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

Common menu bar links

Instructions for completing the notification of intent to apply for a Discovery Grant

General information

About the program

Read the program description before completing the application.

Am I eligible to apply?

Consult the Eligibility criteria for faculty to ensure that you can participate in this grant program as an applicant. NSERC verifies the eligibility of researchers only at the full application stage; however, it is important that you consult the eligibility criteria now and discuss any concerns with your institution’s research office.

Application deadlines

Your notification of intent to apply (NOI) must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. A late NOI will not be accepted. Updates to a submitted NOI before or after the deadline date will not be accepted.

Whom should I contact for help?

Collection and use of personal information

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act and stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Information about programs and information holdings. Details on the use and disclosure of this information are described in Use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC, in the NSERC program literature and below. The information is used in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Self-identification information (age, gender, Indigenous identity, person with a disability, visible minorities)

You are required to complete the self-identification form, which will support the agencies in monitoring the equity of their programs and design new measures that achieve greater equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the research enterprise. This form is found in the user profile of the research portal. Self-identification information is collected on a voluntary basis. Your user profile self-identification information is not part of your application and is neither accessible to, nor shared with, external reviewers and/or selection committee members. Choosing not to self-identify for these purposes will have no consequences on your application. In funding opportunities where an agency may offer special consideration for members of a designated equity group, applicants will be asked to provide their consent separately to use their self-identification information for that purpose.

Completing the NOI

You must complete the NOI using the research portal. You must also complete a This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV) to link to the NOI. Refer to the resource video for a demonstration.

Create an application

  1. Sign in to the research portal.
  2. Select Create application.
  3. Select the funding opportunity under Stage: NOI and select Create.
  4. Under Applications, open the NOI.
  5. Select Edit to complete the different sections.



Application title – The title must be short and descriptive. It may be used for publication purposes. Restrict use of abbreviated forms (for example, DNA, NATO, etc.), and avoid company or trade names.

Language of the application – Indicate the language in which the application will be submitted.

Suggested evaluation group – You must select the evaluation group you consider most appropriate to review your application. Refer to the list of research topics covered by each evaluation group. NSERC reserves the right to make the final evaluation group assignment.

Administering organization

Organization – Select the organization that will administer the grant.

Department – If your department is not in the list, select Head office.

Activity details

Proposed research topic(s)

The first research topic must be within the evaluation group you have suggested. You may select, in order of relevance, up to four additional research topics as required. Refer to the examples of the research evaluated within each group.


Provide up to 10 keywords that best describe this proposal.

Summary of proposal

The summary of proposal must not exceed 6,000 characters. It should

  • state the objectives of the proposed research program
  • summarize the scientific approach
  • highlight the novelty and expected significance of the work to a field(s) in the natural sciences and engineering.

Note: Should your proposed research program change substantially from the time you submit your NOI to the time you submit your application, please contact the program officer responsible for the evaluation group you have selected.

External reviewer suggestions

Provide five external reviewers who

  • are not in a conflict of interest
  • are not from your own institution
  • are from different institutions
  • can provide an independent assessment of your application
  • are capable of reviewing your application in the language in which it is written

Applicants are encouraged to suggest a diverse cross-section of potential reviewers with appropriate expertise (Canadian, international, established and early–career, women and other underrepresented groups, from academic and non-academic institutions).

Applicants must not contact suggested external reviewers in advance.

Applicants should note that NSERC will not select members currently serving on an NSERC evaluation group.

Conflict of interest guidelines

A conflict of interest may be deemed to exist, or perceived as such, when external reviewers

  • are a relative or close friend, or have a personal relationship with the applicant
  • are in a position to gain or lose financially/materially from the funding of the application
  • have had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicant
  • are currently affiliated with the applicant’s institutions, organizations or companies—including research hospitals and research institutes
  • are closely professionally affiliated with the applicant, as a result of having in the last six years
    • frequent and regular interactions with the applicant in the course of their duties at their department, institution, organization or company
    • been a supervisor or a trainee of the applicant
    • collaborated, published or shared funding with the applicant, or have plans to do so in the immediate future
    • been employed by the institution, when an institution is the applicant
    • feel for any reason unable to provide an impartial review of the application

NSERC reserves the right to resolve areas of uncertainty and to determine if a conflict exists. For more information on conflict of interest, refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations.

Reviewer exclusion

You may request that some researchers, organizations or large collaborations not be involved in the review of your application. Note that this request may be accessible under the Privacy Act.

Note that the exclusion type Collaboration refers to large research groups that work on specific projects.

Uploading your NSERC CCV

In the Application overview page, select Attach. Enter your CCV confirmation number and select Upload. (Refer to the NSERC CCV instructions for information on how to obtain your CCV confirmation number.)

You may update your CCV at the full application stage.

Important note: Preview your CCV in the research portal before submitting your NOI, and ensure that the file has been uploaded correctly.

Submitting the NOI

Click on the Submit button at the bottom of the Application Overview page. A pop-up message will appear. You will be required to extract and view your NOI to ensure that it is complete. Note that the CCV will not appear in the extracted application. Once the confirmation box has been checked, click on the Submit button displayed in the pop-up message.

To complete the submission process, you will need to read and accept the terms and conditions by clicking on the I Accept button. You will receive a confirmation message on the web page, as well as a confirmation email that your NOI was received and that the status of your submission is Received by Agency.

To verify the status of your submission, return to the home page. The status will be Received by Agency.