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November 2012 - Volume 36 No. 5

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In this issue

Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program: Generating impact with leading-edge training

The CREATE Program supports the training of teams of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs. A mid-term review of the first set of CREATE Program awards has highlighted the impact the program has had on students across the country.

Participants in the CREATE Program have been successful in having their research appear in leading publications, universities have established new courses that have become permanent parts of the curriculum, postdoctoral trainees have been hired into both academic and non-academic positions and undergraduates have been recruited into paths leading to scientific careers. 

The CREATE Program also offers students a full range of opportunities for international collaboration. In fact, 88% of CREATE Program projects have international links with 16 countries. One example of this international collaboration is an agreement between NSERC and the German Research Foundation, established to support bilateral training that promotes an exchange of students between Germany and Canada. NSERC is also working on developing new international opportunities for the program.

For more information about the CREATE Program and its focus on training for students, please refer to the program description.

Launch of NSERC Dashboard

NSERC has launched a dashboard that allows instant access to funding investment facts, figures and stories featuring researchers from across the country.

The NSERC Dashboard provides a province-by-province breakdown of where NSERC invests its government funding, the types of projects and the benefits those investments are creating for Canadians. It also showcases investments in science and technology (S&T) priority areas for Canada developed in partnership with industry, academia and the Government of Canada.

In collaboration with communications teams at campuses across Canada, NSERC is regularly looking for stories that showcase the work being done by scientists and engineers. We are always looking for new stories to add to our Dashboard, and invite you to share your stories with us through

NSERC's Five-Year Plan: Seeking the community's input on the way forward

Stay tuned for upcoming webinars in early 2013, providing an avenue for the research community to chime in on its five-year strategic plan, spanning 2013 to 2017. NSERC President, Suzanne Fortier will host a series of webinars and will be seeking your feedback on the proposed path forward. Stay tuned to our Connect with NSERC Web page for more information about the release of the draft plan for discussion in the coming weeks.

Upcoming NSERC deadlines

Your views on methodologies to allocate budgets among disciplines

NSERC will launch an online consultation with the research community next week following the July 5 release of the This link will take you to another Web site Council of Canadian Academies’ (the Council) Expert Panel report entitled This link will take you to another Web site Informing Research Choices: Indicators and Judgment.

The information contained in the expert panel’s report and feedback from the research community will contribute to NSERC’s evaluation of potential methodologies to allocate budgets among Evaluation Groups under the Discovery Grants (DG) Program. NSERC’s goal is to implement any potential changes in this methodology in time for the 2014 competition.

Stakeholders in the research community are invited to complete the online survey or share their feedback via e-mail until January 11, 2013.

For more information about how to participate in NSERC’s consultation on the expert panel’s report, please visit the Consultations page on NSERC’s Web site or contact us at

Update on consultations on the future of the RTI Grants Program

Throughout the summer, NSERC consulted the research community on future options for the Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants Program. Through a series of meetings and an online consultation, NSERC representatives have gathered comments, questions and feedback on two proposed options for the RTI Grants Program, given its reduced funding envelope.

NSERC is analyzing the survey results and reviewing the feedback received during the consultation period. A summary of the main findings from the survey will be posted on the Consultations section of the NSERC Web site in the coming weeks.

We wish to extend our appreciation to all of those who participated in the consultation on this important initiative.

Although the formal part of the consultation is complete, we will continue to meet with stakeholders across Canada to seek input and will invite further comments through

Tri-Agency Harmonization of the Canada Graduate Scholarships Program

In light of feedback from the research community on the benefits of harmonizing the Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have formed a Tri-Agency Harmonization Team to redesign the CGS Master's and Doctoral components. The re-design and implementation will be done in close consultation with stakeholders to ensure that the new CGS program is delivered as efficiently as possible in support of the training of future generations of scientists.

This project is an opportunity for graduate students and post-secondary institutions to take full advantage of simpler application and adjudication procedures and processes. It also means that all stakeholders will benefit from the clarity that comes with greater alignment across the agencies of the program's key characteristics, such as eligibility and selection criteria.

