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Collaborative Research and Development Grants
(including DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants)

Alliance Grants now open

NSERC has launched the new Alliance Grant that replaced Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants. NSERC will honour commitments to previously awarded CRD and DND/NSERC grants under the original terms and conditions of the grant. For the latest information, consult Alliance Grants.

Pending CRD applications

We thank applicants for their ongoing patience as we continue to review the applications. We received a record number of applications prior to the closing of the program. This unprecedented demand will result in longer decision times and lower success rates compared to previous years as we continue to operate within the same budget. We are working hard to assess all applications as quickly and diligently as possible and will continue to keep applicants informed.

Overview
Duration Up to five years
Application deadline Any time
How to apply See below
Application forms
  • Form 100 Personal Data Form
  • Form 101 Application for a Grant
  • Form 183A Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs (including letters of support)
To create or access an application, select On-line System Login. To view instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.
For more information Consult the Contact List

Objectives

The Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants are intended to:

  • create mutually beneficial collaborations between Canadian universities and private and/or public sector partners that lead to advancements that will result in economic, social or environmental benefits for Canada and Canadians;
  • expand the scope of research undertaken at Canadian universities, fostering dynamic interaction between discovery-based and innovative research, and allowing the research results to be translated into new knowledge, products or processes;
  • provide an enhanced experiential learning environment for graduate students and, where appropriate, postdoctoral fellows, by exposing them to research challenges unique to partnerships, and by providing them with the opportunity for significant ongoing interactions with the partnering organization(s);
  • allow partners to access the unique knowledge, expertise, infrastructure and potential highly educated and skilled future employees graduating from Canadian universities.

Description

CRD Grants support well-defined projects undertaken by university researchers and their partners. Direct project costs are shared by the partner(s) and NSERC. The Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships include a list of partner types eligible for fund matching by NSERC and describe the potential involvement of additional partners.

If the university researcher’s partners include a private-sector partner and the Department of National Defence (DND), apply for a DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant (a targeted CRD Grant).

CRD projects may range from one year to five years in duration and can be at any point in the research and development (R&D) spectrum in the domains of the natural sciences and engineering that is consistent with the university’s research, training, and technology transfer mandate. Information on the eligibility of research topics under NSERC’s mandate is available in the guidelines about This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency . Eligible collaborations include focused projects with specific short- to medium-term objectives, as well as discrete phases in a program of longer-range research. All proposals require evidence of detailed planning and sound budget justification, and must clearly spell out the underlying assumptions, intended approaches, milestones, and deliverables. Certain expenditures related to project management for complex projects are eligible as a direct cost of research up to a maximum of 10% of the total direct costs (see the Guidelines for Research Partnerships Programs Project Management Expenses).

Projects that focus on the application of existing technology, provide routine analysis, collect data without interpreting underlying mechanisms, or provide professional practice or consulting services (contract research) are not eligible. Similarly, proposals that involve the set-up and operational management of an institute, a formal or informal group of researchers, or that are principally associated with the acquisition and maintenance of scientific equipment will not be considered.

Partner participation

Each project must be supported by at least one eligible partner. All partners must:

  • collaborate at all stages of the research project (i.e., help develop the proposal and, as the project unfolds, interact regularly with the academic researchers, students and other research personnel and provide input on the project). This includes providing enriched experiential learning opportunities for students in direct contact with the partners, delivered through internships or by other means;
  • contribute to the direct project costs. The eligible partner(s) must collectively provide contributions to the university in an amount equal to, or greater than, the amount requested from NSERC. The cash contribution from the eligible partner(s) must be at least half of the NSERC request, with the balance provided as in-kind contributions to the project by the eligible partner(s). NSERC will recognize only those in-kind contributions that are fully documented and considered essential to carry out the work. For a description of cash leverage ratios, and the eligibility and value of in-kind contributions, refer to the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships;
  • demonstrate a clear intention and have sufficient resources to exploit the research results;
  • articulate the economic, social or environmental benefits for Canada and Canadians that will result from their participation in the collaborative project.

Eligible cash contributed before the proposal is submitted may be used to start the project, but NSERC will not leverage eligible in-kind contributions received or funds spent more than three months prior to the date of submission. NSERC funds cannot be applied to expenses incurred before a project was approved.

NSERC's Policy on Intellectual Property (IP) is based on the principle that the results of NSERC-funded research should be exploited for the benefit of Canada and Canadians. NSERC strongly recommends that the partner(s) and university(ies) negotiate a research agreement that outlines the ownership and management of IP generated in these partnerships, in compliance with NSERC’s IP Policy. Confirmation that a research agreement has been signed between the partner(s) and the university will be requested by NSERC for NSERC/DND awards. This confirmation must be provided within six months from the date of the conditional offer.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are key priorities in our current strategic plan, NSERC 2020, and are highlighted in the strategic goal of “Building a Diversified and Competitive Research Base”.

