Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Form 101 - Instructions

Grants Programs

Discovery Grants Program

(Individual, Team and Subatomic Physics Project)

General Information

Application Instructions


List for a Complete Application


About the Program

Read the program description in the Program Guide for Professors 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.

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. Where 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 their 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.

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. NSERC is 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 Info Source.

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 e-mail to: or call 613-995-4273. Include your e-mail address and telephone number.



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.

  • For Subatomic Physics (SAP) project grants, indicate the experiment number (if appropriate) in the title.

Time devoted to proposed research/activity

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


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.

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 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 the application is found to fall into this category and is recommended for funding, it will be forwarded, with your consent, to the Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with This link takes you to another Web site Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research: Guidelines for CIHR-Funded Research. 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:

Appendix A (Environmental Information) must be completed and submitted with the grant application ONLY if at least one of the following situations applies to your research activities:  (A) any phase of the proposed research will take place outdoors and on federal lands in Canada, as defined in section 2(1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012); (B) any phase of the proposed research will take place outdoors and outside of Canada; (C)(i) the grant funds will permit a designated project (listed in the CEAA 2012 Regulations Designating Physical Activities (RDPA)) to be carried out in whole or in part; or (C)(ii) any phase of the proposed research will depend on a designated project (listed in the RDPA) that is being carried out by an organization other than NSERC. If none of these situations apply to your proposed research activities, then no Appendix A is required.

Note: On July 6, 2012, CEAA 2012 came into force. As a result, the review process for applications submitted to NSERC has been revised. Grant applicants are required to provide more specific information under a completely revised Appendix A (Environmental Information), and Appendix B (CEAA Pre-Screening Checklist) no longer exists. In addition, the NSERC Policy on Environmental Assessment has been revoked and replaced by NSERC’s Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment.


Identify co-applicants who will participate. Co-applicants must provide their NSERC Personal Data Form (Form 100). Co-applicants (except those from the applicant's institution) must advise the authorized officer of their organization that the applicant, or the applicant's institution, will be seeking their authorized officer's signature and agreement to the co-applicant(s)'s participation before the application is submitted to NSERC.

To invite co-applicants to link their Personal Data Form (Form 100) to the application, enter the e-mail 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 e-mail 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 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) that each co-applicant will devote to the proposed research/activity or the use of equipment or a facility.

By submitting Form 101, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as co-applicants have been informed of the precise uses and disclosures 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.


Enter information about each co-applicant organization's signing officer (other than the applicant’s organization). For supporting organizations such as an industrial partner or a government department, enter information about the authorized representative(s).

The applicant must ensure that the co-applicants from other institutions obtain the appropriate signature from the authorized officer of their organization prior to submitting the application to NSERC (see Signatures requirements within this document).


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 done. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, the anticipated outcomes and how your field and Canada will benefit.

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


Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult 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.

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

Provide a five-year budget. If your request is for a shorter duration, explain why in the Budget Justification section.

Contributions from other sources (if applicable)

If appropriate, enter any contributions from other sources in the space provided. The “Total amount requested from NSERC” on page 1 of your application is calculated automatically and equals the “Total proposed expenditures for direct costs of research” minus the “Total cash contributions from other sources.”

Use the Budget Justification section to explain these contributions.


Using a maximum of two pages (except for Subatomic Physics grant applications, for which there is no page limit for this section), 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 only contain 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, and research staff. 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 for information regarding obtaining consent to name individuals in your proposal.

Equipment or facility

Give a breakdown of the items requested, models, manufacturers, prices, and applicable taxes. Justify each item requested.

Note: While the Research Tools and Instruments 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.

Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).

Also report the need for beam time or other special facilities, and if time has been allocated for these.

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, and provide a brief explanation for major items.

Contributions from other sources (if applicable)

If appropriate, explain any contributions from other sources.

If your request is for a shorter duration than five years, explain why.


If you need to provide a summary and budget page from other proposals or projects (see Relationship to Other Research Support), describe the document, scan as one document and attach these documents electronically.


See This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency and Addressing Other Sources of Funding for additional information.

Any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with work supported by NSERC or other funding sources must be explained. 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, the incremental value of additional support from the program, and to assess it accordingly. Other sources of support include grants and contributions from funding agencies, organizations, the private sector, institution start-up funds, research chairs, the primary place of employment (for adjunct professors), and other institutional research support. The consequence of not providing adequate information to assess the relationship to other research support may be a rating of insufficient for the merit of the proposal.

