Plan ahead for upcoming Networks of Centres of Excellence competition


Plans are underway to prepare for the next Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) competition launch, anticipated in Spring 2017. The Office of Research Services will support the development of a limited number of letters of intent (LOIs) in the competition. Any interested researchers who wish to lead or participate in developing a LOI are invited to contact their college’s Associate/Assistant Dean Research and the Associate Vice-President Research (Dr. John Livernois) to discuss their ideas to establish a NCE as well as any support or resources that would be helpful to develop the LOI.

The following information is subject to change, based on the launch of the competition. It is provided here for reference purposes to assist in planning efforts.


NCE programs are administered jointly by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in partnership with Industry Canada and Health Canada.

The NCE program invests in Canadian research and entrepreneurial talent to translate and apply knowledge to produce economic and social benefits for Canadians; engages Canadian and international partners of the private, public, and non-profit sectors; and expands the global knowledge frontier to generate and implement multifaceted solutions to complex Canadian issues, which increases the benefit of research and research training for the benefit of society.

Networks are expected to be multidisciplinary and to involve the significant and meaningful participation of researchers whose expertise falls under the domains of two (2) or more of the federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR and/or SSHRC), where appropriate.


  • The lead applicant and all academic researchers involved must be eligible for Tri-Agency funding
  • Networking and collaboration among researchers from Canada and abroad as well as nation-wide, multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral research partnerships between universities and a defined user sector is required
  • Average number of Researchers (Persons) per Network per Year: ~ 60
  • Average number of Researchers (Persons) per Network per Network Lifecycle: ~ 220
  • Average number of HQP (FTE) per Network per Year: ~ 270
  • Average number of Institutions per Network per Year: ~ 30

Funding availability

  • Up to $25,000 for LOIs invited to prepare a full application, subject to NCE approval
  • For funded Networks, the average grant value is $5M/year
  • Average Award over Network Life: ~ $54M
  • Average Contributions over Network Life (cash and in-kind by partners): ~ $35M

Indirect costs

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

Project Duration

  • New networks are eligible to receive funding for up to two five-year terms for a total of ten years
  • Progress for each new network is assessed annually, and may result in continued funding, conditional funding, or the phasing out of a network before the end of the award
  • For networks funded for two consecutive five-year terms, a third (and final) term could be available

Selection Criteria

Applicants are required to meet the five NCE Program Criteria:

  • Management of the network
  • Excellence of the research program
  • Development of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP)
  • Networking and partnerships
  • Knowledge and technology exchange and exploitation
  • additional criteria/requirements apply