NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks - Preliminary Application




Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks (SPG‑N) 


Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks (SPG‑N) fund large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects in targeted research areas that require a network approach and that involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. The applicant should be an established researcher with a solid track record in collaborative research, student training and grant management, and who demonstrates the leadership and other skills necessary for managing a complex, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project.

Strategic Networks may be national, regional or, under exceptional circumstances, local. NSERC has two application categories—A and B.

The proposed network will build upon a collection of research objectives that have been previously funded through a NSERC network grant, an NCE grant, or other federal or provincial network-scale granting programs. To be eligible to compete in Category B, the network partners must collectively assume more responsibility for funding the network (compared to the previously funded network) to support its research and administration activities. For every dollar contributed to the network by eligible industry and government partners, up to three dollars can be requested from NSERC (e.g., $300,000 per year of partner cash would allow for a request of up to $900,000 per year of NSERC funding). Other contributions to the network are encouraged (e.g., other funding agencies, university support), but are not included in the leveraging of NSERC funds. The network can request NSERC funding between $500,000 and $1 million in Year 1, and between $500,000 and $1.125 million per year in Years 2 through 5, for a maximum request of $5.5 million.

Applicants must identify where similar networks exist and justify, in the preliminary application, the fit to the appropriate category for their application; and commit to fulfill the requirements of that category if invited to submit a full application. To be funded, a SPG‑N proposal must meet the following requirements:

  • The network must support the goal of Strategic Partnership Grants and fall within the context of the identified target areas of the competition year.
  • The objectives and scope of the network must be well-defined and the research results achievable within a five-year time frame.
  • The network must involve a minimum of five academic researchers who are eligible to receive NSERC funding, from at least three separate departments, faculties or institutions.
  • The network must have the strong commitment and active involvement of Canadian-based partners from relevant sectors (industrial, government), as appropriate for the research area. These organizations must be involved in all stages of the network, from development of the proposal to exploitation of the research results for the benefit of Canada.
  • The network must have a strategy for international collaboration, which may involve establishing or enhancing Canada’s leadership role, leveraging international partners’ expertise and/or facilitating dialogue for international collaboration in areas of mutually beneficial interest to further network goals.
  • The network must offer opportunities for enhanced training of highly qualified personnel that takes advantage of the multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral environment of a network.
  • The network must have an appropriate management structure to direct, manage and integrate its activities.
  • The network must have a strategy for knowledge and technology transfer to all stakeholders and the general public, as appropriate, that conforms to NSERC’s Policy on Intellectual Property (IP).

Funding Availability

The anticipated budget for the 2017 SPG‑N competition is expected to result in up to three new awards.

Maximum Project Value

Category A and B : maximum request of $5.5 million. Note the requirements for matching funds as described in the Program Overview page.

Indirect Costs

No indirect costs are required on the amount requested from NSERC; however, indirect costs may apply on amounts requested from partners.

Project Duration

Five years

Special Notes

Please let your Associate Dean, Research know of your intention to apply to this program in advance of the deadlines.

Highlights for the 2017 Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks (SPG‑N) Competition:

Updated target areas are now in place. Check the descriptions prior to preparing your application.

For the preliminary application competition, only proposals in the following target areas will be accepted:

Applications are encouraged in clean technologies across all four target areas and with a focus on the impacts of climate change; including climate change mitigation and adaptation (if appropriate).

Read the Active Networks Web page to ensure that your network proposal does not overlap with any existing or previous networks.

Strategic Networks 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.


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

Internal Deadline

Preliminary Application: Please submit your complete Preliminary Application as a single PDF, along with an OR-5 Form to research.services@uoguelph.ca 

Please review the requirements for the submission of a Preliminary Application.

Preliminary Applications include:

An Application for a Grant (Form 101; pages 1, 2 and 3 only).

  • Form 100 (for the applicant and theme leaders; maximum of 8 Forms 100).
  • A description of the proposed Strategic Network:
    • Category A: maximum 12 pages including one page for references for Category A applicants;  Category A applications must use one of the twelve pages to discuss the uniqueness of their network and the justification to Category A. This page cannot be used for any other information.
    • Category B: 16 pages plus one page for references for Category B applicants – Category B applicants must follow the content restrictions stipulated for the 5 of the 16 pages.
  • Partner Statements of Interest: A signed letter on official letter head including the full contact information and title of the signatory from each industrial and government partner (letters from federal government departments must be signed at the Director General-level or equivalent). Letters not meeting these requirements will be removed.
  • International Collaborator Statements of Interest: Each letter should include how the parties would work together and benefit both countries (maximum of five [5] international letters accepted)
  • Cover Letters:Cover letters are optional but are not included in the peer reviewer assessment
External Deadline

If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, your application must reach NSERC by the following working day.

How to Apply

  • An Application for a Grant (Form 101, pages 1, 2 and 3) can be prepared using the On-line System, but cannot be submitted online.
  • To submit the application, prepare an electronic copy of the preliminary application. All pages should be included in a single PDF file.
  • Page 1 of Form 101 must be signed by the required approvers, scanned and included in the PDF file.
  • The PDF file must then be saved on a USB key and sent by courier to NSERC. 
  • The researcher is responsible for preparation of the final package/arranging the courier to NSERC.
  • All preliminary applications must follow the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
For Questions, please contact

Strategic Partnership Grants (SPG)
Tel: 613-995-1111

Office of Research

Katie Meyer Beck, Director, Research Support Services
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x54059

Alert Classifications
Funding Opportunities and Sponsor News

Health and Life Sciences
Information and Communications Technology
Physical Sciences and Engineering