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June 2012 - Volume 36 No. 3

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In this issue

Upcoming NSERC deadlines

July 2, 2012 Letters of Intent for Technology Access Centres Grants
August 1, 2012 Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant
September 1, 2012 Call for Nominations for NSERC Awards for Science Promotion
September 1, 2012 Applications for the Ship Time Grants
September 15, 2012 Applications for PromoScience Grants
October 1, 2012 Application for Research Tools and Instruments Grants Categories 2 and 3 (subatomic physics only)
October 1, 2012 Applications for College-University Idea to Innovation Grants
October 15, 2012 Application for Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges Grants
October 25, 2012 Applications for Research Tools and Instruments Grants Category 1
November 1, 2012 Applications for Discovery Grants
November 1, 2012 Applications for the Discovery Grants Program Northern Research Supplements

Connect with NSERC: consulting the research community

NSERC is currently consulting the research community to gather comments, questions and feedback on key programs, initiatives and activities. The focus of our most recent consultations is on the future of the Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants Program, given its reduced funding envelope. It is hoped that the outcome of our consultations will shape future investments in the RTI Grants Program.

A consultation document, including options for the future of the RTI Grants Program, will be available for comment by the research community on June 29, 2012. NSERC also plans on hosting further consultations with the research community through meetings, teleconferences and other channels.

To learn more about these consultations and to comment on the proposed options for the RTI program, please visit Connect with NSERC or contact

Release of the Council of Canadian Academies panel report

A Council of Canadian Academies expert panel has conducted an assessment of performance indicators for basic research on NSERC’s behalf. The assessment has focussed on studying evidence from internationally observed practices, with a view to identifying best practices for monitoring and measuring research performance. The expert panel has drafted its report, which will be launched publicly on July 5, 2012.

The information contained in the report will be used to find better ways to compare overall levels of excellence across disciplines according to international best practices, with the goal of devising a new budget allocation methodology for Evaluation Groups under the Discovery Grants (DG) Program. These plans are not expected to affect the next DG competition that will be held in 2013. NSERC aims to implement any changes to the budget allocation methodology in time for the 2014 DG competition, following consultations with the research community. For more information, please visit the Consultations page.

NSERC and SSHRC to launch new Client Relationship Management System

In an effort to modernize our grants management systems, NSERC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have been preparing for the upcoming launch of their new Client Relationship Management (CRM) system. The new system will improve the user experience for NSERC and SSHRC clients and grant applicants by making the application process simpler, more streamlined, and user-friendly.

Following the validation and training stages with the research community, the initial launch of the system planned for this fall will feature the Canada Research Chairs Program; Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program; Indirect Costs Program; and Collaborative Research and Development Program. Additional programs will be phased in over the next few years and it is anticipated that all programs will eventually be integrated into the new CRM system.

Discovery Grants announcement

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, along with NSERC President, Suzanne Fortier, announced the 2012 Discovery Grants competition results on May 23 at the University of Toronto. Scientists, engineers and students at universities across the country received more than $410 million in grants and scholarships over terms ranging from one to five years. These awards comprise the competition results for NSERC's Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships, and Postdoctoral Fellowships. For more information, please refer to the news release and backgrounder for the announcement.

Use of Discovery Grant funds for research instruments and equipment

NSERC is consulting on the future of the Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) envelope in light of the reductions in available program funding. We will hold at least one more competition (with reduced funding) for the RTI Grants Program. The outcome of the consultation will shape future investments in RTI.

The research community has raised questions regarding the use of Discovery Grant funds for the purchase of research instruments and equipment. While the RTI Grants Program provides the primary avenue through which to obtain support for tools and instruments costing more than $7,000, equipment of any value can be purchased using a Discovery Grant. We also encourage the research community to explore other avenues for funding research tools and instruments, including NSERC’s many programs that allow for the purchase of equipment, among other expenses.

NSERC Awards for Science Promotion recipients

Both the individual and group recipients of the NSERC Awards for Science Promotion were recently honoured at separate events in May. Gordon Gore, of the BIG Little Science Centre, received the individual award valued at $10,000, in recognition of his passionate advocacy for science education over a career spanning more than five decades. Toronto-based Visions of Science Network for Learning received the $25,000 group award for supporting marginalized youth and helping to remove the barriers they face in pursuing careers in science and technology.

Climate Change and Atmospheric Research initiative

Launched by NSERC on March 26, the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) initiative will provide up to $35 million over five years. By the deadline date of May 17, 2012, NSERC received 58 Letters of Intent to apply. CCAR funding will cover one of the following three themes:

  1. Understanding Earth system processes and their representation in weather, climate and atmospheric chemistry models;
  2. Advancing weather, climate and environmental prediction; and/or
  3. Understanding recent changes in the Arctic and cold region environments.

Invited full applications will go through a competitive peer review process culminating in grants being awarded in late 2012.

NSERC researchers to attend the 62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

From July 1 to 6, 2012, more than 25 Nobel laureates and 550 young researchers from all over the world will meet in Lindau, Germany, to exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks. This year’s meeting is dedicated to physics. All five candidates nominated by NSERC were accepted and will be attending. The participants attending the meeting on behalf of NSERC are Aidan Chatwin–Davies (University of Waterloo), Patrick Clancy (University of Toronto), Simon Foreman (Stanford University), Laurence Perreault Levasseur (University of Cambridge), and Simon Viel (University of British Columbia).

Results from the Strategic Project Grants evaluation

The Strategic Project Grants (SPG) evaluation report and management response have been posted on the evaluation page. The evaluation found that SPGs continue to benefit Canada by supporting collaborative research projects that produce research results used by industry and government partners. NSERC would like to thank the researchers, partners, students, postdoctoral fellows and research staff who participated in the evaluation for their important contributions to the study.

Expert volunteers wanted for Ask a Scientist

Ask a Scientist, featured on This link will take you to another Web site, is looking for volunteer scientists. This unique volunteer opportunity offers scientists from any discipline the opportunity to answer one to two questions per month from young people across Canada. All scientific areas and levels of expertise are welcome, including doctoral and postdoctoral students and fellows. This link will take you to another Web site The panel of scientists currently participating are featured on If you are interested in volunteering, contact Dariusz Burzynski at