NSERC Alliance - Advantage Grants (previously Option 1)


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Alliance Advantage

For More Information

General Grant Information

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Resources

National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships Resources


Alliance grants encourage university researchers to collaborate with partner organizations, which can be from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. These grants support research projects led by strong, complementary, collaborative teams that will generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canada.

Alliance Advantage grants (formerly Alliance cost-sharing option 1) are for partner-driven projects. They fund projects focused on the partners’ goals, with at least one partner sharing in the costs of research. Research supported by Alliance Advantage grants will:

  • generate new knowledge and/or technology to address complex challenges;
  • create economic, environmental and/or other societal benefits;
  • contribute to Canada’s long-term competitiveness;
  • support public policy;
  • train new researchers in areas that are important to Canada and partner organizations; 
  • draw on diverse perspectives and skill sets to accelerate the translation and application of research results.

For projects with societal impact as the main driver (formerly cost-sharing option 2), see Alliance Society.


If you are a Canadian university researcher who is eligible to receive NSERC funds, you can apply on your own or as a team with co-applicants who are also eligible academic researchers. There are no limits on how many applications a faculty member can participate on as an applicant or co-applicant. 

You must have at least one partner organization (in the private, public or not-for-profit sector) whose cash contributions will be recognized for cost-sharing (see Alliance grants: Role of partner organizations) but you may include other partner organizations who play an important role in your research project whether or not their cash contributions are recognized for cost sharing.

Alliance grants support projects of varying scale and complexity, from short-term smaller projects involving one researcher to long-term projects involving researchers across several universities, and from one-on-one collaborations with one partner organization directly involved in the research to projects involving many partner organizations across multiple sectors. Partner Organizations are encouraged to complete the Partner Organization Self-Assessment Tool to determine eligibility to participate.

In-kind contributions are important for the success of the project even though they are not taken into account in the cost-sharing calculations with NSERC. All partner organizations participating in the project must play an active role in it and make in-kind contributions through such involvement. In-kind contributions are considered in the merit assessment of your proposal (see Evaluation criteria and Merit indicators).

Funding Availability

NSERC’s contribution is calculated on the basis of cost sharing with partner organizations at a 2:1 ratio.

The portion of the cost of your project that can be cost shared with NSERC includes only cash contributions from partner organizations that are recognized for cost sharing (see Cash contributions from partner organizations) and have an active role in the proposed research. You can include cash contributions that were spent to start the project, as long as they were spent more than three months before the submission of the application. However, NSERC funds can only be applied to expenses incurred after an award is approved.

The calculation of the amount you can request from NSERC does not include cash contributions from:

  • partner organizations that are not recognized for cost sharing;
  • the university; or
  • funding organizations not actively involved in the project.

Maximum Project Value

Over $20,000 to $1 million per year request from NSERC

Project Duration

1 to 5 years

Special Notes

One year extension with funds option

NSERC recognizes that opportunities to increase the impact of results may arise as Alliance projects unfold. As such, a one-time, one-year extension with additional funding may be requested for Alliance Advantage grants. This option is available only for grants under Alliance Advantage and only if the initial period of the grant was one to four years (five-year grants are excluded). Grant leaders must apply for a funded extension in the first six months of the last year of your initial grant. If you wish to take advantage of a funded extension, you must complete it before other extensions without funding. For more information, see During your research project.

To request an extension with funding, the partner organizations must be willing to continue their involvement in the project and to provide additional cash contributions. Grantees may request that NSERC match the partner’s additional cash contributions at the grant’s original cost-sharing ratio, up to the average annual amount originally awarded by NSERC.


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

Internal Deadline

Alliance Advantage applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

OR-5 and full application must be submitted to the Office of Research Services (research.services@uoguelph.ca) a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to the intended submission date to NSERC. Please be sure to "submit" in NSERC's online system.

External Deadline

The Office of Research Services will submit the full application on behalf of the applicant to NSERC through their online system. 

How to Apply

The Research Services Office will review your submission, provide feedback and work with you to finalize the application for submission to NSERC. Capacity permitting, the Research Innovation Office may be able to support pre-reviews of your application prior to submission to RSO. Contact details for RIO and RSO can be found below.

Please see NSERC's full list of Resources, which includes Presentations on preparing an Alliance Application (slidedeck, notes and video).

Information For Co-applicants

If you need to meet a deadline set by the lead institution for this opportunity, please ensure that you provide the Office of Research with at least five days in advance of the lead institution’s deadline to review the application, or your proposed component of the project. Please be in touch with the Office of Research (contact information below) ahead of the deadline if it looks like it will be difficult for you to submit all the required documentation on time (i.e. budget, proposal, OR-5 Form).


File Proposal Template244.34 KB
For Questions, please contact

Please contact the Research Innovation Office for initial discussions:
Kaleigh Rajna, Industry Liaison Officer

NSERC Alliance Contact Information:

Office of Research

Rachel Lee, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office

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