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ARCHIVED – College and Community Innovation program Applied Research and Development grants

Instructions for completing an application Form 103


This information has been archived. Visit the Applied Research and Development (ARD) grants Instructions for completing an application page for current information.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the This link will take you to another Web site Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

General information

About the grant

Read the relevant grant description within the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program before you complete the application.

The opportunity previously available to colleges through Level 1 Applied Research and Development grants is now available through Engage grants.

Who completes the application?

CCI grants are institutional grants. The applicant, normally a senior manager in the administration of the college and delegated by the college president to prepare the application and manage the grant, must complete the application and include all required documentation using the online system.

The applicant and participants must also complete the college personal data form (fillable PDF) and attach it to the application using the online system.

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 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. (ET) 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 each of 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. NSERC is subject to the This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the This link will take you to another Web site 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.

Help with program information

Help with the NSERC online system

  • Check the frequently asked questions on how to use the online system
  • Review the instructions available in the application
  • Contact the online 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.

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

Area(s) of research

Research subject codes

Consult the NSERC code tables. If the applied research focus of the proposal is in the natural sciences or engineering, you are required to select a research subject code for the primary area of research from the list of area of research subject codes. You can also select a secondary research subject code. Otherwise, leave the fields blank.

Area of application codes

Consult the NSERC code tables. If the applied research focus of the proposal is in the natural sciences or engineering, you are required to select a code for the primary area of application from the list of area of application codes. You can also select a code for a secondary area of application. Otherwise, leave the fields blank.


Provide a maximum of 10 keywords 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 Canadian Institutes of Health Research’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 (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: The impact assessment form (Appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s guidelines on impact assessment.


Since all CCI program funds are institutional grants, faculty and staff involved with the proposal can be listed as participants. List each participant’s name, personal identification number (if known), organization name, as well as the time (in hours per month) each participant will devote to the proposed applied research/activity or the use of equipment.

Only the main participants should be listed on the proposal. Participants need to obtain their organization’s approval and must provide a complete College and Community Innovation program personal data form (Form 103CV), including a signed copy of the consent to disclosure of personal information form, to the applicant.

Participants, except those from the applicant’s institution, must advise the authorized officer of their organization that NSERC will be seeking their signature through its secure site, agreeing to their participation.

By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as participants 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.

Supporting organizations

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

CV – applicant and participants

The CV for the applicant and participants is made up of two sections and a consent form. Part I collects specific information on the person using the NSERC form entitled “College personal data form.” Part II is free-form text limited to five pages and is used to list contributions such as the person’s relevant experience and contributions to applied research and innovation. See the instructions for completing the College and Community Innovation program personal data form (Form 103CV).

When completed, the applicant’s and participants’ signed CV, together with a signed copy of the consent to disclosure of personal information form, must be saved into one PDF document and attached to the application.


A collaborator is a member of the research team. Examples of collaborators are government scientists, academic researchers, company staff members or research scientists. The 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 applied research project and to bring their own resources to the collaboration.

List each collaborator’s name, personal identification number (if known) and organization name, as well as the time (in hours per month) they will each devote to the proposed applied research/activity.

CV – collaborators

If necessary, a curriculum vitae (CV), maximum five pages, from each collaborator can be submitted with the application. The applicant must save all the CVs from the collaborators in one PDF document and attach the PDF document to the application.

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

This plain language summary will be 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 (provided in the Proposal page) will be used to assess whether a program is feasible and whether the available resources are adequate to complete it on schedule.


Use the guidelines outlined in the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards to provide the requested information in a document to be attached to the application. Describe your proposal using the headings below within a maximum of 10 single-sided pages (this page limit does not include references). For large and complex projects, contact NSERC staff if you feel that additional pages are needed to describe what is being proposed in sufficient detail.

Refer to the description of the Applied Research and Development (ARD) Grants- Selection criteria for a list of criteria that will be considered by reviewers when evaluating the applications.

Synopsis: Provide a concise overview of the scientific or technical objectives, the approach and the new knowledge, expertise or technology that could be transferred to Canadian companies. Indicate the benefits expected to accrue to the partner, to the academic institution and to the applied research discipline(s).

Background: Relate the proposal to current scientific, technical and commercial developments in the field, referring to the current literature and market conditions. Describe the background research on which the project is built.

Detailed proposal: Discuss in detail the technical issues, applied research problems or technical adaptation and transfer challenges, and describe the methodology and experimental design proposed to explain or resolve them. Provide a work plan and relate it to the milestone schedule from the Activity schedule section. Describe the roles of any students who will be involved in the project. If applicable, justify the need for any additional support staff such as research assistants, technicians or other professional staff who may be required to carry out the project.

