NSERC PromoScience Program


NSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


PromoScience Program

For More Information

Please visit https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Promoter-Promotion/PromoScience-PromoScience/About-Apropos_eng.asp


NSERC's PromoScience Program offers financial support for organizations working with young Canadians to promote an understanding of science and engineering (including mathematics and technology). 

PromoScience supports hands-on learning experiences for young students and their teachers. Grants may be used to cover improvements to program content or delivery, as well as for new programs and activities. Grants can also be used to cover operational costs such as salaries, travel, postage, materials and supplies, provided that they relate to the promotion of science and engineering.

PromoScience grants support organizations that:

  • Work with young Canadians to inspire an interest in science and engineering;
  • Motivate young people to study science and engineering and to pursue careers in these fields; 
  • Bring interactive, hands-on science experiences to young people. 

These include organizations that:

  • Focus on groups that are traditionally under-represented in scientific and engineering careers; 
  • Provide instruction and resources to science, math and technology teachers.


Only one application may be submitted per faculty member per department per competition year. If you are interested in this opportunity, please discuss with your departmental colleagues, and also contact Vanessa Knox (contact information below) to confirm if any other faculty members from your department have expressed interest in applying. 

NSERC encourages organizers of science and engineering promotion activities for youth to coordinate and prioritize their activities within their own organization (i.e., at the same university and within the same department) and to collaborate with other organizations. Keep in mind that two applications from the same organization will be in competition with each other. When a single application requests funding for more than one program, the Selection Committee may choose to direct funding to one particular program.Organizations that encourage Indigenous undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies in the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) are now additionally eligible.

Note that grants may not be used to support research. Details on the eligibility of expenses are contained in the Use of Grant Funds section of the PromoScience Grants Guide. The information in this Guide may change without notice.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a Canadian:
    • registered non-profit organization,
    • post-secondary institution, or
    • non-federal museum or science centre.
  • demonstrate ongoing involvement in the promotion of the natural sciences and engineering to young Canadians.

What activities are eligible?

  • Ongoing programming: Activities must be delivered on a continual basis from year to year. One-time, project-specific activities are not eligible.
  • Youth-focused programming: Activities and content must be designed for youth in elementary school, high school, or their first year of college in Quebec and/or their teachers. Activities and content that specifically encourage Indigenous undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies in the NSE are also eligible. Programming for youth that involves their families is encouraged. We do not support activities targeting pre-school aged children, the general post-secondary student population or the general public.
  • Teacher-focused programming: PromoScience supports the development of resources and tools for teachers that make it easier for them to teach science well, as well as professional development for teachers to improve their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for teaching science to youth.
  • Programming in the NSE: Proposed activities must be primarily focused on promoting interest and careers in the NSE. Programming focused primarily on health, medicine, social sciences or arts is not eligible for support.
  • New/pilot programs: Such applications must include strong evidence of the feasibility and anticipated impact of the activities (i.e., support letters, data from similar successful programs).
  • Proposals with broad impact and reach: We encourage proposals at the national, provincial, territorial and regional levels. We will not support local activities unless these target traditionally under-represented groups in science and engineering.
  • Interactive, hands-on programming: Activities must involve social or technology-mediated interaction with a two-way flow of information and influence between youth and their facilitators. We will not support the production of books, videos, lectures, etc. that are not part of an interactive program.
  • Research experience: Applicants must demonstrate how their program meets the objectives of the PromoScience program by going beyond simply providing work experience.
  • Program delivery using a website: Such applications must demonstrate that the website is of an ongoing nature and interactive, and should include a detailed plan that outlines the need for the site, its content and plans for ongoing maintenance.
  • University-based activities: The proposed science and engineering activities must address the PromoScience objectives and must not be for recruitment purposes. If an activity is linked to university course work (i.e., university students as instructors or mentors), the course work must be clearly delineated from the youth-based outreach component for the application to be eligible.
  • For organizations receiving core government funding (i.e., museums and science centres): Only activities that are not already funded through their existing core funding are eligible. For example, expanding collections or developing traveling and/or permanent displays would not be considered eligible for funding through PromoScience.

Current award holders

If your organization received the last payment of an active award in January of this year, it is eligible to apply in September for continued support of these activities. If the last payment of an ongoing award is scheduled for next January, wait until the following September to apply for continued support for the same activity.

Note: In both cases, a new full application will be required at the time of application.

Organizations that received an extension in time due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply in the 2020 PromoScience competition for the same activities supported by their current grant. Applications will have to clearly outline how their balance of funds will be integrated into the first year of the new grant, if awarded. In your budget, funds should be listed in an additional row in the Revenue section called “PromoScience – current grant” and outlined in a separate column called “Expenditures covered by current grant” in the Expenses section for Year 1.