A web page will be launched in the upcoming weeks highlighting the project details and listing scheduled outreach opportunities. In the meantime, we invite you to share any comments or questions via

Virtual meetings: Maintaining excellence in the peer review process

NSERC has recently reviewed best practices of other organizations that are currently using virtual meetings such as videoconference, web technology and teleconference to facilitate the essential work of review committees. We have also worked closely with the Committee on Grants and Scholarships (COGS) and are looking forward to building on the previous use of virtual meetings to review the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS), Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) and Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF).

One of the most compelling reasons others have turned to virtual review is the valuable time saved by committee members who, in many cases, need to travel across the country to meet. We are also aware that by moving our review online, we are opening the doors to other volunteers who may not have previously been able to participate on a committee in person. Finally, a move to virtual meetings will also see a reduction in costs while also maintaining the quality of the review process.

NSERC plans to formally consult committee members with a survey immediately following upcoming virtual meetings to gauge participants’ experiences and quickly address any concerns they may have.

Update on NSERC's New Grants Management System

NSERC is working in partnership with SSHRC on the development of its new electronic Grants Management System, which will make the on-line application and grant management process simpler, more streamlined and user-friendly. A new portal will provide a single point of entry for all of NSERC’s interactions with applicants, reviewers, committee members, institutions and partners.

The Grants Management System will use the new This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV), allowing researchers to maintain their CV data in a single repository and use it to apply to 22 different funding organizations across Canada, including the tri-agencies and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. NSERC has been working closely with the CCV team and CAURA to facilitate its use and adapt it to the needs of the research community, who will also have the opportunity to test the new system.

The CCV will be phased in along with the Grants Management System, funding opportunity by funding opportunity starting with Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants and Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants in spring 2013, followed by the Discovery Grants. The research community will be kept informed of the gradual timeline for implementation, including the launch of the NSERC version of the CCV template. In the meantime, applicants will continue to use the current application system and NSERC CV.

The first NSERC program will be on-line in early 2013, and all NSERC funding opportunities are expected to be integrated in the new system by 2015. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), NSERC’s sister agency, has already adopted the Grants Management System starting with the This link will take you to another Web site Insight Development Grants competition on November 5, 2012.

Canadian Researchers to work with international counterparts on sustainable manufacturing

Five Canadian researchers are joining international counterparts from the G8 countries to collaborate in 10 newly funded research projects that are focussed on innovative approaches for the sustainable use of material resources as well as the contribution and impact that this will have on manufacturing.

Scientists and engineers from the University of British Columbia (UBC), McGill University and the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) received support through this second round of the G8 Research Councils Initiative on Multilateral Research Funding.

For more information about the program and recipients, please refer to the news item page on our Web site.

Competition expected for new business-led networks

Funding available through the tri-agency Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program can put top researchers to work solving challenges faced by a particular industry sector.

The industry-centred BL-NCE program has pioneered a new approach to collaborative research since its inception in 2007. Led by a not-for-profit, industry-led consortium, networks bring together teams from academia and industry with the right expertise to address major R&D and commercialization challenges. The research agenda focusses on solving problems identified by the private sector, with program funding paying up to half of the research costs.

Collaborative research is an important component of many researchers’ activities, and is increasingly also part of the business strategy of some of Canada’s most successful companies. The BL-NCE program responds to the fact that research challenges are often shared by multiple businesses, and hold the entire sector back from greater success. Support for collaborative research helps overcome these challenges, shares costs and risks, and makes the sector more competitive globally.

A future competition is expected for new networks. Visit the Business-Led-NCE Web site to This link will take you to another Web site sign up for competition alerts.

The BL-NCE program is part of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) suite of programs. For more information, contact the NCE Secretariat or call 613-995-6010.

Supporting the principles of Open Access

NSERC’s Council recently approved supporting the principle of Open Access and engaging both nationally and internationally on the due diligence work needed to move from principle to implementation.

NSERC is working actively with the newly formed Global Research Council to develop common principles, at the international level, for Open Access.

You may also wish to consult the This link will take you to another Web site Open Access page of the This link will take you to another Web site Web site, where you will find additional information on how the three federal granting agencies are working together to promote access to the results of publicly funded research.