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Call for applications

Application deadline: before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on September 15. If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, your application must reach NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) the following working day.

NSERC invites applications for initiatives that promote the natural sciences and engineering to Canada's young people, particularly to groups such as girls and Indigenous peoples* that are under-represented in scientific and engineering careers. Taking equity and diversity into account, NSERC may support additional meritorious applications that focus on under-represented groups if sufficient funds become available. PromoScience supports activities and content designed for youth in elementary school, high school (including those in the equivalent first year of college in Quebec) and their teachers, and activities that will encourage Indigenous undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies in natural sciences and engineering.

Furthermore, NSERC encourages organizations to consider the needs of official language minority communities in their area while developing the activities to be proposed in the application and to strive to have official documentation and promotional material in both official languages.

* ‘Indigenous peoples’ is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. ‘Aboriginal peoples’ is also often used as a synonym. For the purposes of this program, NSERC uses the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 definition of Aboriginal peoples as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

PromoScience application summary form

Read the PromoScience program description before completing the PromoScience Application Summary Form. Accessibility notice: If you cannot access the content, contact the On-line Services Helpdesk by email at or by telephone at 613-995-4273. Indicate the email address and telephone number where you can be reached.

Presentation standards

You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. A checklist to help you ensure that your application is complete is part of the PromoScience Application Summary Form. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected, or be at a disadvantage, in comparison with those that are complete and respect the presentation standards. Where page limits are stated, pages in excess of the number permitted will be removed. Only the documents requested by NSERC will be made available to the selection committee.

For more information, read the General Presentation Guidelines.

Links to websites may not be included in application documents, including letters of support. Committee members will ignore any links in documents received.

Applicants should encourage persons providing letters of support to use these guidelines as well. If support letters are not readable, the application may be at a disadvantage in the competition.

Application deadline

Your application must be submitted to NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on September 15. If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, your application must reach NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) the following working day. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Secure Submissions for NSERC’s Innovative Collaborations and Science Promotion Programs. All the parts of your application must be combined into a single document in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Material or updates to your application received separately (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted.

Selection criteria

In addition to the PromoScience Application Summary Form, your submission (up to five pages maximum) must include:

  • an executive summary of up to 150 words including the nature and goals of the program, the number of youth or teachers to be reached and an overview of how the PromoScience funding would be spent;
  • a description of how your proposed program addresses the selection criteria.

Divide your application into three sections; use the selection criteria as headings and indicators as sub-headings. Requests for core funding must include a detailed description of the organization’s main activities.

Organization’s financial picture

Your PromoScience application must also include the financial information listed below. This information is not counted in the five-page limit and must also conform to the General Presentation Guidelines.

  • Proof of non-profit status, e.g., certificate of incorporation, audited financial statement, notification of registration (not applicable to postsecondary institution applicants).
  • A general budget forecast covering each year of the requested granting period (January to December). This sample budget is intended as a guide for your organization to follow. Some items may not be listed or may not apply to your organization; adapt the template according to your needs. Include:
    • projected revenues of your organization or program(s). Breakdown income by source: PromoScience, federal government, provincial government, private sector, foundations, self-generated, university, etc.;
    • anticipated expenses of your organization or program(s) (breakdown by expenditure: salaries, equipment, materials and supplies, travel costs, publicity, etc.);
    • estimated in-kind contributions (salaries, equipment, space, etc.). In-kind contributions should be included in the budget as a separate category and clearly indicated as in-kind.
  • A budget justification for each budget item (indicate any priorities for funding)—one page maximum.
  • An explanation of any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with other PromoScience grants or federal funding held by the non-profit organization, non-federal museum or science centre, or department in a post-secondary institution (one page maximum, see Multiple awards).

Note: NSERC will not fund 100% of the costs of a proposed activity. NSERC’s contribution is generally up to one-third of a program’s funding, and the maximum allowable request is $200,000/year for 3 years.

Certification requirements

Consult the policies and guidelines described in the Requirements for Certain Types of Research. While these policies were written for research-related activities, in the context of PromoScience, they may also apply to outreach, teaching and instructional activities. In the event of any uncertainty, applicants should contact the PromoScience Program Officer.

Note: Most programs supported through PromoScience involve human participants, but the youth involved in the activities are not considered ‘human subjects’ unless data (excluding program evaluation surveys) or samples are being collected from them. Only then does the ‘Human subjects’ box on the PromoScience Application Summary Form need to be checked.

Upon the award of a PromoScience grant, applicants may be required to submit their program for review by a research ethics board or animal care committee administered by a local university or college. In such cases, awards would be made conditional upon a satisfactory review.

Environmental impact

The Environmental Information Form (Appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s Guidelines on Environmental Review and Assessment.

For applicants with current PromoScience funding

A one-page report that demonstrates your organization’s effective use of funding is recommended. The report should include:

  • a brief description of the activities supported with previous PromoScience funding;
  • an overview of the outcomes and impacts from previous funding;
  • a justification for continued NSERC support (if applicable).

Note: This report does not replace the on-line Final Activity Report required in December of the last year of every award.

Letters of support

Your organization may provide up to six letters to support your application. Your organization should choose which letters make the most convincing case for support of your application. There are two types of letters:

  • Letters of reference; these are highly recommended, as applications without letters of reference may be at a disadvantage in the competition. Applicants that are specifically targeting an under-represented group are strongly encouraged to include a letter from an organization linked with the under-represented target audience, or a letter of support from a member of that community.
  • Letters of commitment to confirm funding agreements or in-kind contributions from outside sources and/or from the host organization (i.e., postsecondary institution).

Note: Other documentation, such as appendices, brochures and CD ROMs, will not be accepted as part of the application process.


For applicants

Before you, as an applicant, can submit your application to NSERC, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions listed on the Terms and Conditions of Applying Form. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

For post-secondary institutions

The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities as set out in the  This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with the three federal granting agencies including the  This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

Notification of decision

NSERC will inform all applicants electronically of the results of the annual PromoScience competition by mid-January. NSERC will not provide results by telephone. Grantees can expect to receive their first instalment by early February. A list of the successful grantees will also be posted on the PromoScience website once the new grants are made public.