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Appeals of NSERC funding decisions


NSERC strives to provide equitable and consistent treatment of applications in accordance with program objectives, selection criteria and available budget. The appeal process provides applicants with the opportunity to seek reconsideration of a funding decision where evidence suggests that a procedural error occurred during the review of the application.


An appeal of an NSERC funding decision must be based on a compelling demonstration of a procedural error in the review of the application. An appeal process does not entail a re-assessment of an application.

The following principles apply to appeals:

Errors are departures from NSERC’s policies and procedures, and may include for example

  • an undeclared or unaddressed conflict of interest
  • a failure by NSERC staff to provide required information to the review committee

The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that a procedural error was made in the review of the application.

NSERC will not accept appeals on any aspect of the peer review process stemming from a peer reviewer’s scientific assessment of an application, the applicant(s), or the proposed research. This includes differences of opinion between external reviewers and members of an NSERC peer review committee, and disagreement over the interpretation or analysis of information contained in the application by external reviewers or members of an NSERC peer review committee.

Additionally, NSERC will not accept appeals based on

  • NSERC decisions on the eligibility of an applicant or of subject matter
  • failure of the applicant to follow application instructions (for example, when this results in the removal of excess pages)
  • a lack of external reviewer reports
  • composition of peer review committees
  • the duration and level of award

Supporting material or information not presented in the original application (for example, papers published since the deadline date, or illness or other extenuating circumstances) will not be taken into consideration.

Decisions made by NSERC on appeals are final.


Applicants must submit their appeal in writing within two months of receipt of the decision letter. (Note: for the Discovery Grants program, the appeals deadline is May 31.) There is no specific format for appeals, but the submission must not exceed two pages. Appeals not respecting the principles described above or the page limit will not be considered.

Appeal results

NSERC will advise appellants of appeal results in writing. Appeals are normally resolved within two to three months from the time they are received by NSERC.

The outcome of a successful appeal depends on the funding opportunity. If NSERC concludes that a procedural error occurred during the review of the application, the resulting funding decision could be to leave the original decision unchanged, or to increase or decrease the level and/or duration of the grant or award.

For more information, consult the contact list.