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Strategic Project Grants Supplemental Competition

Duration Up to two years;
requests must be less than
$100,000 per year
Application Deadline October 1, 2007
How to Apply See below
Application Forms Form 100
Form 101
Form 183A is optional at time of application but will be required prior to Year 2
Apply on-line
Program Contact View Contact Information

This competition is now closed. Results will be announced in February 2008.

NSERC is instituting a special supplemental Strategic Project Grants (SPG) competition this year as part of its efforts to address priority areas that were identified in the Government of Canada's new science and technology strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage. This special competition will be held subsequent to the SPG competition that is already underway.

The competition will be open to applications in three SPG target areas, each of which has been broadened by NSERC to include a wider range of research topics addressing:

  • Advanced Communications and Management of Information;
  • Healthy Environent and Ecosystems; and
  • Sustainable Energy Systems (Production, Distribution and Utilization).

Projects will be limited to two years instead of three years.

The request for funds from NSERC must be less than $100,000 per year.

A supporting organization need not be confirmed at the time of application, but must be secured by the end of the first year.

Co-applicants from outside the natural sciences and engineering may be incorporated into proposals.

The broadened target areas and the opportunity for involvement of researchers from outside the natural sciences and engineering will be retained in future competitions.


The goal of the Strategic Project Grants Program is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years.

Expected Results

It is expected that this program will:

  • generate new knowledge/technology with the strong potential to strengthen Canada’s industrial base, generate wealth, create employment, and/or influence Canadian public policy;
  • increase the number of highly qualified personnel in the areas targeted by this program;
  • foster the increased participation of Canadian-based companies and/or government organizations in academic research; and
  • enable the transfer of knowledge/technology and expertise to Canadian-based companies that are well positioned to apply the results for economic gain or to government organizations to strengthen public policy.


The Strategic Project Grants Program funds early-stage project research in targeted areas. To be funded in this supplemental competition, a research project must meet the following requirements:

  • The project must support the goal of the SPG Program and fall within one of the targeted areas defined below.
  • The objectives and scope of the project must be well-defined. The maximum duration is two years. The request for funds from NSERC must be less than $100,000 per year.
  • The proposal must be primarily research in the natural sciences and engineering. The principal investigator must be eligible to receive NSERC funds.
  • At least one supporting organization meeting the requirements below must collaborate in the project by Year 2. A cash contribution from the supporting organization is not required.

Projects submitted to the regular 2007 SPG competition may not be submitted to this supplemental competition.

Collaboration Outside the Natural Sciences and Engineering

The Government of Canada has called for its granting agencies to adopt a more strategic approach and increasingly support multidisciplinary collaborative research to address complex issues and create a real advantage for Canada. The agencies have agreed to collaborate to combine the strengths of various disciplines and achieve the greatest impact.

Consequently, and in recognition that the ability to implement policy or directly apply the research results can depend on socio-economic considerations as well as scientific understanding, applicants are encouraged to collaborate with experts who work in fields other than the natural sciences and engineering, where appropriate. Academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may participate in SPG proposals as co-applicants if they meet NSERC’s eligibility requirements with respect to type, duration and nature of appointment. Research costs for these collaborations may comprise up to 30 per cent of the project costs and must be identified in the project budget. All project expenditures will be subject to NSERC’s Use of Grant Funds guidelines.

International Collaborations

In its efforts to increase the impact of Canadian natural sciences and engineering research within the global research community, NSERC encourages applicants to incorporate international collaborations into their proposals. Current policies enable researchers to interact with foreign colleagues in a variety of ways to enhance the project and increase its impact on international research. Please refer to NSERC’s guidelines on the Use of Grant Funds.

Supporting Organizations

Each project must have at least one supporting organization secured by the end of the first year that:

  • is a Canadian-based company that can apply the research results in a way that generates wealth or employment (organizations without Canadian R&D or manufacturing operations will not be considered), or is a government organization that can apply the results in a way that strengthens public policy;
  • interacts regularly with the academic researchers, students and other research personnel and provides input on the project; and
  • validates the results of the research and/or provides guidance concerning the exploitation of the results.

