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Ship Time program

Duration Up to two years
Application deadline September 1, 2023
Application procedures See below
How to apply

To create or access an application, log in to the online system. Read the instructions before completing and submitting your application.

For more information Contact


The Ship Time program allows those holding an NSERC Discovery Grant (DG) to apply for additional funds to access vessels in support of their research programs.


This Ship Time program is aimed at all NSERC-funded researchers who intend to use a vessel for their DG-supported research in the coming years. It applies to the following: Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)/ Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessels, undersea vehicles operated by the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility or other similar research platforms, and any other vessels crewed in conformance with the This link will take you to another Web site Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (or similar, for foreign vessels).

Ship Time grants support ongoing DG research programs. These grants recognize the high costs associated with chartering research vessels in Canada and abroad. Applicants (including co-applicants) must hold a Discovery Grant (or be successful in the current DG competition) to be eligible to receive a Ship Time grant. Recipients of Ship Time grants must use the funds as described in the application. Requests to use an alternate vessel will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Ship Time applicants may apply for more than one vessel at a time. Should the two vessels be part of the same project (e.g., a remotely operated vehicle and a support vessel), only one application is to be submitted.

The normal duration of Ship Time grants is one year. Two-year grants will be considered in exceptional circumstances, where the project completion requires a firm commitment of funding for more than one year. Applicants who need to confirm funding for expeditions taking place well into the future should contact NSERC to discuss.

NSERC does not consider requests for supplements to existing Ship Time grants. For questions about ship time associated with other NSERC programs, please contact the appropriate program staff.

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 encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of underrepresented groups in the natural sciences and engineering as one way 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 of the composition of research teams and trainees. For more information, applicants should refer to the application instructions and the NSERC guide on equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research.

Research teams should strive for a diverse group of team members including balanced gender representation. EDI considerations should be reflected in the rationale of the team composition and in the designated roles within the team. Moreover, where applicable, the applicants should describe how they have implemented and/or will implement strategies and practices to support EDI within the team (e.g., recruitment of team members, management of the team, mentorship, etc.). For more information, applicants should refer to the application instructions and the Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations for research teams.

Application procedures

Applicants whose research is, or will be, supported under the DG program must submit their completed Ship Time application by . Applicants who intend to access a This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Coast Guard vessel, also need to contact DFO science staff directly for their full application requirements.

For each project requiring a vessel, submit the following documents (except in cases where the vessel is combined with a remotely operated vehicle):

  • Application for a Discovery Grant Ship Time (Form 101)
  • Canadian Common CV (CCV) for the applicant and each co-applicant
  • quotation for all vessels to be used
  • additional material (e.g., letters of support), as required

The onus is on the applicant to submit a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards requested by NSERC. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or disadvantaged.

Review procedures and selection criteria (weighted scoring)

Applications are evaluated by the Ship Time Allocations Committee (STAC) according to the following weighted selection criteria, which are based on the information provided in the Ship Time application materials. As part of an ongoing commitment to ensure that a wide range of contributions are considered and valued in the merit review, the new Guidelines on assessment of contributions to research, training and mentoring will support the evaluation of NSERC applications.

Scientific or engineering excellence (40%)

  • Demonstrate the scientific or engineering excellence of the proposed project(s)
  • Highlight the significance and expected contributions to Discovery-research, including potential for major advances and impacts
  • Show the feasibility of the plan(s) to use the research vessel or platform, and demonstrate that proposed methods are the best approach to answering research questions
  • Illustrate the complementarity of expertise and the synergy of group members
  • Consider EDI in the rationale of the team composition
  • Summarize the effective use of previous ship-based experience (NSERC-funded or otherwise)

Need and urgency for ship time (40%)

  • Highlight the urgency and justify the timing of the expedition
  • Justify the research platform or vessel chosen, as opposed to using other (less costly) methods to obtain data
  • Detail the availability of the equipment required to undertake the research
  • Discuss the provision of technical support
  • Illustrate attempts to maximize existing resources (extent to which the required platform may be shared with others)

Contribution to the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) (20%)

  • Describe the quality and extent of the HQP training environment
  • Demonstrate the opportunities for hands-on training
  • Consider EDI in the training of HQP
  • Highlight the outcomes and skills to be gained by HQP

Note: It is the responsibility of the grant holder to ensure that any vessel being used for NSERC-supported research is crewed in conformance with the This link will take you to another Web site Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (or similar, for foreign vessels).