NSERC and Environment and Climate Change Canada
Plastics science for a cleaner future.
For More Information
For more information about this funding opportunity, please refer to the Call for Proposals.
The Government of Canada has made reducing plastic pollution and its impacts a priority.
NSERC is pleased to announce a jointly funded initiative with Environment and Climate Change Canada to support research that will increase scientific knowledge to achieve Canada’s zero plastic waste targets and to inform the advancement of policy and regulatory measures.
This call focuses on research to detect and characterize plastics in the environment, and exposure and effects of plastics on wildlife and human health. The funding will support a series of multidisciplinary, collaborative projects in an effort to increase research capacity, as well as collaboration, to help close the gaps in our understanding of plastic pollution and its impacts. The aim is to generate new knowledge to support policy and decision-making related to plastic pollution, as well as to the objectives of the Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste.
ECCC and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) are collaborating to support research that will increase scientific knowledge to achieve Canada’s zero plastic waste targets (outlined in the strategy and the Ocean Plastics Charter) and to inform the advancement of policy and regulatory measures. This call focuses on research to detect and characterize plastics in the environment, and exposure and effects of plastics on wildlife and human health. This call is to fund multidisciplinary, collaborative networks of researchers to address the research objectives. This approach will help advance knowledge of standardized and harmonized methods and will support innovative, robust, and authoritative studies on plastic pollution.
Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with knowledge users (such as government policymakers, stewardship councils, communities, etc.) to support knowledge mobilization. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to bring together multidisciplinary expertise within networked project teams (e.g., resin experts to support innovative characterization methods, various laboratories to assess methods, and artificial intelligence or remote sensing experts to support identification, characterization, and modelling).
Applicants must follow the Tri-Council Open Access Policy, and applicants are also encouraged to make any publication data resulting from funded projects open access.
Plastics science for a cleaner future will provide funding for a series of projects, to:
- Increase research capacity, as well as collaboration, to help close the gaps in our understanding of plastic pollution and its impacts.
- Generate new knowledge to support policy and decision-making related to plastic pollution, as well as to the objectives of the Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste.
The proposed research project must address at least one of the following research objectives:
- Detection, quantification, and characterization of microplastics in the environment: to help understand the sources, fate and different types of microplastics, with consideration for their structural and chemical properties.
- Impacts on human health, wildlife (biota), and the environment: to advance research on the effects of macroplastics and microplastics.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering community and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are key priorities in our current strategic plan, NSERC 2020, and are highlighted in the strategic goal of “Building a Diversified and Competitive Research Base.” Applicants must strive for diversity and increased gender equity when developing the group of co-applicants, collaborators and trainees. See the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.
Academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering may participate in proposals. Academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may participate in proposals as co-applicants.
Applicants must meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria when applying and when funding is released.
All project expenditures are subject to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration. The maximum level of total government assistance (from federal, provincial, and municipal governments for the same eligible expenditures) must not exceed 100 per cent of eligible expenditures.
Maximum Project Value
Individual proposals should not exceed four years or $1,000,000. This competition aims to fund an average of two projects per research objective.
No indirect costs.
1 to 4 years.
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.
Full Application (by invitation only):
Applicants invited to submit a full application by NSERC must submit their full application package to the Office of Research (email@example.com).
A complete application includes:
How to Apply
Letter of intent submission and review
Applicants must submit a letter of intent (LOI), including a cover page (one page) and research proposal (three pages). All documents should follow the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
The cover page must include:
- the project title
- up to 10 keywords
- an approximate budget request, by project year
- the applicant’s name, affiliation and email address
- a list of co-applicants, with affiliation and email address
- a list of non-academic collaborators, with affiliation and email address, if applicable
The research proposal must describe:
- the main research objectives and expected outcomes
- how the research fits within the program and research objectives
- the novelty of the project and main concepts and approaches
- members of the team, their expertise and expected contributions
- key elements of a proposed knowledge mobilization plan
- relevance of the project to Canada and stakeholders
The LOI should be saved as a single portable document format (PDF) document and uploaded to NSERC’s secure portal by the deadline.
LOIs will be reviewed by a selection panel comprising representatives of NSERC, ECCC and Health Canada (as well as other federal agencies, if applicable) based on a six-point scale: outstanding, excellent, very strong, strong, acceptable or inadequate. NSERC will invite full applications for the most highly rated LOIs.
Information For Co-applicants
Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with experts in fields other than the natural sciences and engineering, where appropriate, since implementing policy or applying the research results can depend on socioeconomic considerations as well as scientific understanding. Academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may participate in proposals as co-applicants if they meet NSERC’s eligibility requirements for the type, duration and nature of the appointment. Research costs for these collaborations may account for up to 30 per cent of the project costs and must be identified in the project budget. All project expenditures are subject to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.