NSERC Alliance - Society Grants (previously Option 2)


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Alliance Society

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 Society grants (formerly Alliance cost-sharing option 2) fund projects with societal impact as the main driver (see Alliance Society: Research topics). Research supported by Alliance Society grants will:

  • address a societal challenge that will result in new natural sciences and engineering knowledge and societal impact;
  • bring together academic, partner organization and societal perspectives and skill sets throughout the collaboration;
  • demonstrate how all interested individuals will learn about and use the products, services or policies that stem from this research;
  • 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 the partner organizations;
  • draw on diverse perspectives and skill sets to accelerate the translation and application of research results.

Note: Research aims in bold distinguish the Alliance Society program from Alliance Advantage.


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. 

Even though NSERC may cover 100% of the project’s cost, your project must involve at least one partner organization whose cash contributions would be recognized, had there been any (see Alliance Society: Partner organizations and Partner Organization Self-Assessment Tool to determine eligibility to participate). You may include other partner organizations who play an important role in your research project, whether or not they could be recognized for cost sharing.

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).

Cash contributions by partner organizations toward expenses other than the project’s direct costs (e.g., cash contribution toward an institutional research chair held by the applicant) may be described in the proposal to provide broader context about the depth of the partnership. Such contributions are not taken into account in the cost-sharing calculations with NSERC and must not be included in the total project cost.

Maximum Project Value

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

NSERC will contribute up to 100% of direct project costs for Alliance Society grants.

Project Duration

1 to 5 years

Special Notes

Public Impact Value Proposition (PIVP):

The Alliance proposal template includes an additional section for Society grant proposals in which applicants can provide up to three additional pages to describe:

  • The issue the project aims to address and explain the societal impact the project results will have. 
  • The current barriers impeding a solution and the proposed novel strategy for addressing the issue. 
  • How the project is designed to take into account the needs of end-users and implementers.
  • How the project outcomes will reach beyond the partner organizations to impact society. 

Applicants will also be required to provide justification as to why a higher level of investment of public funds is required for this project.

Projects supported under Alliance Society grants will:

  • Address a societal challenge resulting in new NSE knowledge and societal impact
  • Bring together academic, partner organization, and societal perspectives and skill sets
  • Demonstrate how all interested individuals will learn about and use the products, services or policies that stem from the research


  • Administrative review
  • PIVP selection committee determines if the project fits within Alliance Society characteristics
  • If the outcome of the PIVP is positive, the application proceeds to the next step, otherwise it is considered not funded
  • External peer review evaluation

The expected assessment time for Alliance Society grants is 14-24 weeks.

NSERC is committed to achieving these service standards for 80% of applications, recognizing that some proposals may require additional time.


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

Internal Deadline

Alliance Society 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

Details for Alliance submissions are included below. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

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.

For additional information, please see NSERC's full list of Resources for Alliance Society grant proposals.

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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