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Instructions for completing an application for a College and Community Social Innovation Fund grant

General information

About the grant

Read the grant description before you complete the application.

Who completes the application?

The following individuals are involved in completing an application in the Convergence Portal. Several of them must complete specific sections of the application before the application is finalized.

Note: It is not necessary to complete your entire profile in Convergence. More specifically, there is no need to complete your Education, Funding and Interruptions and Personal Circumstances sections as these sections are not captured in the application or used in the assessment of applications.

The applicant must hold a remunerated position at an eligible Canadian college, must create and complete the application in the Portal and is responsible for administering the grant on behalf of the institution. The applicant and co-applicant(s) must complete the My information section, by completing CV details and uploading part II of form 103CV.

For College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grants, the college should identify in the research proposal a project director responsible for the intellectual direction of the research and related activities. The project director must be affiliated with the host institution (the college) when it applies and must be qualified to undertake research independently. The project director may also serve as the applicant or a co-applicant.

Colleges can submit a maximum of five applications to each competition in any of the research areas covered by the Tri-agency, but each proposal should be led by a different project director.

Co-applicant(s) must have a remunerated position at, or be affiliated with, an eligible Canadian college or university. They are typically faculty or professional/technical staff affiliated with the participating institutions. The applicant must invite the co-applicant(s) via the Portal. Those invited will receive an email asking them to accept the invitation. Upon accepting they will be re-directed to the Portal to log in (or create an account) to determine their eligibility and complete My information section.  Both the applicant and co-applicant(s) must complete the My information section, by completing CV details and uploading part II of form 103CV.

Contributor(s) have access to edit the application and typically help the applicant complete the application, if needed. The applicant invites contributor(s) via the Portal. Contributor(s) receive an email asking them to accept the invitation. Upon accepting they will be re-directed to the Portal to log in (or create an account).

Partner(s) may be Canadian organizations from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. The applicant invites an authorized contact for each partner organization via the Portal to complete the organization profile, contributions and supporting document (letter of support) sections. Key individuals from partner organizations who will contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project can be part of the research team as collaborators and must bring their organization’s resources to the project.

Who approves and submits the application?

The research grants officer is the designated institutional liaison officer. They approve and submit the grant application on behalf of the college.  

Whom should I contact for help?

Collection and use of personal information

The information you provide in your application is collected 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 on the Use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC page, in the NSERC program literature and below. Your information is protected under Canada’s laws providing access to information and protecting privacy.

Self-identification information

You are required to complete the self-identification form to apply for NSERC funding. However, you may select “Prefer not to answer” for any or all questions. NSERC appreciates your participation, which supports the granting agencies in monitoring the equity of their programs and strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the research enterprise.

The self-identification information is collected as part of your user profile when you register in the This link will take you to another Web site Portal. It is not part of your application and is not accessible to, or shared with, external reviewers and/or selection committee members.

Application deadline

Your application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. You will not be able to edit your application once it has been submitted. You may not send material or updates separately before or after the deadline date.


You must complete and submit your application using the This link will take you to another Web site Convergence Portal. The Portal is only supported on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

Follow the instructions provided in the Portal to complete your application. Details on the information needed to complete an application are outlined below.

You must complete all sections of the full application and submit it via your institution’s research grants officer. Co-applicants must each complete their own My information section in the Portal before you submit the application. Co-applicants will be able to see all sections of the application, but will not have access to edit the application. The authorized contacts from the partner organizations must also complete the required partner sections.

You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. You must verify the page lengths and formatting of any uploaded attachments to the application. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards outlined below 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. If a submitted application contains one or more attachments that do not comply with the page length or formatting standard, the application may be withdrawn from the competition.

Instructions for attachments

Prepare the documents

Prepare your attachments following the requirements below.

  • Any acronyms and abbreviations must be explained.
  • Pages must be 8 " x 11" (216 mm x 279 mm).
  • Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines of type per inch.
  • All text must be in black, using the 11 pt Arial font; condensed fonts will not be accepted.
  • Margins must be set at a minimum of " (1.87 cm).
  • In multi-page attachments, pages must be numbered sequentially.
  • Your name must appear outside the set margins of the page, at the top right corner of every page.
  • The name of the document must appear at the top (e.g., Proposal, Budget justification).

Convert the documents

All attachments must be converted to portable document format (PDF) before they can be attached to the application. The conversion process varies with the operating system and word processing or spreadsheet software you are using. If you have questions about converting your documents to PDF, contact your institution’s technical support staff.

If you do not have a PDF conversion program, you may download a free version of This link will take you to another Web site PrimoPDF. Macintosh users have a PDF conversion option in the Macintosh system "print" function.

Create your application

  • Sign in to the Convergence PortalIf you have an account on NSERC’s Research Portal, please use your existing account.
  • Select Funding Opportunities.
  • Select the College and Community Social Innovation Fund grant funding opportunity and select Create Application.

