On January 16, 2024, the Government of Canada published its Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern. This funding opportunity is in scope of this new policy, wherein grant applications that involve conducting research that aims to advance a sensitive technology research area will not be funded if any of the researchers involved in activities supported by the grant are currently affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support from, a named research organization. Please read the Tri-agency guidance on the STRAC Policy to understand how this policy may impact your grant application.

NSERC-National Science Foundation – Collaboration on quantum science and artificial intelligence


Value and duration One to five years
Application deadline See below
How to apply Letter of intent submitted to NSERC (NSERC online system)

Full applications (by invitation only) are submitted to the NSF by the US principal investigator
Additional important information can be found in the Dear Colleague Letter on the NSF website.


NSERC and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on research cooperation. The MOU provides an overarching framework to encourage collaboration between Canadian and US research communities and sets out the principles for developing jointly supported activities. This new NSERC-NSF collaborative research opportunity focuses specifically on discoveries and innovations in the areas of artificial intelligence and quantum science.

Through a lead agency model, US and Canadian research teams will submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process at the NSF, which will be the lead agency. Canadian academic researchers may receive funding from NSERC, and US researchers may receive funding from the NSF. NSERC funding will be provided as an Alliance grant. For this collaborative call there is no requirement for partner organizations or contributions in the Canadian component, and they should not be included in the proposal.

The collaborative opportunity is fully described in the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) available on the NSF website. The DCL provides the complete guidelines for the preparation, submission, review and award of NSERC-NSF collaborative research proposals.

Who can apply?

The full requirements are described in the DCL. Proposals must include eligible applicants from both Canada and the US as described below.

For Canada:

One Canadian university researcher, or a team of Canadian university researchers, who is eligible to receive NSERC funds can apply.

For the US:

Please refer to the DCL and to the NSF website.

How to apply

Collaborative research proposals will be accepted to the NSF programs listed in the DCL. Deadlines and application windows vary by program. Detailed information regarding the NSF programs, application requirements and submission process are described in the DCL and outlined below.

Step 1 - Letter of intent

The Canadian researcher or team of researchers must submit a letter of intent (LOI) to NSERC using the NSERC online system at least eight weeks prior to the planned submission of the full proposal to the NSF. The NSERC eligibility criteria for faculty and the national security guidelines apply. The LOI must not exceed three pages, excluding references, and must respect NSERC online presentation and attachment standards.

The LOI must outline the research proposed, research teams involved from both countries and annual estimates of funding to be requested from both the NSF and NSERC ($CAD). You must also indicate the NSF program to which you are applying.

The LOI must also include

  • a brief summary of the main objectives and research challenges of the proposed research and the expected outcomes and benefits
  • a plan to foster equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the research and training environment

The LOI and the eligibility of the Canadian researchers will be reviewed internally by NSERC. The plan to foster EDI within the research and training environment is a screening criterion, and only those LOIs that provide a satisfactory EDI training plan will be invited to submit full proposals to the NSF. For guidance, consult the Equity, diversity and inclusion in your training plan web page as well as Alliance grants’ Merit indicator 4.2.

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


To start your LOI

  • log in to the online system and choose Create a new form 101
  • select Research partnerships programs, then Alliance Grants
  • for the Proposal type field, select Letter of intent
  • for the Type of call field, select NSF Quantum Technologies/AI from the drop-down menu

Step 2 - Full proposal (by invitation only)

Based on the review of your LOI, you may be invited to proceed with a full proposal to the NSF. NSERC will provide an Invitation to submit letter to Canadian applicants, which must be appended to the full proposal as a supplementary document. Only proposals that have been invited to submit will be accepted. The NSERC eligibility criteria for faculty apply. The collaborative proposals must be submitted by US principal investigators to a participating NSF program using the appropriate NSF submission process. Full applications are not submitted to NSERC.

If you submit a proposal under this call, you agree that information contained in your proposal will be shared between NSERC and the NSF for purposes consistent with the program objectives. Participants are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of the NSF rules concerning the disclosure of information contained in the proposal. Participants should also ensure they are aware of the policies surrounding NSF programs and post award policies.

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks as described in Information about programs and information holdings. You must ensure that others listed in the application have agreed to be included.

Funding and duration of projects

Each selected Canada-US project will be jointly funded by NSERC and the NSF, to support the activities of eligible researchers in their respective countries. NSERC’s contribution will be awarded to the eligible Canadian applicants in the form of one Alliance grant per successful application, to be administered by the Canadian principal applicant’s institution. NSERC’s funding is intended to support the activities of the eligible Canadian researchers, and must be used in accordance with the Tri-agency guide on financial administration. Canadian applicants are only eligible to receive funding from NSERC.

Proposals are expected to adhere to the areas of science, funding limits and grant durations for the NSF-participating programs and NSERC’s Alliance grants.


The full proposals will be reviewed by NSF in competition with other proposals received for the same funding round of the program to which the proposal is submitted. Proposals will be reviewed using NSF's merit review process and must succeed on the strengths of their intellectual merit and broader impacts. NSERC will not conduct a parallel review and will not rank proposals. NSF and NSERC will determine recommendation outcomes. NSERC’s funding decision will take into consideration the merit review and, where applicable, the potential risks for Canada’s national security.

Terms and conditions

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. As funding for the Canadian component of the proposals will be provided as an Alliance grant, Canada’s National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships apply.

In supporting research partnerships that endeavour to obtain the greatest possible benefits to Canada and for Canadians, NSERC reserves the right to

  • determine the eligibility of proposals and request additional information from Canadian applicants, as may be required for the review of their application
  • interpret the regulations and policies governing the national funding opportunities
  • apply conditions to individual grants, as appropriate
  • terminate, suspend, reduce the amount or duration, or change the terms and conditions of an award with due notice, in order to comply with Government of Canada laws, regulations, policies and directives, which are subject to change from time to time


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