On January 16, 2024, the Government of Canada published its Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern. This funding opportunity is in scope of this new policy, wherein grant applications that involve conducting research that aims to advance a sensitive technology research area will not be funded if any of the researchers involved in activities supported by the grant are currently affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support from, a named research organization. Please read the Tri-agency guidance on the STRAC Policy to understand how this policy may impact your grant application.

Subatomic Physics Research Tools and Instruments grants program

Overview

The Subatomic Physics Research Tools and Instruments (SAP-RTI) program is intended for researchers undertaking research in the field of subatomic physics at a Canadian university.

Overview
Type of awards Subatomic Physics – Research Tools and Instruments – category 1
Subatomic Physics – Research Tools and Instruments – category 2
Subatomic Physics – Research Tools and Instruments – category 3
Application deadline/Dates limites August 1, 2024 (notification of intent to apply – categories 2/3)
October 1, 2024 (application – categories 2/3)
October 25, 2024 (application – category 1)

Important: Your application must be received at your institution’s research grants office by its internal deadline date; contact your research grants office for that deadline.
Application procedure See below.
How to apply
For more information Email subatomic@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

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Important information


Objectives

The Subatomic Physics Research Tools and Instruments (SAP-RTI) grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of researchers in the field of subatomic physics at a Canadian university by supporting the purchase of research equipment and installations.


Description

SAP-RTI grants assist in buying or developing research equipment that costs more than $7,000. SAP-RTI grants are divided into three categories, according to the total net cost of the equipment. Net cost is defined as the purchase cost of the equipment after any discount from the vendor and before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation costs. These categories are

  • SAP-RTI grants – category 1: $7,001 to $150,000
  • SAP-RTI grants – category 2: $150,001 to $325,000
  • SAP-RTI grants – category 3: more than $325,000

Under category 1, SAP-RTI grants are one-year awards. In exceptional cases, multi-year requests will be accepted. The onus is on the applicant to clearly explain the rationale. Under categories 2 and 3, SAP-RTI grants can be multi-year awards.

Regardless of the category, if the applicant can secure funding from other sources to complement the requested support from NSERC, this funding must be in place and confirmed at the time the application is submitted. Other sources may include contributions from NSERC Discovery Grants held by the applicant or co-applicants. The use of other types of NSERC grants is permitted, provided that prior written authorization is obtained from NSERC.

NSERC will only accept the following requests:

  • for tools and instruments that form a comprehensive system intended to support NSERC-funded research in the field of subatomic physics
    • a comprehensive system is one in which each tool or instrument forms part of an integrated system of operation to support the research program(s)
    • requests that bundle unrelated tools and instruments together will not be accepted
  • for the purchase of new, used or refurbished equipment; the repair, upgrade or rental of equipment; or the fabrication of equipment that is not readily available off the shelf
  • for equipment that is purchased or rented after the application deadline.

Equipment and items that are part of laboratory infrastructure or intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards are ineligible for SAP-RTI support.

If requested, NSERC will pay all applicable taxes, as well as shipping and handling expenses.

SAP-RTI grants must be used only to purchase the specific type of equipment for which the grant was awarded. Grantees who wish to purchase equipment different from that specified in the application must obtain written permission from NSERC prior to its purchase. Grantees may, however, buy a model different from that requested in the application without prior NSERC approval.


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 are expected to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training. Where applicable, consideration of sex, gender and diversity in the research design should be addressed in the proposal. EDI considerations should be developed into the rationale for the composition of research teams, including trainees. For more information, refer to the application instructions and the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research.


Eligibility to apply

In addition to meeting NSERC’s Eligibility requirements for faculty to apply for or hold grant funds, applicants and co-applicants must each currently hold or be applying for one of the following NSERC research grants at the time of application: Subatomic Physics Discovery grant, Discovery Development grant, Strategic Partnerships grant, Collaborative Research and Development grant, Alliance grant, Canada Research Chair, Canada Excellence Research Chair, Canada 150 Research Chair or Discovery Horizons.


Application procedures

Subatomic Physics – Research Tools and Instruments – category 1

Applicants must submit an application for a SAP-RTI category 1 grant through the Research Portal by the deadline date. As part of the application, each applicant and co-applicant must complete a Canadian Common CV (CCV) and link it to the application.

The application must include

  • two (2) recent quotations for any individual item(s) over $25,000 (before taxes) or for any system(s) to be purchased from a single supplier and costing more than $25,000 (before taxes)
  • if applicable, a letter from an organization (that is not the applicant’s institution) that clearly explains their financial contribution toward the purchase of the equipment
  • if applicable, written authorization from NSERC to use funds from Strategic, Collaborative Research and Development, Alliance or other partnership grants toward the equipment in the SAP-RTI application; NSERC authorization is not required to use cash contributions from the applicant’s and/or co-applicant’s NSERC Discovery Grant

Letters from supporting organizations, if submitted, should clearly explain the support that the organizations will provide, such as their involvement in the research, their contribution (cash or in-kind) to the purchase and installation of the equipment, etc.

Subatomic Physics – Research Tools and Instruments – categories 2/3

For categories 2 and 3, the first step in applying to the SAP-RTI program is to submit a notification of intent (NOI) to apply for a SAP-RTI grant – category 2 or 3 by the deadline date. As part of the NOI, each applicant and co-applicant must complete a Canadian Common CV (CCV) and link it to the NOI.

The NOI is a mandatory step in the application process for both category 2 and 3 grants. It allows NSERC to determine the most appropriate review mechanism for the grant application. If a researcher fails to submit an NOI, they cannot submit a full application.