Participant eligibility

Applicants and co-applicants will be required to complete the participant eligibility when creating an application (applicant) or accepting an invitation to participate in the application (co-applicant[s]).

If you have previously completed your profile in the Convergence Portal, some fields will be pre-populated (already filled out).

Completing your entire profile in Convergence is not required. There is no need to complete the Education, Funding, and Interruptions and personal circumstances sections as these sections are not captured in the application and CV details, nor are they used in the assessment of applications.

You must complete the following steps, and you can update any information you have previously provided.

Step 1 Participant eligibility: Confirm the eligibility of your position.
Step 2 Affiliations: List all of your current affiliations and identify your primary affiliation. Select the organization that will administer the grant.
Step 3 Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI): Completion of the self-identification form is mandatory. However, you may select “Prefer not to answer” for any or all questions; see the self-identification section above for more information. 
Step 4 Fields of research: List your fields of research and indicate at least one as a primary area of research. These do not need to be directly related to the application.
Step 5 Keywords: Provide a minimum of five keywords that best describe, overall, your areas of research. They do not need to be directly related to a specific application and will not be used for evaluation purposes.
Step 6 Summary: Review the content submitted and click Create Application.
Step 7 Terms and conditions: Accept the terms and conditions to begin the application process.

Complete the My information section

Applicants and co-applicants must complete the My information section of the application. After completing the Participant eligibility section, you will be re-directed to the home screen. In the Applications tab, select the application you created (applicant) or that you have been invited to contribute on (co-applicant[s]) from the Actions menu. Once the application is open, complete the My information section, including the CV documents and CV details sub-sections.

CV documents (attachment)

You need to attach only part II of form 103CV for the applicant and each co-applicant. This is free-form text limited to five pages, which should be used to list relevant experience and contributions to applied research and innovation. Ensure your name appears outside the set margins of the page, at the top right corner of every page. See the instructions, Part 2: Contributions, for more information and guidance.

CV details

You must provide at least one employment experience that is an academic, research, professional or industrial position you have held.

Complete your application

Application details

Provide the application title and language of application. The main body of your application should be written in either English or French, rather than in a mix of both official languages.

Research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities

Before completing this section, please ensure that you have carefully read the CCSIF guide for research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities . If your project involves Indigenous Peoples or communities, you must also

  • answer “Yes” in this module
  • demonstrate in the research proposal how you will integrate the relevant principles and protocols for conducting respectful research with Indigenous Peoples and communities into each stage of the research process
  • include letters of support (or equivalent documents) from the Indigenous communities that may be affected by the project or have rights or a stake in the proposed research; the support letters or documents must confirm that the project is a research need or priority for these communities.

Supplements or joint initiatives

You need to complete this section only if you are requesting a Mitacs Accelerate internship and/or Canada Council for the Arts partner funding as part of your CCSIF application. If applicable, select Mitacs and/or Canada Council for the Arts in the Actions column.

By submitting an application to a joint funding opportunity, you consent to the sharing (among any co-funding organizations) of information contained in the application, including personal information or information in any way related to the grant, which may include progress reports required as a condition of award. You must also confirm that you have obtained the consent of any individuals whose personal information is contained in such documents to share this information in the same manner.

Mitacs-NSERC joint funding opportunity

Applications requesting a joint Mitacs-NSERC Accelerate internship must upload the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form as a PDF attachment in the Supporting documents section under Mitacs-NSERC supporting file. Contact your local This link will take you to another Web site Mitacs Business Development Representative to obtain the Mitacs-NSERC joint application template.

The following information must also be included in the following sections of your application:

Supporting documents:

  • Research proposal In the Potential for innovation impact section of the research proposal, under the training description, describe the role of the Mitacs interns in the research project and explain the quality of the research-based training experiences provided. Describe how the internship partnership organization is committed to providing supervision and mentorship to the interns. Explain how the number of Mitacs interns and the number of internship units is appropriate to the scope of the project.
  • Budget justification Clearly describe the total cash contributions made by the partner organization to support the Mitacs internships.

Partner module (to be completed by partner):

  • Contributions     
    In the partner contributions table, the partner must enter the annual cash contributions to the Mitacs Accelerate internship(s). The amounts should match the amounts listed on the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form.

CCSIF/Canada Council for the Arts joint funding opportunity

For applications requesting additional funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, in the Supporting documents section, under Canada Council joint application form, you must upload the completed Canada Council budget form as a PDF attachment.


Click Invite Participant to invite co-applicant(s), the contributor(s) and/or partner organizations to complete their sections in the application. Collaborators should not be invited, as they are listed in the Collaborator section.


