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Whale Science for Tomorrow

Instructions for completing an application – form 101

General information

About the grant

Read the program description before you complete the application.

Who completes the application?

The applicant must complete the application and include all required documentation using the On-line System. In addition, the Personal Data Form (Form 100) must be completed by applicants and co-applicants and linked to the application form. Up to five (5) Form 100s from co-applicants can be submitted. Additional co-applicants should be listed in the proposal section only.

Presentation standards

You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that are complete and respect the presentation standards. If page limits are stated, pages in excess of the number permitted will be removed.

For more information, read the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.

Application deadlines

Your application must be received at your institution’s research grants office by its internal deadline date; contact your research grants office for those deadlines.

For programs with deadlines, the application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on the deadline date. If it is not received by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected. Application deadlines are indicated in the program descriptions, as well as on the Application Deadlines and Notification of Decision page.
Material or updates received under separate cover (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted.

Personal information

The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC are outlined in the following policy statements:

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. Both Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and NSERC are subject to the This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP). The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Information about programs and information holdings.

Personnel from DFO will have access to relevant data and records for purposes consistent with the program’s objectives.

Help with program information

  • Contact the staff responsible for the program to which you are applying.

Help with the NSERC on-line system

  • Check the Frequently Asked Questions on how to use the On-line System.
  • Review the instructions available in the application.
  • Contact the On-line Services Helpdesk. Send an email to: or call 613-995-4273. Include your email address and telephone number.

Completing the application

Application profile

Title of proposal

The title will be used for publication purposes. It should describe the subject of the research to be supported. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

Time devoted to proposed research/activity

Enter the time devoted by the applicant (in hours per month) to the proposed research/activity.

Area(s) of research

Research subject codes

Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary research code.

Area of application codes

Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary area of application code from the list of Area of Application Codes.

Key words
Provide a maximum of 10 key words that describe the proposal.


Before completing this page, consult the Policies and Guidelines of the Program Guide for Professors concerning the requirements for certain types of research.

Research involving the use of animals: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with certification from your institution’s animal care committee that the experimental procedures proposed have been approved and that the care and treatment of animals is in accordance with the principles outlined in the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) guide.

Research involving humans: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the appropriate certification indicating that research involving humans has been reviewed and has received the required approval.

Research involving human pluripotent stem cells: If you select Yes, or if the peer review finds that your application falls into this category and your application is recommended for funding, it will be forwarded, with your consent, to CIHR’s Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with This link will take you to another Web site Chapter 12, Section F of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2). The SCOC review is in addition to the normal review by local Research Ethics Boards. Funding will not be released until approval has been obtained from the SCOC.

Research involving hazardous substances: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution’s administration with certification from your institution’s biosafety committee that the laboratory procedures being used comply with the safety precautions necessary for the level of containment required by the research.

Environmental impact: The Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment.

Cover letter

The cover letter is optional and should only be used if you wish to provide NSERC with additional information that will not be shared with external reviewers, such as a request (with justification) that a certain individual, group of individuals, or organization not be involved in the review of your proposal. NSERC will take such a request into consideration. The cover letter must contain your name, the NSERC program to which you are applying, and the title of your application.

Note: This letter may be accessible to these individuals under the Privacy Act.


Identify co-applicants who will participate on your application. Form 100s for up to five (5) co-applicants can be provided; the remainder should be listed in the Proposal section. Do not list these individuals in Form 101. If co-applicants are from a different institution than the applicant’s, they must advise the authorized officer of their organization that the applicant, or the applicant's institution, will be seeking their signature prior to submitting the application to NSERC.

To invite co-applicants to link their Personal Data Form (Form 100) to the application, enter the email address of the co-applicant as it appears in the co-applicant’s Form 100, as well as the family name. When you select Save, an automated email message will be sent to the person(s) to whom you have granted access to your application, informing them that they have been invited to participate in your application. The status will appear as Not Linked.

When a co-applicant links a Personal Data Form (Form 100) to the application, his/her personal information will appear in the Co-applicant page, and the status will change to Linked. At this point, enter the time (in hours per month) each co-applicant will devote to the proposed research/activity or the use of equipment or facility.

By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as co-applicants have been informed of the use and disclosure of their personal information by NSERC (see Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC) and have authorized the release of the information by the applicant.


A collaborator is a member of a research team that is applying for a group grant. A collaborator will not have access to the grant funds and must be qualified to undertake research independently. Collaborators are expected to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project or program of research and to bring their own resources to the collaboration. Examples of collaborators include academic researchers, company staff members or research scientists.

