Instructions for completing an application – form 101
The instructions below apply to Alliance Advantage and Alliance Society grants. For specific instructions on how to apply for an Alliance International grant or any of the Alliance special calls and joint funding opportunities, please use the links below:
On this page
- General information
- Completing the application for a grant — form 101
- Application profile
- Areas of research
- Partnership/conflict of interest
- Cover letter
- Collaborators and collaborator biographical sketches
- Summary of proposal
- Proposed expenditures/budget justification
- Partner organizations contributions
- Justification for in-kind contributions
- Other documents
- Impact assessment form (appendix A)
- National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form
- Reviewer suggestions
- Reviewer exclusions
- Personal information
About the program
Who can complete the application?
See Who can apply? to determine whether you are eligible to apply.
Submit your application through NSERC’s online system. The application includes:
- Proposal: complete an application for a grant (form 101)
- National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form: complete the risk assessment questionnaire and the risk mitigation plan (when applicable) when your research partnership involves one or more partner organizations from the private sector (including industrial associations and/or producer groups and/or when they participate alongside other partner organizations from the public and/or not-for-profit sectors)
- Applicant: complete a personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A), and ask any co-applicants also to complete one
- Partner organizations: ask the representative at each partner organization to complete the Partner organization section; other funders and post-secondary institutions do not complete this section
You can apply at any time.
You may consult additional resources, including:
- Alliance grant application checklist
- Equity, diversity and inclusion in your training plan
- Safeguarding Your Research portal
If you have questions about the program:
If you have questions about the NSERC online system:
Completing the application for a grant — form 101
The instructions below will guide you through the modules in NSERC’s online system.
Title of proposal
Provide a title that describes the subject of the research in language that the public can understand. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms. Do not include a company or trade name. The title will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded.
Areas of research
Research subject codes
Select a primary research subject code. You may add a secondary research code (optional).
- Consult the NSERC code tables
Area of application codes
Select a primary area of application code. You may add a secondary area of application code (optional).
- Consult the NSERC code tables
Provide a maximum of 10 keywords that describe the proposal (e.g., nuclear physics, geochemistry, etc.).
Before completing this section, consult the Requirements for certain types of research.
- 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, through peer review, your application is found to fall into this category and is recommended for funding, it will be forwarded, with your consent, to CIHR’s stem cell oversight committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with 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 (REBs). Funding will not be released until approval has been obtained from the SCOC.
- Research involving human pluripotent and/or totipotent stem cells:
If you select Yes, or if through peer review the application is found to fall into this category and is recommended for funding, it will be forwarded, with your consent, to CIHR’s stem cell oversight committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with 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 (REBs). Funding will not be released until approval has been obtained from the SCOC.
- Research involving the use of animals:
If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the animal care committee at the institution 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 hazardous substances:
If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the biosafety committee at the institution that the laboratory procedures being used comply with the safety precautions necessary for the level of containment required by the research.
- Environmental impact
Partnership/conflict of interest
National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form
In accordance with the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships, applications involving at least one partner organization from the private sector (including industrial associations and/or producer groups) are required to be submitted with a Risk Assessment Form. You must select “yes” or “no” to indicate whether your application includes at least one partner organization from the private sector.
Compliance with Institutional Conflict of Interest Policies
All researchers and their institutions must adhere to the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (2021). Adherence to the Framework includes appropriately identifying and addressing any real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest, in accordance with all participating institutions’ policies on conflicts of interest in research. You must attest on behalf of you, your co-applicants and all other members of the research team that this collaboration complies with the conflict of interest policies of all participating institutions.
Cover letter (optional)
Attach a cover letter if you wish to provide NSERC with information that will not be shared with external reviewers, such as an explanation of how the project has changed since a previous submission (optional). Include in your cover letter your name, the NSERC program to which you are applying and the title of your application.
Indicate co-applicants who will participate in your application. Co-applicants will automatically be invited to provide their personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A).
- To determine whether a potential co-applicant is eligible to participate, consult the eligibility criteria for faculty
Enter the email address and family name of the co-applicant as these appear in the co-applicant’s form 100A. This allows the co-applicants access to your application. When you select Save, an automated email message will be sent to the co-applicants, informing them that they have been invited to participate in your application. The status of their participation will appear as Not linked.
When co-applicants link a personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A) to the application, their personal information will appear on the Co-applicant page, and the status will change to Linked.
Advise co-applicants outside your institution that the authorized officer of their institution must agree to their participation. NSERC will confirm this agreement directly with the authorized officer.
Collaborators and collaborator biographical sketches
Indicate any collaborators. Examples of collaborators are government scientists, academic researchers or company staff members. Collaborators contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project and bring their own resources to the collaboration. The collaborator will not have access to the grant funds and must be qualified to undertake research independently.
- For the definition of a collaborator, consult the eligibility criteria for faculty
On behalf of your collaborators, you may attach a biographical sketch or CV for collaborators and key staff of partner organizations whose role in the project is similar to that of a co-applicant (optional). In a maximum of two pages for each person, provide the individual’s name/affiliation, education/training, employment/affiliations, research funding and up to five significant contributions related to the project.
For upload purposes, all collaborator biographical sketches or CVs must be saved as a single PDF file.
Summary of proposal
Write a summary of the proposed research, intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand.
Using plain terms, briefly describe the nature of the work. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, and describe the anticipated outcomes and advancements that will result in economic, social or environmental benefits for Canada and Canadians.
This plain-language summary will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded. The summary can be submitted in one official language or both official languages, at the applicant’s discretion.
The summary must fit in the field provided in Application for a grant – form 101.
Complete the proposal template within the maximum number of pages as outlined in the table below. Figures and tables are welcome within the specified page limits.
If you choose not to use the template, you must include the section headings and the text of the bullets from the proposal template. You must also respect the guidelines outlined in the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards.
In preparing your proposal, address the criteria that will be considered when evaluating the application.
Proposal sections and length
The number of suggested, maximum or additional pages always includes the NSERC template text.
|Section||Average annual request|
|Suggested number of pages per section|
|Up to $75,000/year*||$75,001 to $300,000/year||$300,001 to $1,000,000/year|
|Impacts and benefits to Canada||1||1.25||2|
|Maximum total number of pages|
|Public impact value proposition (PIVP): Alliance Society applications only||Add three pages to the maximum above for the PIVP (see proposal template )|
Pages exceeding the maximum or documents not requested by NSERC (e.g., letters of support) will be removed and not considered in the application assessment. NSERC may return or reject applications exceeding the maximum number of pages.
In preparing your proposal, consult NSERC’s Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.
If relevant to your research, consult NSERC’s Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in interdisciplinary research and/or Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in engineering and the applied sciences.
Proposed expenditures/budget justification
To complete these sections:
- see Funding your research project
- consult the Tri-agency guide on financial administration for information about the eligibility of expenditures for the direct costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds
The funds from NSERC and the partner organization must be paid to eligible universities and cannot be used to buy equipment, products or services from any partner organization or to cover any part of the travel and travel-related subsistence expenditures for partner organization personnel.
In the Proposed expenditures section, enter the planned spending in each budget category for each year of the project.
For the Budget justification section, prepare a separate document that provides a breakdown of each category and a detailed justification for spending in each category. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate. Attach the document in the Budget justification section. The categories are as follows:
Salaries and benefits
Give the names (if known), categories of employment, proposed salaries and non-discretionary benefits of students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff such as technical/professional assistants and the project manager. Briefly describe the responsibilities of each position and indicate the percentage of time they will spend on this project over its lifespan. Do not include the salaries of faculty in project costs.
Consult the form 100A instructions for information on 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. Describe any fees for using equipment or a facility (e.g., hours and rate).
If your total expected equipment cost (including operation and maintenance) exceeds $400,000 over your project’s duration, you should apply for an alternate source of funding, such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI’s) John R. Evans Leaders Fund. NSERC and CFI have developed a joint application and review procedure for these cases. You may contact NSERC or CFI for more details.
Materials and supplies
Provide details of materials and explain major items. Equipment and materials obtained from the partner organizations must be provided as in-kind contributions.
Explain briefly how each planned travel activity relates to the proposed research.
Dissemination and knowledge mobilization
Provide details of publication costs, user workshops or other activities that support collaboration and knowledge mobilization related to the project.
Technology transfer activities
List the expenditure for field trials, prototypes, scale-up costs, demonstration projects, workshops and other activities to develop and grow the research collaborations with the partner organizations.
Partner organizations' contributions
Use this page to provide the contributions committed to the research project by the partner organizations, post-secondary institutions, as well as other funders, and to invite the partner organizations to complete the Partner organization section. The invitation will be sent to the authorized contact.
Provide the information required for each organization. For each organization, you must select one of four categories:
- Partner organization recognized for cost sharing
- Partner organization not recognized for cost sharing
- Other funder (not involved in the research)
- Post-secondary institution
To determine the appropriate category for partner organizations (recognized or not recognized for cost sharing), refer to Alliance Advantage: Partners.
Select the organization from the list or enter the name if not available.
