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NSERC-European Commission Joint call on quantum technologies

Duration See below
Total NSERC budget for funding opportunity See below
Application deadline October 21, 2021 at 5 p.m. (CEST) [Brussels time] / 11 a.m. (ET) [Ottawa time]
How to apply This link will take you to another Web site EU Funding and Tenders Portal
For more information Contact


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the European Commission (EC), under the banner of This link will take you to another Web site Horizon Europe This link will take you to another Web site (HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-23: International cooperation with Canada [RIA]), are partnering on a call for research proposals on quantum technologies. As our dependence on an increasingly digital society grows, quantum science presents considerable opportunities for new insights, discoveries, technological developments and applications that cut across disciplines and can have impacts in many sectors of the economy and society, globally.

This call builds on a long tradition of Europe-Canada (EU-Canada) collaboration and complementary interests and research expertise in quantum research. The call will support EU-Canada research collaborations to advance the development of quantum technologies. Eligible Canadian participants will receive funding from NSERC to support their involvement in the joint project. It is expected that these jointly funded projects will contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Advances in quantum technologies in specific areas of mutual EU-Canada interest including quantum computing and simulation, quantum networking and communication, quantum sensing and metrology.
  • Reinforcement of the EU-Canada research excellence in the specific areas of mutual interest described above, including the establishment of strategic partnerships in research, education and training.

Eligibility and team composition

The full requirements for the team composition of eligible EU-Canada consortia are described in the This link will take you to another Web site Horizon Europe Work Programme General Annexes and This link will take you to another Web site HORIZON-CL4-2021-DIGITAL-EMERGING-01-23: International cooperation with Canada (RIA). Proposals must include eligible applicants from both Canada and Europe. The requirements are described below.

For Canada:

A team of Canadian researchers with at least one university applicant in Canada who is eligible to receive funding from NSERC. Researchers should refer to NSERC’s Eligibility criteria for faculty to see if they are eligible to apply for and hold funds. College faculty members who meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria can participate as co-applicants.

If selected for funding, the Canadian team will be asked to provide NSERC with the name of the Canadian principal applicant and the names of the co-applicants. Only co-applicants who meet NSERC’s eligibility requirements will receive funding.

Other researchers and organizations (e.g., from the public and/or private sector) can participate in the consortium as collaborators. However, they cannot receive funding from the NSERC grant and are expected to bring their own resources to the collaboration.

For Europe:

To be eligible, European applicants must meet the Horizon Europe Work Programme (HEWP) eligibility conditions detailed in This link will take you to another Web site General Annex B.

Research scope

Proposals are expected to address a mix of quantum technology challenges in the areas of quantum communication, computing, simulation, and sensing, and identify the added value and/or mutual benefit for both EU and Canadian partners. These should include the integration of different aspects like physics, engineering, computer science, theory, algorithms, software, manufacturing, control, infrastructures, etc.

Relevant technological and societal challenges to address include:

  • Quantum computing and simulation co-design of hardware and software to accelerate applications; seamless interoperable software-to-hardware stack that can apply over multiple platforms; and theoretical and computer science foundations of quantum algorithms and architectures.
  • Privacy and security concepts, proofs and applications for quantum communication, including QKD (quantum key distribution) and beyond; device-independent protocols, quantum network/repeater protocols, including architectures and network stack; development of satellite and space-based hardware, and certification/verification of states and correlations.
  • Application-specific quantum sensor development covering: device fabrication, characterization, e.g., for magnetometry, prospection, imaging, navigation, biomedical, and theoretical research optimizing simple sensors, control, as well as advanced approaches (use of entanglement and error correction).

Proposals should address one or more of the above technological and societal challenges and clearly define the benefit the EU-Canada collaboration brings.

In order to raise the technology readiness level (TRL), support for holistic—software and hardware—engineering approaches across all areas are encouraged in consortia involving participation of relevant public and/or private partners. Activities are expected to start at TRL 1-2 and achieve TRL 2-3 by the end of the project.

For more information, visit the call description on the This link will take you to another Web site EU Funding and Tenders Portal.

Funds available

Each selected EU-Canada consortium will be jointly funded by NSERC and the EC, to support the activities of eligible researchers in their respective countries. Both NSERC and the EC each expect to contribute ~CAN$2M (EUR 1.33 million) per selected consortia. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.

NSERC’s total budget allocation for this call is ~CAN$6M (EUR 4.00 million). NSERC’s contribution will be awarded to the eligible Canadian applicants in the form of one Alliance grant per consortium, to be administered by the Canadian principal applicant’s institution. NSERC’s funding is intended to support the activities of the eligible Canadian researchers in the consortium, and must be used in accordance with the Tri-agency guide on financial administration. Canadian applicants are only eligible to receive funding from NSERC.

EU funding will only be provided to legal entities established in eligible countries in accordance with the HEWP This link will take you to another Web site General Annex B.

Duration of projects

The European Commission and NSERC consider that proposals with duration of 36 months (but not exceeding 60 months) will allow outcomes to be addressed appropriately.

Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other durations.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via the This link will take you to another Web site EU Funding and Tenders Portal by the Proposal Coordinator (the coordinator must be a legal entity established in Member State or Associated Country). Applications must be submitted in English.

Applicants in Canada must meet NSERC’s Eligibility criteria for faculty and must agree to terms and conditions at the time of application and when accepting the award. Eligible applicants and co-applicants must complete and sign the NSERC Terms and conditions of applying form and attach it to the proposal.

If you submit a proposal under this call, you agree that information contained in your proposal may be shared between NSERC and the EC for purposes consistent with the program objectives. Consortium participants are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of the This link will take you to another Web site EC rules concerning the disclosure of information contained in the proposal.

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 This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks as described in This link will take you to another Web site Information about programs and information holdings. You must ensure that others listed in the application have agreed to be included.


The selection and evaluation of proposals will be conducted in accordance with the Horizon Europe procedures. For this call, proposals will be assessed by an evaluation committee with balanced participation of experts appointed by NSERC and the EC. Additional information on the review process and the evaluation criteria is available in HEWP This link will take you to another Web site General Annex F.

Terms and conditions

NSERC and the Government of Canada are committed to the principle that research should be as open as possible and as safeguarded as necessary. In supporting research partnerships that endeavor 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 timer
  • terminate or suspend any grant or award if there is a determination of unacceptable national security risk by the Government of Canada

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 This link will take you to another Web site Safeguarding Your Research portal, including the This link will take you to another Web site National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships.