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Inter-American Collaboration in Materials Research – Request for Proposals

Accessibility Notice: If you cannot access the following content, please contact the On-line Services Helpdesk by e-mail at or by telephone at 613-995-4273. Indicate the e-mail address and telephone number where you can be reached.

There will be no further competitions for this program.

As of Budget 2009, NSERC has discontinued the Special Research Opportunity program, through which the Inter-American Collaboration in Materials Research program was funded.

Read the complete message from NSERC President, Dr. Suzanne Fortier, and the Honourable James Edwards, Vice-President and Chair of Council, about the Strategic Review and Budget 2009.

Duration Up to three years
Application Deadline The program is now closed.
How to Apply See below
Application Forms Form 184 Research Projects
Free-form letter or e-mail Collaborative Mobility Grants
Form 100
Form 101
Apply On-line
Program Contact View Contact Information


The Inter-American Collaboration in Materials Research (CIAM) is an international, multi-agency initiative through which national research funding agencies1 of participating countries support opportunities for new and ongoing interactions between materials researchers that leverage the strengths of each country's scientific community. CIAM offers funding opportunities for collaborative activities in materials research between researchers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. NSERC is responsible for Canada’s participation in this program.

NSERC is soliciting collaborative research proposals from NSERC-eligible researchers in the fields of materials science and engineering. Proposals must have materials-related applications in processing, design and manufacturing.

Researchers participating in collaborative projects through CIAM receive funding from their respective country. Proposals from individuals or teams based at NSERC-eligible institutions must be submitted directly to NSERC. Collaborators from other participating countries should submit their counterpart proposal to the participating funding agency of their home country. The CIAM award selection process does not involve joint review; however, evaluation results will be compared and award selections negotiated.

For NSERC support, eligible researchers may propose bilateral or multilateral projects. NSERC will give priority to multilateral projects, when other elements are equal in merit. Projects may involve collaborators from countries outside the Western Hemisphere (e.g., Spain), or non-participating countries inside the Western Hemisphere (e.g., Uruguay), where their research expertise or access to facilities is clearly complementary to that of the proposed CIAM collaborative team and therefore justifies a broader network. Such collaborators must be self-funded.

NSERC expects to support a limited number of high-quality Research Projects, of up to three years duration, that present an opportunity for inter-American collaboration. Accordingly, the funding envelope available at NSERC for the CIAM competition is approximately $1.5 million over three years. New in 2008 is a cap on the amount of funding that can be requested. The maximum allowable requested amount from NSERC for a single project is $60,000 per year for three years. As part of this Request for Proposals, NSERC will also entertain proposals for Collaborative Mobility Grants that aim to establish new inter-American collaborations, support international mobility and/or support networking efforts between scientists who wish to use their respective existing grants to support their collaborative research work.


Research Projects

Research project grants aim to support new and ongoing collaborative research projects in materials science and engineering between groups of researchers or centres. They also aim to enhance cooperation and interaction between groups of researchers, research centres and organizations. Proposed activities could include, but are not restricted to, the international mobility of students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty for the integration of research and training activities between collaborating groups, centres and organizations. Budgets would provide support for research and may include travel costs for meetings/workshops.

Collaborative Mobility Grants

Collaborative Mobility Grants aim to support the planning and design activities of new collaborative research projects and programs among groups of investigators or centres and/or support the international mobility of scientists and students who wish to use their existing grants to support their collaborative research work.

These grants provide support for the pre-research stages of international collaborative research projects and programs as well as the ongoing mobility/travel costs of international research collaborations. Funding under this category of the CIAM Request for Proposals can be used to cover the eligible costs associated with organizing workshops, or symposia, and/or travel for meetings and for exchanges required for collaborative research projects.

Application procedures

Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the Special Research Opportunity (SRO) application procedures and selection criteria, as outlined in NSERC's Program Guide for Professors under the Special Research Opportunity (SRO) Program.

There are two phases to the CIAM application process:

  • Letter of Intent/notice of intent.
  • Application.

Research Projects – Letter of Intent (LOI)

Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent to Apply for a Special Research Opportunity Grant (Form 184) by the deadline date. Only those applicants whose Letters of Intent are accepted will be invited to submit a full application.

Note: For the Letter of Intent, the selection criterion with respect to a time-sensitive and urgent research opportunity does not apply in the context of the NSERC-initiated CIAM Request for Proposals.

