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College and Community Innovation program College and Community Social Innovation Fund

Instructions for completing an application form 103

General information

About the grant

Read the relevant grant description within the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program before you complete the application.

Who completes the application?

The applicant, normally a senior manager in the administration of the college delegated by the college president to prepare the application and manage the grant, must submit the application and include all required documentation using the Online System. The applicant should not be the college’s research grants officer. For the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grants, the college should identify a project director responsible for the intellectual direction of the research and research-related activities. The project director must be affiliated with the host institution (the college) at the time of the application and must be qualified to undertake research independently. Colleges can submit a maximum of five applications to each competition in any of the research areas covered by the Tri-agency, but each proposal should be led by a different project director.

Presentation standards

You are responsible for submitting a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards established by NSERC. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected, or be at a disadvantage, in comparison with those that are complete and respect the presentation standards. Where page limits are stated, pages in excess of the number permitted will be removed.

For more information, read the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards.

Application deadlines

Your application must be received at your institution’s research grants office by their internal deadline date. Contact your research grants office for those deadlines.

For programs with deadlines, the application 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.

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 This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the This link will take you to another Web site Privacy Act (ATIP). The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Information about programs and information holdings.

Help with program information

Contact the staff responsible for the program to which you are applying.

Help with the NSERC Online System

  • Check the frequently asked questions for information on how to use the Online System.
  • Review the instructions available in the application.
  • Contact the Online Services Helpdesk by email at or call 613-995-4273. Include your email address and telephone number where we can reach you.

Completing the application

Application profile

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.

Area(s) of research

Research subject and area of application codes

Consult the NSERC Code Tables. If the applied research focus of the proposal is in the natural sciences or engineering, you are required to select a research subject code from the list of area of research subject codes and an application code from the list of area of application codes for the primary area of research. You can also select a secondary research subject code and application code. Otherwise, leave the fields blank.


Provide a maximum of 10 keywords that describe the proposal.

Certification and requirements

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

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.


Faculty and staff from the host institution and/or from other eligible colleges involved with the proposal can be listed as participants (the applicant and up to four other participants). List each participant’s name, personal identification number (if known), college name, as well as the time (in hours per month) each participant will devote to the proposed applied research or activity. The project director should be identified by adding “(PD)” next to their last name. Only the main participants should be listed on the proposal, and each participant must provide a completed College and Community Innovation program personal data form (form 103CV), including a signed copy of the terms and conditions of applying to the applicant.

By submitting this form, the applicant certifies that the individuals listed as participants have been informed of the precise uses and disclosures of their personal information by NSERC (see Use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC) and have authorized the release of the information by the applicant.

Supporting organizations

Enter information about the signing officer for each participant’s organization (other than the applicant’s organization). For supporting organizations such as not-for-profit or private-sector partners or government departments, enter information about the authorized representative(s).

CV – applicant and participants

The curriculum vitae (CV) for the applicant and participants is made up of two sections and a consent form. Part I collects specific information on the person using the college personal data form (link below). Part II is free-form text limited to five pages and is used to list contributions such as the person’s relevant experience and contributions to applied research and innovation. See the instructions for completing the College and Community Innovation program personal data form (form 103CV).

When completed, the applicant’s and participants’ signed CV, together with a signed copy of the terms and conditions of applying, must be saved in one PDF document and attached to the application.


A collaborator is a member of the research team not affiliated with the host institution. Examples of collaborators are government scientists, academic and non-academic researchers (including university researchers), company staff members, or research scientists. Collaborators are expected to contribute to the overall intellectual direction of the applied research project.

List each collaborator’s name, personal identification number (if known), organization name, as well as the time (in hours per month) they will each devote to the proposed applied research or activity.

CV – collaborators

You may attach a biographical sketch or CV for collaborators, whose expertise is essential in meeting the research objectives of the proposal. 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.

The applicant must save all collaborator biographical sketches or CVs in one PDF document and attach the PDF document to the application.

Summary of proposal

The summary is intended to explain the proposal in language that the public can understand. Using simple terms, briefly describe the nature of the research and the overall goal and objectives of the proposal. Indicate why the project is important, and how the anticipated outcomes will address research challenges, leading to innovative solutions addressing a Canadian community need. This plain-language summary will be 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.

Your summary must not exceed 21 lines on the printed copy of the application.

Activity schedule

List the activities and steps required to achieve the objectives for each year of the grant.

Indicate the start and end dates for the activities leading to the milestones, as well as the major results expected.

