NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants




NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grants

For More Information

Please visit the NSERC COVID-19 Alliance Grants webpage for more information


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC is leveraging the expertise of researchers in natural science and engineering and their partners across Canada to address this unprecedented crisis.

NSERC is providing up to $15 million in total support to stimulate collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges. Support for up to $50,000 for one-year projects is being made available immediately.

NSERC will process these applications in an accelerated fashion. Partners do not need to provide cash contributions to participate, but must be engaged throughout the research process, from input in design to using the expertise and/or the research results.

The objectives of the NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants are to:

  • accelerate the flow and exchange of research results and research expertise in the natural sciences and engineering sectors between academic researchers and public, not for profit and industry partners by supporting these organizations as they face challenges in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • support research and analysis activities that address partner organization questions or issues in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to applications in the short term.


Who Can Apply

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. The principal investigator must hold an active peer-reviewed grant from NSERC as primary applicant at the time of application.

Partner Eligibility

You must have at least one partner organization (in the private, public or not-for-profit sector) who will be engaged throughout the research process and that can utilize the expertise or the research results from the project. These are partner organizations whose contributions would normally be recognized for NSERC cost-sharing in the project, even if the partner is not providing funding in this particular COVID-19 focused application.  Consult the Role of Partner Organizations for types of partner organizations whose contributions can and cannot be recognized in NSERC cost-sharing.

You may also include other partner organizations who play an important role in your project.

Project Eligibility

Science, technology and engineering topics within NSERC’s mandate, directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, are appropriate for these applications. Teams can be multidisciplinary, however the major focus should not be medical or clinical research (see the Addendum to the guidelines for the eligibility of applications related to health for more details).

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • computational modeling and simulation for improved understanding of viral populations and of viral evolution;
  • new technologies relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • better understanding of viral persistence in the environment;
  • design and engineering expertise in advanced manufacturing of COVID-19-relevant equipment and supplies.

Applicants and the partner organizations must consider the unique present circumstances when planning their work (e.g., access to the institution vs. working remotely, respecting physical distancing, etc.).

Applicants and partners commit to sharing progress and results with relevant government organizations. In line with NSERC’s Policy on Intellectual Property, this call requires the utilization of results of research for the benefit of Canada and Canadians, and the publication of research results in the open literature.

Funding Availability

NSERC is providing up to $15 million in total support to stimulate collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges.​

Maximum Project Value

NSERC is accepting applications with requests up to $50,000. 

Cash contributions from partner organizations are not required.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

The maximum project duration is 1 year.

Special Notes


If you are not yet sure how the funds will be used for this project, you can enter “Other” in the Proposed Expenditures. In order to quickly advance the research objectives, participation of trainees is encouraged, yet optional, in these grants.

Collaborating outside the natural sciences and engineering

Developing applications or policies based on your research results may require socio-economic and other expertise in addition to scientific understanding. You are encouraged to collaborate with academic researchers in fields other than the natural sciences and engineering. Such researchers may serve as co-applicants for these grants. Research costs for these collaborations must be identified in the project budget, up to a maximum of 30% of the cost-shared project costs.


Proposals will be assessed based on the potential timeliness and impact that the project could have on the partner organizations’ preparedness or ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All applications will be reviewed by NSERC file managers to expedite the decision. This evaluation is supported by existing peer review (the principal investigator must hold an active peer-reviewed grant from NSERC as primary applicant at the time of application).

Your application is evaluated using the following equally weighted criteria. The proposal must address all criteria to be considered for funding.

Relevance and outcomes

  • Significance of the intended outcomes
  • Extent to which the strategy to apply the research results is likely to achieve the intended outcomes


  • Appropriateness of the partnership to achieve the intended outcomes
  • Clarity of each partner organization’s role in the collaboration

Quality of the proposal

  • Clarity of the objectives and deliverables; appropriateness of the scope and size of planned activities to achieve the expected outcomes
  • Appropriateness of academic researchers’ expertise, and that found within the partner organizations, for carrying out the planned project


Please refer to the Office of Research COVID 19 web-page for directives related to research activities at the University of Guelph.


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

Internal Deadline

Please submit your full application, along with an OR-5 Form and draft letter of support to research.services@uoguelph.ca.

External Deadline

Completed applications must be submitted through NSERC's Online System.

All applications must be received before June 1st, 2020.

How to Apply

There are three components to this special Alliance application. Guidance on this page takes precedence over other Alliance descriptions and instructions.



  • Personal Data Form with Common CV attachment for the applicant and all co-applicants.
    • You do not need to update your contributions list. Use the most recently available version.

Partner Organization Information

Submit your completed application through NSERC’s Online system. When creating a new Form 101 – Grant, select Alliance. The proposed cost-sharing ratio for this application is 100%. Include mention of COVID-19 in the application title.

The funding requested in this proposal cannot represent a budgetary or conceptual overlap with any other funding support currently held or applied for.

Proposal headings

Provide responses in place of INSERT YOUR TEXT using a maximum of FIVE pages. The suggested number of pages per section in the Instructions for completing an application is not used for Alliance-COVID-19 grants. Figures and tables are welcome. References are not required.

Relevance and expected outcomes

  • Outline the goals of the partnership and explain the potential outcomes and impacts.
  • Outline efforts the partner organizations will invest following the project’s completion to advance the results in Canada.

[Insert your text responding to the above point here]


  • List all partner organizations expected to play a key role in the activities.
  • Describe the core activity of the partner organizations and how the topic is relevant and aligned with the partner organizations’ activities.
  • Explain how each partner organization will be actively involved. Describe the value added through in-kind contributions and how these are important to realizing the project’s intended outcomes.

[Insert your text responding to the above point here]


  • Outline the research objectives. Detail the resources and activities needed to achieve the anticipated results.
  • Indicate approximate timelines for the activities to lead to milestones and deliverables using a Gantt chart, table or diagram.

[Insert your text responding to the above point here]


  • List the applicant, any co-applicants and key staff of the partner organizations.
  • Explain how the knowledge, experience and achievements of these individuals provide the expertise needed to accomplish the project objectives. Discuss the role of each individual and how their contributions, including those of staff from the partner organizations, will be integrated into the project.

[Insert your text responding to the above point here]

For Questions, please contact



Office of Research

Gregor Lawson, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x54807

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