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Alliance grants

Instructions for completing an application form 101

The instructions below apply to the regular Alliance grants program. For specific instructions on how to apply for an Alliance International grant or any of the Alliance special calls and joint funding opportunities, please use the links below:

General information

About the program

Learn more about Alliance grants.

Who can complete the application?

See Who can apply? to determine whether you are eligible to apply.

Submit your application through NSERC’s online system. The application includes

  • Proposal: complete an application for a grant (form 101)
  • National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form: complete the risk assessment questionnaire and the risk mitigation plan (when applicable), in the case where your research partnership involves one or more partner organizations from the private sector, including when they participate alongside other partner organizations from the public and/or not-for-profit sectors
  • Applicant: complete a personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A), and ask any co-applicants to complete one as well
  • Partner organizations: ask the representative at each partner organization to complete the Partner organization section; other funders and post-secondary institutions do not complete this section

Application deadlines

You can apply at any time.


You may consult additional resources, including

If you have questions about the program

If you have questions about the NSERC online system

Completing the application for a grant — form 101

The instructions below will guide you through the modules in NSERC’s online system.

Application profile

Title of proposal

Provide a title that describes the subject of the research in language that the public can understand. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms. Do not include a company or trade name. The title will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded.

To determine the cost-sharing ratio, see Funding your research project.

Areas of research

Research subject codes

Select a primary research subject code. You may add a secondary research code (optional).

Area of application codes

Select a primary area of application code. You may add a secondary area of application code (optional).


Provide a maximum of 10 keywords that describe the proposal (e.g., nuclear physics, geochemistry, etc.).


Before completing this section, consult the Requirements for certain types of research.

Research involving humans: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution’s administration with the appropriate certification indicating that research involving humans has been reviewed and has received the required approval.

Research involving human pluripotent stem cells: If you select Yes, or if through peer review the application is found to fall into this category and is recommended for funding, it will be forwarded, with your consent, to CIHR’s stem cell oversight committee (SCOC) to ensure compliance with This link will take you to another Web site Chapter 12, Section F of the Tri-council policy statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans (TCPS 2). The SCOC review is in addition to the normal review by local research ethics boards (REBs). Funding will not be released until approval has been obtained from the SCOC.

Research involving the use of animals: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the animal care committee at the institution that the experimental procedures proposed have been approved and that the care and treatment of animals is in accordance with the principles outlined in the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) guide.

Research involving hazardous substances: If you select Yes, you must provide your institution's administration with the certification from the biosafety committee at the institution that the laboratory procedures being used comply with the safety precautions necessary for the level of containment required by the research.

Environmental impact: The Impact assessment form (appendix A) may be required. For more information, consult NSERC’s guidelines on impact assessment.

Cover letter (optional)

Attach a cover letter if you wish to provide NSERC with information that will not be shared with external reviewers, such as an explanation of how the project has changed since a previous submission (optional). Include in your cover letter your name, the NSERC program to which you are applying and the title of your application.


Indicate co-applicants who will participate in your application. Co-applicants will automatically be invited to provide their personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A).

Enter the email address and family name of the co-applicant as these appear in the co-applicant’s form 100A. This allows the co-applicants access to your application. When you select Save, an automated email message will be sent to the co-applicants, informing them that they have been invited to participate in your application. The status of their participation will appear as Not linked.

When co-applicants link a personal data form with CCV attachment (form 100A) to the application, their personal information will appear on the Co-applicant page, and the status will change to Linked.

Advise co-applicants outside your institution that the authorized officer of their institution must agree to their participation. NSERC will confirm this agreement directly with the authorized officer.

Collaborators and collaborator biographical sketches

Indicate any collaborators. Examples of collaborators are government scientists, academic researchers or company staff members. Collaborators contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the research project and bring their own resources to the collaboration. The collaborator will not have access to the grant funds and must be qualified to undertake research independently.

On behalf of your collaborators, you may attach a biographical sketch or CV for collaborators and key staff of partner organizations whose role in the project is similar to that of a co-applicant (optional). In a maximum of two pages for each person, provide the individual’s name/affiliation, education/training, employment/affiliations, research funding and up to five significant contributions related to the project.

Note: For upload purposes, all collaborator biographical sketches or CVs must be saved as a single PDF file.

Summary of proposal

Write a summary of the proposed research, intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand.

Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the work. Indicate why and to whom the research is important, and describe the anticipated outcomes and advancements that will result in economic, social or environmental benefits for Canada and Canadians.

This plain-language summary will be made available to the public if your proposal is funded. The summary can be submitted in one official language or both official languages, at the applicant’s discretion.

The summary must fit in the field provided in Application for a grant – form 101.


Complete the proposal template within the maximum number of pages as outlined in the table below. Figures and tables are welcome within the specified page limits.

If you choose not to use the template, you must include the section headings and the text of the bullets from the proposal template. You must also respect the guidelines outlined in the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards.

In preparing your proposal, address the criteria that will be considered when evaluating the application.


Proposal sections and length
The number of suggested, maximum or additional pages always includes the NSERC template text.
    Average annual request  
    Up to $30,000/ year* Up to $300,000/ year More than $300,000/ year
Section Percentage of evaluation Suggested number of pages per section
Background and expected outcomes 25% 1 2 3
Partnership 25% 1 2 5
Proposal 25% 1.5 4 10
Team 0.75 1 4**
Training plan 25% 0.75 1 3
  Maximum total number of pages
  5 10 25
Public impact value proposition (PIVP): option 2 cost-sharing applications only Add 3 pages to the maximum above for the PIVP (see proposal template )

*At the time of application, if you and your co-applicant(s) do not hold an active peer-reviewed grant from NSERC as the primary applicant, you may submit a maximum of 10 pages (i.e., Background and expected outcomes, two pages; Partnership, two pages; Proposal, four pages; Team, one page; Training plan, one page), including the template text. Your application will be sent to external reviewers, as described in Review of your application

**For large (average of more than $300,000 per year requested from NSERC) multi-party projects (multiple universities and/or partner organizations), it may be appropriate to provide a description of up to three additional pages strictly for the purposes of detailing topics such as project management, governance structure and university support. If applicable, please detail the project manager’s qualifications, involvement, role and responsibilities.

Pages exceeding the maximum or documents not requested by NSERC (e.g., letters of support) will be removed and will not be taken into account in the assessment of the application. NSERC reserves the right to reject applications exceeding the maximum number of pages. 

In preparing your proposal, consult NSERC’s Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.

If relevant to your research, consult NSERC’s Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in interdisciplinary research and/or Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in engineering and the applied sciences.

Proposed expenditures/budget justification

To complete these sections

The funds from NSERC and from the partner organization must be paid to eligible universities and cannot be used to buy equipment, products or services from any partner organization, or to cover any part of the travel and travel-related subsistence expenditures for partner organization personnel.

In the Proposed expenditures section, enter the planned spending in each budget category for each year of the project.

For the Budget justification section, prepare a separate document that provides a breakdown of each category and a detailed justification for spending in each category. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate. Attach the document in the Budget justification section. The categories are as follows:

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment, proposed salaries and non-discretionary benefits of students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff such as technical/professional assistants and the project manager. Briefly describe the responsibilities of each position and indicate the percentage of time they will be spending on this project over its lifespan. Do not include salaries of faculty in project costs.

Consult the form 100A instructions for information on obtaining consent to name individuals in your proposal.

Equipment or facility

Give a breakdown of the items requested. Provide details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Describe any fees for the use of equipment or a facility (e.g., hours and rate).

If your total expected equipment cost (including operation and maintenance) exceeds $400,000 over your project’s duration, you should apply for an alternate source of funding such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI’s) John R. Evans Leaders Fund. NSERC and CFI have developed a joint application and review procedure for these cases. You may contact NSERC or This link will take you to another Web site CFI for more details.

Materials and supplies

Provide details of materials and explain major items. Equipment and materials obtained from the partner organizations must be provided as in-kind contributions.


Explain briefly how each planned travel activity relates to the proposed research.

Dissemination and knowledge mobilization

Provide details of publication costs, user workshops or other activities that support collaboration and knowledge mobilization related to the project.

Technology transfer activities

List the expenditure for field trials, prototypes, scale-up costs, demonstration projects, workshops and other activities to develop and grow the research collaborations with the partner organizations.

Partner organizations' contributions

Use this page to provide the contributions committed to the research project by the partner organizations, post-secondary institutions, as well as other funders, and to invite the partner organizations to complete the Partner organization section. The invitation will be sent to the authorized contact.