Identify collaborators in this section only if their role in the project is similar to that of a co-applicant. Other researchers providing specialized expertise can be briefly described in the Proposal section.

Summary of proposal

The summary is intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand.

Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the work to be carried out. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, the anticipated outcomes and how your field and Canada will benefit.

This plain language summary will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded.

If you wish, you may also provide a summary in the other official language in the text box identified for that purpose.

Activity schedule

List the activities/steps required to achieve the objectives for each year of the grant.

Indicate the start and end dates for the activities leading to the milestones, as well as the major results expected. The milestone definition and the work plan will be used to assess whether a project is feasible and whether the available resources are adequate to complete it on schedule.


Use the guidelines outlined in the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards to provide the requested information in a document to be attached to the application.

Using the headings below and, in a maximum of 10 single-sided pages (this page limit does not include references), describe your proposal.

Refer to the description of the Whale Science for Tomorrow initiative Evaluation Criteria for a list of criteria that will be considered by reviewers when evaluating the applications.

Overview of the proposed program

  • Provide a one-page overview including scope, objectives and proposed approach. Describe the nature of the linkages to partner organizations and how the results of the various activities will be integrated together to achieve the objectives during the program and at its conclusion. Indicate the benefits expected to accrue to the academic and the public and/or private-sector participants. This summary may be used for public release.


  • Describe the context for the proposed program.
  • Explain the relationship of the proposed activities to the program objectives and to other activities in this area in Canada and internationally.

Research proposal

  • Summarize the specific objectives, approaches, methods, schedule and milestones to be completed during the grant.
  • Describe the relevant expertise, role and expected contributions of the applicant(s) and participants, and how these will be integrated together.
  • Explain the rationale for the team composition, highlighting how it has the necessary expertise, experience, diversity and gender equity for successful execution of the proposed activities.


  • Describe how highly qualified personnel (undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, or others) will be involved in the activities and the opportunities for enhanced training that will take advantage of the multidisciplinary academic setting.
  • Describe any gender- or diversity-specific elements associated with the project.

Impacts and benefit to Canada

  • Discuss the intended benefits of the proposed activities and their potential impact on science and/or policy development.
  • Describe the mechanisms for knowledge and/or technology transfer.
  • Describe the nature and the extent of involvement of partner organizations in the proposed program.
  • Describe the strategy to develop or reinforce partnerships with international research groups or experts in areas of mutually beneficial interest to meet the overall objectives of the proposed program.


  • Use this section to provide a list of literature references.
  • Do not refer readers to websites for additional information on your proposal.
  • Do not put hyperlinks in your list of references.

Proposed expenditures

Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult the program requirements of the DFO Ocean and Freshwater Science Contribution Program and the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide for information about the eligibility of expenditures for the direct costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds.

Enter the planned spending in each budget category for each year of the project. A breakdown of each category and a detailed justification will be requested in the next section.

Ship time should be entered as “other” expense.

Use the Budget Justification section to explain and justify each budget item.

Budget justification

Provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item identified in the Proposed Expenditures page. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate. This page should contain only information pertinent to the budget.

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of the non-discretionary benefits) of students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff, and the project manager. Briefly describe the responsibilities for each position and indicate the percentage of time they will be spending on this project over its life span. Do not include salaries of faculty in project costs.

Refer to Form 100 instructions for information regarding obtaining consent to name individuals in your proposal.

Equipment or facility

Give a breakdown of the items requested. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Fees for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).

Materials and supplies

Provide details and explain major items.


Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed research.


Provide details of publication costs, user workshops or other activities.

Other expenses

List all items not relevant to previous categories, including ship time, and provide a brief explanation for major items.

If your initiative requires the use of a vessel (ship time), you should immediately communicate with DFO ( and provide the following information:

  • Name of ship
  • Total number of days required for the target mission
  • Starting date of the mission
  • Expedition site location(s)

(Ship time cost may include cost of mobilization and demobilization).

Upon receiving the information, DFO will contact you to discuss your requirement and explain further steps if your application is accepted.

Summary of expenditures related to aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering

Provide a summary of all expenditures related to aspects of the proposal that are outside the natural sciences and engineering. These expenditures must not exceed 30 per cent of the total project costs.

Relationship to other research support

Any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with work supported by NSERC or other funding sources must be explained.

