NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation - 2021 competition


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada


The Synergy Awards for Innovation honours outstanding research and development partnerships between a university (or college) and industry, in the natural sciences and engineering.  Winners of the awards show effective use of human, technical and financial resources, leading to tangible commercial benefits with their industrial collaborators.  Universities must demonstrate a sustained partnership.


The nominated partnership must be in the natural sciences and/or engineering and be between a Canadian university professor, or group of professors.

You must be nominated for this award.  The nominator must be:

  • A senior executive from the University of Guelph (ie. VPR); or
  • A senior executive from one of the industrial partner organizations.

Nominations can be made in these categories:

  • Small and medium-sized companies: A partnership with a single company of up to 500 employees.
  • Large companies: A partnership with a single company of more than 500 employees.
  • Two or more companies: A partnership with two or more companies of any size or a consortium of companies.

An individual, team of individuals or a college may be nominated for the NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation and other major NSERC prizes in the same year, but can receive only one such prize in a given year. There is no limit to the number of nominations for the Synergy Awards for Innovation that a university or college can put forward in a given competition. 


University:  $200,000 NSERC Research Grant

Industrial Partners: $30,000 voucher towards a cash portion of their required contribution in a new Collaborative Research and Development Grant.

Special Notes

Nominated partnerships are expected to promote approaches that increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering.  See the Guide for Applicants in considering equity, diversity and inclusion.

Nominees: All nominees must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions Form for Nominees

Nominators: Before a nominator submits documents to NSERC, they must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions Form for Nominators

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

If you wish to be considered for VPR nomination, please submit your Expression of Interest (details below) to research.honours@uoguelph.ca

External Deadline

If your nomination will be submitted by a nominator other than the VPR, please submit directly to the sponsor by the external deadline. Please also submit a copy of the full nomination and OR-5 to research.services@uoguelph.ca.

How to Apply

The Vice-President (Research) encourages nominations for this prestigious award, and will serve as nominator for those nominees recommended by the Honours and Awards Advisory Committee. 

If you wish to be considered for VPR nomination, please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to research.honours@uoguelph.ca by the internal deadline. 

An Expression of Interest will include:

  • A draft letter (two-three pages) addressed to the VPR which outlines how you/your nominee meets the criteria of the award;
  • An up-to-date CV (up to 10 pages) of the nominee (and co-applicants, if applicable); and
  • A short letter or email from the Associate Dean (Research) or College Research Manager indicating the College's support for the nomination.

If you are being nominated by someone other than the VPR, please submit your application directly to the sponsor for the external deadline, ensuring a copy of the full application and OR-05 is submitted to research.services@uoguelph.ca.

For more information, please contact research.honours@uoguelph.ca or visit the NSERC website.

Alert Classifications
Honours and Awards

Physical Sciences and Engineering