This section lists the co-applicant(s), the contributor(s) and the partner(s) who have successfully signed up in the Convergence Portal. If an individual has not accepted your invitation, follow up with them to confirm they have received it.

If an invited co-applicant has a status of Pending Eligibility, they have accepted your invitation but have not completed their eligibility profile. If an invited co-applicant has a status of Information not finalized, verify that they have completed the My information section (i.e., CV documents and CV details) by selecting View Information.

If an invited partner has a status of Information not finalized, verify that they have completed the My information section (i.e., Partner details, Partner contributions, Supporting documents), by selecting View Information.

Once all participants have completed their respective sections, the applicant must finalize each participants’ record by selecting Finalize information from the Actions menu.

Partner organizations

Refer your partners to the Partner organization form instructions and the This link will take you to another Web site Partner module instruction video.


List the members of the research team not affiliated with the college who bring their own resources to the collaboration. These collaborators are expected to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project. Their CV or biographical sketch (up to two pages each) may be attached in the Supporting documents section, under CV collaborators. Individuals from a not-for-profit organization requesting research salary allowance must include their CV.

Socio-economic objectives

Provide at least one primary socio-economic objective. You may add up to three socio-economic objectives.

Note: Socio-economic objectives were previously referred to as Areas of application.

Fields of research

List at least one primary field of research that best describes this specific application. You may list up to five fields of research.


List a minimum of five keywords that best describe this specific application. You may list up to 10 keywords.

Summary of proposal

The summary is intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand. Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the research and the overall goal and objectives of the proposal. Indicate why the project is important, and how the anticipated outcomes will address research challenges, leading to innovative solutions addressing a Canadian community need. This plain-language summary will be available to the public if your proposal is funded.

The maximum character count is 2500.

Proposed budget

Enter the yearly amounts requested. The detailed budget table and budget justification must be provided in the Supporting documents section.

Certification, licenses and permits

Complete the Certification requirements module. For more information on the various certification requirements, please consult the Requirements for certain types of research web page.

Reviewer exclusions

You may request that certain reviewers be excluded from reviewing your application. Note that this request may be accessible to these reviewers under Canada’s laws providing access to information and protecting privacy. If you wish to exclude an institution or organization, contact

Supporting documents (attachments)

Impact assessment (appendix A)

If applicable, download a copy of the Impact assessment appendix A), complete it and upload it to the Supporting documents section under Impact assessment (appendix A) supporting file. For more information, consult NSERC’s guidelines on impact assessment.

Budget table (PDF)

Before completing this section, read the specific rules for the use of grant funds in the CCSIF grant description.

Download a copy of the This link will take you to another Web site budget template; and enter the planned expenditures for each category for each year of the project. Note: Overhead and administration costs equivalent to 20% of the annual grant amount are automatically calculated within the template. To understand how the overhead amount is calculated, see the FAQ page.

Do not alter the template (font type and size, margins or line spacing), as the budget table must fit in a letter-size page (portrait orientation).

Save the completed budget table in portable document format (PDF) and upload it to the Supporting documents section under Budget table supporting file.

Budget justification

In a maximum of three pages, provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item identified in the budget table. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate and to easily understand the items requested on the budget table. There should be a clear link between the description of the funds requested and the items and numbers entered on the budget table. These pages should only contain information pertinent to the budget.

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of non-discretionary benefits) for the project director, the research staff (research assistants and technical professionals) and students. Briefly describe the responsibilities for each position and indicate the amount of time they will be spending on this project over its lifespan.

A salary research allowance can be requested for a not-for-profit organization that has an employee listed as a collaborator on the application. Salary research allowances are a contribution from the college to a not-for-profit organization to help compensate for the time an employee will spend participating in a CCSIF-funded research project. Applicants may request up to 50% of the total salary costs, including benefits, of the employee, to offset some of the costs of hiring a replacement employee. These costs should be included as Salaries to non-students and explained in the budget justification.

Arts organizations, groups or collectives receiving Canada Council funds through the CCSIF/Canada Council for the Arts joint funding opportunity are not eligible to receive salary research allowance through CCSIF but may include salary costs in the Canada Council budget form.

Operating and equipment

Provide details for equipment and materials and supplies, including a breakdown of the items requested and details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility (e.g., hours and rate) should be described.

Consulting, professional and technical services must also be included in the operating and equipment budget line.

Equipment, operating, supplies, consultant fees, and professional and technical services may not exceed 20% of the total project costs.

Research and technology transfer support services

Explain and provide details for major items for research and technology transfer support services. Only costs of activities specifically for the project are eligible.

Knowledge dissemination and networking

Provide details on travel, training workshops and other major items related to knowledge dissemination and networking. Only costs of activities specifically for the project are eligible.

Overhead and administration

Overhead and administration costs equivalent to 20% of the annual grant amount are automatically calculated in the budget table. To understand how the overhead amount is calculated, see the FAQ page.