Use an additional page to provide the following information:

  • Information on the conceptual and budgetary relationship or difference between this application and all other support (currently held or applied for).
  • 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, applicants who currently hold, or have applied for, research support from the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the This link will take you to another Web site Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) must provide the summary and budget page of these proposals. Failure to provide these documents will result in an incomplete application. Use the Other Documents page to provide the required information.

Optional: A summary and budget page from proposals submitted for funding from sources other than CIHR or SSHRC can be provided.


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 five pages (eight pages for team applications with at least one eligible co-applicant; five pages with two additional pages per co-applicant for SAP projects), describe the proposed research to be supported. Images and graphics are included in the above-mentioned page limitations.

Recent Progress

Describe your recent progress in research activities related to the proposal and, in addition for renewals, the progress attributable to your previous Discovery Grant.


Define the short- and long-term objectives of your research program.

Literature Review

Discuss the literature pertinent to the proposal, placing the proposed research in the context of the state-of-the-art.


Describe the methods and proposed approach, providing sufficient details to allow the reviewers to assess the feasibility of the research activities.


Explain the anticipated significance of the work.


  1. The applicant should provide a sufficient description of the past contributions and proposed research plan as described above. Should it be determined (in consultation with the Evaluation Group Chairs) that the information provided is insufficient, NSERC reserves the right to take appropriate action, such as not soliciting reports from external referees or withdrawing applications from the competition;
  2. If your research is interdisciplinary, you may wish to consult the NSERC Guidelines for the Preparation and Review of Applications in Interdisciplinary Research.

In addition,

  • All applications from teams must:
    • describe the pertinent expertise and the expected role and contributions of team members;
    • discuss collaboration among team members; and
    • provide details of the management structure and team management.
  • For SAP Project Grants:
    • provide the name of the facility and, if applicable, the experiment number given by the facility;
    • provide a three-year projection of activities; and
    • provide details on the time to be committed to the project by personnel.


Refer to NSERCís Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training.

Using a maximum of one page (two pages for team applications with at least one eligible co-applicant; one page per institution represented in the application for SAP projects), address the criterion "Contributions to the training of Highly Qualified Personnel". This section should only contain information pertinent to training plans.

Plan for Training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP)

Describe the projects that are appropriate for HQP training, and discuss the pertinence of the training plans for the research program and involvement of trainees in individual projects. Explain the expected outcomes in terms of contribution to knowledge, and the training value of the proposed projects. Provide justification if little or no training plans are provided.

Co-Supervision or Collaborative Training Environment

Provide details on the planned contributions to training in a co-supervisory or collaborative context, if appropriate.

In addition to the above information regarding the proposed training, applicants (and co-applicants, when applicable) should provide sufficient information in Form 100 on their training record and approach, as well as their contributions to past co-supervision.


  • Using a maximum of two pages, provide a list of literature references.
  • Do not refer readers to Web sites for additional information on your proposal.
  • Do not introduce hyperlinks in your list of references.
Letters of support

Additional documents such as letters of support must not be submitted and will be removed. The exception to this rule is letters from users attesting to the nature and the significance of confidential technical and internal reports described in your Personal Data Form (Form 100). For additional information, refer to the Guidelines for the Review and Preparation of Applications in Engineering and the Applied Sciences.


A maximum of four samples of research contributions—such as reprints, preprints and/or manuscripts, excerpts from your thesis, technical reports, etc.—are to be submitted electronically with your application. The samples of contributions will be used by reviewers to assess the quality of your work. These documents should be chosen to represent your most significant, recent contributions, or those most relevant to the proposed work in the last six years (for applicants with research backgrounds in non-university settings, these documents may include contributions over the last 10 years).

For each sample of research contributions, provide a description on the appropriate pages and attach the contribution that has already been converted to a PDF file format.

You should not exceed four samples of research contributions. Note that this also applies to team applications.



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, submit your application to NSERC or link your Personal Data Form to an application, you must read and agree to the following terms and conditions.

