Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Research Tools and Instruments (RTI)
For More Information
- Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) program information
- Instructions for completing an application
- Frequently asked questions
- Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) peer review manual
- NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research
- On-line Live Q&A
Research Tools and Instruments (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.
The RTI grants program provides the primary avenue for university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering to obtain up to $150,000 in support for research tools and instruments with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000. Net cost is defined as the purchase cost of the equipment after any discount from the vendor and before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and 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 allow the purchase of equipment as eligible expenses.
NEW: As of last competition year, applicants and co-applicants who were successful in the previous year’s RTI competition will be ineligible to apply for one year. Eligibility will be reinstated the following competition year.
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.
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) at least one of the following NSERC research grants*:
- Alliance grant
- Canada Excellence Research Chairs (NSERC)
- Canada 150 Research Chairs (NSERC)
- Canada Research Chairs (NSERC)
- Collaborative Research and Development grant
- Discovery Development grant
- Discovery Grant
- Discovery Horizons grant
- Industrial Research Chairs grant
- Strategic Partnership grant
*Applicants and co-applicants may apply for any of the above grants while concurrently applying to the RTI program. However, if any applicant or co-applicant does not hold one of the above grants by the RTI award start date or is not successful in obtaining one of these grants while concurrently applying to the RTI program, the applicant and/or co-applicant will be deemed ineligible and removed from the application.
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.
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.
Please 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 for completing an application.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
Applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering as one way to enhance excellence in research and training. Where applicable, consideration of sex, gender and diversity in the research design should be addressed in the proposal. Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations should be developed into the rationale of the composition of research teams and trainees.
For more information, refer to the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research.
NSERC RTI Webinar Sessions
NSERC offers a series of pre-recorded videos and live Q&A sessions which are meant to assist the research community on how to complete an application using the Research Portal and the NSERC Canadian Common CV (CCV). NSERC encourages participants to view the pre-recorded videos prior to attending a live Q&A session as the material presented in the video will not be repeated. For more information, please visit the NSERC Webinars web-page.
If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.
Applicants should submit an NOI form (see attached template below) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final application will be submitted to NSERC by RSO staff.
How to Apply
Researchers can submit one RTI application per competition, either as an applicant or a co‑applicant but not as both. Also, applicants and co-applicants who were successful in the previous year’s RTI competition will be ineligible to apply for one year.
Step 1: Internal NOI
To apply, all interested applicants must complete the NOI process through the Research Services Office as outlined in the "Deadlines" section above.
Step 2: Full Application
Applicants moving to the Full Application must complete and submit an application 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 Research Services Office by the internal deadline date.
Applicants should include the following in their application:
- Proposal – limit of four pages.
- Budget Justification – limit of three pages.
- Quotations - You must provide two recent quotations for any individual item(s) over $25,000 net or for any system(s) to be purchased from a single supplier and costing over $25,000 net. If the required number of quotations cannot reasonably be submitted, you must provide a clear justification in the Budget Justification section. The application will be rejected if the quotations or the justification are not submitted with the application.
Letters or other attachments that do not adhere to the above guidelines should not be included and may be removed by NSERC.
Teams should strive for a diverse group of co-applicants and major users, including balanced gender representation. Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations should be reflected in the rationale of the team composition and, where applicable, in the designated roles within the team. For more information, refer to the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research.
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 Research Services Office 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 Research Services Office (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).
|RSO Internal NOI Form||701.48 KB|