)

Invited full application deadline (submitted to DFG)
June 6, 2023, 5:00 p.m. (CEST) [German time]

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