Use additional pages to provide the following information:

  • Clear and concise information on the conceptual and budgetary relationship or difference between this application and all other support currently held or applied for by the applicant and co-applicants. Also explain perceived duplication in funding or, if applicable, indicate how the current application complements research funded by other sources.
  • For each grant currently held or applied for, clearly describe the main objective, and provide a brief outline of the methodology, budget details and details on the support of highly qualified personnel. In addition, the relationships to the NSERC application must be explained. Such information may be provided, for example, in the form of a brief summary of the necessary details for each grant.

The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to evaluate the relationship between this application and other sources of support and the incremental value of additional support from the grant, as well as to recommend the appropriate NSERC funding level.

If the proposal does not provide adequate information to assess the relationship to other research support, the reviewers may recommend reduced or no funding.

Contributions from supporting organizations

Use the Contributions from Supporting Organizations section to detail all contributions to the project by industry, universities or other sources. Please refer to section 6 of the program requirements of the DFO Ocean and Freshwater Science Contribution Program for information on which costs are considered eligible.

Provide the information for each supporting organization. List the resources being provided to support the proposed activities.

Instructions for completing the Contributions from Supporting Organizations table:

  • Cash contribution to the direct cost of research: Enter the net cash contribution to direct costs of research. This amount will be transferred to the appropriate line on the Proposed Expenditures page.
  • In-kind contributions to direct costs of research (salaries for scientific and technical staff; donation of equipment, software; donation of material; field work logistics; provision of services): Do not enter values in these rows; they should be left blank. Use the Contributions from Supporting Organizations (Attachment) page to provide an explanation of the in-kind contributions being provided.
  • Total of in-kind contributions to direct costs of research: Do not enter values in this row; it should be left blank.
  • In-kind contributions to indirect costs of research (use of organization’s facilities; salaries to managerial and administrative staff): Do not enter values in these rows; they should be left blank. Use the Contributions from Supporting Organizations (Attachment) page to provide an explanation of the in-kind contributions being provided.
  • Total of all in-kind contributions: Do not enter values into this row; it should be left blank.
  • Contribution to postsecondary institution overhead*: Amounts entered into this row are not actual contributions to postsecondary institution overhead. This field is being used to capture administrative overhead on DFO contributions.

    Enter administrative overhead costs, up to 15% of DFO’s full contribution. DFO may reimburse up to 15% of overhead costs for the total amount of all eligible costs funded by DFO. For example, if a project costs $500,000, and DFO is contributing $80,000 for eligible costs (before overhead costs), the maximum amount that DFO will reimburse for overhead is $12,000 (15% of $80,000). Therefore, DFO may contribute up to $92,000 toward that project.

Contributions from supporting organizations – attachment

Provide a detailed explanation of the in-kind contributions to the direct and/or indirect costs of research. Please refer to section 6 of the program requirements of the DFO Ocean and Freshwater Science Contribution Program as well as NSERC’s Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships for information on which costs are considered eligible.

Other documents

If you need to provide other documents (such as partner letters of support), give a brief description of the document and indicate whether you will be submitting it as an attached file or as a paper copy. Do not use this section to provide additional information related to the Proposal section.

Note: For upload purposes, all other documents must be saved as a single PDF document.

Environmental information form (appendix A)

An Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental Impact page, if required.


NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its On-line System. The electronic submission of applications through this system represents approval and replaces the traditional “physical” or “wet” signatures. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Program Guide for Professors for more details.

What do the electronic or original signatures on the application mean?

For applicants

Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your Personal Data Form to an application, you must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Applying that appear in a pop-up window during the submission process. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed Terms and Conditions for your records.

The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that:

List for a complete application

  • Application for a Grant (Form 101)
  • Application Profile (including areas of research, certification requirements, amounts requested)
  • Cover letter, if required
  • Co-applicants
  • Collaborators
  • Summary of Proposal
  • Activity Schedule, Proposed Expenditures, Contributions from Supporting Organizations
  • Budget Justification (attachment)
  • Contributions from Supporting Organizations (attachment)
  • Proposal (maximum 10 pages)
  • Literature References
  • Relationship to Other Research Support (attachment)
  • Other Documents (attachment), if required
  • Appendix A (Environmental Information Form), if required
  • Personal Data Form (Form 100) – for the applicant and up to five (5) co-applicants
    • Personal information (appointment, academic background, highly qualified personnel)
    • Experience
    • Research Support
    • List of highly qualified personnel
    • Contributions
    • Appendix A (Personal Data) – one original only
    • Appendix B (Eligibility Questionnaire) – one original only, if required
    • Appendix C (Description of Applicant’s Activities), if required