Note: A sufficient level of detail is required for the external reviewers to be able to assess the team’s understanding of the applied research challenge(s), the appropriateness of the proposed approach and the likelihood of success based on the proposed work plan.

Team expertise: Explain how the knowledge and experience of each expert relates to the expertise needed to accomplish the project objectives and how the contributions of the team members (including, if applicable, company personnel) will be integrated.

Research management: If the proposal involves large or dispersed research teams, provide a plan for how the project will be managed to provide both day-to-day direction and scientific leadership, as well as maintain good communication between the college research group(s) and the private-sector sponsor(s). If applicable, please detail the project manager’s qualifications, involvement, role and responsibilities.

Training of highly qualified personnel: Describe how the knowledge and experience gained by students, research assistants or others, including company personnel, is relevant to innovation and applied research in the private sector. The number of students involved is expected to be commensurate with the size of the project.

Value of the results and relevance to the private sector: Describe the anticipated value of the project results, highlighting the relevance to the private sector of the scientific or technical advances, or the innovative techniques, processes or products that will be developed or innovatively applied. Clearly identify how the work will benefit the private-sector partner(s) by showing how the outcome will address a current or future company or market need. To the extent possible, indicate the additional work the partners will have to do to exploit the results of the applied research for commercialization. Describe how the exploitation of the project results will benefit the Canadian economy within a reasonable time.

Benefit to Canada: As well as the economic benefit to Canada described in the previous section, outline any additional economic, social and/or environmental benefits that will or could be realized in Canada.

Metrics: In addition to the objectives of the project, applicants are encouraged to identify one or two metrics (with targets) that signal broader impacts of the project. Some of the possible metrics might include

  • number of students involved (part-time job, summer or capstone, but not course involved)
  • number of employees trained
  • number of students who are anticipated to go to the partners following the project

In the final report provided by the applicant, the college will be expected to report the levels realized for these metrics.


  • Use this section to provide a list of literature references; your list of references must not exceed one page on the printed copy
  • Do not refer readers to websites for additional information on your proposal
  • Do not introduce hyperlinks in your list of references

Proposed expenditures

Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult the grant description and the College and Community Innovation tri-agency program financial administration guide for information about the eligibility of expenditures for the costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds.

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. These pages should only contain information pertinent to the budget.

Also, explain and justify the proposed cost-sharing ratios between the CCI program and the private-sector partner. Provide sufficient detail to allow reviewers to evaluate whether the level of private-sector cash commitment is appropriate. Refer to the guidelines for organizations participating in research partnership programs for a discussion on private-sector contribution levels.

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of the non-discretionary benefits) of research staff (research assistants and technical professionals), students and the project manager, if applicable. Briefly describe the responsibilities for each position and indicate the percentage of time they will be spending on this project over its lifespan. Salary for full-time faculty is not an eligible expense and should not be included in project costs. Faculty release costs are eligible as described in the College and Community Innovation program tri-agency financial administration guide. Salary for part-time faculty is eligible. It should be included under d) other and explained in the budget justification.

Networking/Knowledge dissemination

Provide details of training workshops and explain major items with regard to knowledge and dissemination/sharing eligible expenses limited to costs attributable to specific projects/activities to be undertaken.

Travel: Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed research. Explain how the proposed travel is important to realizing the economic innovation and applied research objectives. This does not include travel to international conferences to present research results.

Research and technology transfer support services

Provide details and explain major items with regard to research and technology transfer support services to costs attributable to specific projects/activities to be undertaken. List the expenditure for research planning and promotion, intellectual property (IP) protection, market studies, patent applications, etc.

Operating and equipment

The maximum allowable percentage for operating and equipment cost expenditures will not exceed 20% of the total project funding (i.e., ARD grant plus eligible cash contributions from industrial partners on the project).

Give a breakdown of the items requested. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Provide two recent quotations for components or systems costing more than $25,000. The Quotations section will allow you to describe the quotations to be sent with the proposal. Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).

Provide details for materials and supplies.

Note: As per the CCI financial administration guide, consultant costs must be included with operating and equipment costs in the project budget and are subject to the cost limitations for this budget category. A consultant can be hired to complete an essential component of an applied research project only if the expertise is not readily available within the faculty or full-time technical staff of the college.

Overhead and administration

Provide details and explain major items with regard to overhead and administration costs attributable to the specific project to be undertaken.

Since the funding received through the ARD grants is not eligible for the Research Support Fund, colleges may request funds for overhead and administration costs attributable to the specific initiative, but not for general overhead and administration costs of the college as a whole. The maximum allowable percentage for overhead and administrative costs is 20% of the annual grant amount.


