NSERC Discovery Grants 2017 competition – Full Application *updated info under special notes




NSERC Discovery Grants

For More Information

Program Information – Discovery Grants
Program information – DND/Discovery Grant Supplements
Research Portal
Instructions for Completing an Application
Canadian Common CV - How to Complete NSERC’s Version
FAQ- Research Portal and CCV


The Discovery Grants Program supports on-going programs of research (with long-term goals) rather than short-term goals or a collection of unrelated projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. Researchers are free to work in the mode most appropriate for the research area.


  • Only Applicants and Co-applicants are eligible to apply for and hold NSERC funds.
  • Eligibility for applying for/holding an NSERC grant:
    • Hold (or have a firm offer) for an academic appointment at an eligible Canadian university at the time of application. This can be a tenured, tenure-track or lifetime professor emeritus position; or a paid or unpaid term or contract position of no less than three years. The position must be finalized no later than six (6) weeks following the competition deadline of November 1, 2016.
    • The position must require the individual to engage in research that is not under the direction of another individual; and
    • The position must authorize the individual to supervise or co-supervise the research of students registered in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, or postdoctoral fellows (e.g. thesis supervision and not supervision of regular course or laboratory assignments).

Please review NSERC’s Discovery Grants webpage; NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for Faculty webpage; and the UG NSERC Eligibility Criteria for Faculty webpage for further eligibility principles and criteria.

Indirect Costs

Not applicable

Project Duration

Grants are normally awarded for five years.  Although a shorter duration can be requested, NSERC may award a grant of the normal duration.

Special Notes

Applicant Categories
Applicants to the Discovery Grant Program are categorized as either Early Career Researchers or Established Researchers. Refer to the Discovery Grants - Applicant Categories for more information.

Discovery Accelerator Supplements (DAS)

Evaluation Groups will review applications in accordance with the Discovery Grant criteria and will recommend a small number of applicants for an award according to the objective and description of the DAS Program. For more information, see the Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program – Frequently Asked Questions.

DND/NSERC Discovery Grant Supplements

NSERC has launched a new initiative with Department of Defence (DND). The partnership will provide up to 20 research supplements to support unclassified university based research dedicated to the development of non-weapon specific technologies with dual-use applications in defence and security target areas. Applicants must indicate their interest in applying for a DND/Discovery Grant Supplement and provide a written justification of how their proposed research fits within the DND target areas identified. Applicants whose research fall within the target areas are eligible. Adjunct professors whose primary place of employment is outside of the university sector are not eligible for the DND supplement.  Evaluation groups will evaluate and rate applications in accordance with established Discovery Grant evaluation criteria, without evaluating the DND justification section.

College-level Peer Review 

The Colleges are offering opportunities for peer review. Please note the following Internal Application Deadlines for College-Level Peer Review: 

College of Biological Sciences (CBS):                                                  October 1, 2016
College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS):                  September 26, 2016
Ontario Agricultural College (OAC):                                                    September 26, 2016
College of Business and Economics (CBE):                                         September 28, 2016
College of Physical and Engineering Sciences (CPES):                       Contact ADR Deb Stacey
Ontario Veterinary College:                                                                   September 30, 2016

*The Office of Research Services (ORS) processes a high volume of grants at this time.

Note that by submitting your application you are agreeing to NSERC's Terms and Conditions, certifying that, as applicant:

• you have provided true, complete, accurate information in your funding application and related documents, and you have represented yourself, your research and your accomplishments in a manner consistent with the norms of the relevant field.

For all intents and purposes, the version of the application you submit to ORS should be ready to submit to NSERC. As such, ORS will only return applications that have been reviewed under exceptional circumstances (i.e. where there are gross budget errors or missing elements of the application).

In order to best serve applicants who submit complete applications on/before the posted internal deadlines, the grants team will only review complete applications. Applicants who submit incomplete applications or who request to make revisions to their applications at the time of submission, or after submission, will be advised to resubmit when their application is complete. As such, these applications will begin to be processed when submitted as ‘complete’.

Due to the volume of applications expected, while ORS staff will put forward their best efforts, ORS cannot guarantee the review, approval and/or submission of applications that are received after the internal deadline. Further, in these cases, ORS may not be able to complete the full scope of review activities as per the Office of Research Review & Minimum Processing Times. 

Prior to submission, applicants are encouraged to verify expenses in the budget to ensure they are accurate and eligible; and that the budget and budget justification correspond to one another.

All publications listed and supporting application documents must be complete at the time of submission to ORS. Please verify all attachments prior to submission.

Please review the following resources when preparing your application (link to these):

Grant Writing Tips
Budget Tips
Use of Grant Funds (Sponsor's guidelines regarding eligible expenses)
2015 Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide


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

Internal 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.  Grants Officer will print the application from the Research Portal. 

External Deadline

How to Apply

Applicants must have successfully submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) by August 3, 2016 in order to be eligible to submit a Full Application. This is a mandatory step in the application process.

Complete Application including List of References, Budget Justification and Samples of Research Contributions (maximum of 4 reprints or preprints and/or manuscripts, excerpts from your thesis, technical reports, etc.) along with a Canadian Common CV, are to be submitted electronically to Office of Research Services via the NSERC Research Portal.  Upon approval, Office of Research Services submits the final version on behalf of the University using the Research Portal.

Webinars - NSERC will be hosting webinars about Discovery Grants from 1- 4 p.m. ET on the following days:

Discovery Grant – Notice of Intent to Apply:

Thursday, June 23, 2016 and
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Discovery Grant – Submission of an application

Thursday, September 22, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Visit NSERC’s Webinars page for more details and to register.

For Questions, please contact

Program Officer
350 Albert St.
Ottawa, ON
K1A 1H5
resgrant@nserc-crsng.gc.ca – Discovery Grants
dndsuppmdn@nserc-crsng.gc.ca – DND/Discovery Grant Supplements
613- 995-5829

Office of Research

Annette Clarke, Grants Officer
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x56927

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