Read the grant description in the Program Guide for Professors before you complete the application.
The applicant must complete the application and include all required documentation using the On-line System. In addition, the Personal Data Form (Form 100) must be completed by the applicant and linked to the application form.
The proposal section of Form 189 must be submitted using the template provided, which conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. No figures or tables are allowed.
For more information, read the NSERC On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards.
You may submit your letter of intent directly to NSERC through the On-line System without going through your research grants office.
The letter of intent must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on the deadline date. If it is not received by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected. Application deadlines are indicated in each of the program descriptions, as well as on the Application Deadlines and Notification of Decision page.
Material or updates received under separate cover (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted.
The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC are outlined in the following policy statements:
The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP). The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in Info Source Publication.
Title of proposal
The title will be used for publication purposes. It should describe the subject of the research to be supported. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms. The title cannot be changed in the submission of the full application, if you are invited to submit one.
If your letter of intent is being submitted under the international agreement with France, enter “ANR” at the beginning of the title. If it is being submitted under the agreement with Taiwan, enter “MOST” at the beginning of the title.
Target area and research topic
Select a target area and research topic from the list provided. Use the Proposal template to explain why the research you propose is strategic and how it addresses the research topic. If the research you propose falls outside the priority research topics listed, select “Exceptional Opportunity Outside the Research Topics” and provide an explanation in the Proposal template. The target area and research topic cannot be changed in the submission of the full application, if you are invited to submit one.
Research subject codes
Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary research code.
Area of application codes
Consult the NSERC Code Tables. All applicants are required to select a primary area of application code from the list of Area of Application Codes.
Provide a maximum of 10 key words that describe the proposal.
Identify co-applicants who will participate on your application. Co-applicants do not provide their NSERC Personal Data Form (Form 100) at this stage. The expertise of the co-applicants should be briefly described in the Proposal template.
The summary is intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand.
Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the work to be done. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, the anticipated outcomes and how your field and Canada will benefit. State if your letter of intent is being submitted under an international agreement.
This plain language summary will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded.
If you wish, you may also provide a summary in the other official language in the text box identified for that purpose.
You must use the Proposal template and attach it to the application to provide the requested information.
Structure the template as described below, using a maximum of three pages. The applicant's Personal Identification Number and Family Name should be on the top of each page, as described in the General Presentation standards. Do not include any figures or tables.
Provide sufficient information and justification to address each criterion.
Objective and Expected Outcomes
State the overall objective and expected outcomes of the proposed research.
Fit to Target Area
Using the target area descriptions, identify the target area and research topic that your proposal addresses. Clearly explain how the research you propose fits the target area. The explanation must address all parts of the target area description—the context, the description of the research topic, and the limitations within the research topic. Insufficient information on this aspect can result in the rejection of a letter of intent at the screening stage. If the research you propose falls within the Context section of a target area but outside the priority research topic descriptions, you must provide justification for it to be considered as an “exceptional opportunity.”
Originality of the Research
The project must promise to generate new knowledge or to apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner. Describe the novelty of the overall concepts and approach with references to current literature and the potential for developing new knowledge. Indicate the significance of the scientific issues and the potential impact on the field of research. Use the REFERENCE module for the literature review.
Quality of the Applicants as Researchers
The research team must have the expertise required to address the defined objectives competently and to complete the project successfully. Identify the members of the research team and specify their pertinent expertise and expected contributions to the project.
The project must provide opportunities to train students and other highly qualified personnel with skills relevant to the needs of Canadian organizations. Describe the projected training plan, environment and opportunities for students and other highly qualified personnel. Highlight the relevance of the training to the supporting organizations and the organizations’ potential involvement in training.
Relevance of the Proposed Research to the Supporting Organizations
The supporting organizations must be able to apply the results of the research and must be actively involved in all stages of the project. Describe the relevance of the proposed research to the supporting organizations and their capacity to exploit the results. Indicate the planned interactions between the research team and the supporting organizations.
Letters of intent will be evaluated by the selection panel for the target area using the established selection criteria (see below). The letter of intent will be evaluated on a scale of outstanding, excellent, very strong, strong, acceptable or inadequate. Letters of intent submitted under an international agreement will automatically be invited to submit a full application, provided that all requirements for an SPG-P grant are met. For such international projects, if the planned international collaboration has not been established by the full application stage, a stand-alone proposal with only Canadian researchers will not be accepted.
Fit to target area
The project must support the goal of Strategic Partnership Grants and fall within one of the target areas. The proposal must address all parts of the target area description—context, description of the research topic and limitations within the research topic. For “exceptional opportunities,” the proposal must provide a compelling case for research within the Context section of a target area description.
The project must promise to generate new knowledge or apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner. Consideration will be given to the following points:
Quality of the applicants as researchers
The research team must have the expertise required to address the defined objectives competently and to complete the project successfully. Consideration will be given to the following points:
The project must provide opportunities to train students and other highly qualified personnel with skills relevant to the needs of Canadian organizations. Consideration will be given to the following points:
The supporting organizations must be able to apply the results of the research and must be actively involved in all stages of the project. The proposal must demonstrate that exploitation of the research results will benefit Canada within a 10-year time frame. Consideration will be given to the following points:
Each eligible supporting organization must provide a letter of support, on the organization’s letterhead, that provides the following information:
Where the supporting organization is a government organization, the letter of support must be signed by a Director General (or equivalent level). Use the Other Documents section to attach the letters of support.
Use this section to attach letters of support from the supporting organizations. Do not use this section to provide additional information related to the Proposal section.
Note: For upload purposes, all other documents must be saved into a single PDF document.
Suggest the names of seven people competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the academic community, the government sector and, for industrially-relevant research, at least one expert from the industrial sector. As appropriate, also include people competent to assess the research aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering.
Give the name, complete mailing address, telephone and facsimile numbers, e-mail address and the area(s) of expertise of potential external reviewers (referees).
External reviewers (referees) should be able to review the proposal in the language in which it is written.
You may also request, in a cover letter, that some individuals or companies not be involved in the review of your application. Your request will be taken into account by NSERC.
Suggested external reviewers (referees) should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for more information. In addition, reviewers must sign the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers before they access the application material.
If your letter of intent is being submitted under an international agreement, provide the name and institution of the collaborating principal investigator in a cover letter.
The cover letter can also be used if you wish to provide NSERC with additional information that will not be shared with selection panel members, such as a request that an individual or group of individuals not be involved in the review of your proposal. NSERC will take such a request into consideration. The cover letter must contain your name, the NSERC grant to which you are applying and the title of your application. Do not describe how the concerns of a previous selection panel have been addressed.
Note: This letter may be accessible to these individuals under the Privacy Act.
NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its On-line System. The electronic submission of applications through this system represents approval and replaces the traditional "physical" or "wet" signatures. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Program Guide for Professors for more details.
Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your Personal Data Form to an application, you must read and agree to the the Terms and Conditions of Applying that appear in a pop-up window during the submission process. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed Terms and Conditions for your records.
If you are both the applicant or co-applicant and a principal of a collaborating organization, another senior official must sign on behalf of the organization.