NSERC Alliance Grants - Option 1


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Alliance (Option 1)

For More Information


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. Applicants including Private Sector partners on their Alliance application are now required to complete the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships' Risk Assessment form. 

Research supported by Alliance grants will:

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

For Option 1 specifically, please note the considerations below:

Size of partner organization Type of partnership NSERC Contribution to Project Costs

Large organizations, including private, public and not-for-profit organizations

(500 or more employees globally)

As a sole partner organization or in partnership exclusively with other large organizations

(1:1 leverage)

As a partner with small and medium-sized enterprises such as in a value- or supply-chain relationship, or with other sectors (private, public or not-for-profit)

(2:1 leverage)

Small and medium-sized private, public or not-for-profit organizations

(fewer than 500 employees globally)

As a sole partner organization. or in partnership with other sectors (private, public or not-for-profit)

(2:1 leverage)


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.

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).

Maximum Project Value

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

There are no limits on how many applications a faculty member can participate on as an applicant or co-applicant. 

Indirect Costs

0% on industry partner funds that are directly leveraged for the NSERC grant and are declared at the time of application submission.

Project Duration

1 to 5 years

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


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

Internal Deadline

Option 1 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 Office of Research Services will review your submission, provide feedback, and work with you to finalize the application for submission to NSERC.

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).


For Questions, please contact

Contact NSERC at:

Office of Research

Amy Bossaer, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x58613

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