Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects

Instructions to External Reviewers – Form 140

Before Proceeding

Your signature on the paper version of the review form, or transmission of your final evaluation to NSERC either by mail or by using the electronic evaluation process, means that you have read these instructions and that you consent to these uses and disclosures.

In addition, you may refer to:

Information on the following topics is provided below:

About Adobe Reader

To read the PDF version you need Adobe Reader 5.0 (or later) on your system. Acrobat Reader is available from the This link will take you to another Web site Adobe Reader download page.

Conflict of Interest

If you are in a conflict of interest or for any other reason unable to act as an external reviewer, please contact us directly or send us an email at as soon as possible. In order to identify yourself and the application(s) you are unable to review, please indicate your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and the committee and application number in the SUBJECT line of your email message.

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, external 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.

Allegations of Policy Breaches

Allegations of policy breaches, as described in the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, must be treated separately from the peer review process. Should your review reveal concerns of possible policy breaches, report any allegation separately to the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research. Your evaluation should only address the application you have evaluated according to the selection criteria and make no mention of the breach concerns.

Collection and Use of Personal Information

The information you provide is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act and stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Info Source. Details on the use and disclosure of this information are described in Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC. The information is used in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

How to Evaluate the Proposal

Please read the Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects description—including the objectives, expected results, and review process—described in the Program Guide for Professors.

Please assess the proposal using the evaluation criteria described below. For each criterion, please provide your comments in the text box located on the Referee Report/Application for a grant (Form 140).

Note on student identification: Applicants should not be penalized for not having the specific names of students if generic information is provided. NSERC requires applicants to obtain consent forms from students before including their names on a Personal Data Form (Form 100). As this is not always feasible, applicants also have the option of providing information on students without providing their names (this information might be more generic).

Evaluation criteria

Originality of the research

  • the novelty of the overall concepts and approach;
  • how the research relates to the current scientific and/or technical developments in the field, with references to the current literature and patents;
  • the potential for developing new knowledge or technology, including innovative techniques, processes or products;
  • the extent to which new knowledge or technology is expected to impact on the field of research; and
  • the significance of the scientific issues and technical challenges.

Quality of the research

  • the focus and clarity of the objectives of the project, both short and long term;
  • the appropriateness of the research methodology;
  • the justification of the approach, based on the background research;
  • the feasibility of the proposed research; and
  • the degree to which the project fits the Strategic Projects target area and research topic.

Project work plan

  • the clarity of the project description;
  • the coherence of the activities, milestones, timelines and deliverables on the Research Activity Schedule;
  • the probability of achieving the objectives in the proposed time frame;
  • the availability of the equipment and infrastructure required;
  • the appropriateness of the roles and time commitment of the applicants and the personnel from the supporting organization(s);
  • the need for the funds requested and the justification of the line items in the budget;
  • the plans for collaboration and communication among the researchers; and
  • the details of how the team and project will be managed (appropriate to the complexity of the project).

Quality of the applicants as researchers

  • the research record of the applicant(s) or, in the case of new researchers, their potential to make contributions;
  • the recognition of the collective research contributions of the applicants by their peers or, in the case of new researchers, the recognition of their potential by others in the field;
  • the appropriateness of their expertise in the proposed research areas of the project; and
  • the breadth and complementarity of expertise available for the project.

Note: Individual applicants should demonstrate that their expertise meets project requirements.

Training potential

  • the potential to provide highly qualified personnel with skills relevant to the needs of Canadian organizations;
  • the quality and track record of the researchers in training highly qualified personnel;
  • the training that will be achieved relative to the budget and the nature of the project;
  • the roles of the students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, technicians and, if applicable, the research staff of the supporting participants;
  • the extent to which all participants, including the supporting organizations, are involved in the training; and
  • the suitability of the research environment for training.

Interactions with the supporting organizations

  • the fit between the project objectives and the priorities of the supporting organizations;
  • the capacity of the supporting organizations to exploit the research results, or the possibility of the creation of a Canadian-based organization to do so;
  • the degree of involvement of the supporting organizations: (a) in developing the proposal; and (b) during the course of the project;
  • the plan for knowledge and technology transfer to the supporting organizations and/or the user sector, and a description of how any intellectual property will be protected; and
  • the researchers’ track record in transferring research results to a user sector.

Benefits to Canada and to the supporting organizations

The benefits to Canada arising from the proposed research must be assessed in terms of their potential impact and the degree to which they will occur within a time frame that is realistic for the sector.

Potential benefits to Canada and the supporting organizations arising from the proposed research may include, but are not limited to:

  • economic benefit arising from a new or improved product or process;
  • social, environmental or health benefits;
  • an enhanced knowledge base for public policy development; and
  • increased number of highly qualified personnel in an area of importance for Canada.

Other considerations

  • Any likely adverse environmental effects that might result from the proposed research, if applicable.
  • The necessity and appropriateness of animal-based methodologies and of the participation of human subjects, if applicable.


On the balance of its strengths and weaknesses, would you recommend funding this proposal?