NSERC Research Tools & Instruments 2018 Competition




Research Tools & Instruments (RTI)

For More Information


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.

RTI Grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 that assist in the purchase or fabrication of research equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding 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.

The university quotas will be removed, so 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 (bundling of unrelated tools and instruments, or of duplicate tools and instruments intended for different uses, will not be accepted).
  • For the purchase of new, used or refurbished equipment, or for the repair or upgrade of equipment, or for the fabrication of equipment that is not readily available off the shelf.
  • For equipment that is purchased after the application deadline.

Note that equipment and items that are part of laboratory infrastructure or intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards are not eligible 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 to purchase only the specific type of equipment for which the grant was awarded. 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.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

​One year

Special Notes

NSERC Information Webinars (online): RTI Submission of an Application: August 31 and September 14, 2017


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

Internal Deadline

NOI Deadline.

Applicants should submit NOI package to research.services@uoguelph.ca with the following information: 

  1. PI (Lead applicant) 
  2. Co-applicants and the institutions
  3. Project title 
  4. 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 19, 2017.

Internal Deadline

Full Application Deadline.

Applicant submits a signed OR-5 to: research.services@uoguelph.ca. Research 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.

How to Apply

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. 

Applicants moving to a Full Application must complete and submit an Application for Research Tools and Instruments. Each applicant and co-applicant must also submit a Canadian Common CV (CCV). The application and CCV(s) must be submitted to the Office of Research by the internal deadline date. The institution will then consider which applications to submit to NSERC on the basis of its own internal selection process.

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.

Cash contributions from the applicant’s or co-applicant’s NSERC Discovery Grant do not require written authorization from NSERC. However, evidence that authorization was obtained from NSERC to use funds from other types of NSERC grants (e.g. CRD grant) is required.

For Questions, please contact

Discovery Grants (DG) General Inquiries: 613-995-5829; resgrant@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Research Tools & Instruments: 613-995-5829

Office of Research

Carolyn Osborn, Director, Grants & Contracts
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52935

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