Provide two recent quotations for items or systems costing more than $25,000 before taxes. Provide justification if two quotations are not available.

Note: For upload purposes, all the quotations must be saved into a single PDF document.

Relationship to other applied 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) at the college
    • also explain perceived duplication in funding or, if applicable, indicate how this proposed application would complement applied research funded by other sources
  • for each grant currently held or applied for, a clear description of the main objective, and a brief outline of the methodology, budget details and details on the support of highly qualified personnel
    • in addition, the relationships to the CCI application must be explained (e.g., such information may be provided 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, to evaluate the incremental value of additional support from the program and to recommend the appropriate funding level.

The consequence of not providing adequate information to assess the relationship to other research support is that the reviewers may recommend reduced or no funding.

Contributions from supporting organizations

Use this page to report the contributions committed by the supporting organization(s) to the research project. Before completing this section, read the program description and the College and Community Innovation program tri-agency financial administration guide for information about the eligibility of expenditures and the regulations governing the use of grant funds. Also review the guidelines on eligibility and value of in-kind contributions.

Provide the information for each supporting organization.

List the resources the supporting organization will provide to support the proposed activities, including

  • the cash contribution to direct costs of research—this amount will be transferred to the appropriate line on the Proposed expenditures page
  • the in-kind contribution to direct costs of research (donations of services, materials and equipment)—this amount will be transferred to the Proposed expenditures page (if applicable)
  • the in-kind contributions to indirect costs
  • an indication of the amount paid to the institution for overhead

Use the Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment) page to provide an explanation of the cash and eligible in-kind contributions.

Form 183A and letter of support (and attachments, as required)

A completed Form 183A, a letter of support and any other required documents must be attached for each organization participating in an applied research project. Either the applicant or the supporting organization must complete all applicable pages of the form and provide the required documents.

To allow a supporting organization the ability to link a Form 183A to your application, use the Access manager page of Form 103. For details on how to use this function, refer to the access manager instructions.

For applicants who are filling out Form 183A on behalf of the participating organization, use the Link manager page of Form 183A to link to your application. For details on how to use this function, refer to the link manager instructions.

Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment)

Provide a detailed explanation of the in-kind contributions to the direct costs of research. This information will be used to assess the level and nature of the partner involvement, the importance of their contribution to the success of the project and an appropriate cost-sharing ratio.

Salaries for scientific and technical staff: List the name of each staff member, their role at the company 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 (up to a maximum of $100.00 per hour).

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.

Donation of material: Describe the materials to be provided, their importance to the project and how the cost of the materials was calculated.

Field work logistics: Describe the importance of the proposed field work to the project and provide details on how the cost of the field work was calculated.

Provision of services: Provide details on the services to be provided, the importance of these services to the success of the project and how the cost of providing these services was calculated.

Other: Provide sufficient details on items listed in this category, their importance to the project and the calculation of associated costs.

Cash contributions are those made to accounts for which the applicant has signing authority. Other contributions are considered in-kind.

Letter(s) of support

Provide a letter from the appropriate representative of each participating or supporting organization other than Canadian universities or eligible Canadian colleges (e.g., the person responsible for the organization's participation in, or support of, the project), on letterhead, which indicates

  • the nature of the company-specific problem
  • the reasons for being involved in the proposed collaboration
  • the ways in which the organization expects to integrate the results into its operations
  • the benefits that the anticipated outcomes will bring to the organization
  • the further effort required to exploit the results in Canada
  • the potential for benefit to the Canadian economy and the relevant time frame
  • the anticipated interaction of the organization’s personnel with the college
  • the organization’s support for, contribution to and agreement with the proposal submitted to NSERC

Note: For upload purposes, all letters of support must be saved into a single PDF document.

Intellectual property

Describe the anticipated plans to protect and dispose of IP arising in the project.

For proposals over $25,000 per year, NSERC recommends that colleges develop and sign an agreement with each company partner on the ownership and disposition of IP arising from the CCI-funded applied research before initiating any CCI activities (IP agreements do not need to be completed before submitting the proposal to NSERC).

Any agreements made regarding the ownership of the IP resulting from ARD-funded research must take into account the objective of creating partnerships. This implies a sharing of eventual benefits between the partners commensurate with their respective contributions.

Given the purpose of the projects and the fact that they are company-driven, the college must have the right to use the new knowledge or technology in future teaching and research; and faculty and students must have the right to describe the project on their CVs. Effective April 1, 2018, NSERC no longer reviews research agreements for ARD projects, although the projects still must conform to the IP requirements of the CCI program.

