NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects - 2018 Competition




Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG-P)

For More Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Letter of Intent Webinar Slide Deck


Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG-P) fund early-stage project research in the following target areas:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Environment and Agriculture
  • Information and Communications Technologies
  • Natural Resources and Energy

It is expected that these grants will:

  • generate new knowledge/technology with the strong potential to strengthen Canada’s industrial base, generate wealth, create employment and/or influence Canadian public policy;
  • increase the number of highly qualified personnel in the specified target areas;
  • enable the transfer of knowledge/technology and expertise to Canadian-based companies that are well-positioned to apply the results for economic gain or to government organizations to strengthen public policy.

Highlights for the 2018 Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects Competition:

  • The anticipated budget for the 2018 Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG‑P) competition is expected to result in about 16 to 20 new awards per target area. To manage expectations and keep the effort of the research and peer review communities at an acceptable level, a mandatory letter-of-intent (LOI) stage was added in 2017 and will be part of the 2018 process as well. LOIs will be submitted to NSERC through the University Research Office.
  • It is not necessary to identify whether your application is a re-submission. However, your new application should take the concerns of the selection panel into account. 
  • An agreement between NSERC and Environment and Climate Change Canada, under which Environment and Climate Change Canada will fund or co-fund selected Strategic Projects related to the environment, is still in effect.
  • Where a government organization is a supporting organization, the letter of support accompanying the letter of intent or Form 183A must be signed by a Director General (or equivalent level).
  • Applicants are encouraged to incorporate international collaborations into their proposals. One mechanism for international collaborations is a call for collaborative proposals under international agreements.


Eligible researchers are full-time faculty members in natural sciences and engineering (NSE). Academic researchers outside of NSE may participate as co-applicants if they meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria with respect to type, duration and nature of appointment.

Eligible research projects must meet the following requirements:

  • The project must support the goal of Strategic Partnership Grants and fall within one of the target areas.
  • The objectives and scope of the project must be well-defined. The duration may be from one to three years.
  • At least one academic researcher and at least one supporting organization must collaborate in the project.
  • The supporting organization must be actively involved in all stages of the project; therefore, in-kind contributions are required, but cash is not.

Funding Availability

The competition budget is expected to be approximately $15 million for Year 1 of the projects, which could fund about 16 to 20 new awards in each target area. Priority will be given to applications that address the research topics identified in each target area. Projects that make a compelling case for research within the Context section of a target area description, but are outside the research topics, will be considered “exceptional” and may be funded subject to the availability of funds. No more than 20 percent of the budget will be allocated to “exceptional opportunities.”

Maximum Project Value

Average grant is $187,000 per year.

Indirect Costs

Funds requested from NSERC - 0%; 25% on cash contributions from supporting organization(s) if greater than $5,000.

Project Duration

Maximum duration is three years.

Special Notes

The research of most SPG‑P is at the early stage of the innovation spectrum where there are few issues related to intellectual property. Consequently, a signed research agreement is not usually required. However, if it is anticipated that the proposed research will lead to disclosure of intellectual property or if a research agreement already exists, then a copy of the research agreement between the supporting organization(s) and the university must be submitted to NSERC and reviewed for conformance to NSERC’s Policy on IP prior to the release of funds.

The results are expected to be announced September 30, 2018.


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

Internal Deadline

Letter of Intent (LOI) Stage

Please submit a signed OR5 form and complete Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Office of Research at research.services@uoguelph.ca.

Due to the requirement to verify both researcher and subject matter eligibility, all LOIs must come through the Office of Research for approval prior to submission to NSERC.

External Deadline

LOI applications are submitted to NSERC through the Office of Research.

Internal Deadline

Full Application Stage

Researchers who are invited by NSERC to submit a full application will be notified by April 1, 2018. Those researchers submitting a full application must submit the application online as well as email the complete application to research.services@uoguelph.ca.

External Deadline

The Researcher will submit the approved full application online directly to NSERC.

How to Apply

Letter of Intent

  • LOI applications are submitted to NSERC through the University Research Office.
  • Form 189 - SPG-P Letter of Intent
    • Proposals are 3 page free-form (no template)
    • Reference - 1 page max.
    • Appendix C - reviewer suggestions
  • Personal Data Form (Form 100) for applicant only
  • Form 183A for each supporting organization is required AND Letter of Support (NEW)
  • Cover Letter - International agreements/reviewer exceptions

NSERC will invite full applications from the applicants whose letters of intent are most highly rated by April 2, 2018. The number of full applications invited will be approximately twice the number of anticipated awards. Letters submitted under an agreement with an international agency will automatically be invited to submit a full application, provided that all the requirements for an SPG-P grant have been met. No appeals of the results at this stage will be accepted.

Please refer to the Instructions for Completing an SPG-P Letter of Intent.

Full Application

A complete application includes:

  • an Application for a Grant (Form 101);
  • a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for each applicant and co-applicant (when completing Form 100, academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may provide the requested information related to “Contributions” in an alternate format within the five-page limit);
  • a curriculum vitae of no more than six pages for each collaborator (refer to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria – For Faculty section);
  • an Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships form (Form 183A) for each supporting organization (refer to the instructions for completing Form 183A for details). Where a government organization is a supporting organization, the letter of support must be signed by a director general (or equivalent level).

Please refer to the Instructions for Completing an SPG‑P Application.

Applicants who require equipment to conduct the research must incorporate their request for equipment (up to a maximum of $150,000 for major items or systems) into the research proposal and justify the need for the equipment to conduct the research. Separate equipment requests will not be accepted.

Certain expenditures related to project management are now eligible as a direct cost of research up to a maximum of 10 percent of the total direct costs (see the Guidelines for Research Partnerships Programs Project Management Expenses).

For Questions, please contact

NSERC Strategic Projects
Telephone: 613-995-1111
Email: strgr@nserc-crsng.gc.ca 

Office of Research

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

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