Note: The milestone definition and the work plan (provided in the Proposal page) will be used to assess whether a program is feasible and whether the available resources are adequate to complete it on schedule.


Use the guidelines outlined in the NSERC online presentation and attachment standards to provide the requested information in a document to be attached to the application. Describe your proposal using the headings below within a maximum of eight pages (this page limit does not include references).

Refer to the description of the College and Community Social Innovation Fund grants Selection criteria for a list of criteria that will be considered by reviewers when evaluating the applications. Write your proposal in clear, plain language. Avoid jargon, acronyms and highly technical terms.

Using the headings below, describe the proposed research in enough detail to allow an informed assessment by the review committee members. Applicants are expected to address each criterion and sub-criterion.


Provide a brief introduction to the proposal. Present the overall context of the project; describe the importance of the research topic, the anticipated outcomes, and their expected benefits (e.g., to the community, partners, college, research discipline, etc.).

Potential for innovation impact

Present the overall objectives of your proposal and explain how it will foster innovation to address a community need. Demonstrate how the project results will benefit the partner organizations and how research results will be applied in real-world settings to produce long-term measurable benefits at the local, regional or national level. Include your plan for effective dissemination of knowledge, as well as exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community. Explain how the project applies existing knowledge in an innovative manner and/or how it will result in the development of new knowledge. Describe the training and mentoring plans for students, other highly qualified personnel and participants from community organizations, and, if applicable, describe considerations for equity, diversity and inclusion.

Excellence of the proposal

Provide a concise overview of the specific objectives of your proposal. Specify the performance metrics and targeted goals that will be used to demonstrate the impact of the project. Describe the research methodology, work plan, impact measurements, and how the objectives can be achieved within the proposed timeline. Provide a literature review situating the previous work in the proposed topic and how the project will enhance or complement what already exists, resulting in community innovation. Describe how the partners in the community and other relevant stakeholders will be involved in the design and conduct of research. Present the total resources available for the initiative, clearly justifying how the contributions from the college, partner organizations and other sources are directly related and relevant to supporting the activities of the project.

Team expertise

Explain how the knowledge and experience of the research team as a whole (college participants, collaborators and partner personnel), as well as the contributions of significant team members, provide the expertise needed to successfully meet the project objectives. If applicable, describe considerations of equity, diversity and inclusion in the composition of the team. Describe the role of the project director. Explain how the contributions of the team members will be managed, integrated and monitored. Explain the experience of the project director and other significant team members in working with community partners. Present the track record of the college in successfully completing community innovation projects that benefited local or regional innovation.


  • Use this section to provide a list of literature references. Your list of references must not exceed two pages on the printed copy.
  • Do not refer readers to websites for additional information on your proposal.
  • Do not introduce hyperlinks in your list of references.

Proposed expenditures

Before completing this page, read the instructions and consult the grant description and the College and Community Innovation Tri-agency Program Financial Administration Guide for information about the eligibility of expenditures for the costs of research and the regulations governing the use of grant funds.

For each expenditure line item, enter the total cash and in-kind amounts (if applicable) for each year. Please note that the in-kind amounts from all sources must be manually added and entered under the appropriate line item, as these amounts are not automatically transferred from the Contributions from supporting organizations module. The total amount from NSERC and partners should add up to the total project cost and the in-kind amounts should add up to the total in-kind from all partners.

Budget justification

Provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item identified in the Proposed expenditures page. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested are appropriate. Provide sufficient detail in the Budget justification pages to allow reviewers to easily understand the items requested on the budget table. There should be a clear link between the description of the funds requested and the items and numbers entered on the budget table. Make sure to present how the partner cash and/or in-kind support is appropriate and how it is complementing the funds requested from the funding agency to cover the project costs. These pages should only contain information pertinent to the budget.

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of the non-discretionary benefits) of the project director, the research staff (research assistants and technical professionals) and students. Briefly describe the responsibilities for each position and indicate the amount of time they will be spending on this project over its lifespan.

A salary research allowance can be requested for a not-for-profit organization that has an employee listed as a collaborator on the application.  Salary research allowances are a contribution from the college to a not-for-profit organization to help compensate for the time an employee will spend participating in a CCSIF-funded research project. Applicants may request up to 50% of the total salary costs, including benefits, of the employee, to offset some of the costs of hiring a replacement employee. These costs should be included under d) other and explained in the budget justification.

Networking and knowledge dissemination

Provide details of training workshops and other major items related to knowledge dissemination. Expenditures should be limited to costs attributable to project specific activities.


