NSERC Alliance International Grants


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)


Alliance International: Catalyst Grants and Collaboration Grants

For More Information

NSERC's Alliance International - Program Description 

Revised Guidelines on assessment of contributions to research, training, and mentoring

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Resource Document for Researchers

Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application

U of G Guide for Completing the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ Risk Assessment Form - NSERC Alliance

NSERC Alliance Grants - National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships

Safeguarding your Research Portal

NSERC Alliance - Frequently Asked Questions


NSERC recognizes the need to support engagement with international collaborators to further develop areas of Canadian research strength and leadership. Alliance International will support Canadian researchers working with international colleagues to pursue new knowledge, technologies, and solutions to complex problems.
By combining the expertise of Canadian and leading international researchers, it is expected that Canadian researchers will leverage the best international knowledge to help address important research challenges in the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) disciplines and will provide trainees with an outstanding research environment. These collaborations will ultimately strengthen research excellence in Canada and abroad. 
Alliance International is a new, permanent stream of Alliance. There is no deadline to apply and grants will be awarded throughout the year. Alliance International offers two grant types: Catalyst grants and Collaboration grants.

Alliance International Catalyst grants: Alliance International Catalyst grants will provide up to $25,000 for one year to support Canadian researchers in initiating international research collaborations in the NSE disciplines.

Alliance International Collaboration grants: Alliance International Collaboration grants will provide up to $100,000 per year for up to three years, allowing Canadian researchers to participate in international projects and leverage the best international expertise to help address research challenges in the NSE disciplines of impact and benefit for Canada.


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 and any Canadian co-applicants must have an active NSERC peer-reviewed grant, as primary applicant, at the time of application. There is no requirement for partner organizations or contributions from partner organizations for this funding opportunity. However, at the time of application, you must identify at least one international academic researcher with whom you will collaborate. In the case of an Alliance International Collaboration grant, your international collaborator must have secured funding from their own funding agency at the time of your application to NSERC.

Your international collaborator(s) must be from the academic sector, and they must have secured funding from their national funding agency to cover their participation in the project. Each collaborator must actively play a role in the project. Such involvement must be achieved by doing at least one of the following:

  • Actively participating in the project’s research activities

  • Providing an enriched training experience for Canadian research trainees

  • Utilizing the project’s research results to help achieve its desired outcomes

You must explain in your application the added value of the international collaboration for Canada and of your selected international collaborator(s).

You can apply to support any R&D project that seeks to respond to a research challenge in the natural sciences or engineering (see Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency). However, you cannot use Alliance International to support secret or contract research.

Funding Availability

Alliance International Catalyst grants: You are limited to one application within a 12-month period as either applicant or co-applicant. It is expected that a maximum of 100 grants will be awarded per year.

Alliance International Collaboration grants: You are limited to one application within a 12-month period as either applicant or co-applicant

Maximum Project Value

Alliance International Catalyst grants: NSERC will provide 100% of the funding, up to $25,000 for one year.

Alliance International Collaboration grants: The amount you can request will depend on the amount of funding obtained by your international academic collaborator(s) from their own national funding agency. The funding secured by your international collaborator(s) will be recognized for cost sharing purposes. This contribution must be at least equal to the amount requested from NSERC (in Canadian dollars). NSERC will provide up to $100,000 per year, for up to 3 years, to support the costs of your participation in the international project. To secure the maximum amount ($100,000 per year) your international academic collaborator(s) must obtain at least $100,000 per year from their national funding agency. In the Budget justification section of your proposal (form 101), you must include information on the annual support obtained by your international collaborator(s) (all amounts in Canadian dollars).

Eligible expenses

You can only include NSERC-eligible direct costs of research in your project budget, such as

  • salary support for research trainees (undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows) to perform research and related training
  • salary support for technicians and research professional personnel
  • materials and supplies
  • activities that support collaborations and knowledge mobilization related to the project
  • activities to develop and grow the research collaborations with the international collaborator(s)

Refer to the guidelines on the use of grant funds in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.

You can also include the costs of equipment, provided that the equipment is

  • essential to achieving the objectives of the research project
  • incremental to the equipment already available at the university or to your international collaborator(s)

If your total expected equipment costs (including operation and maintenance) exceed $400,000 over your project’s duration, then you should apply for an alternate source of funding, such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI’s) John R. Evans Leaders Fund. NSERC and CFI have developed a joint application and review procedure for these cases. You may contact NSERC or CFI for more details.

For projects involving multiple international collaborators and/or universities, you may also include project management costs, up to 10% of the total direct research costs (see Guidelines for research partnerships programs project management expenses).

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

1 year (Catalyst grants) up to 3 years (Collaboration grants)

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.

Collaborating outside the natural sciences and engineering

Developing and implementing policies or directly applying your research results may depend on socio-economic or other requirements, as well as scientific understanding beyond the natural sciences and engineering (NSE). You are encouraged to collaborate with academic researchers in fields other than the NSE. Such researchers may be co-applicants for Alliance International if they meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria for faculty. Research costs for these collaborations can represent up to 30% of the project costs and must be specifically identified in the project budget justification.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Applicants are encouraged to consider sex, gender and diversity in the project’s research design. Diversity and gender equity should also be considered when developing the research team and considering how to promote and support a variety of forms of mentoring to ensure trainees’ equitable participation and growth. Applicants should refer to the Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application for more information.


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

Internal Deadline

International 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

Following the instructions for completing an Alliance International application, fill out the proposal template and complete the other sections of your application. You can apply at any time. The limit of applications, review mechanisms and expected assessment times may differ for each type of grant.

Alliance International Catalyst grants: Submit your grant application and supporting documents, including the Personal data form with Common CV attachment for the applicant and all co-applicants, and the biosketch of your international collaborator(s) through NSERC’s online system. You can apply at any time.

Alliance International Collaboration grants:  Submit your grant application and supporting documents, including the Personal data form with Common CV attachment for the applicant and all co-applicants, and the biosketch of your international collaborator(s) through NSERC’s online system. You can apply at any time. To confirm funding from your international academic collaborator(s) for this project and to confirm your role in the project, you must append the research proposal from your international collaborator(s) to your application, as well as their award letter (these documents are for NSERC’s internal use only).

Awarded projects will require a research contract between the partners and the University before beginning the collaboration. 

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

Email: allianceinternational@nserc-crsng.gc.ca
Phone: 1-855-275-2861

Office of Research

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

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