NSERC recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the research community’s capacity to conduct their regular research and training activities and their ability to prepare and submit grant applications.
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 process.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of the research enterprise in many ways, NSERC recognizes that the pandemic has disrupted early career researchers (ECRs) particularly acutely. Therefore, NSERC would like to inform you of the changes to the Early Career Research (ECR) definition. The ECR eligibility window previously increased from three years to five years to harmonize with the other agencies.
The five-year window for being considered an ECR is adjusted to take into account instances where a researcher has had an eligible delay in research. Beginning this year, all eligible leaves (e.g. maternity, paternity, medical, bereavement) will now be credited twice the amount of time taken and the window will be adjusted accordingly. Delays in research activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic will also be considered eligible and should be described clearly in an application.
NSERC will continue to make adjustments to its operations as they monitor the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).