Explain briefly how each activity relates to the proposed research. Explain how the proposed travel is important to realizing the project’s objectives.

Operating and equipment

Provide a breakdown of the items requested and details on models, manufacturers, prices and applicable taxes. Justify the need for each item requested. Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and rate).

Provide details for materials and supplies.

Overhead and administration

Provide details and explain major items with regard to overhead and administration costs attributable to the specific project.

In general, the college is expected to provide for, or contribute to, the indirect or overhead costs such as basic utilities, management and operation of facilities, purchase and repair of office equipment, administration fees, insurance for equipment and research vehicles, and basic communication devices such as telephones. Since the funding received through the CCI program is not eligible for the Research Support Fund, colleges may request funds for overhead and administration costs attributable to this project (but not for general overhead and administration costs of the college as a whole). The maximum allowable percentage for overhead and administrative costs must not exceed 20% of the grant instalment per year.


Quotations are not required. Upload one blank page (8 ½" x 11" PDF). 

Relationship to other applied research support

If applicable, explain any relationship and/or overlap, conceptual or financial, with work supported by SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR or other funding sources. Work that is not relevant to this application should not be listed under this section.

Provide the following information on a maximum of one page:

  • Clear and concise information on the conceptual and budgetary relationship or difference between this application and all other support (currently held or applied for) at the college. Also explain funding that could be perceived as duplication or, if applicable, indicate how the proposed application would complement research funded by other sources.
  • For each grant currently held or applied for, clearly describe the main objective and provide a brief outline of the methodology, budget details and support of highly qualified personnel. In addition, the relationships to the NSERC application must be explained. Such information may be provided, for example, in the form of a brief summary of the necessary details for each grant.

The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to evaluate the relationship between this application and other sources of support, to evaluate the incremental value of additional support from the program, and to recommend the appropriate funding level.

If adequate information to assess the relationship to other research support is not provided, the reviewers may recommend reduced or no funding.

Contributions from supporting organizations

Use this page to report the contributions from each supporting organization (including the host institution’s support) to the research project. Before completing this section, read the program description and the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-agency Financial Administration Guide for information about the eligibility of expenditures and the regulations governing the use of grant funds. Also review the Guidelines on eligibility and value of in-kind contributions.

List the resources the supporting organization will provide to support the proposed activities, including

  • cash contributions to direct costs of research
  • in-kind contributions to direct costs of research (e.g., donations of services, materials and equipment)
  • in-kind contributions to indirect costs
  • an indication of the amount paid to the institution for overhead

Note: The in-kind amounts (if applicable) from all sources must be manually added and entered under the appropriate line item. These amounts are not automatically transferred from the Proposed expenditures module.

Use the Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment) page to provide an explanation of the cash and eligible in-kind contributions.

Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment)

Using a maximum of two pages, provide a detailed explanation of the cash and/or in-kind contributions to the direct costs of research received from the host institution, partner organizations and other sources. This information will be used to assess the level and nature of the partners’ involvement, the importance of their contribution to the success of the project and an appropriate cost-sharing ratio. Use this section to also attach support letters from partners. The explanation of the partner contributions and all letters of support must be saved in one PDF document and uploaded to the module.

Contributions may include

  • 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; the number of hours they will devote to the project; and their hourly rate (up to a maximum of $100 per hour)
  • 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
  • donation of material
    • describe the materials to be provided, their importance to the project and how the cost of the materials was calculated
  • field work logistics
    • describe the importance of the proposed field work for the project, and provide details on how the cost of the field work was calculated
  • provision of services
    • provide details on the services to be provided, the importance of these services to the success of the project and how the cost of providing these services was calculated
  • other
    • provide sufficient details on items listed in this category, their importance to the project and the calculation of associated costs

Cash contributions are those made to accounts for which the applicant has signing authority. Other contributions are considered in-kind.

Letter(s) of support

Provide a letter from the appropriate representative of each participating or supporting organization (e.g., the person responsible for the organization’s participation in, or support of, the project), on letterhead, that indicates

  • organization information (full name, complete address, business number if incorporated in Canada)
  • organization representative contact information (name and email)
  • organization type (e.g., public, private, not-for-profit, other (if other, please specify))
  • their reasons for being involved in the proposed collaboration
  • what benefits the anticipated outcomes will bring to the organization
  • the anticipated interactions of the organization’s personnel with the college
  • the organization’s cash and/or in-kind support for the project

Each letter of support must not exceed two pages. All letters of support must be saved into a single PDF document and uploaded to the Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment) section.