Impact assessment form (Appendix A)

An impact assessment form (Appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental impact page, as required.

External reviewer suggestions (Appendix C)

Suggest the names of five people competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the college and/or the broader research community and at least one expert from the private sector. As appropriate, include people from the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and/or health who are competent to assess the research.

Give the name, complete mailing address, telephone number, email address and the area(s) of expertise of potential external reviewers (referees).

External reviewers (referees) should be able to review the proposal in the language in which it is written.

You may also request in a cover letter that some individuals or companies not be involved in the review of your application. Your request will be taken into account by NSERC.

Conflict of interest

Suggested external reviewers (referees) should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations for more information. In addition, external reviewers (referees) must sign the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement for review committee members, external reviewers and observers before they access the application material.

Cover letter

The cover letter can be used if you wish to provide NSERC with additional information that will not be shared with external reviewers, such as a request that an individual or group of individuals not be involved in the review of your proposal. NSERC will take such a request into consideration. The cover letter attachment must contain your name, the type of CCI grant you are applying for and the title of your application.

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


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

Before you, as an 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.

Each participant submitting a Form 103CV as part of the application must fill out and sign the terms and conditions of applying form included in the Form 103CV.

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 has 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
  • if the applicant discloses any potential 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
  • 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 participant and a principal of a collaborating organization, another senior official must sign on behalf of the organization.

List for a complete application

Use the following list to make sure your application is complete:

  • application for a grant (Form 103)
    • application profile (including areas of research, certification requirements, amounts requested)
    • cover letter (important: if applying to the joint NSERC/Mitacs initiative, the NSERC/Mitacs joint application form must be uploaded in the Cover letter section of Form 103 as a PDF attachment)
    • participants
    • collaborators
    • supporting organizations
    • summary of proposal
    • activity schedule
    • proposal
    • literature references
    • proposed expenditures
    • budget justification (attachment)
    • quotations (minimum of two) for equipment requests over $25,000
    • relationship to other research support (attachment)
    • contributions from supporting organizations
    • contributions from supporting organizations (justification of in-kind) (attachment)
    • IP description and attachment of signed research agreement, if available
    • Appendix A (environmental information form) - if required
    • Appendix C (external reviewer suggestions)
  • college personal data forms (Form 103CV) for the applicant and from one to five college participants
    • personal information (appointment and academic background)
    • relevant experience
    • relevant contributions to applied research and innovation
  • CV – collaborators, if applicable
  • information required from supporting organizations (Form 183A) – for each private-sector partner
  • letters of support from all supporting organizations

NSERC/Mitacs joint funding opportunity

Applications requesting a joint NSERC/Mitacs Accelerate internship must upload the NSERC/Mitacs joint application form as a PDF attachment to the Cover letter section of the ARD grant Form 103. Contact your local This link will take you to another Web site Mitacs business development representative to obtain the NSERC/Mitacs joint application template.

The following information must also be included in the following sections of your application:

Proposal: Training of highly qualified personnel: Describe the role of the Mitacs interns in the research project and explain the quality of the research-based training experiences provided to the interns. Describe how the internship partnership organization is committed to providing supervision and mentorship to the interns. Explain how the number of Mitacs interns and the number of internship units are appropriate to the scope of the project.

Contributions from supporting organizations: Only the partner contributions toward the direct costs of the ARD project should be included in the Contributions from supporting organizations section, which will be transferred automatically to the Proposed expenditures page, under the line item Total support from industry. Select Industry for the Type of organization to ensure proper transfer of information of the partner’s contribution to the ARD project. 

The contributions toward the Accelerate internship(s) from Mitacs should appear under the Total support from other sources line item. For this to occur:

  • add a new organization and select Other for the Type of organizations
  • select Not available from the selection list for the Name of supporting organization
  • type “Mitacs Accelerate internship(s)” in the Name if not available text box
  • enter the cash contributions that will be provided by Mitacs toward the internship(s)

Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment): Clearly describe the total cash contributions made by the partner to support both the ARD project and the Mitacs internships.

Cover letter: Upload the NSERC/Mitacs joint application form as a PDF attachment to the Cover letter section of the ARD Form 103. If providing a cover letter to exclude individuals from reviewing your proposal and also using the Cover letter section to submit the NSERC/Mitacs joint application form, you must save both documents as one file and attach this file to the Cover letter section.

Note: By submitting an application to the NSERC/Mitacs joint funding opportunity, you consent to the two organizations sharing information contained in the application, including personal information, or related to the administration of a resulting grant/award, which may include project reports required as a condition of award. You also confirm that you have obtained the consent of any individuals whose personal information is contained in such documents to share this information in the same manner.