Discovery Frontiers Call for Proposals: Biodiversity and Adaptation of Biosystems


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Discovery Frontiers (DF) grants are initiatives that identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities where Canada can benefit from its world-class capacity to take a leadership role in key areas of research and innovation. Discovery Frontiers address national research priorities and global challenges by supporting a small number of major new transformative and integrative activities. These initiatives will generate substantial impact from a one-time injection of funding for a defined period, addressing challenges and seizing leadership opportunities in areas of national importance.

This Discovery Frontiers initiative spans a range of disciplines including: evolution, climate change, productivity in managed systems, population dynamics, conservation, invasive species, extinctions, adaptation, and the diversity of life. It will bring diverse researchers together to conduct transformative and integrative research of international impact through studies, assessments, comprehensive experiments and the development of models that will inform and ultimately provide solutions to the global biodiversity-loss crisis and generate new knowledge on the nature of adaptation. This will also be an opportunity to develop improved methods for understanding and facilitating the adaptation, conservation, and health of ecosystems.


The following criteria will apply to all DF applications:

  • The activity will encompass discovery research and must involve international collaboration; it can involve industrial or receptor sector participation capacity, if appropriate.
  • The activity should encourage collaboration and integration across several disciplines within the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) and may include aspects of social science and health research.
  • The activity will be distinct from, and will not duplicate, what is being done through other existing NSERC programs such as, but not limited to, the Discovery Accelerator Supplements, CREATE, Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks or Networks of Centres of Excellence programs.
  • The proposal should demonstrate that the one-time research contribution has the potential to generate substantial and important advances in knowledge.

Funding Availability

Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will be given further instructions on submission details at the time of invitation.

Indirect Costs



If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

LETTER OF INTENT:  PI to submit directly to NSERC. The LOI should be saved as a single portable document format (PDF) document, and uploaded to NSERC’s secure portal before the deadline. More information can be found on the DF website 

Internal Deadline

IF INVITED: Submit completed OR5 form and a copy of your application to:

External Deadline

IF INVITED: PI to submit  complete application NSERC’s secure portal before the deadline.  More information can be found at DF website. Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will be given further instructions on submission details at the time of invitation.

For Questions, please contact

Discovery Frontiers
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 1H5
Tel.: 613-947-5636

Office of Research

Carolyn Dowling-Osborn, Senior Manager, Grants & Contracts
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x52935

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