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Frequently asked questions

Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19

To lessen the impact of COVID-19 and to support all of our researchers and highly qualified personnel, all eligible active Discovery Grants will be given the opportunity to receive a one-time one-year extension with funds at their current funding level. More specifically, NSERC will contact eligible grantees once they’ve entered the last year of their grant (in June) with information on how to accept this one-time funded extension.

Note: Grant recipients who are eligible to begin their early career researcher’s extension with funds will be offered and asked to accept that funded extension before being offered the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 the following year. If you decline the early career researcher’s extension with funds you will not be eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19.

  1. What does NSERC mean by “all eligible active Discovery Grants?”
  2. I am now in my automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds. Am I eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds?
  3. How do I accept/decline the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  4. Is the Discovery Launch Supplement eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  5. Do I have to take the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  6. I hold either a Discovery Grant, Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grant (Individual, Project or Major Resources Support), Discovery Development Grant or Northern Research Supplement. Am I eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  7. My Discovery Grant has already been extended with funds for reasons outside of the COVID-19 extension with funds. Will I be eligible for the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  8. Will I be eligible for additional extensions, for reasons outside of the COVID-19 extension with funds, to my Discovery Grant in the future if I accept the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  9. I hold a Discovery Accelerator Supplement. Am I eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  10. I currently hold an NSERC Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grant. Am I eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  11. I currently hold an NSERC Ship Time grant. Am I eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  12. What is being done to support applicants to the Discovery Grants competition who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  13. Will an additional year be added to the existing six-year window in the CCV and full application for applicants who take the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  14. I currently hold a Northern Research Supplement (NRS). Can I accept the one-time one-year COVID-19 extension with funds for the supplement and NOT my Discovery Grant (DG)?
  15. Who do I contact with questions regarding the COVID-19 extension in time?
  16. Where can I go for more information?

1. What does NSERC mean by “all eligible Discovery Grants?”

In the context of the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19, eligible active grants are those that received a payment or had a planned payment in the 2020–21 fiscal year (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021).

Past grantees who are in their extension to use unspent funds, are not eligible for the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-191.

2. I am now in my automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds. Am I eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds?

Once you enter your extension to use funds period, you are no longer eligible for the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19.

3. How do I accept/decline the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

NSERC will contact eligible grantees once they’ve entered the last year of their grant (in the month of June) with information on how to accept the funded extension. Concurrently, grantees can also verify if they are eligible (for the upcoming year) with their institutional research grants office (RGO). Annual lists of eligible grantees are communicated with RGOs as an additional resource.

4. Is the Discovery Launch Supplement eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, the Discovery Launch Supplement is not eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19; it is a one-time payment for early career researchers separate from the Discovery Grant. However, the Discovery Launch Supplement funds can be spent throughout the active Discovery Grants period, including any extension.

5. Do I have to take the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, you do not have to accept the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 if you do not want it. Once declined, you will not be able to reverse the decision.

6. I hold either a Discovery Grant, Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grant (Individual, Project or Major Resources Support), Discovery Development Grant or Northern Research Supplement. Am I eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

Yes, the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 applies to all existing holders of Discovery Grants, Discovery Development Grants, Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants (Individual, Project, Major Resources Support Grants) and Northern Research Supplements.

7. My Discovery Grant has already been extended with funds for reasons outside of the COVID-19 extension with funds. Will I be eligible for the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

Yes, you will be eligible to receive the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 regardless of whether you have received a previous extension with funds (through other initiatives) once you’ve entered your last instalment year.

8. Will I be eligible for additional extensions, for reasons outside of the COVID-19 extension with funds, to my Discovery Grant in the future if I accept the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

Yes, accepting the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 will not affect your eligibility to receive additional extensions in the future, such as those provided for family and medical leave, deferral of an instalment or automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds.

9. I hold a Discovery Accelerator Supplement. Am I eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, Discovery Accelerator Supplements are not eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19. However, the Discovery Accelerator Supplement funds can be spent throughout the active Discovery Grants period, including any extension.

10. I currently hold an NSERC Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grant. Am I eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, RTI grants are not eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19.

However, holders of RTI and Subatomic Physics (SAP) RTI (including SAP RTI 1 and 2/3) can request an extension in time through their academic institution. For more information, consult Extension of the period for use of NSERC grants (under the General information section).

11. I currently hold an NSERC Ship Time grant. Am I eligible for a one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, Ship Time grants are not eligible for the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19. Holders of Ship Time grants can request an extension in time by contacting NSERC at envirosciences-sciencesenviro@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

12. What is being done to support applicants to the Discovery Grants competition who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Applications will continue to be peer reviewed based on policies and guidelines that are in line with previous years. Outcomes will continue to be based on the quality of the applications received. NSERC recognizes that all researchers will experience delays and impacts to their research due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will be accounted for in peer review (also see Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research: NEW guidelines for NSERC’s community).

13. Will an additional year be added to the existing six-year window in the CCV and full application for applicants who take the one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, the existing six-year window for inclusion of contributions to research and training of highly qualified personnel in the CCV will not be extended. However, for Discovery Grants, guidelines for consideration of leaves have been implemented. Applicants with an eligible leave of absence will be entitled to an attachment used to list supplemental contributions to research and training beyond the six-year window, for a period equivalent to the duration of the leave. To recognize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and training, the attachment may be used to list supplemental contributions to research and training for a period equivalent to the duration of delays related to COVID-19.

Details on the leaves attachment are available in the full application instructions (under Leaves of absence). Note that for Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants, the guidance for considerations of COVID-19 impacts has been implemented, but the new attachment for supplemental contributions to research and training will be introduced at a later date.

14. I currently hold a Northern Research Supplement (NRS). Can I accept the one-time one-year COVID-19 extension with funds for the supplement and NOT my Discovery Grant (DG)?

If you accept the one-time one-year COVID-19 extension with funds, it will be for both your DG and your NRS. You cannot have one without the other.

15. Who do I contact with questions regarding the COVID-19 extension in time?

For all questions regarding the COVID-19 extension in time, contact the Awards Administration Team by email at grantsadminstration@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

16. Where can I go for more information?

NSERC will follow up with all applicants and peer reviewers for the Discovery competitions through targeted communications to help you navigate next steps and walk you through your options. As usual, we will plan to hold webinars in the lead-up to the competitions to answer your questions. In the meantime, please visit NSERC’s website, which will be updated regularly. You may also continue to contact NSERC Research Grants at resgrant@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.


1Note: The authority to use funds end date is the last day of the period during which the primary investigator is authorized to use grant funds; typically, the last day of an automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds. A grant end date is the last day of the funded period of a grant; typically, the last day of the fifth year of a Discovery Grant.