NSERC is in the process of integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations into its evaluation criteria. Our community will be informed of changes and effective dates. Applicants should refer to the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application for more information.

Application procedures

Proposals can be submitted at any time, using a Personal Data Form (Form 100), an Application for a Grant (Form 101), and an Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs (Form 183A). Full instructions for professors and their partner(s) to complete the forms and the on-line submission are found on NSERC's On-line Services page. All proposals undergo peer review. Large or complex proposals (requesting $200,000 or more per year from NSERC) are reviewed by a site visit committee. Regardless of the amount requested, NSERC reserves the right to conduct an in-depth review of any proposal through a site visit or a virtual site visit.

Decisions on funding CRD Grants are usually made within three months of receiving a complete application. Large or complex applications may take up to six months for processing.

Selection criteria

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit: The project must be scientifically sound, technically feasible, and promise either to generate new knowledge or to apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner.
  • Competence of the research team: The applicant and the research team together must have all the expertise required to address the defined objectives competently and to complete the project successfully. Academic expertise may be complemented with the know-how from the partner(s).
  • Training opportunities: The proposal must include a student training component. It must indicate how the knowledge and experience gained by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants or others, including partner personnel, are relevant to the advancement of the field, to developing practical applications of knowledge, or to strengthening the industrial research base. The number of undergraduate and graduate students trained must be commensurate with the size of the project. It must be shown that students and postdoctoral fellows have an opportunity to enhance their experiential learning and gain new skills through interactions with the partner(s).
  • Industrial Relevance and Benefits: The anticipated impact of the research results, highlighting the relevance and potential value of the scientific or technical advances for the partner(s), must be well-explained and compelling. If appropriate, the proposal must convincingly explain how this research will address critical knowledge gaps that pose barriers to developing new and innovative products, services, processes, or technologies in Canada.  
  • Benefits to Canada: In addition to the benefits anticipated for the partner(s) described under the Industrial Relevance and Benefits criterion, the proposal must detail any additional economic, social or environmental benefits for Canada and Canadians, as well as explaining any advantages Canada stands to gain from the planned partnership(s).
  • University support: For large or complex proposals (requesting at least $200,000 per year from NSERC), the proposal must demonstrate adequate university support for the project by detailing the specific commitments of the university regarding the provision of financial support, equipment, and/or facilities.
  • Budget: The proposal must provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested and the level of cash and in kind commitments are appropriate. A significant portion of the budget must be allocated to salaries for students and postdoctoral fellows.

Report on an ongoing or past CRD grant

If the application is a continuation of research undertaken in a recently completed or nearly completed CRD project, receiving $100,000 or more per year from NSERC, an additional report (maximum three pages) detailing the results achieved is required. The continuing partner(s) must clearly outline the impact of the ongoing or recently completed CRD in their letter(s) of support.

NSERC/Mitacs Joint funding opportunity

Applicants may include in their CRD grant application a request for additional support through Mitacs Accelerate internships as a component of the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP). Note that Mitacs internships cannot be the only mechanism for HQP training, and Mitacs internships must be funded through partner support separate from the support for the CRD grant. The internships may result in an increase in the overall number of students and postdoctoral fellows involved in the project, or may provide opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows to deepen their relationship with a partner. Applications for a combined CRD grant–Mitacs internship are required to provide additional information relevant to the internship(s) (see Instructions for Completing an Application – Form 101). NSERC will conduct the peer review of the joint application and will communicate the results to Mitacs.

Reporting

CRD projects are monitored closely. Progress reports are requested according to the size and the total duration of the award:

  • all CRD recipients are required to provide a final report;
  • CRD grants with an awarded value greater than or equal to $150,000 in the first year or on an annual average are required to provide an annual progress report;
  • CRD grants with an awarded value greater than or equal to $50,000 and less than $150,000 in the first year or on an annual average are required to provide a progress report near the end of each two-year cycle;
  • at the end of year two and subsequent years, where a progress report is not required, a confirmation of the continuing collaboration with the partner(s), receipt of the partner’s contributions and the need for funds (grant account balance) will be requested from the grantee and the institution;
  • CRD grants with an award value less than $50,000 in the first year or on an annual average will not be required to provide a progress report.

On the basis of the results obtained or problems encountered, grantees may propose amendments to the project objectives, milestones or budget. Even when no progress report is required, the university and the grantee are required to inform NSERC of any change that may affect the grant.

When a progress report is required, the partner(s) will be invited to provide comments on the project’s progress. When no progress report is required, the partner(s) will still be invited to provide NSERC with any pertinent comments pertaining to the project and the collaboration. The next instalment will not be released until the partner(s)’s current year’s contribution is made, the commitment to contribute in the next year is re-confirmed (if requested), and (if requested) an evaluation of the project’s progress is provided.

