NSERC Eligibility Criteria for Faculty


Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC).


All NSERC Programs (e.g. Discovery, Research Tools & Instruments)/

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NSERC eligibility requirements for faculty.


This communication is intended to provide Faculty and Administrators with important information on NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for Faculty. This communication further clarifies the Office of Research requirements related to the completion of the OR-5 Form.

NSERC’s eligibility criteria have not changed; this is a reminder of the key eligibility criteria in advance of the upcoming NSERC Discovery and Research Tools & Instruments (RTI) competition deadlines.


  • 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 prof emeritus position; or a paid or unpaid term or contract position of no less than three years;
    • 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).
  • Notes on Adjunct professors:
    • Conferring Adjunct appointments that meet the above-noted criteria will result in the person holding the Adjunct appointment being ineligible to be paid a stipend/salary from NSERC and any matching industrial funding that is part of the application to NSERC (if applicable).
    • Adjunct professors who meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria and whose primary place of employment is at an eligible Canadian university may apply to NSERC grants programs. Those whose primary place of employment is outside the university sector (e.g., government, industry or colleges) are eligible to apply for a Discovery Grant as principal applicant, as well as to other NSERC grants as co-applicants. NSERC awards funds to adjunct professors working outside the university sector only for the direct support of students (salaries or stipends and student travel costs); all other costs must be covered through other sources of funding.
  • Collaborators and Participants are eligible to participate in a research team (but not apply for and hold NSERC funds).
  • Certain programs may have specific requirements or restrictions in addition to these criteria.
  • Only the conditions of appointment at the time of making an application will be considered by NSERC; revisions to appointments made after making an application will not be accepted by NSERC.
  • NSERC provides a detailed list of all conditions which must be in place for eligible appointments.
  • For awarded grants, grantees must adhere to the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.

For additional and more comprehensive information, please consult the NSERC eligibility requirements for faculty.

By signing the OR-5 Form, the Associate Dean/Dean confirms that the NSERC Applicant has an eligible appointment as outlined by NSERC. In the event an Applicant is deemed to be ineligible after submission to NSERC, the application will be withdrawn and removed from the competition. The University is not permitted to make changes to the Applicant’s appointment to comply with the eligibility criteria once the application has been submitted to NSERC.

Special Notes

Please see the program-specific eligibility criteria in addition to the general criteria outlined above.

Please Note: If you will be taking a leave during the tenure of your award, please contact the Office of Research Services at resserv@uoguelph.ca.

For Questions, please contact

Prior to an application deadline, if you have questions regarding interpretation of NSERC’s eligibility criteria as they pertain to individual programs, please:

Office of Research

Vanessa Knox, Awards and Agreements Officer
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x53429

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