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Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment - Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

  1. Who is eligible to apply?
  2. What types of research facilities can be supported?
  3. What is the value and duration of the award?
  4. How many awards will be made?
  5. Are universities provided with a quota for the number of applications that can be submitted?
  6. Can a researcher apply for a Research Tools and Instruments grant as well as a grant for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment in the same year?
  7. Does a grant for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment have to support equipment funded by NSERC?

Application

  1. Are there specific instructions for applying for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment?
  2. When creating an application in the Research Portal, how should a researcher identify to NSERC that they are submitting an application for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment?
  3. In the Identification page of the application, why does a Suggested Evaluation Group need to be provided?
  4. If a request is for 2 years of support, where are the proposed expenditures to be entered for year 2?
  5. What types of expenditures are eligible?
  6.  What is the difference between a co-applicant and a major user?
  7. What is the typical number of co-applicants?
  8. Why do co-applicants not have to submit the Relationship to Other Research Support page?
  9. What happens if an applicant attaches files other than the Proposal and the Budget Justification in the Attachments section?

Review of Applications and Funding Decisions

  1.  Who reviews the applications and what selection criteria are used?
  2.  When are applicants notified of funding decisions?
  3.  Who to contact with questions?


General Information

1. Who is eligible to apply?

Any researcher who is eligible to apply for and hold NSERC funding. See Eligibility Criteria for Faculty.

2. What types of research facilities can be supported?

Research facilities must provide support to a regional or national base of users in the natural sciences and engineering and may include:

  • Unique, specialized experimental facilities or items of research equipment;
  • Field research stations; or
  • A collection of specialized samples or objects, as defined in the Framework for researchers working with university-based collections.

Please note that a facility cannot be supported by this funding opportunity if it is also supported through the This link will take you to another Web site Major Science Initiatives Fund of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

3. What is the value and duration of the award?

Awards can be made for up to $150,000/year for one or tw years.

4. How many awards will be made?

The budget planned for this funding opportunity is $2 million for a total of 10 to 20 awards.

5. Are universities provided with a quota for the number of applications that can be submitted?

The number of applications for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment is not restricted by university quotas set by NSERC.

6. Can a researcher apply for a Research Tools and Instruments grant as well as a grant for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment in the same year?

Researchers can apply for both types of grants in the same year.

7. Does a grant for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment have to support equipment funded by NSERC?

There is no requirement that grants are to support equipment funded by NSERC. See question 2 above for a description of the types of facilities that can be supported.

Application

8. Are there specific instructions for applying for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment?

Although this opportunity is part of the Research Tools and Instruments program and you must select ‘Research Tools and Instruments’ when creating your application in the Research Portal, it is very important to follow the specific instructions for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment.

9. When creating an application in the Research Portal, how should a researcher identify to NSERC that they are submitting an application for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment?

In the Identification page of the application, the application title must begin with ‘Operations and Maintenance Support’.

10. In the Identification page of the application, why does a Suggested Evaluation Group need to be provided?

Applications are assessed by a multi-disciplinary committee and selecting the evaluation group that best fits your research discipline assists NSERC in assigning applications to the appropriate committee members for review.

11. If a request is for 2 years of support, where are the proposed expenditures to be entered for year 2?

The Proposed Expenditures page includes fields for only one year. If your request is for 2 years of support, the amounts entered into the page should represent half of the total amount requested from NSERC over the 2 years. A detailed explanation must be provided in the Budget Justification attachment indicating the actual breakdown of the budget for each of the 2 years.

For example:

  • If you are requesting $150k in year 1 and $150k in year 2, the Total amount requested from NSERC in the Proposed Expenditures table must be $150k.
  • If you are requesting $150k in year 1 and $50k in year 2, the Total amount requested from NSERC in the Proposed Expenditures table must be $100k.

In all cases, you must provide the budget breakdown for Year 1 and Year 2 in the Budget Justification attachment.

12. What types of expenditures are eligible?

In addition to the Tri-Agency Financial Guide, consult the Proposed Expenditures table of eligible and non-eligible costs in the Instructions for Completing an Application.

13. What is the difference between a co-applicant and a major user?

All co-applicants are major users of the facility but not all major users need to be co-applicants. The group of co-applicants can be a subset of the major users. Information regarding major users can be provided in the Proposal attachment. However, all co-applicants must submit their Canadian Common CV (CCV) as part of the application. The layout of the application, the use of the available space, and the decision on whether to include a user as a co-applicant is left up to the applicant. It is important to note that all co-applicants must be eligible for NSERC funding. Refer to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for Faculty.

14. What is the typical number of co-applicants?

There is no typical number of co-applicants. However, the maximum number of co-applicants is 10. NSERC recognizes that not all facilities are the same and that the profile of applicants and co-applicants will vary accordingly.

15. Why do co-applicants not have to submit the Relationship to Other Research Support page?

The information collected under Relationship to Other Research Support is meant to determine if there is any overlap of financial support for the operations and maintenance of the facility. The principal applicant provides this information so there is no need for the co-applicants to duplicate the effort. In order to validate and save this page, the co-applicants must write N/A in the text box.

16. What happens if an applicant attaches files other than the Proposal and the Budget Justification in the Attachments section?

Only the Proposal and the Budget Justification should be attached to the application. These are required and the application cannot be submitted without them. If any additional files are included, they will be removed. Although Quotation 1, Quotation 2 and Confirmation of Financial Contribution are listed as Document Types, they are only used for the Research Tools and Instruments applications.

Review of Applications and Funding Decisions

17. Who reviews the applications and what selection criteria are used?

Applications for Operations and Maintenance Support for Research Equipment are reviewed by experts on a single multi-disciplinary Selection Committee using the following four selection criteria:

  • Use of the facility by the research community
  • Demonstrated need for support of the facility for the research programs
  • Merit of the research programs that rely on access to the facility and excellence of the user community
  • Contribution of the facility to the training of highly qualified personnel

18. When are applicants notified of funding decisions?

NSERC notifies applicants shortly after a final decision has been made. See Application Deadlines and Notification of Decision. Competition results and a list of ongoing instalments are also made available to the institution’s Research Grants Officer and Business Officer. Results are also posted on NSERC’s website either after a formal announcement has been made or as part of the annual financial reporting. The results of competitions with deadlines are made available to the institutions’ research grants office first, so applicants can also inquire there.  

19. Who to contact with questions?

Should you have any questions about this funding opportunity, please email NSERC at COORD@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

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