Provide information required for each organization. For each organization, you must select one of four categories:

  • Partner organization recognized for cost-sharing
  • Partner organization not recognized for cost-sharing
  • Other funder (not involved in the research)
  • Post-secondary institution

To determine the appropriate category for partner organizations (recognized or not recognized for cost-sharing), refer to Alliance grants: Role of partner organizations.

Select the organization from the list or enter the name if not available.

List the resources the partner organization will provide for proposed research, including

  • cash contributions from your partner organizations paid to your institution for the direct costs of your research project (not including overhead); this amount will be transferred to the appropriate line on the Proposed expenditures page
  • in-kind contributions (staff time and donations of services, materials and equipment, travel expenditures for staff)
  • amounts paid to your institution for overhead

When completed, this section will also generate an invitation to the contact person at the partner organization. When you send the invitation, the contact person will receive an email with a link to NSERC’s online system, where they will be asked to complete the Partner organization section providing information about their organization.

Once the contact person has accepted the invitation or completed the information, the status on the Contributions section will be updated accordingly.

Note: If changes are required after the contact person has completed the section, you can release it for changes by using the Edit, Save, Lock and Re-invite buttons to modify the content.

Justification for in-kind contributions

Provide a detailed explanation of all in-kind contributions. This information will be used to assess the level and nature of the partner organization’s involvement and the importance of its contribution to the success of the project.

  • Salaries for scientific and technical staff: list the name of each staff member, their role at the partner organization and their specific expertise, details as to what they will be providing to the project (link to milestones if possible), the number of hours they will devote to the project and their hourly rate
  • Salaries of managerial and administrative staff: list the name of each staff member, their role at the company, details as to what they will be providing to the project, the number of hours they will devote to the project and their hourly rate
  • Donation of equipment, software: list each item of equipment and/or software being donated to the project, explaining how it will be used and its importance to the success of the project; provide details on how the cost of the equipment/software was calculated
  • Other contributions: describe the contributions to be provided (e.g., travel expenditures for staff), their importance to the project and how their cost was calculated

Note: For upload purposes, explanation of contributions from all partner organizations must be saved as a single PDF file.

Other documents

National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form

You must use this section to provide your completed National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form in the case where your partnership involves one or more partner organizations from the private sector, including when they participate alongside other partner organizations from the public and/or not-for-profit sectors.

Before you attach your completed risk assessment form to your application, you must convert it from a fillable to a read-only PDF format. For this purpose, one option is to click on Print in the form, select the PDF format as the printer, and save the file.


You may also use this section if you need to provide other documents requested by NSERC.

Note: For upload purposes, all other documents must be saved as a single PDF file.

Impact assessment form (appendix A)

An Impact assessment form (appendix A) must be completed and uploaded to the Environmental impact page, as required.

Reviewer suggestions

  • See Review of your application to find out whether external reviewers will be used in the assessment and whether suggestions are needed here

Suggest the names of five independent experts competent to assess the technical aspects of the proposal. This list should include experts from the academic community and non-academic community such as the government sector and the industrial sector. Also include reviewers competent to assess any research aspects outside the natural sciences and engineering. This list should also take into consideration equity, diversity and inclusion; for example, the list should include women.  

Give the name, address, telephone number, email address and the area(s) of expertise of potential external reviewers.

External reviewers should be able to review the proposal in the language in which it is written.

Suggested external reviewers should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations for more information. In addition, reviewers must sign the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality agreement for review committee members, external reviewers and observers before they access the application material.

Reviewer exclusions (optional)

You can request that an individual, a group of individuals or a specific non-academic organization not be involved in the review of your application (optional). Specify a general reason for this request (e.g., perceived conflict of interest, prior disputes, school of thought bias, professional or personal association not specified in the conflict of interest policy). You may include in this list any exclusions requested by the partner organizations.

While NSERC cannot be bound by this information, it will take it into consideration in the selection of reviewers. NSERC may also exclude reviewers because of conflict of interest, as described in the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations.

Note: Information concerning exclusions may be accessible to those individuals named in this section, under the Privacy Act.

Personal information

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. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in Information about programs and information holdings.

You must ensure that others listed in the application have agreed to be included.


NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its online 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.

What do the electronic or original signatures on the application mean?

For applicants and co-applicants

Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your personal data form with CCV attachment to an application, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions of applying that appear in a pop-up window during the submission process.

The signature of the institutional authority certifies that

For partner organizations

Before you, as the authorized representative of the partner organization, submit information as part of an application to NSERC, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions of applying during the submission process.