Provide general information on the overhead and administration costs attributable to the grant.

Research proposal

Describe your proposal using the headings below within a maximum of 10 pages. This page limit includes references.

Refer to the description of the College and Community Social Innovation Fund grants Selection criteria for a list of criteria that will be considered by reviewers when evaluating the applications. Write your proposal in clear, plain language. Avoid jargon, acronyms and highly technical terms.

Using the headings below, describe the proposed research in enough detail to allow an informed assessment by the review committee members. Applicants are expected to address each criterion and sub-criterion.


Provide a brief introduction to the proposal. Present the overall context of the project, and describe the importance of the research topic, the anticipated outcomes, and their expected benefits (e.g., to the community, partners, college, research discipline, etc.).

Potential for innovation impact

Present the overall objectives of your proposal and explain how it will foster innovation to address a community need. Demonstrate how research results will be applied in real-world settings to produce long-term measurable benefits at the local, regional or national level. Explain how the project applies existing knowledge in an innovative manner and/or how it will result in the development of new knowledge. Describe the training and mentoring plans for students, other highly qualified personnel and participants from community organizations, and explain the need for enhanced skills in the community or region. Identify at least one concrete practice that will be implemented to promote the participation of a diverse group of students and other trainees, including those from underrepresented groups, as well as to promote an equitable, inclusive and accessible training environment.


Demonstrate how the project results will benefit the partner organizations and/or community. Include your plan for effective dissemination of knowledge, as well as exchange and engagement with partner organizations and stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community. Describe how the partners in the community and other relevant stakeholders will be involved in the design and conduct of research. Present the total resources available for the initiative, clearly justifying how the contributions from the college, partner organizations and other sources are directly related and relevant to supporting the activities of the project.

Quality of the proposal

Provide a concise overview of the specific objectives of your proposal. Describe the research methodology, work plan, and how the objectives can be achieved within the proposed timeline. Present the impact measurements to be used to monitor progress and access outcomes. Provide a literature review situating the previous work on the proposed topic and how the project will enhance or complement what already exists, resulting in community innovation.

Team expertise

Describe the role of each research team member. Explain how the knowledge and experience of the research team as a whole (project director, co-applicants, collaborators and partner personnel), as well as the contributions of significant team members, provide the expertise needed to successfully meet the project objectives. Identify at least one concrete practice to ensure that EDI is being intentionally and proactively considered in recruiting, selecting, and/or integrating personnel into the research team. Explain how the contributions of the team members will be managed, integrated and monitored. Explain the experience of the project director and other significant team members in working with community partners. Present the track record of the college in successfully completing community innovation projects.


Use this section to provide a list of literature references. Do not refer readers to websites for additional information on your proposal. Do not introduce hyperlinks in your list of references.

CV collaborators

You may attach a biographical sketch or CV for collaborators whose expertise is essential in meeting the research objectives of the proposal. In a maximum of two pages for each person, provide the individual’s name/affiliation, education/training, employment/affiliations, research funding, and up to five significant contributions related to the project. For Indigenous collaborators (e.g., Elders, Knowledge Keepers or Knowledge Holders), biographical sketches may include information about these individuals’ life/knowledge journey, engagement with their community, and planned participation in the proposed research. The contributions of Elders, Knowledge Keepers or Knowledge Holders to the project may include providing access to community networks, ethical guidance to researchers and advice in the interpretation of findings.

All collaborator biographical sketches or CVs must be saved in one PDF document and uploaded to the Supporting Documents section under CV collaborators supporting file.

Mitacs-NSERC supporting file

If applicable, upload the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form as a PDF attachment. Pages must be letter size (8 " x 11").

Canada Council for the Arts supporting file

If applicable, upload the  Canada Council budget form as a PDF attachment. Pages must be letter size (8 " x 11").

Other documents

No other documents are required for the CCSIF application. However, this section may be used to attach support letters from partners in the event partner organizations encounter significant challenges in accessing and completing their relevant sections in the Portal.

Submit your application

Review the application to ensure that it is complete.

From the Finalize and Submit section, follow the prompts to submit your application.

After you accept the terms and conditions, the status of your submission will change to Received by Administrator. If you want to make any changes at this point, you may request that your research grants officer return the application to you.

Once your research grants officer has approved and submitted your application, the application status will change to Received by Agency. No changes can be made at that point.

Submitting the application as the research grants officer

When you, as a research grants officer, receive an application submitted by an applicant at your institution, you will be asked to approve the application and submit it. By submitting it, you are confirming that

  • the participants meet the eligibility requirements
  • the proposed research project meets the eligibility requirements

By submitting the application, you, on behalf of your institution, are also certifying that the applicant and co-applicants

  • are affiliated with the institution
  • have the necessary time and resources to carry out the activities