NSERC PromoScience Program - 2023 Call for Applications


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


PromoScience Program

For More Information

For full details on the program and how to apply, please visit the NSERC PromoScience Program webpage.


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.

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.


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. 

PromoScience encourages a wide variety of organizations to help young Canadians in elementary school and high school (including the equivalent first year of college in Quebec), and their teachers, to develop science and engineering skills and interests. Organizations that encourage Indigenous undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies in natural sciences and engineering (NSE) are additionally eligible.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a Canadian registered non-profit organization, post-secondary institution or non-federal museum or science centre
  • deliver ongoing programming in the promotion of NSE to young Canadians

Examples of ineligible organizations include:

  • federal departments and agencies
  • federal museums and “friends of a federal museum” societies
  • provincial, territorial, regional and municipal government departments
  • organizations running one-time, project-specific activities
  • elementary schools, high schools and school boards

A very broad range of activities promoting NSE are eligible for funding. The following points answer common questions about eligibility.

  • 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 the 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 for preschool-age 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. Proposed programming must be independent of accredited courses or degree requirements.
  • Programming in the NSE: Proposed activities must include significant NSE-focused content and 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, nor is programming primarily focused on advocacy.
  • 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 they are part of targeted programming for underrepresented groups in NSE.
  • 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. Grants may not be used to support research, but should motivate young people to study science and engineering and to pursue careers in these fields.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. 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 2023 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 a non-profit organization, a non-federal museum or science centre or a department in a post-secondary institution to hold multiple, concurrent awards as long as they clearly demonstrate 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 non-profit organization, science centre, museum or department are currently supported by PromoScience.

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

Umbrella group members

Members of umbrella organizations may submit individual applications (see Multiple awards); however, PromoScience prefers to receive applications for support from head offices of umbrella organizations, rather than individual member groups. NSERC defines an umbrella organization as an association of groups that work together formally to coordinate activities or pool resources. The umbrella organization provides services, support, resources and/or an identity to the smaller organizations.

Also, the applicant must submit a letter from the head office of the umbrella organization that:

  • approves the submission of a separate application by the member group
  • describes the relationship between the head office and the member group (i.e., services provided, funding transferred)
  • clearly delineates the activities delivered by the head office and those delivered by the member group
  • explains how the activities proposed by the member group are separate and distinct from the umbrella organization’s (or another member group’s) activities currently supported by, or proposed to, PromoScience in a separate application to the current competition

Eligibility inquiries

If you are not sure about the eligibility of your organization or activity for PromoScience support, contact promoscience@nserc-crsng.gc.ca well in advance of the application deadline.

Maximum Project Value

The maximum allowable request is $200,000/year for three years.

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. 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. 

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

3 years


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  NSERC’s ICSP secure submission site.

Please note: All the parts of your application must be combined into a single document in portable document format (PDF). Zip files and PDF portfolios will not be accepted. Material or updates to your application received separately (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted.

How to Apply

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 use the indicators as subheadings.

Financial Information

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.

  • 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 the following:
    • projected revenues of your organization or program(s) (breakdown 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.); these should be included in the budget as a separate category and clearly indicated as in-kind
  • Justification for each budget item (indicate any priorities for funding)—one page maximum
  • Explanation of any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with other PromoScience grants or federal funding held by the non-profit organization, non-federal museum or science centre, or department in a post-secondary institution (one page maximum, see Multiple awards).

Environmental Impact

The Impact assessment form (appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s guidelines on impact assessment.

Letters of support

Your organization may provide up to six letters to support your application.There are two types of letters:

  • Letters of reference: Applicants proposing targeted programming are strongly encouraged to include a letter from an organization linked with their underrepresented audience. For targeted programming with Indigenous youth, a letter of support from an individual in a community leadership position is strongly encouraged; evidence of community support may be verified. In all cases, the process of obtaining a letter of support should be as efficient as possible and mindful of any unique circumstances the community is experiencing.
  • Letters of commitment: To confirm funding agreements or in-kind contributions from outside sources. Applicants from post-secondary institutions are strongly encouraged to include a letter of commitment from the host institution.


Applicants must read and agree to the terms and conditions listed on the Terms and conditions of applying form. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records. Note: This form must be signed by the applicant identified on the PromoScience application summary form, not the contact person.

Presentation standards

You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that are complete and respect the presentation standards. Where page limits are stated, pages in excess of the number permitted will be removed. Only the documents requested by NSERC will be made available to the selection committee. Links to websites may not be included in application documents, including letters of support. Committee members will ignore any links in documents received.

Notification of results

NSERC will inform all applicants electronically of the results of the annual PromoScience competition in mid- to late-January. 

For Questions, please contact

NSERC PromoScience Program

Office of Research

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

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