Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Memo to potential applicants
Notification of intent to apply for a Subatomic Physics Discovery grant – 2024 competition

If you intend to submit an application to the 2023 Subatomic Physics grants competition, you must first submit a Subatomic Physics notification of intent to apply (SAP NOI) to NSERC by the deadline of Tuesday August 1, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. (ET). This deadline applies to Subatomic Physics Discovery (SAP-DG), Major Resources Support (SAP-MRS) and Category 2 or 3 Research Tools and Instruments (SAP-RTI 2/3) grant applications. Please note that an NOI is not required for Category 1 RTI (SAP-RTI) grant applications, and the deadline to submit a full application is October 25.

The SAP NOI is mandatory. Researchers who do not submit a SAP NOI cannot submit a full application later in the fall. The information contained in the SAP NOI allows NSERC to start some aspects of the review process, including confirmation of assignment to the subatomic physics evaluation section, selection of appropriate external reviewers and determination of the most appropriate review mechanism for applications requesting significant financial support.

Before submitting a SAP NOI

You are encouraged to verify the balance of your current grant account. If the available funds are sufficient to cover anticipated expenditures through the next fiscal year, you can request a deferral of installment or take advantage of the automatic one-year extension to use the accumulated funds prior to submitting a new request for funding. Note that postponing an application does not adversely affect the review of your next application but, rather, demonstrates good fiscal management of the funds and allows you to reorganize your activities and postpone the renewal/reapplication date by one year. It also provides the opportunity for the agency to fund other researchers with more urgent needs.

If you currently hold an individual SAP Discovery grant and have taken maternity, parental, medical or family medical leave during the grant period, you may request an extension of the term of the current grant, and in certain cases additional funds, for a period of up to two years. Learn more on the Family and medical leave web page.

To lessen the impact due to 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.

This one-time one-year extension with funds will be available for the following SAP programs: Discovery Grants – Individual and Project, Major Resources Support Grants, and Discovery Development Grants.

For more information refer to the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

*Note: Eligible active grants are those that received a payment or had a planned payment in the 2020–21 fiscal year (April 1, 2020–March 31, 2021) when the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 initiative was launched.

Grant recipients who are eligible to begin their early career researcher’s extension with funds will be offered and asked to accept that one-time funded extension before being offered the Discovery Grants one-time one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 the following year.

Application process

You must submit your SAP NOI and This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV) using the Research Portal. Refer to the instructions on how to complete a SAP NOI and CCV. We encourage you to start completing your CCV early, as it can be time consuming to populate the fields the first time.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact to request a phone call with NSERC staff.

Literature for subatomic physics programs

Literature specific to all subatomic physics programs (Discovery, MRS, and RTI of all categories) is available on our website. Program descriptions are available in the Explore section of NSERC’s Discovery program overview for professors. Instructions about application procedures are available in the instructions section of the Research Portal. We encourage you to read the description of the program to which you intend to apply and the application instructions.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Applicants should refer to the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research, and to Discovery Grants instructions on how to integrate EDI considerations into their application.

Data management plan

NSERC is committed to supporting Canadian research excellence by promoting sound research data management and data stewardship practices. The SAP Discovery Grants program (individual and project) is piloting the data management plan (DMP) requirement of the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-agency Research Data Management Policy. A DMP will be required at the time of the full application. See the program description for more details.

Applicant category – early career researcher

Early career researchers (ECR) are applicants who have held their first independent academic position within the last five years. The five-year window for being considered an ECR is adjusted to take into account instances where a researcher has had an eligible delay in research. All eligible leaves (for example, maternity, parental, personal illness, leave taken by applicants for family-related illness, bereavement), as well as delays related to COVID-19 are credited as twice the amount of time taken. For example, a researcher submitting an NOI in August 2023 and who took a seven-month parental leave within the past five years must have been hired on or after May 2017 in order to be considered an ECR. Professional leaves (for example, training, sabbatical, administrative) will not be credited.

DND/NSERC Discovery Grant supplement

The DND/NSERC Discovery Grant supplement was launched in the 2017 competition. The joint initiative between the Department of National Defence (DND) and NSERC aims to support unclassified university-based discovery research dedicated to the development of non-weapon specific technologies with dual-use applications in defence and security target areas. Those researchers submitting individual SAP-DG applications will again be eligible for this supplement. To apply for a supplement, you must indicate your interest in the application. Refer to the instructions for details.

For more information on subatomic physics programs please email to