The project may also include other participants such as non-governmental organizations, government research laboratories, foreign research institutions, venture capitalists, implementation sites, or potential customers, but these participants do not qualify as supporting organizations.

Given that interaction between personnel from academic institutions and other sectors contributes to knowledge sharing and the development of highly qualified personnel, NSERC encourages secondments, cross-appointments, co-supervision of students, internships, reciprocal laboratory visits and joint workshops. (For details, see the Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training [40 KB - 3 Pages]Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training [40 KB – 3 Pages].)

Target Areas

  • Advanced Communications and Management of Information;
  • Healthy Environment and Ecosystems; and
  • Sustainable Energy Systems (Production, Distribution and Utilization).

Competition Budget

The budget for this supplemental competition will be approximately $6 million per year. Awards will be granted to the most meritorious proposals based on the selection criteria. Priority will be given to proposals that directly address the research topics identified within each target area. However, exceptional projects that make a compelling case for research within the general target area, but outside the research topics, may also be considered.

Application Procedures

NSERC must receive the application no later than October 1, 2007.

A complete application includes:

  • an Application for a Grant (Form 101);
  • a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for each applicant and co-applicant (when completing Form 100, academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may provide the requested information related to “Contributions” in an alternate format within the five-page limit); and
  • an Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs form (Form 183A) for each supporting organization (see Completing Form 183A for details). This may be submitted at the time of application or within 10 months of the award start date.

Please refer to the instructions for completing an SPG-SC application.

Applicants who require equipment to conduct the research must incorporate their request for equipment into the research proposal and justify the need for the equipment to conduct the research. Separate equipment requests will not be accepted.

Review Procedures

NSERC evaluates applications in competition, applying a pre-selection process if the number of applications is very high. External reviewers evaluate the proposals that pass the pre-selection. In January 2008, selection panels will review the proposals and make recommendations to NSERC. The awards will be announced in February 2008.

Selection Criteria

Applications are evaluated according to the following criteria. More details on each criterion, along with a rating scale, are provided in the application instructions. Each criterion is given equal weight in the evaluation.

  • Originality of the Research – The project must promise to generate new knowledge or to apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner.
  • Quality of the Research – The project must be scientifically sound and technically feasible. It must fall within a specific target area.
  • Project Work Plan – The project must have a clear and coherent work plan that demonstrates a high probability of achieving the objectives in the proposed time frame.
  • Quality of the Applicants as Researchers – The research team must have all the expertise to address the defined objectives competently and to complete the project successfully.
  • Training Potential – The project must provide opportunities to train students and other highly qualified personnel with skills relevant to the needs of Canadian organizations.
  • Interactions with the Supporting Organizations – The supporting organizations must have the capacity to apply the results of the research and must be actively involved in the project.
  • Benefits to Canada and the Supporting Organizations – The proposal must identify how the work will benefit the supporting organization and must demonstrate that exploitation of the research results will benefit Canada within a ten-year time frame.

Proposals submitted without a supporting organization at the time of application will be evaluated on the potential partnerships and benefits described in the proposal and the strategy presented for establishing the partnership.


Toward the end of the first year of the project, all grantees must submit a status report. The participation of a supporting organization may be confirmed at any time prior to the submission of the status report by completing Form 183A and a letter of support. NSERC will pay the final instalment of the grant only if satisfactory progress has been demonstrated and collaboration with the supporting organizations has been established.

Three months after the project end date, all grantees must submit a final report on the project’s achievements with respect to its objectives. Each supporting organization in the project will be asked to evaluate the project. NSERC may use the supporting organization’s evaluation when reviewing subsequent Strategic Project Grant applications from the same applicants.

During the five years after project completion, NSERC will collect information on the impacts of the funded research. Of particular interest is the fate of the trainees involved in the project; the benefits derived by users from outside the university sector; and tangible evidence of knowledge and/or technology exploitation resulting from the research.