Impact assessment form (appendix A)

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

Cover letter

The cover letter can be used if you wish to provide NSERC with additional information that will not be shared with reviewers, such as a request that an individual or group of individuals not be involved in the review of your proposal. NSERC will take such requests into consideration. The cover letter attachment must contain your name, the type of CCI grant for which you are applying and the title of your application.

Note: This letter may be accessible to these individuals under the Privacy Act.

CCI/Mitacs joint funding opportunity

Applications requesting a joint CCS/Mitacs Accelerate internship must upload the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form as a PDF attachment to the Cover letter section of the CCSIF orm 103. Contact your local This link will take you to another Web site Mitacs Business Development Representative to obtain the Mitacs-NSERC joint application template.

The following information must also be included in the following sections of your application:

  • Proposal
    • Describe the role of the Mitacs interns in the research project and explain the quality of the research-based training experiences provided to the interns. Describe how the internship partnership organization is committed to providing supervision and mentorship to the interns. Explain how the number of Mitacs interns and the number of internship units is appropriate to the scope of the project.
  • Contributions from supporting organizations
    • Only the partner contributions towards the direct costs of the CCSIF project should be included in the Contributions from supporting organizations section which will be transferred automatically to the Proposed expenditures module, under the line item Total support from industry. Select Industry for the Type of Organization to ensure proper transfer of information of the partner’s contribution to the CCSIF project. 
    • Contributions towards the Accelerate internship(s) from both Mitacs and the partner organization should appear under the Total support from other sources line item. To do so
      • add a new organization and select Other for the Type of Organizations
      • select Not available from the selection list for the Name of Supporting organization
      • type Mitacs Accelerate internship(s) in the Name if not available text box
      • enter the cash contributions that will be provided by both Mitacs and the partner organization  towards the internship(s)
  • Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment)
    • Clearly describe the total cash contributions made by the partner organization to support the Mitacs internships.
  • Cover letter
    • Upload the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form as a PDF attachment to the Cover letter section of the CCSIF form 103. If providing a cover letter to exclude individuals from reviewing your proposal and also using the cover letter section to submit the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form, you must save both documents as one file and attach this file to the Cover letter section.

Note: By submitting an application to the CCI/Mitacs joint funding opportunity, you consent to NSERC and Mitacs sharing information contained in the application, including personal information or information related to the administration of a resulting grant or award, which may include project reports required as a condition of award. You also confirm that you have obtained the consent of any individuals whose personal information is contained in such documents to share this information in the same manner.


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

Before you, as an applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or link your personal data form 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. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

In addition, each participant submitting a form 103CV as part of the application must fill out and sign the terms and conditions of applying included in the form 103CV.

The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that

  • the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities as set out in the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with the three federal granting agencies, including the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
  • the applicant has met, or will meet, the eligibility requirements
  • prior to submission of this application, the institution has obtained written approval from any other institutions involved in the application process
  • if the applicant discloses any potential intellectual property (IP) arising from the research, he or she and the institution will endeavour to obtain the greatest possible economic benefit to Canada from the resulting commercial activity.
    This requirement for disclosure is not intended to supersede any IP ownership policy that the institution already has in place.

The signatures of authorized officers of other supporting organizations certify that the organization

  • agrees with the content of the application and will provide the committed resources
  • agrees to the release of the public summary of the award and to the publication of the organization's name as a supporter of the initiative

If you are both the applicant or participant and a principal of a collaborating organization, another senior official must sign on behalf of the organization.

List for a complete application

Use the following list to make sure your application is complete.

  • Application for a CCSIF grant (form 103)
    • Application profile (including areas of research, certification and requirements, amounts requested)
    • Participants (the applicant and up to four other participants)
    • Supporting organizations
    • College and Community Innovation program personal data forms (form 103CV) for the applicant and for up to four other college participants
    • Collaborators, if applicable
    • CV – collaborators, if applicable
    • Summary of proposal (must not exceed 21 lines on the printed copy)
    • Activity schedule
    • Proposal (maximum eight pages)
    • Literature references (maximum two pages)
    • Proposed expenditures
    • Budget justification (maximum four pages)
    • Relationship to other applied research support, if applicable (maximum one page)
    • Contributions from supporting organizations
    • Contributions from supporting organizations (attachment; maximum two pages)
    • Letter(s) of support from all supporting organizations (maximum two pages each)
    • Impact assessment form (appendix A), if required
    • Cover letter
      (Important: If applying to the joint CCI/Mitacs initiative, the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form must be uploaded in the Cover letter section of form 103 as a PDF attachment)