NSERC-German Research Foundation (DFG) - Call for Proposals on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry


NSERC-German Research Foundation (DFG)


Call for Proposals on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry

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NSERC-German Research Foundation (DFG) call for proposals on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry

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Canada and Germany enjoy long-standing cooperation in science and technology. Recognizing the importance of international collaboration in promoting scientific discoveries, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on research cooperation. The MOU provides an overarching framework to enhance opportunities for collaborative activities between Canadian and German research communities and sets out the principles for developing jointly supported activities.

To facilitate the support of collaborative work between Canadian researchers and their German counterparts under this MOU, NSERC and the divisions of Physics and Chemistry (PC) and Engineering Sciences (ING 1) at the DFG are pleased to announce a call for proposals focused on Sustainable Processes and Chemistry. The proposed Canada-Germany collaborative research projects must focus on basic and fundamental research and are expected to generate new knowledge and address one or more research challenges related to environmental sustainability. Typical, but not exclusive, examples include

  • sustainable polymerizations
  • novel types of catalysts or catalytic reactions
  • separation and purification technologies
  • sustainable chemistry and engineering
  • tools for life-cycle assessment

Applicants are encouraged to incorporate multi- and interdisciplinary approaches in their research and to look at systems and processes as a whole rather than one component of a system or process. Collaborative research proposals will be accepted to DFG subject areas 321 to 327 and 403 and 404 (refer to DFG’s subject classification).


Research Team Eligibility

  • 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. You must also include at least one academic collaborator from Germany who meets DFG’s eligibility requirements.
  • For this collaborative call for proposals, collaborators and partner organizations from outside academia are not permitted.
  • You are limited to one application as either Canadian principal applicant or co-applicant.

Expense Eligibility

You can only include NSERC-eligible direct costs of research in your project budget, such as

  • salary support for research trainees (undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows) to perform research and related training
  • salary support for technicians and research professional personnel
  • materials and supplies
  • activities that support collaborations and knowledge mobilization related to the project
  • activities to develop and grow the research collaborations with the German collaborator(s)

Refer to the guidelines on the use of grant funds in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.

You can also include the costs of equipment, provided that the equipment is

  • essential to achieving the objectives of the research project
  • incremental to the equipment already available at the university or to your German collaborator(s)

Funding Availability

NSERC’s total budget allocation for this call is expected to be CAN $5 million. 

Maximum Project Value

$20,000 to $100,000 per year.

In the 'Budget justification' section of your proposal (Form 101), you must include information on the estimated annual support requested by your German collaborator(s) in Euros.

Project Duration

1 to 3 years

Special Notes

Safeguarding Research

At all times, Canadian researchers are encouraged to exercise appropriate levels of due diligence when managing their research and establishing and/or continuing partnerships with national, international and multinational organizations. Resources to do so are provided by the Government of Canada on the Safeguarding Your Research portal, including the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships. NSERC reserves the right to request additional information, as needed, before making a final funding decision.

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.

Internal Deadline

A signed OR-5 and the Alliance International Collaboration application must be submitted to the Office of Research Services (research.services@uoguelph.ca) a minimum of one (1) week prior to the deadline to submit to NSERC. Please be sure to "submit" in NSERC's online system.

Please see Stage 1 instructions under 'How to Apply' for more information.

External Deadline

The Office of Research Services will submit the Alliance International Collaboration application on behalf of the Canadian researcher to NSERC through their online system. 

Internal Deadline

If invited, please submit the Full Application to the Office of Research Services (research.services@uoguelph.ca) a minimum of one (1) week prior to the deadline for the German principal investigator to submit to DFG. 

Please see Stage 2 instructions under 'How to Apply' for more information.

External Deadline

If invited, German principal investigator will submit to DFG on behalf of the research team. 

How to Apply

Stage 1:

Canadian researchers must first submit a modified Alliance International Collaboration grant application to NSERC by the application deadline.

  • Log in to NSERC’s online system and choose Create a new form 101
  • Select Research partnerships programs, then Alliance grants
  • For the Proposal type field, select Full proposal
  • For the Type of call field, select International-Collaboration-DFG-Sustainable Chemistry from the drop-down menu
  • Following the instructions for completing an Alliance International application, fill out the proposal template and complete the other sections of your application
  • Note: You do not need to attach a copy of the proposal prepared by your German collaborator(s) or confirmation that the proposal has been funded
  • Submit your completed application and supporting documents, including the personal data form with CCV attachment for the Canadian applicant and all Canadian co-applicants, and the biosketch of your German collaborator(s) through NSERC’s online system

By submitting your application, you and your co-applicants (when applicable) agree to the Terms and conditions of applying for applicants

Stage 2:

NSERC will provide an Invitation to submit letter to Canadian applicants, which must be appended to the joint Canada-Germany collaborative research proposal as a supplementary document. Only proposals that have been invited to submit will be accepted by DFG. The collaborative proposals must be submitted by German principal investigators to a participating DFG program using the appropriate DFG submission process. Full applications are not submitted to NSERC. Proposals must be submitted to DFG by June 6, 2023, 5 p.m. (CEST) German time. 

No changes in the Canadian research team composition are permitted after an invitation is issued. While the title of the Alliance International Collaboration grant application and the proposal that is submitted to DFG (Stage 2) should be the same, DFG requires that the title of the proposal submitted to them begin with “NSERC-DFG SUSTAIN”.

If you submit a proposal under this call (in both Stage 1 and Stage 2), you agree that information contained in your proposal will be shared between NSERC and the DFG for purposes consistent with the program objectives. Participants are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of the DFG rules concerning the disclosure of information contained in the proposal. Participants should also ensure they are aware of the policies surrounding DFG programs and post-award policies.

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks as described in Information about programs and information holdings. You must ensure that others listed in the application have agreed to be included.

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).

For Questions, please contact


Questions about the fit of a proposal should be directed to DFG at NSF-DFG-chemistry@dfg.de.

Office of Research

Amy Bossaer, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x58613

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