Special COVID-19 Edition 2020 – Volume 44 – No. 1

Message from the President

I would like introduce this special edition of our newsletter by extending a sincere thank you to the members of NSERC’s community. The past three months have raised a great deal of uncertainty in all of our lives and presented us with unprecedented challenges. Throughout the pandemic, Canada’s scientists and engineers have placed their trust and confidence in NSERC and that support and understanding has played no small role in our ability to respond and adapt to this historic event. Your feedback, insights and encouragement have been greatly appreciated by NSERC staff and Council, and I truly believe that challenges of these past three months have made our community stronger and more connected.

As we move forward and through this crisis, it is more important than ever that we maintain strong connections within our community. NSERC recently announced the relaunch of the NSERC Leaders program, which will create an important network of representatives from universities to help guide the evolution of NSERC’s programs and policies. I have also begun a series of virtual roundtables that enable me to hear directly from members of our community on the issues that matter most to them.

In addition to reaching out to the research community, NSERC has been working closely with Canada's other funding agencies to quickly implement new programs and funding opportunities. Many of those you will read about have required a concerted effort and recognize the importance of multidisciplinary research in addressing the pandemic.

In this issue, you will find a round-up of the investments, emergency programs and latest opportunities that NSERC has rolled out over the last three months to accelerate research related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The response by both the Government and NSERC’s community has been impressive, to say the least, and we will continue to evolve our programs as needed for researchers.

While this issue of Contact highlights NSERC’s response to the ongoing crisis, we remain committed to ensuring that the important research of all our scientists and engineers continues to flourish. In the past weeks, NSERC has made announcements for Discovery Grants and the PromoScience programs, and we will continue to keep our regular investments flowing to the research community as usual.

I hope each of you finds time to relax and enjoy some downtime over the summer months, and that you and those you hold close remain safe, healthy and optimistic about the future.



NSERC program information in relation to COVID-19

We’ve created a resource on our website where you can find all the latest news on how NSERC is adjusting its programs and operations to support our community during the pandemic. Be sure to visit this page regularly to stay informed.

Extension of Discovery Grants

To lessen the impact due to COVID-19 and to support all of our researchers and highly qualified personnel, all active Discovery Grants can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at their current funding level. Read more on our website and visit the FAQ.

New temporary program announced to support research staff in Canada

The Government of Canada recently announced a new temporary program, with an investment of $450 million for one year to sustain Canada’s research excellence, talent and knowledge as the academic research enterprise deals with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSERC investments in COVID-19 research

NSERC is leveraging the expertise of researchers in natural science and engineering and their partners across Canada to address this unprecedented crisis. Find a breakdown of the investments made through the NSERC Alliance COVID-19 and Tri-agency Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 grants on our website.

Making connections: Researchers

If you are a researcher from a Canadian college or university who is eligible to apply to an NSERC grant and is interested in helping an organization address a challenge or question related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the list of project opportunities.

Making Connections: Industry, not-for-profit and public sector organizations

If you are from an industry, not-for-profit or public sector organization that is addressing a challenge related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and could benefit from expertise in natural sciences and engineering, please complete this survey.


Eligibility changes to Postdoctoral Fellowships program

NSERC is removing the one-per-lifetime restriction on applications to the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF) program. For the 2021 competition year (application deadline October 19, 2020), unsuccessful applicants from previous competitions will be able to apply again, provided they still meet all other eligibility criteria.

Increased support for students, trainees and research support personnel funded through NSERC research grants

NSERC is providing additional funding to eligible grant recipients to support trainees (students, postdoctoral fellows) and research support personnel to eligible grant recipients. The value of the supplement will be commensurate with the average level of support provided to trainees and research support personnel for each agency over a three-month period.