Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Responsibilities and accountability

Accountability to taxpayers

Since NSERC receives its funding through parliamentary appropriations, it has a responsibility to Parliament and to the Canadian people to ensure that the public funds put in its trust are well managed.

To this end, NSERC funds must be used effectively, economically and in the best interest of the organizations supported by the grant.

Roles and responsibilities

The administration of NSERC grants is carried out by three partners: the principal applicant, the organization and NSERC. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions (if applicable) for more details on administration of funds granted.

NSERC defines the conditions under which its funds may be used, monitors the use of grants, and interprets its rules and requirements for the organizations and the principal applicant.

Grants are awarded to organizations promoting science and engineering to Canadian youth, and are administered through the organization’s administration system. The principal applicant authorizes expenditures in accordance with NSERC requirements, as outlined in this guide or as stated as a condition of a grant, and with the organization’s policies. No one may initiate or authorize expenditures from an NSERC grant account without the principal applicant’s delegated authority.

Each organization establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that NSERC policies and requirements are followed. Administrative, personnel and accounting procedures must conform to the standards, practices and policies of the organization.

Each organization receiving NSERC funding is responsible for ensuring that certification requirements are in place for PromoScience-supported activities that have potential adverse environmental effects. For more information, consult NSERC’s Guidelines on Impact Assessment.”

Direction of activities

If an organization is not awarded all the funding that was originally requested, it can modify the scope of its activities according to the funding that it gets. Modified activities must still address the objectives of the original application, and can only be made if the selection committee did not direct funding to a particular aspect of the proposal (that information would appear in the notification of decision letter). All adjustments should be documented in the year-end progress report (if applicable) and final report.

Any significant changes to the programs or activities being supported with NSERC funds must be discussed with the program officer and approved by NSERC. A revised budget may be required. Further, any large deviations in the budget (greater than 20% of a budget line) require NSERC approval in advance.


Grantees are responsible for using grant or award funds in accordance with NSERC policies, including the PromoScience Grants Guide, and for providing true, complete and accurate information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts.

Using grant or award funds for purposes inconsistent with NSERC policies; misappropriating grants and award funds; contravening NSERC financial policies, namely the PromoScience Grants Guide; or providing incomplete, inaccurate or false information on documentation for expenditures from grant or award accounts all constitute breaches of NSERC policies.

In cases of allegations of non-compliance with the PromoScience Grants Guide or the Signatures section of the PromoScience Call for Applications, This link will take you to another Web site Section 6.1 of the Tri‑Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research applies and is adapted, as necessary, for the PromoScience program.

Matters involving financial mismanagement, where there is evidence of fraud or other unlawful activity, are referred to the appropriate authorities as per the Treasury Board This link will take you to another Web site Directive on Losses of Money or Property.


Organizations are expected to acknowledge NSERC assistance in all official communications, advertising, public events and media releases. Furthermore, under Part VII of the Official Languages Act, NSERC is responsible for taking positive measures to promote the use of both English and French in Canadian society. As such we ask that grantees acknowledge, verbally and in writing, their NSERC funding in both English and French whenever possible. For sample text and additional information visit our Acknowledgement and Logos web page.