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

Common menu bar links

Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects

International Collaborations - Concurrent Call for Joint Research Projects

Detailed Application Instructions

This document applies specifically to concurrent calls for joint research projects established by Memoranda of Understanding and must be read in conjunction with the description and instructions for NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG‑P).

Background and Objectives

Concurrent calls for joint research projects with international granting agencies are part of NSERC’s international strategy to increase scientific collaboration between Canada and other countries. Where priorities and programs align, NSERC may sign Memoranda of Understanding to establish mechanisms for joint funding of collaborative research and innovation projects conducted by teams from both countries. Such activities will strengthen the collaboration between the countries’ research and innovation communities to achieve world-class scientific and technical results, leading toward new innovative technologies.

Participating Organizations

NSERC has introduced a mandatory letter of intent for SPG-P proposals. Letters of intent must be submitted by February 1. SPG-P full applications must be submitted by June 7. Counterpart proposals must be submitted by their agencies’ schemes and deadlines—refer to the table below.

Granting Organization, Country
Program Priority Areas*
Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR), France
(Deadline for full proposals: End of March, 2018)
This link will take you to another Web site Generic Call for Proposals Advanced Manufacturing
Environment and Agriculture
Information and Communications Technologies
Natural Resources and Energy
Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan (Deadline: June 7, 2018)
This link will take you to another Web site Global Partnership Programs Advanced Manufacturing
Environment and Agriculture
Information and Communications Technologies
Natural Resources and Energy

*These priority areas reflect the titles of specific target areas or research topics within NSERC’s SPG‑P. The priority areas may have slightly different names in other countries.


The international agency will fund its scientists, and NSERC will fund Canadian researchers, each according to its own regulations and practices.

A joint project will be supported if it is positively reviewed by both NSERC and the corresponding international agency. The number of joint projects selected for funding and the total amount awarded will strongly depend on the number and quality of projects submitted. The agencies expect balanced scientific contributions and cooperation in joint projects. The proposal must demonstrate a strong synergy among the teams from each country and a true integration of the work.

Application Procedures

Unless otherwise indicated, two separate (but linked) proposals constitute the joint research project—one to be submitted to NSERC for a SPG‑P, and the other to be submitted to the designated program at its counterpart agency. Each application must follow the respective application guidelines and eligibility rules. The proposals must be linked through common information provided in each proposal and must clearly reflect the contributions of the international partners. A proposed joint project submitted to only one agency is not eligible.

Canadian applications must meet all the requirements of the SPG-P including:

  • the proposed research must fall within one of the target areas defined in the SPG description;
  • at least one academic researcher eligible to receive NSERC funds must collaborate with at least one Canadian supporting organization that has research and development or manufacturing operations in Canada, and can apply the results in a way that generates economic wealth or employment in Canada or is a government organization that can apply the results in a way that strengthens Canadian public policy.

Canadian applicants must submit a letter of intent. The letter of intent must clearly indicate that the proposed research will be conducted in collaboration with international researchers. The appropriate prefix (ANR or MOST) must be added to the title. In a cover letter, provide the name and institution of the collaborating principal investigator. Refer to the instructions for completing an SPG-P letter of intent. Applicants who submit letters of intent for an international joint research project will be automatically invited to submit full applications provided that all requirements for an SPG-P grant are met.

Information Common to Both Full Proposals

Applications to each agency must include at least the following information, as appropriate within the total page limits (some information requirements may overlap with standard requirements):

  • a common project title;
  • the names of the principal investigators (one from each country), all co-applicants and collaborators, their titles and affiliations;
  • a common joint abstract (no more than one page in length), describing the overall joint project and expected outcome of the proposed project—scientifically and in terms of its relevance to industry and society;
  • the rationale for the collaboration and the integration of the activities planned in both countries and the total budget for the joint project, indicating the amounts requested of each agency;
  • a clear description of the planned research collaboration including the responsibilities of both teams and the distribution of work and methods of implementation;
  • a description of the added value and a demonstration of benefits to be expected from the international collaboration;
  • the joint project’s significance to researcher training and the development of the research environment;
  • the ongoing activities and specific advantages of the Canadian and international groups respectively, that form the basis for the proposed joint project;
  • how the project is expected to help strengthen research cooperation between the two countries over the long term;
  • the nature and extent of the collaboration including the roles of all participants, their pertinent expertise and expected contributions;
  • how the proposed joint project compares with other comparable activities worldwide;
  • how the intellectual property and know-how arising from the accomplishment of the joint research project will be handled;
  • curricula vitae of the principal investigator of the collaborating team and up to two other key investigators. Curricula vitae of the principal investigator and co-applicants of the national team must be provided according to normal procedures. Collaborators may submit their curricula vitae either using Form 100 or another comparable format of no more than six pages. The curricula vitae should include a list of the five best papers and other publications of the individual.

NSERC will allow up to three additional pages above the 11-page limit for SPG-P applications.

Review Procedures

The evaluation process does not involve joint review; each agency independently evaluates proposals through its respective peer review processes and evaluation criteria. Representatives of both agencies will compare their respective evaluations of joint proposals to identify awards and reach consensus on joint projects to be funded on the basis of scientific evaluation, national rankings, value-added and balance of the collaboration. Applicants presenting proposals in response to this announcement should take note that NSERC reserves the right to share information in their application and/or in external referee reports of their application with representatives of the international agency. Presentation of a joint application will imply acceptance that information in proposals may be shared among the agencies, as appropriate. It is the responsibility of the Principle Investigator to ensure that all co-applicants, partners and collaborators are aware of these precise uses and disclosures of the personal and scientific information contained in the proposal. Please note that applications submitted to NSERC contain personal information and may contain confidential technical information and, therefore, are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP), and other related federal information policies and regulations. Information on these laws and policies are available on request.

Timetable and Announcement of Decision

NSERC and the international agencies have collaborated in the development of their respective Calls to help ensure compatible time lines and criteria for the parallel application and review processes, as well as the announcement of results. It is expected that awards will be confirmed by early October.

Intellectual Property

The project participants should enter into a Collaboration Agreement to specify how Intellectual Property Rights will be handled. According to their normal procedures, granting agencies may withhold funds until a Collaboration Agreement is in place.


The progress report required by NSERC during the second year of funded projects will be a common progress report submitted to both NSERC and the international agency by the respective national PIs.


For more information, contact

Previous Results