List the resources the partner organization will provide for the proposed research, including:
- cash contributions from your partner organizations paid to your institution for the direct costs of your research project (not including overhead); this amount will be transferred to the appropriate line on the Proposed expenditures page
- in-kind contributions (staff time and donations of services, materials and equipment, travel expenditures for staff)
- amounts paid to your institution for overhead
After you have created, completed and saved the Contributions page in form 101 for a given partner organization, click on the Lock/Invite button to automatically email a link to the partner organization representative. Upon clicking the link, the partner organization representative will be directed to a webpage where they can navigate the required questions using the tabs on the left-hand menu. As part of this process, the representative for the partner organization will be able to preview the application and the partner form as it will appear in the submitted application. After completing the required sections and clicking “Verify Form” in the Confirm and Submit tab to validate completeness, the partner organization representative must click “Submit.” They will then be prompted to accept the partner Terms and Conditions.
You can monitor the status of the partner form in the Contributions section of form 101. The status will change from “Invitation sent” to “Invitation accepted” to “Completed by partner.”
If changes are required after the partner organization representative has submitted the partner organization form, you can release it for changes by using the Edit, Save, Lock/Invite buttons to modify the content.
Justification for in-kind contributions
Provide a detailed explanation of all in-kind contributions. This information will be used to assess the level and nature of the partner organization’s involvement and the importance of its contribution to the success of the project's success.
- Salaries for scientific and technical staff: list the name of each staff member, their role at the partner organization and their specific expertise, details as to what they will be providing to the project (link to milestones if possible), the number of hours they will devote to the project and their hourly rate
- Salaries of managerial and administrative staff: list the name of each staff member, their role at the company, details as to what they will be providing to the project, the number of hours they will devote to the project and their hourly rate
- Donation of equipment, software: list each item of equipment and/or software being donated to the project, explaining how it will be used and its importance to the success of the project; provide details on how the cost of the equipment/software was calculated
- Other contributions: describe the contributions to be provided (e.g., travel expenditures for staff), their importance to the project and how their cost was calculated
For upload purposes, explanations of contributions from all partner organizations must be saved as a single PDF file.
You may use this section if you need to provide other documents requested by NSERC.
For upload purposes, all other documents must be saved as a single PDF file.
Impact assessment form (appendix A)
An Impact assessment form (appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental impact page, as required.
National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form
You must use this section to provide your completed National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form in the case where your partnership involves one or more partner organizations from the private sector (including industrial associations and producer groups and/or when they participate alongside other partner organizations from the public and/or not-for-profit sectors).
For resources to assist in completing the Risk Assessment Form, please consult the array of Guidelines and Tools to Implement Research Security and Research Security Training Courses available on the Safeguarding Your Research portal.
Before you attach your completed risk assessment form to your application, you must convert it from a fillable to a read-only PDF format. For this purpose, one option is to click on Print in the form, select the PDF format as the printer, and save the file.
- See Review of your application to find out whether external reviewers will be used in the assessment and whether suggestions are needed here
Suggest the names of five independent experts competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the academic and non-academic communities, such as the government and industrial sectors. Also include reviewers competent to assess any research aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering. This list should also consider equity, diversity and inclusion; for example, the list should include women.
Give the name, address, telephone number, email address and the area(s) of expertise of potential external reviewers.
External reviewers should be able to review the proposal in the language it is written.
Suggested external reviewers should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations for more information. In addition, reviewers must sign the Conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement for review committee members, external reviewers and observers before they access the application material.
Reviewer exclusions (optional)
You can request that an individual, a group of individuals or a specific non-academic organization not be involved in the review of your application (optional). Specify a general reason for this request (e.g., perceived conflicts of interest, prior disputes, school of thought bias, professional or personal association not specified in the conflict of interest policy). You may include in this list any exclusions requested by the partner organizations.
While NSERC cannot be bound by this information, it will consider it when selecting reviewers. NSERC may also exclude reviewers because of conflicts of interest, as described in the Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations.
Information concerning exclusions may be accessible to those individuals named in this section, under the Privacy Act.
The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC are outlined in the following policy statements:
- The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (including the use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC)
- Data retention information
- Privacy notice
The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in Information about programs and information holdings.
You must ensure that others listed in the application have agreed to be included.
NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its online 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 and co-applicants
Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your personal data form with CCV attachment 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.
The signature of the institutional authority certifies that:
- the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities as set out in the Agreement on the administration of agency grants and awards by research institutions with the three federal granting agencies, including the Tri-agency framework: Responsible conduct of research
- the applicant and co-applicant(s) have met, or will meet, the eligibility requirements
- prior to submission of this application, the institution has obtained written approval from any other institutions involved in the application process
For partner organizations
Before you, as the authorized representative of the partner organization, submit information as part of an application to NSERC, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions of applying during the submission process.