The amounts of second and subsequent instalments are contingent on a demonstrated need for NSERC funds. When a progress report is requested, grantees must provide statements of actual expenditures and anticipated future costs. When no progress report is due, NSERC will request information from the grantee and the university to ensure that there is a continuing need for funds and that leveraged contributions were provided in the preceding period.

Grantees or partner(s) that have failed to provide the requested feedback on projects may be declared ineligible to apply for, or sponsor, new proposals.

DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants

DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants support projects where DND and at least one eligible partner are involved in the collaboration.

A key strategic goal of the Department of National Defence (DND) and NSERC is to collaborate fully in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy.

To achieve this goal, DND and NSERC have established a jointly managed and funded DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant that aims to:

  • capitalize on the complementary R&D capacity existing in the universities and in DND in order to generate new knowledge and support the development of new technical capabilities relevant to the development and application of dual-use technologies in selected areas of interest to both DND and NSERC;
  • build strong two- and three-way linkages and create synergy between researchers in DND and universities and the private sector;
  • achieve the efficient and effective transfer of research results and technology to identified receptors in the public and the private sector;
  • train and develop highly qualified personnel in priority areas consistent with the future human resource requirements in the public and private sectors.

Funding available

DND and NSERC will provide funding for university-based research, research training and research-related activities carried out in collaboration with DND and Canadian-based partners only. The maximum value of the research grants that will be made available is normally limited to $500,000 per project. Requests exceeding this amount will only be considered under special circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible activities are the same as those for any CRD project.

To be eligible for support, a proposal must involve a collaborative effort with at least one eligible partner and at least one DND Scientific Authority; it must also include information about intellectual property agreement(s) being negotiated or in place that specifically address the disposition of intellectual property rights coming into and/or emanating from the proposed research project.

Research priorities

The grant will support unclassified university-based research dedicated to the development of non-weapon specific technologies with dual-use applications oriented towards the objectives of DND and with broader commercial applications.

Proposals should address the following priority research areas as agreed to by DND and NSERC:

Electronics – Technologies for the secure and reliable transmission and reception of information over long distances, and for the accurate and reliable determination of position, velocity and time (possibly under interference).

Undersea Systems – Undersea sensors and response systems, including integration and persistence of undersea systems.

Information Systems – Integration of technologies for decision-making, for situational awareness, and for secure distribution of data and information among users, and, in particular, solutions for the fusion of quantitative and qualitative information from large, heterogeneous and/or unreliable datasets.

Autonomous Systems – Technologies to ensure that autonomous systems can deal with unexpected situations (changes, errors, etc.) or tasks that challenge their sensing, modeling, planning, or movement envelopes.

Air Vehicles – Technologies related to flight safety and endurance in the Earth's atmosphere, and integration of these technologies.

Naval Platforms – Technologies related to the safe, efficient and effective operation of surface ships and underwater vehicles, and their signatures.

Mobility Systems – Technologies that affect mobility and endurance of land vehicles.

Space Systems – Technologies that affect the affordable and effective use of Space for defence and security.

Surveillance Systems – Technologies that exploit the electromagnetic spectrum for reliable detection, tracking, classification and identification of objects of interest.

Human Performance Effectiveness – Technology and integration of technology to optimize human performance including, but not limited to, human-machine teaming and robotic collaboration, information fusion, human-machine interfaces, augmented reality, and wearable sensors.

Life Support Systems – Technologies concerned with human effectiveness, protection, health, safety and survival in austere operational environments.

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be evaluated using the selection criteria for CRD grant applications as well as relevance to the DND and NSERC research priorities listed above.

Intellectual property

The participants recognize that DND will normally seek rights to use or have used resulting intellectual property for defence purposes. An intellectual property agreement will be established between DND and the participants of each research project supported through this grant. The parties must reach an agreement on the disposition of intellectual property acceptable to DND and compliant with NSERC’s Policy on Intellectual Property (IP). DND, as a co-funder of the grant, must be a signatory to the IP agreement. NSERC will require, as a condition of funding, confirmation that a research agreement has been signed by all parties within six months of the conditional offer.

Application procedures

As a first step, applicants must contact the DND scientific authority to ensure that the proposed research activity aligns with the DND research priorities.

Research proposals must be submitted on NSERC forms. Applicants are required to meet all NSERC regulations described in its Program Guide for Professors. Proposals can be submitted at any time using Forms 100, 101 and 183A. Full instructions for professors and their partners on how to complete the DND/NSERC Partnership Grant forms and on-line submission are found on NSERC's On-line Services page.

DND support to the project must be documented by filling the appropriate section of Form 101, and a Form 183A.

Before submitting an application, applicants and partners are invited to discuss their proposals with the NSERC Manager.

The application can be submitted at any time throughout the year.

It is not necessary to submit an additional application to DND.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement of the DND and NSERC assistance is expected in any communication arising from, or referring to, the activities supported by the DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant.