NSERC Research Tools and Instruments 2021 competition

Updated Information

Webinar sessions on how to complete an RTI application:

Tuesday September 8, 2020 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm (ET)

Thursday October 1, 2020 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm (ET)

For more information on these sessions, please visit the following link.


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)


Research Tools and Instruments (RTI)

For More Information


RTI grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering by supporting the purchase of research equipment.

RTI Grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 that assist in the purchase, fabrication or rental of research equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, assembly and installation costs). The research community is also encouraged to explore other avenues for funding research tools and instruments, including NSERC's other programs that include the purchase of equipment as eligible expenses, such as Discovery Grants.


In addition to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for faculty, applicants and co-applicants must:

  • Hold a minimum three-year appointment (fulltime, contract or adjunct) in an academic position with a firm offer in writing at the time of application; and
  • Hold or have applied for (submitted) Discovery, Strategic (Networks and Projects), CRD, or NSERC-funded Canada Research Chair funding

In the event the applicant is not successful in obtaining a Discovery Grant while concurrently applying to the RTI Program, each case will be reviewed to determine if there are ample funds from other NSERC research grants to conduct the research linked to the RTI request.

All eligible Canadian university researchers will be able to participate on one application per competition, either as an applicant or a co‑applicant, but not both.

Maximum Project Value

$150,000 in support for research tools and instruments with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation costs). Net cost represents the cost of the equipment after any discount from the vendor. Vendor discount must be free of conditions, restrictions, or limitations (e.g., cannot be offered in exchange for services from users benefiting the vendor company).

NSERC will only accept requests:

  • For tools and instruments that form a comprehensive system intended to support NSERC funded research in the natural sciences and engineering. A comprehensive system is one in which each tool or instrument forms part of an integrated system of operation to support the research program(s). Requests that bundle unrelated tools and instruments together will not be accepted.
  • For the purchase of new, used or refurbished equipment, the repair, upgrade or rental of equipment, or for the fabrication of equipment that is not readily available off the shelf.
  • For equipment that is purchased or rented after the application deadline.

Note: Equipment and items that are part of laboratory infrastructure or intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards are ineligible for RTI support.

For more information on eligible expenses under the RTI program, see the instructions on how to complete an RTI application.

RTI awards must be used only for the specific type of equipment for which the grant was awarded through the peer review process. Grantees who wish to purchase equipment different from that specified in the application must obtain written permission from NSERC Finance prior to its purchase. Grantees may, however, buy a model different from that requested in the application without prior NSERC approval (e.g. newer or upgraded model).

Indirect Costs


Special Notes

Due to COVID-19, NSERC is replacing live webinars with pre-recorded videos followed by live Q&A sessions. For more information, please visit the NSERC webinars websites


Webinar sessions on how to complete an RTI application:

Tuesday September 8, 2020 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm (ET)

Thursday October 1, 2020 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm (ET)

For more information on these sessions, please visit the following link.


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

NOI Deadline

Applicants should submit NOI package (see attached template) to research.services@uoguelph.ca with the following information: 

  1. PI (Lead applicant) 
  2. Co-applicants and the institutions
  3. Project title 
  4. Description and value of equipment requested
  5. A copy of applicants’ formal appointment letters for those without regular full-time appointments (i.e. contractually-limited or adjunct) 

These NOI packages will be shared with the Colleges to determine eligibility and subject matter overlap. All eligible applicants will be notified of approval to move to full application by September 20, 2019.

Note: If you are a researcher from CEPS and have submitted an Internal NOI to the College, you do not need to fill out the Internal NOI Form in the Attachments section.

Internal Deadline

Full Application Deadline

Applicant submits a signed OR-5 to: research.services@uoguelph.ca. Researcher also clicks “submit” in the Research Portal so the final Full Application appears on the Office of Research server. 

External Deadline

Final application will be submitted to NSERC online by the Office of Research Services.

How to Apply

Researchers can submit one RTI application per competition, either as an applicant or a co‑applicant, but not as both.

Step 1: Internal NOI​
To apply, all interested applicants must complete the NOI process through the Office of Research based on the requirements outlined in the "Deadlines" section above. 

Step 2: Full Application

Applicants moving to a Full Application must complete and submit an Application for Research Tools and Instruments through the Research Portal. Each applicant and co-applicant must also complete a Canadian Common CV (CCV) and link it to the Application. The application and linked CCV(s) must be submitted to the Office of Research by the internal deadline date.

If applicable, applicants should include with their application:

  • Two (2) recent quotations for any individual item(s) over $25,000 (before taxes) or for any system(s) to be purchased from a single supplier and costing more than $25,000 (before taxes).
  • If a cash contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization (other than the applicant's and/or co-applicants' institution[s]), a letter from the organization confirming this commitment is required. Such letters must clearly explain the financial contribution that the organization will provide to the purchase of the equipment. 
  • Written authorization from NSERC to use funds from Strategic, Collaborative Research and Development or other Partnership grants towards the equipment in the RTI application. Authorization is not required from NSERC in the case of cash contributions from the applicant’s and/or co-applicant’s NSERC Discovery Grant.

Letters or other attachments that do not adhere to the above guidelines should not be included and may be removed.

Applicants are encouraged to promote approaches that increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to foster excellence in research and training. Applicants must strive for diversity and increased gender equity when developing their group of co-applicants, collaborators and traineesFor more information, refer to the NSERC Framework on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

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).


File RTI Internal NOI37.3 KB
PDF icon Guide of Applicants190.22 KB
For Questions, please contact

Research Tools and Instruments: resgrant@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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