Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
Discovery Grants – 2023 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
- DND/NSERC Discovery Grant Supplement
- Discovery Grants Northern Research Supplement
- Subatomic Physics Discovery Grants program
- Discovery Grants information centre
- Discovery Grants: applicant categories
- NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research
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 and can facilitate access to funding from other programs but are not meant to support the full costs of a research program.
Recipients of Discovery Grants are not restricted to the specific activities described in their applications and may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC’s mandate and adhere to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of funds as outlined in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration. 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.
Applicants are expected to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented and disadvantaged groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training. Applicants should refer to the Discovery Grants application instructions and the Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.
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.
For full details on the program, please visit the NSERC Discovery Grants program web-page.
- 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, 2022.
- 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.
Subject matter eligibility and funding from other sources
Applicants to the Discovery Grants program must present a program of research that is eligible under NSERC’s mandate, which is to promote and assist research in the natural sciences and engineering, other than health. The objectives of the research program must be to advance knowledge in the natural sciences or in engineering. The application will be rejected if NSERC determines, at any time during the review cycle, that the subject matter is outside of its mandate. Refer to Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency, the Addendum to the guidelines for the eligibility of applications related to health, the Peer review manual, and NSERC Discovery Grants process for decisions on mandate eligibility for further information on the eligibility of subject matter.
Applicants to the Discovery Grants program must present a program of research that is conceptually distinct from research supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
NSERC encourages researchers to obtain funds from other sources to support the full costs of the research program presented in their Discovery Grant application, as long as the funding source is not CIHR or SSHRC and the funds cover different expenses from the ones proposed in the Discovery Grant application.
Grants are normally awarded for five years. Although a shorter duration can be requested, NSERC may award a grant for the normal duration.
NSERC live webinars and pre-recorded videos
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). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For complete details on the live Q&A sessions and to access the pre-recorded videos, please visit the NSERC webinars webpage.
NSERC recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting researchers’ and students’ capacity to conduct their regular research and training activities. NSERC has published guidelines on the consideration of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and training activities. These guidelines provide direction on how to describe these impacts in an application and information on how they will be considered in the review of contributions to research and training and research and training plans.
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 2, 2022 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.