By submitting your application or linking your Personal Data Form, you are certifying that:

  • You have provided true, complete, accurate information in your funding application and related documents, and you have represented yourself, your research and your accomplishments in a manner consistent with the norms of the relevant field.
  • If you are the applicant, you have ensured that others listed on the application have agreed to be included in the application.
  • If you are a co-applicant, you agree that the applicant will administer the grant/award on behalf of the group/team.
  • You are not currently ineligible to apply for and/or hold funds from NSERC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), or any other research or research funding organization worldwide for reasons of breach of policies on responsible conduct of research, such as ethics, integrity or financial management policies. If at any time you become ineligible for any of these reasons, you will advise your institutional officials and NSERC immediately, in writing.
  • You have read, understood and agree to comply with the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research both in the submission of your application and in carrying out the research funded by NSERC.
  • If you are or have been (at any time during the past 12 months) a federal public servant, you have complied with and will continue to respect the This link will take you to another Web site Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
  • Consent has been obtained from trainees to include limited personal information about them in the application.
  • You understand the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act and the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC as they pertain to your information.
  • You consent to the sharing among the three federal granting agencies (NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR) and with any academic institution to which you are, or may become, affiliated, of any and all information, including personal information, in any way related to the application and to the grant/award.
  • In the event of any change in your eligibility status, you will inform NSERC and your institutional officials immediately, in writing.

By submitting your application or linking your Personal Data Form, you are also confirming that, during tenure of the grant/award, you will comply with the terms and conditions of the grant/award.

Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information: You understand that maintaining public trust in the integrity of researchers is fundamental to building a knowledge-based society. By submitting any application, by linking your Personal Data Form (Form 100 or 103CV) as a co-applicant to an application, or by accepting funding from CIHR, NSERC and/or SSHRC, you affirm that you have read and you agree to respect all the policies of these agencies that are relevant to your research, including the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. In case of a serious breach of agency policy, the agency may publicly disclose your name, the nature of the breach, the institution where you were employed at the time of the breach and the institution where you are currently employed. You accept this as a condition of applying for, or receiving, agency funding, and you consent to such disclosure. If you do not agree to the disclosure of your personal information, you cannot participate in this application.

Note: If you have any concerns about your ability to comply with the terms and conditions listed above, contact your institutional official or NSERC staff responsible for the program immediately. Do not agree to the terms and conditions and do not submit your application or Personal Data Form until you are certain that you can and will comply with all of the requirements.

The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that:

  • the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities as set out in the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with the three federal granting agencies, including the This link will take you to another Web site 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; and
  • if the applicant discloses any potential intellectual property (IP) arising from the research, he or she and the institution will endeavour to obtain the greatest possible economic benefit to Canada from the resulting commercial activity. Note: This requirement for disclosure is not intended to supersede any IP ownership policy that the institution already has in place.

The signatures of authorized officers of other supporting organizations certify that the organization:

  • agrees with the content of the application and will provide the committed resources; and
  • agrees to the release of the public summary of the award and to the publication of the organization's name as a supporter of the initiative.

If you are both the applicant or co-applicant and a principal of a collaborating organization, another senior official must sign on behalf of the organization.


Use the following checklist to make sure your application is complete.

  • Form 180

Before preparing a Discovery Grant application, you should have completed Form 180 (Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant) and submitted it to NSERC by the designated date.

  • Application for a Grant (Form 101)
    • Application profile (including areas of research, certification requirements)
    • Co-applicants (if applying for a team grant)
    • Summary of proposal
    • Proposed expenditures
    • Budget justification (attachment)
    • Relationship to other research support (attachment)
    • Proposal (attachment)
    • Contribution to HQP (attachment)
    • References (attachment)
    • Other documents (attachment)
    • Environmental Impact - Appendix A, if required
    • CEAA Pre-Screening Checklist - Appendix B, if required
    • Research Contributions (attachments)
  • Personal Data Form (Form 100) – for the applicant and each co-applicant
    • Personal information (person profile, current employment, address, academic background)
    • Professional Experience
    • Area(s) of Expertise
    • Research support
    • Contributions
    • Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP Summary and HQP Personal Data)
    • Appendix A (Personal Data)
    • Eligibility (for University Faculty) - Appendix B
    • Applicant's Activities - Appendix C, if required
    • Appendix D (Consent to Provide Limited Personal Information About Highly Qualified Personnel [HQP] to NSERC); forms must be retained by the applicant and made available to NSERC upon request.
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