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NSERC releases Discovery Research Program Evaluation Report and Management Action Plan

Program news Professors

June 11, 2020

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is pleased to release the Discovery Research Program Evaluation Report summarizing the evaluation's findings as well as the Management Action Plan (MAP). The MAP provides NSERC management’s response to the report’s recommendations. NSERC would like to extend its thanks to the research community for its valuable participation in this assessment.

The evaluation concluded that the Discovery Research Program is a central component of Canada’s research funding ecosystem. It found that the Discovery Research Program has a well-established record of providing Canadian researchers in the fields of natural sciences and engineering the opportunity to undertake curiosity-driven, long-term research programs with the required flexibility to pursue promising research avenues. The following recommendations are detailed in the report:

  1. NSERC should maintain the Discovery Research Program.
  2. NSERC should explain the rationale for funding differences across disciplines, providing a clear description of the Discovery Grant funding levels and how they are established.
  3. NSERC should clarify the objectives with respect to the nature and level of support provided for research tools and instruments (RTI) that enable researchers to carry out leading edge research. Revisit the RTI budget in order to enable the program to meet the needs of the community.
  4. NSERC should consider separating the management of the funding for individual Discovery Grants in mathematics and statistics from the management of funding for institutes in this field.
  5. NSERC should clarify a vision and develop a comprehensive framework and guidelines that communicate how NSERC intends to provide ongoing support to research institutes in Canada.
  6. NSERC should pursue the implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles as they apply to activities funded through the Discovery Research Program.

Management actions and program refinements are in development as described in the MAP. Should you have any questions or comments, please send them to

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