Instructions for completing and submitting a letter of intent to apply for a Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant

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General information

About the program

Read the following documents before completing your letter of intent (LOI):

Presentation standards

You are responsible for submitting a completed LOI that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. Incomplete LOIs and LOIs that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or may be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that have respected the guidelines.

For more information, read the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards.

Application deadlines

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

Your LOI must be received at NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date.

Help with program information

Help with the NSERC online system

  • Check the FAQ for information on how to use the online system
  • Review the instructions available in the LOI
  • Contact the Online Services Helpdesk by email at; by telephone at 1-855-275-2861, select Technical Support when prompted and provide your email address and telephone number in your message; or complete an online services support request.

Collection and use of personal information

The information you provide in the application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. The collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of your personal information are outlined in the following policy statements:

For more information, refer to the Personal Information Banks described in NSERC's Info Source.

Collection of self-identification data

NSERC collects self-identification data from all applicants and co-applicants, which provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. This information will be collected as part of the full application.


Eligibility conditions for applicants, co-applicants and institutions apply. CREATE grants are tenable only at NSERC-eligible Canadian universities, and the applicant must hold an eligible full-time position at that university. Researchers at non-eligible organizations may participate as collaborators. Ensure that you consider the eligibility requirements for applicants, co-applicants and collaborators described on NSERC’s website under Eligibility criteria for faculty. The 1-year COVID-19 extension to CREATE grants is added to the grant duration and affects the eligibility of applicants or co-applicants for new applications to the CREATE program. Contact the CREATE team if you are unsure about the eligibility of applicants, co-applicants or institutions.

Completing form 187

Applicants must complete and submit the LOI using NSERC’s online system. For the international stream, only applicants whose German research collaborators have achieved a successful Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) International Research Training Group (IRTG) pre-proposal can submit an LOI. International stream applicants must submit an LOI with a title that references the international stream DFG program. Please refer to the CREATE program description and the CREATE FAQ international collaborations section for more information on international stream applications.

Before submitting form 187, you must receive confirmation from your university that your LOI has been selected as part of the university’s CREATE quota. International stream applications with DFG are not included in the quota.

If you submit an LOI not selected by the university, it will be rejected.

Form profile

Some of this information was transferred from the new application screen. You may update the fields as needed.

Area(s) of research

Research subject codes

Consult the NSERC code tables. All applicants are required to select a “primary” area application code.


Provide a maximum of ten keywords that describe this proposal.


The applicant must hold an eligible full-time position at their university. The applicant must be from a natural sciences and engineering (NSE) field. Consult the CREATE FAQ for more information about determining the NSE status of a researcher. Contact the CREATE team if you require assistance in determining the NSE status of a researcher.

The applicant must submit a form 100 CV. No other CV formats are permissible.


List a minimum of one and maximum of ten co-applicants’ names; personal identification numbers, if known; the time in hours per month each will devote to the proposed research/activity (mandatory); and institution/department. At least 70% of the co-applicants must be from a NSE field. Researchers at the interdisciplinary frontier between NSE and the areas covered under the umbrella of the two other federal granting agencies, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), may be incorporated into proposals. Consult the CREATE FAQ for more information concerning determining the NSE status of a researcher. Contact the CREATE team if you require assistance in determining the NSE status of a researcher.

Teams should strive for a diverse group of co-applicants, including gender representation. Please consult the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) section in the program description for more information.

For multi-institutional applications, you must include at least one co-applicant from each participating university.

By submitting this form, 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.

Applicants and co-applicants should be the same in the LOI and the application. However, if changes are required, please notify the CREATE team at


For the regular stream, a list of collaborators is not required at the LOI stage but can be included if they are already known. For the international stream, a list of research collaborators in Germany is required. If applicable, list each collaborator’s name, NSERC personal identification number, if known, the time in hours per month each will devote to the proposed training program and their organization/department. The collaborator list should include key participants in your proposed CREATE training initiative and may include, as appropriate, other academics who are not listed as co-applicants but have a supportive role to play; research scientists from other research institutions who will actively participate in the training; and/or representatives from other stakeholders, including government or industry, who are potential employers of the CREATE trained graduates.

Listed collaborators must have confirmed their willingness to participate. By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as collaborators 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.

  1. Collaborators do not have access to the grant funds and are expected to contribute their own resources, cash or in-kind, to the CREATE training program.
  2. Due to conflict-of-interest considerations, CREATE trainees cannot conduct internships at companies owned wholly or in part by the applicant or a co-applicant. It is permissible for a CREATE trainee to conduct an internship at a company owned wholly or in part by a collaborator.

Outline of training program

On the NSERC online system for submitting your LOI, provide a summary (300 words maximum) of the proposal. State the objectives of the proposed research training program and summarize the approach, originality and novelty, and the expected significance of the program. This information will be used internally by NSERC.

Excellence of proposed team of researchers

To satisfy current NSERC online system requirements, upload a blank document for the excellence of the proposed team section; the information for this section will be filled out later at the application stage.

Letter from vice-president of research

For both international and regular stream LOIs, a letter from your university’s vice-president of research or their representative must be submitted with the LOI confirming the university’s support. In the case of regular stream applicants, the letter must clearly confirm that your proposal has been selected as part of your university’s CREATE quota for this competition year. Do not provide support details, as these will be included in the support letter provided at the application stage. The letter must be written on letterhead, signed and sent in a portable document format (PDF).

External reviewer suggestions

Suggest the name and address (mail and email) of six to eight individuals who could provide an independent assessment of your full application.

You are encouraged to suggest a diverse cross-section of potential reviewers with appropriate expertise, i.e., Canadian and international, established and early-career, women and other under-represented groups, from academic and non-academic institutions.

Requirements for choosing external reviewers:

You must not contact suggested external reviewers in advance.

These individuals could be approached by NSERC to conduct an impartial review of the application. NSERC will make the final selection of external reviewers and will be seeking reports on the applications. Selected external reviewers are required to agree to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers before they can access the application material.

Submitting your letter of intent

Before submitting the LOI, ensure that all the required information is complete and validated. Note that the LOI is submitted directly to NSERC without involving the research grant office.

Once it has been submitted, your form will no longer be available for revision.

Checklist for submitting the LOI

  • Form 187: Letter of intent for a CREATE program grant
  • Letter from the vice-president of research at the applicant’s university
  • Ensure that the eligibility criteria for institutions, applicant and co-applicants are respected
  • External reviewer suggestions are included
  • Applicant’s form 100

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