Multiple awards

PromoScience will allow an organization or faculty in a post-secondary institution to hold multiple, concurrent awards as long as the organization clearly demonstrates in the application that there is no overlap in any way with the activities already supported through their active PromoScience grant(s) (see Call for Applications, under Organization’s financial picture, point 4). The onus is on the applicant to find out what other activities in their organization or faculty are currently supported by PromoScience.

Note: The expansion of currently funded activities into new geographical areas or to a new target audience is considered overlap. Applications proposing such expansions are ineligible. You may reapply when your active grant has ended, with your new outreach area/target audience clearly defined.

Maximum Project Value

NSERC will not fund 100% of the costs of a proposed activity. NSERC’s contribution is generally up to one-third of a program’s funding, and the maximum allowable request is $200,000/year for three years.

Indirect Costs

No indirect costs.

Project Duration

Organizations may request funds for up to three years at a time.

Special Notes

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.

Organizations that received an extension in time due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply in the 2020 PromoScience competition for the same activities supported by their current grant. Applications will have to clearly outline how their balance of funds will be integrated into the first year of the new grant, if awarded. In your budget, funds should be listed in an additional row in the Revenue section called “PromoScience – current grant” and outlined in a separate column called “Expenditures covered by current grant” in the Expenses section for Year 1.

NSERC will not fund 100% of the costs of a proposed activity. NSERC’s contribution is generally up to one-third of a program’s funding, but NSERC will allow more flexibility if justified for competition 2020 given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. If your request deviates significantly from the one-third guideline, demonstrate your efforts to secure other sources of funding in the budget section of your application.

For applicants with current PromoScience funding

A one-page report that demonstrates your organization’s effective use of funding is recommended. The report should include:

  • a brief description of the activities supported with previous PromoScience funding;
  • an overview of the outcomes and impacts from previous funding;
  • a justification for continued NSERC support (if applicable).

Note: This report does not replace the on-line Final Activity Report required in December of the last year of every award.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Applicant submits complete application including the PromoScience application summary form, support letters, and signed OR-5 form to: research.services@uoguelph.ca

If more than one application is received from any given department at the internal deadline date, an internal adjudication process will take place to determine which application will be submitted to the PromoScience program. 

External Deadline

Applicant submits electronically via the Secure Submissions for NSERC’s Innovative Collaborations and Science Promotion Programs: in Portable Document Format (PDF) as a single document. As the deadline falls on a weekend, your application must reach NSERC by 8:00pm ET the following working day.

How to Apply

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Secure Submissions for NSERC’s Innovative Collaborations and Science Promotion Programs. Documents must be combined into a single document in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Material or updates to your application received separately (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted.

In addition to the PromoScience Application Summary Form, your submission (up to five pages maximum) must include:

  • an executive summary of up to 150 words including the nature and goals of the program, the number of youth or teachers to be reached and an overview of how the PromoScience funding would be spent;
  • a description of how your proposed program addresses the selection criteria.

Divide your application into three sections; use the selection criteria as headings and indicators as sub-headings. Requests for core funding must include a detailed description of the organization’s main activities.

Your PromoScience application must also include the financial information listed below. This information is not counted in the five-page limit and must also conform to the General Presentation Guidelines.

  • A general budget forecast covering each year of the requested granting period (January to December). This sample budget is intended as a guide for your organization to follow. Some items may not be listed or may not apply to your organization; adapt the template according to your needs. Include:
    • projected revenues of your organization or program(s). Breakdown income by source: PromoScience, federal government, provincial government, private sector, foundations, self-generated, university, etc.;
    • anticipated expenses of your organization or program(s) (breakdown by expenditure: salaries, equipment, materials and supplies, travel costs, publicity, etc.);
    • estimated in-kind contributions (salaries, equipment, space, etc.). In-kind contributions should be included in the budget as a separate category and clearly indicated as in-kind.
  • A budget justification for each budget item (indicate any priorities for funding) - one page maximum.
  • An explanation of any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with other PromoScience grants held by the organization/faculty, or support from other federal sources (one page maximum, see Multiple Awards).

Links to websites may not be included in application documents, including letters of support. Committee members will ignore any links in documents received.

Letters of support

Your organization may provide up to six letters to support your application. Your organization should choose which letters make the most convincing case for support of your application. There are two types of letters:

  • Letters of reference; these are highly recommended, as applications without letters of reference may be at a disadvantage in the competition. Applicants that are specifically targeting an under-represented group are strongly encouraged to include a letter from an organization linked with the under-represented target audience, or a letter of support from a member of that community.
  • Letters of commitment to confirm funding agreements or in-kind contributions from outside sources and/or from the host organization (i.e., postsecondary institution).

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

PromoScience Program

350 Albert Street 
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1A 1H5
Tel.: 613-944-5803
Email: promoscience@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Office of Research

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

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