Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Discovery Grants - 2021 Competition
For More Information
- List of Evaluation Groups and Research Topics
- Peer Review Manual
- FAQ on the Evaluation of the HQP Criterion
- Discovery Grants Merit Indicators
- NSERC Discovery Grants Process for Decisions on Mandate Eligibility
- Relationship Between NSERC Proposals and Other Sources of Funds
- Discovery Grants – Discovery Accelerator Supplements
- DND/NSERC Discovery Grant Supplement
- Discovery Grants Information Centre
- Discovery Grants – Applicant Categories
The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research (with long-term goals) rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. Discovery Grants are considered ‘grants in aid’ of research as they provide long term operating funds to support the costs of a research program. As a grant in aid of research, Discovery Grants are not meant to support the full costs of a research program and they can facilitate access to funding from other programs. NSERC recognizes that, while being of a grant in aid nature, Discovery Grants must be sufficient to support a program of quality research that can have a meaningful impact on the field of study.
Recipients of Discovery Grants are not restricted to the specific activities described in their applications, but may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC’s mandate. This provides researchers with the flexibility to pursue promising research avenues as they emerge and the opportunity to address higher-risk (higher reward) topics. Researchers can use their grants to participate in collaborative efforts.
The Discovery Grants Program assists in:
- promoting and maintaining a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities;
- fostering research excellence; and
- providing a stimulating environment for research training.
- Only applicants and co-applicants are eligible to apply for and hold NSERC funds.
- Eligibility for applying for/holding an NSERC grant:
- Hold (or have a firm offer) for an academic appointment at an eligible Canadian university at the time of application. This can be a tenured, tenure-track or lifetime professor emeritus position; or a paid or unpaid term or contract position of no less than three years. The position must be finalized no later than six (6) weeks following the competition deadline of November 1, 2019.
- The position must require the individual to engage in research that is not under the direction of another individual; and
- The position must authorize the individual to supervise or co-supervise the research of students registered in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, or postdoctoral fellows (e.g. thesis supervision and not supervision of regular course or laboratory assignments).
- While there are no specific sections dedicated to naming or describing specific collaborations, it is at the applicant’s discretion if they would like to disclose such information.
- Applicants are categorized as either Early Career Researchers or Established Researchers. Refer to the Discovery Grants - Applicant Categories for more information.
- Researchers can apply for and hold only one Discovery Grant at a time. Researchers who hold a Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another Discovery Grant until the last year of their current award. If you currently hold a team grant and wish to apply individually, consult NSERC.
- NSERC does not consider requests for supplements to existing Discovery Grants, except for E. W. R. Steacie Memorial Fellows and Discovery Grant Northern Research Supplements holders. Recipients may, however, apply for all other types of NSERC grants.
Grants are normally awarded for five years. Although a shorter duration can be requested, NSERC may award a grant for the normal duration.
Due to COVID-19, NSERC is replacing live webinars with pre-recorded videos followed by live Q&A sessions. This series is meant to assist the research community on how to complete an application using the Research Portal and the NSERC Canadian Common CV (CCV). Please find below the pre-recorded videos as well as the dates for these upcoming live Q&A sessions.
Please view the pre-recorded videos prior to attending a live Q&A session, as the material presented in the videos will not be repeated. Prior to attending the live session, applicants should review the following documents:
- Discovery Grant application program description which includes the Peer Review Manual and the Frequently Asked Questions
- Instructions for Completing an Application
- Submitting an NSERC individual Discovery Grant application through the Research Portal tutorial.
Pre-registration is not required to attend the live Q&A sessions. Please note, NSERC staff may not have time to respond to all individual questions during the session. Any additional questions should be directed to their support team at NSERC Discovery.
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.
Please consult with your College Research Manager and/or Associate Dean of Research regarding any College-specific internal deadlines.
Final application will be submitted to NSERC online by the Office of Research Services.
How to Apply
Applicants must have successfully submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) by August 4, 2020 in order to be eligible to submit a Full Application. This is a mandatory step in the application process.
Complete Application including List of References, Budget Justification and Samples of Research Contributions (maximum of 4 reprints or preprints and/or manuscripts, excerpts from your thesis, technical reports, etc.) along with a Canadian Common CV, are to be submitted electronically to Office of Research Services via the NSERC Research Portal. Upon approval, Office of Research Services submits the final version on behalf of the University using the Research Portal.