NSERC Alliance Grants - Option 2 Update


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)



For More Information

For full details about Alliance grants and how to apply, please visit the Alliance webpage and Frequently Asked Questions page.


NSERC has released details about the NSERC Alliance Option 2 funding.

It has been announced that full details about Option 2 will be released on NSERC’s website in February. NSERC anticipate that applications will be accepted as early as March (exact date to be determined).

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.

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

The Option 2 component of the Alliance grants is intended for proposals that:

  • conduct natural science or engineering research that addresses an unmet societal need. This may include research affecting public goods, or that will address national or global issues that benefit more than a single or a few organizations, and where sources of funds are unavailable.
  • connect partner organizations willing and able to overcome existing barriers to address these challenges and achieve results that can lead to a societal impact beyond economic benefits, and where an increased level of support from public funds is justified.

For Option 2 specifically, please note the considerations below:​

Size of partner organization Type of partnership

NSERC Contribution to Project Costs

All partner sizes

Partnership must include one organization that is recognized for NSERC cost-sharing


Exclusively not-for-profit and public partner organizations 100%

Any private-sector partner organization; this option requires a 10% cash contribution from the combined partner organizations


More detailed characteristics will follow in NSERC's February release.​


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.

Maximum Project Value

During the initial phase, applications requesting over $30,000 and up to $100,000 per year will be accepted, and the number of applications each applicant (as principal investigator or as co-applicant) may submit will be limited to one within a 12-month period.

When the program is fully active (date to be determined), application requests between $20,000 and up to $200,000 per year will be accepted. Applicants will be limited to two applications per year (one as the principal investigator, one as co-applicant). 

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

1 to 5 years

Special Notes

The proposal will include an additional section, in which applicants will justify the need for a higher NSERC contribution. In this section applicants will describe the societal challenge to be addressed through the project and how the results will impact society beyond the anticipated benefits for the participating partner organizations.

Alliance Option 2 applications will be evaluated in two stages. Full applications will be submitted to a multidisciplinary and multisectoral selection committee that will assess whether a higher NSERC contribution is justified.

If selected, applications will then proceed to the second step for review of overall merit. As in Option 1, external reviewers with expertise directly related to the proposal will provide reviews based on the Alliance evaluation criteria.


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

Internal Deadline

Option 1 Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis.

Information regarding Option 2 deadlines will be made available with NSERCs full update in February.

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

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

Details for Alliance Option 1 submissions are included below. Option 1 Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Details regarding any applicable deadlines or special considerations for Option 2 applications will be made available upon NSERCs February release.

  • Fill out the proposal template and the supporting documents, following the instructions for NSERC’s online system.
  • Ask the representative at each of your partner organizations to complete a Partner Organization Form.
  • Applicants must invite their partner organization representative to complete the information online. When completing the Application for a Grant (Form 101), the applicant will provide an email address for the partner organization representative. An invitation with a personalized URL will then be sent to that email address. Once completed by the partner organization representative, the form will be automatically linked to the application. This change will enable:
  • The confirmation of contributions to the project and agreement with the proposal by the partner organization representative;
  • Questions that are tailored to the organization’s sector;
  • The collection of information about the organization directly from the partner organization representative;
  • Submit your completed application, including your Common CV, and the Common CV of any co-applicants, through NSERC’s online system.
  • The Office of Research Services will review your submission, provide feedback, and work with you to finalize the application for submission to NSERC.

When developing your application, please pay close attention to NSERC's Top Tips document (attached), as well as the Frequently Asked Questions


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

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

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