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Increased support for students, trainees and research support personnel funded through NSERC research grants

Program news Professors Students

June 30, 2020

Canada’s three federal research granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—recognize the vital role that highly qualified talent plays in the research enterprise and the need to sustain the talent pipeline during the major disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To lessen the impact due to COVID-19 on students, trainees and research support personnel funded through research grants, NSERC will provide additional funding to eligible grant recipients. This additional funding to support trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel paid through grants recognizes the need to continue supporting their salaries and stipends. This represents an additional investment through NSERC of up to $140 million by the Government of Canada to address income challenges related to delays in research created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This additional funding will play a critical role in ensuring continuity in research projects and programs.

All three agencies will provide additional funding to research grant holders so that they can continue to support trainees and research support personnel during the crisis. Grant holders will be contacted in the coming weeks by each agency. The funding will be provided before September 30, 2020. The value of the supplement will be commensurate with the average level of support provided to trainees and research support personnel for each agency over a three-month period. Institutions are strongly encouraged to continue to pay trainees and research support personnel paid from these grants during the crisis.

Grant holders will be required to attest that there were indeed interruptions to the work of trainees and research support personnel caused by COVID-19, and that the additional funding will be used to support them. Additionally, the trainees and research support personnel supported by the supplement will need to ensure they are not benefiting from compensation under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. They also cannot be benefitting from other income supports related to COVID-19, including the extensions of tri-agency scholarships and fellowships.

Grant holders who did not pay salaries or stipends from a grant will not be eligible for the supplement. Eligible grants are those that were active on April 1, 2020 and that were not already in a time extension period.

Please see the accompanying frequently asked questions, which provides details on how this additional funding will be implemented, and check our websites (CIHR , NSERC, SSHRC) and social media feeds for updates. For more information please contact supplements@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

This additional funding applies to the following NSERC programs:

University programs

  • Advancing Climate Change Science in Canada
  • Alliance grants
  • Belmont Forum
  • Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics
  • Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (project component)
  • Chairs in Design and Engineering (research component)
  • Collaborative and Thematic Resources Support in Mathematics and Statistics program
  • Collaborative Health Research Projects
  • Collaborative Research and Training Experience program
  • Collaborative Research and Development grants (including DND/NSERC Research Partnership grants)
  • Discovery Frontiers
  • Discovery Grants program
  • Discovery Grants – Subatomic Physics (individual, project and major resources)
  • Discovery Grants – Discovery Development Grants
  • Engage and Engage Plus grants
  • Idea to Innovation grants
  • Industrial Research Chairs (research project)
  • Strategic Partnerships Grants – Projects and Networks
  • Whale Science for Tomorrow

College and Community Innovation program

  • Applied Research and Development grants (level 2 and 3)
  • College & Community Social Innovation Fund grants
  • Engage and Engage Plus grants for colleges
  • Industrial Research Chairs for colleges
  • Innovation Enhancement grants (all durations)
  • Innovation Links grants
  • Technology Access Centres grants

Networks of Centres of Excellence

  • Networks of Centres of Excellence
  • Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence

Frequently asked questions

Three-month supplement for the support of trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel

On this page

  1. What is the supplement for?
  2. What funding opportunities does this apply to?
  3. How do I apply for the supplement?
  4. What is the value of the supplement?
  5. How and when will I receive this funding?
  6. Do I have to take this additional funding? Under what conditions could I decline the supplement?
  7. I have multiple grants. Will I receive the supplement for each one?
  8. What can the funding be used for?
  9. Is the funding just for students?
  10. Can the supplement be combined with the Canada Student Emergency Grant or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or other income supports?
  11. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the supplement for?

The agencies will provide additional funding to eligible grant recipients to support trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel whose salaries have been paid by research grants, and whose work has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the three-month period from April 1 to June 30, 2020.

This additional funding is being provided to support the salaries and stipends of trainees and research support personnel during the research work interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. What funding opportunities does this apply to?

The additional funding applies to funding opportunities that support trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel. The full list is available on NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC websites. 

3. How do I apply for the supplement?

Eligible grantees (and their institutions) will be contacted directly. You will be required to attest that the work of trainees and research support personnel was interrupted due to COVID-19 during the period from April 1 to June 30, 2020.

Additionally, the trainees and research support personnel supported by the supplement will need to ensure they are not benefiting from compensation under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. They also cannot be benefitting from other income supports related to COVID-19, including the extensions of tri-agency scholarships and fellowships.

4. What is the value of the supplement?

The value of the supplement will be commensurate with the average level of support provided to trainees and research support personnel for each agency over a three-month period.

5. How and when will I receive this funding?

More details will be provided in the coming weeks and the additional funding will be distributed before September 30, 2020.

6. Do I have to take this additional funding? Under what conditions could I decline the supplement?

No. The Tri-agency will contact eligible recipients. You will be required to attest that the work of trainees and research support personnel supported by your grant was interrupted due to COVID-19 constraints.  If their work was not disrupted or you do not have a need for the supplement, you would indicate this at that time.

7. I have multiple grants. Will I receive the supplement for each one?

Yes, you will receive the supplement for each eligible grant.

8. What can the funding be used for?

The supplement is to provide salary support for existing trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel involved in research supported by eligible grants.

9. Is the funding just for students?

No, the supplement can also be used to provide support for postdoctoral fellows and research support personnel involved in research supported by eligible grants.

10. Can the supplement be combined with the Canada Student Emergency Grant or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or other income supports?

No. The trainees and research support personnel supported by the supplement will need to ensure they are not benefiting from compensation under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. They also cannot be benefitting from other income supports related to COVID-19, including the extensions of tri-agency scholarships and fellowships.

11. Where can I get more information?

As mechanisms to deliver this support are developed, additional details will be communicated to grantees and institutions. Please continue to visit this FAQ webpage, which will be updated regularly.

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