Applicants must then submit a full application through the Research Portal by the deadline date. As part of the application, each applicant and co-applicant must complete a Canadian Common CV (CCV) and link it to the application. The CCV can be updated following the submission of the NOI and before the submission of the full application.

The application must include

  • two (2) recent quotations for any individual item(s) over $25,000 (before taxes) or for any system(s) to be purchased from a single supplier and costing more than $25,000 (before taxes)
  • a letter of support from the applicant’s head of department, which must indicate the importance and priority that the department places on the proposed equipment and the extent to which the department proposes to provide support
  • if applicable, a letter from an organization (that is not the applicant’s institution) that clearly explains their financial contribution toward the purchase of the equipment
  • if applicable, written authorization from NSERC to use funds from Strategic, Collaborative Research and Development, Alliance or other partnership grants toward the equipment in the SAP-RTI application; NSERC authorization is not required to use cash contributions from the applicant’s and/or co-applicant’s NSERC Discovery Grant
  • for category 3 only: a letter of support from the university president or delegated representative indicating the importance and priority placed on the proposed equipment or facilities; this letter should explain the extent of the support the university will provide, such as space, financial contributions to the equipment purchase and installation, the purchase of ancillary equipment, funding of technical support staff, etc.

Letters from supporting organizations, if submitted, should clearly explain the support that the organizations will provide, such as their involvement in the research, their contribution (cash or in-kind) to the purchase and installation of the equipment, etc.


Use of grant funds

Eligible costs

Eligible costs
Type of expenditures SAP-RTI
category 1
SAP-RTI
categories 2/3
Salaries and benefits Not eligible Salaries and training costs of technical support personnel for the initial phase-in period of operations (up to two years)
Equipment or facility Purchase or rental Purchase or rental
Travel Not eligible Travel costs to visit manufacturers to select equipment
Others
(transportation costs for purchased equipment, extended warranty, brokerage and customs charges for the importation of equipment and supplies)
Eligible Eligible

Ineligible costs

Costs that are not eligible for any categories of SAP-RTI include:

  • insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles
  • costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities
  • items that are part of laboratory infrastructure or intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards
  • software licensing or upgrades for subsequent years

All project expenditures are subject to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds, as outlined in the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration.


Review procedures

All applications for SAP-RTI grants are reviewed by the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section. No external input is usually sought, however the Section may request expert input from individual referees, if necessary. For SAP-RTI category 3 applications, the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section may also receive input from an expert ad-hoc committee that would perform an evaluation and review of the application. Applicants submitting SAP-RTI category 3 applications may be invited to make a presentation during the Large Project Day held every year by the Section.


Selection criteria

Any application to the SAP-RTI program will be assessed on the basis of the five selection criteria listed below. Each criterion lists the factors that will be considered. To be eligible for SAP-RTI funding, an application must meet all five criteria. The onus is on the applicants to thoroughly address each criterion in their applications and provide detailed information to the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section.

  • Excellence of the applicant(s)
    • scientific or engineering calibre of the applicant, co-applicant(s), and major users
    • extent to which the applicant or the group has relevant experience or has presented a training plan to demonstrate how they will gain the ability to fully use the equipment
    • consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in the rationale for the team composition (applicant, co-applicant(s) and major users)
  • Merit of the proposed research program(s)
    • overall quality of the research programs of the proposed users
    • recent track record 
    • potential for major advances in the disciplines 
  • Need for and urgency of the equipment, including availability of, and access to, similar equipment
    • impact of a delay in the acquisition of the equipment on the research and pace of research progress
    • possibility of equipment moving the research forward or helping to launch new research directions
    • difficulties in accessing existing equipment (e.g., the increased number of users slowing research progress)
    • availability of similar equipment/facilities/services in the vicinity
    • need to upgrade or replace obsolete or failed equipment
  • Suitability of the requested item(s) for the proposed research program(s)
    • demonstration that the equipment is essential for the research and that there are no other more cost-effective ways of obtaining results
    • degree of utilization of the equipment by the applicant, co-applicant(s) and other users
    • accessibility of the equipment, in terms of both location and availability of technical support to assist in operations
    • for multi-user applications, the suitability of the proposed equipment for a multi-user facility and for the desired applications
  • Importance of the requested item(s) for the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP)
    • quality and extent of training
    • consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in the training of HQP
    • opportunity for hands-on training
    • potential to provide marketable skills for students trained on the equipment

For SAP-RTI categories 2 and 3 grant applications, the following additional criterion is also taken into account:

  • Organizational structure, accessibility and synergy—applicant(s) must demonstrate a clearly defined organizational structure to ensure that the equipment can be operated and maintained efficiently and effectively, as well as providing access for other users; examples of elements to be addressed include
    • suitability and effectiveness of the oversight/management structure and the users’ representative body
    • policies and practices to support equity, diversity and inclusion within the team (e.g., recruitment of team members, management of the team, mentorship)—for more information, refer to the EDI considerations for research teams
    • plans for effective operation and maintenance of the equipment
    • accessibility for other users—a transparent and fair process to grant access
    • synergy of the proposed equipment or installation with existing ones—synergy, in this case, is considered to be the extent to which a grouping of equipment enhances the value and capability of each piece of equipment and enables researchers to obtain results or carry out studies that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible

Duration and conditions

SAP-RTI category 3 grants are typically multi-year awards. For grants whose amount is an average of $500,000 per year or higher, the payment of the second and any subsequent yearly instalment is conditional on the submission of an annual activity report to NSERC. The submission deadline for this report is January 15. NSERC reserves the right to request an activity report for any SAP-RTI category 3, even for grants that are less than an average of $500,000 per year.

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