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

Common menu bar links

Discovery Development Grants

NSERC recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting researchers’ and students’ capacity to conduct their regular research and training activities. NSERC has published guidelines on the consideration of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and training activities. These guidelines provide direction on how to describe these impacts in an application and information on how they will be considered in the review of contributions to research and training and research and training plans.

To lessen the impact of COVID-19 and to support all of our researchers and highly qualified personnel, all active Discovery Grant holders can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at their current funding level. For more information, please consult the NSERC program information in relation to COVID-19 webpage and the Frequently Asked Questions.

In light of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC is also taking action to ensure effective and timely delivery of the Discovery Grants competition by adjusting the in-person meeting component of the review to take place by videoconference. NSERC is committed to maintaining a peer review process of the highest quality, including fairness and consistency between evaluating committees and across competition years.

Value Up to $30,000 over two years
Application deadline Not applicable
How to apply No separate application is required. NSERC selects recipients based on the results of the evaluation of Discovery Grants applications.
For more information Consult the Contact List

Important information


The Discovery Development Grants (DDG) is a complementary program element to the Discovery Grants (DG) program. Its goal is to:

  • promote and maintain a diversified base of high-quality research in small universities across Canada; and
  • provide a stimulating environment for research training in small universities across Canada.


The DDG program provides resources to researchers from small universities whose DG applications were deemed to be of appropriate quality to merit research support, but were not funded in the DG Competition.

Each award is valued at up to $30,000 over two years (up to $15,000 annually) and provides recipients with resources to build their research program. These resources may be used to expand the recipient’s research group (e.g., students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians), to purchase or access specialized equipment, or for other initiatives or resources that would accelerate the recipient’s research program. It is expected that the DDG will facilitate recipients’ access to additional funding from other sources.


In addition to the usual NSERC eligibility criteria for applicants, the program is only accessible to researchers at small universities who have been evaluated in the most recent DG competition. For this purpose, small universities are those that received $5 million or less in NSERC funding on an annual basis (based on a three year average).

Recipients of a DDG must provide NSERC with a letter of support from their university, indicating what additional measures will be taken to support the individual’s research program. Support can include, but is not limited to, matching funds, the purchase of research equipment, scholarship support, travel support, teaching release, etc.

Application procedures

No separate application is required. NSERC selects recipients based on the results of the evaluation of DG applications.

Review procedures

Evaluation Groups will evaluate and rate DG applications in accordance with established DG evaluation criteria. DDGs will be awarded based on the ratings received by the DG application. Recipients will be those from small universities whose applications were deemed to be of appropriate quality to merit research support, but were not funded in the DG Competition.


Each award will have a total value of up to $30,000 (up to $15,000 annually) and will normally be paid over two years. NSERC reserves the right to limit the total number of new awards per year, depending on availability of funding.

Researchers may not concurrently hold a DDG and a DG. Holders of a DDG may apply for a DG in the last year of the award. Researchers may hold up to two (2) DDG awards throughout their career.

Reporting requirements

DDG recipients are required to complete a Grants in Aid of Research Statement of Account (Form 300) at the end of each fiscal year. Furthermore, recipients are required to submit a final report at the end of the DDG period. Details regarding the final report will be communicated to the recipients.