Collaborative Mobility Grants – Notice of intent

Applicants must first submit a notice of intent to submit an application, by the deadline date. This free-form letter, or e-mail, must contain the following:

  • Canadian applicant(s) and co-applicant(s) (name, title, affiliation).
  • Anticipated participating countries.
  • Research subject areas and keywords.
  • Approximate amount of funding to be requested of NSERC.

There will be no evaluation of the notice of intent to apply.


Applicants must submit an NSERC Application for a Grant (Form 101). Full applications must be submitted to NSERC by the deadline date. The title of the proposal must reference “Inter-American Materials Research.”

New page limits

Research Projects

  • A five page maximum for the proposal.
  • A two page maximum for the summary of each counterpart proposal(s) and integration with the international collaboration.

Collaborative Mobility Grants

  • A two page maximum for the proposal.
  • A two page maximum for the summary of each counterpart proposal(s) and integration with the international collaboration.

Applications to NSERC must be linked to:

  • a counterpart proposal(s) presented by the foreign collaborator(s) to the other participating agency(ies); or
  • an existing award(s) already funded by the participating foreign agency(ies).2

Participating agencies will solicit proposals in accordance with their own submission and review procedures. Consequently, it is not necessary to submit identical proposals to each agency. However, all proposals to NSERC must include an additional summary (two page maximum) of each counterpart proposal or existing award, with the following information:

  • the name of the principal investigator and any co-applicant(s), their titles and affiliations;
  • the project title and award number (in the case of an existing award);
  • the name of the funding agency and program;
  • a project summary of the counterpart proposal or existing award;
  • a description of the overall integrated initiative and the integration of the Canadian project/activities with the international initiative;
  • the budget for the CIAM initiative.

In accordance with the Special Research Opportunity (SRO) Program – Project (Form 101) instructions, foreign collaborators must also submit a C.V., either using Form 100 or another comparable format of no more than six pages. Information about counterpart proposals will be shared among the participating agencies as appropriate.

In the Form 101, a description of the role of the collaborator(s) must be provided. Specifically, describe:

  • the pertinent expertise, role and expected contributions of the collaborator(s) to the research project, including the work to be done in each country and the responsibility of each collaborator;
  • the nature and extent of the collaboration.

For your guidance, suggested types of collaboration include:

  • Synergistic: Each researcher contributes a specific expertise, facility or equipment necessary for the realization of the project.
  • Integrated: Researchers coordinate their project activities to form a unified project.
  • Complementary: Each researcher performs similar research using different approaches which widen the scope and strengthen the validity of the results.
  • Supportive: Collaborators with essentially the same expertise divide the research tasks between the research groups.

International CIAM grantees’ workshops/meetings are organized on a recurring basis (approximately annually). Grantees are expected to participate in these events; therefore, applicants should incorporate this activity into their travel budget request.

Selection process

The appropriate agencies will independently evaluate proposals through their national peer review processes. A joint steering committee, made up of representatives from each of the participating funding agencies, will meet in May 2009 to compare their respective evaluations of joint proposals and identify awards. Awards will be confirmed by summer 2009.

For additional information, please contact:

Sandra O’Connor
Special Research Opportunity Grants
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1H4

Tel. : 613-996-4463

  Participating agencies include the National Research Council for Science and Technology of Argentina (Consejo nacional de investigaciones científicas y técnicas – CONICET), the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development of Brazil (Consejo nacional de desenvolvimento científico e tecnológico – CNPq), the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Comisión nacional de investigación científica y tecnológica – CONICYT), the Colombian Institute for the Development of Science and Technology (Instituto colombiano para el desarrollo de la ciencia y la tecnología – COLCIENCIAS), the National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico (Consejo nacional de ciencia y tecnología – CONACYT) and the United States National Science Foundation (NSF).
  Some of the participating research funding agencies may provide funding in support of international mobility that is linked to pre-existing research awards held by the researchers in their respective countries. In the case of projects involving collaborators from the USA, it should be noted that the NSF will support collaborative research projects based on proposal submission (2008-2009) and will not entertain proposals from U.S. researchers where the counterpart contribution to a collaborative project is an existing award, unless the ongoing counterpart project is modified to clearly include the collaboration with U.S. researchers and its associated costs.