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Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics Support Program

Note: NSERC will no longer accept applications to the CITA program. This program has been replaced by the Discovery Institutes Support (DIS) funding opportunity.

Duration Up to five years
Application Deadline April 1, 2015 – Invitation to Submit Full Application
June 1, 2015 – Full Application
Application Procedures See Below
How to Apply
For More Information Consult the Contact List


The objective of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) Support Program is to facilitate the effective access by Canadian academic researchers to major and unique national or international (based in Canada) thematic research resources in the field of theoretical astrophysics by financially assisting these resources to remain in a state of readiness for researchers to use.

Collaborative and thematic resources are defined as institutes that promote and trigger national and international interactions within theoretical astrophysics and provide a place where researchers meet, collaborate and exchange ideas. These resources provide an environment that serves to accelerate research in theoretical astrophysics, as well as to develop partnerships and interactions with different disciplines, thus fostering interdisciplinary research.


CITA grants assist national or international (based in Canada) thematic research resources in theoretical astrophysics to cover their operating and maintenance costs. The grants assist resources that have broad reach and provide significant value in advancing the state of knowledge in theoretical astrophysics and related interdisciplinary research. Supported resources must be used by researchers from different institutions across Canada.

Eligible Costs

CITA grants provide funding to assist coverage of the following costs:

  • Salaries of research support staff employed to operate and maintain the resource, and provide assistance to users;
  • Operation and maintenance of the resource;
  • Materials, supplies and minor equipment essential to the operation and maintenance of the resource; Travel expenses for Directors and key personnel related to the resource’s research priorities and program delivery;
  • Dissemination costs, as part of the resource’s outreach activities towards relevant communities;
  • Operation of scientific review panels and governing bodies;
  • Remuneration of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows involved in a context of thematic or collaborative programs;
  • Visitor expenses, including travel and local support; and
  • Honoraria for distinguished speakers.

Ineligible Costs

  • CITA grants cannot be used to pay for any indirect costs of research or expenses that are central or departmental institutional costs. Examples of such indirect costs include, but are not limited to, those for the maintenance and renovation of research spaces and buildings, leasing costs of spaces and equipment, utilities, security and occupational safety, financial and administrative support, or insurance. Other ineligible costs can be found in the Use of Grant Funds section of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide. Furthermore, CITA grants cannot be used to pay for the establishment, construction or infrastructure expansion of a resource.

Selection Criteria

Applications to the CITA Support Program will be assessed on the basis of the six following selection criteria. Each criterion lists the factors that will be considered. The onus is on the applicants to thoroughly address each criterion in their application.

  1. Scope and added value of the resource
    • The national or international nature of the resource; regional importance can be highlighted if appropriate.
    • Reach of the resource, within and beyond, the theoretical astrophysics communities throughout Canada and internationally where applicable.
    • The added value of the resource compared to other Canadian resources that may be providing similar activities or programs; complementarity with other resources should also be addressed.

  2. Use and access to the resource by researcher communities and students
    • Current and projected level of use of the resource by researchers in theoretical astrophysics and related multidisciplinary fields nationally and internationally; can discuss trends as compared to past levels of use if applicable.
    • Impact of the resource on the advancement of research programs of current and projected users and, when applicable, on the dissemination and use of the knowledge generated in the supported area(s) of research.
    • Allocation of access to the resource by different users (i.e., process for selection of themes and organizers, students, postdoctoral fellows, workshop attendees, etc.).
    • Existing or proposed initiatives that specifically encourage participation by under-represented groups should be included.

  3. Merit and impact of the research activities enabled by the resources
    • Excellence and impact of past (if applicable), current and planned scientific activities.
    • Excellence of the activity organizers and their level of commitment to the activities within the resource.
    • Significance of the research themes to the theoretical astrophysics communities and related multidisciplinary fields.

  4. Fostering Partnerships and Interactions
    • Potential for partnerships with complementary Canadian or, if applicable, international resources in theoretical astrophysics.
    • Plan to develop opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.
    • Demonstrated outreach to potential Canadian or, if applicable, international academic and non-academic sectors (i.e., attracting new users and partners).

  5. Contribution of the resource to the training and development of highly qualified personnel
    • Importance of the resource for training, including unique mentorship and training opportunities offered by the resource that are complementary with, and add value to, training carried out in other settings.
    • Extent and excellence of proposed strategies and plans to train and develop highly qualified personnel in research areas critical to the advancement of new knowledge in theoretical astrophysics and in related multidisciplinary fields.

  6. Management and Budget
    • Effective management structure to direct, manage and integrate the activities of the resource.
    • Operational efficiencies achieved through partnerships with similar resources.
    • Effective research planning, within and among resources, to sustain well-coordinated and innovative research activities.
    • Detailed budget for the proposed costs.
    • Demonstrated need for, and effectiveness of, support through a CITA grant as opposed to other NSERC grants (held or applied for) and contributions from other sources.
    • Nature and extent of the commitment and support from universities, other organizations and users.

Eligibility of Applicants and Co-applicants

The applicant and all co-applicants must be eligible for NSERC funding. You are invited to consult NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria – For Faculty before submitting an Application.

Application Procedures

See the instructions for a complete list of Application requirements.

Applications are to be submitted through the NSERC Extranet site. Applicants are asked to contact the NSERC Program contact for detailed instructions.

Review Procedures

Applications to the CITA Support Program will be assessed by an Expert Review Committee, which will review the resources, either through on-site evaluations or through a review meeting where applicants will be invited to present the resource and provide clarification on issues raised by the Expert Review Committee. The review will be based on the Selection Criteria.

Once the review of the resources is concluded, the Expert Review Committee will complete a report and provide recommendations on funding for each of the resources under review. The recommendations and report will be provided to the Committee on Grants and Scholarships who will make the conclusive recommendation to NSERC on any resource.

Conflicts of Interest

NSERC’s Guidelines on Conflict of Interest for Peer Reviewers will be strictly applied throughout the review process.

Duration and Conditions

CITA grants can be awarded for up to five years.

For grants whose average is of $500,000 per year or higher, the payment of the second and any subsequent yearly instalment (up to Year 5) is conditional on the submission of an annual activity report to NSERC. The submission deadline for this report is February 1.