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Frequently Asked Questions

Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19

NSERC will contact eligible grantees once they’ve entered the last year of their grant (in June) with information on how to accept this one-time funded extension.

Note: Grant recipients who are eligible to begin their early career researchers extension with funds will be offered and asked to accept that funded extension before being offered the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 the following year.

See NSERC program information in relation to COVID-19 for updates.

  1. What does NSERC mean by “all active Discovery Grants”?
  2. I am now in my automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds. Am I eligible for the one-year extension with funds?
  3. How do I accept/decline the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  4. Is the Discovery Launch Supplement eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  5. I am to be a peer reviewer for the Discovery Grants competition. What happens now?
  6. Do I have to take the one-year extension with funds?
  7. I hold either a Discovery Grant, Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grant (Individual, Project or Major Resources Support), Discovery Development Grant or Northern Research Supplement. Am I eligible for the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  8. My Discovery Grant has already been extended with funds. Will I be eligible for the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  9. Will I be eligible for additional extensions to my Discovery Grant in the future if I accept the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  10. I hold a Discovery Accelerator Supplement. Am I eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  11. I currently hold an NSERC Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grant. Am I eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  12. I currently hold an NSERC Ship Time grant. Am I eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  13. What is the Discovery Grants program doing to support applicants to the Discovery Grants competition that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  14. Will an additional year be added to the existing six-year window in the CCV and full application for applicants who take the extension with funds due to COVID-19?
  15. I currently hold a Northern Research Supplement. Can I accept the extension for the supplement and NOT my Discovery Grant?
  16. Where can I go for more information?

1. What does NSERC mean by “all active Discovery Grants?

In the context of the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19, eligible active grants are those that received a payment or had a planned payment in the 2020-2021 fiscal year (April 1, 2020-March 31, 2021).

Past grantees who are in their automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds, are not eligible for the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-191.

2. I am now in my automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds. Am I eligible for the one-year extension with funds?

Once you enter your extension to use funds period, you are no longer eligible for the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19.

3. How do I accept/decline the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

At this time, no action is necessary from grantees. NSERC will contact eligible grantees once they’ve entered the last year of their grant (in the month of June) with information on how to accept the funded extension.

4. Is the Discovery Launch Supplement eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, the Discovery Launch Supplement is not eligible for the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19; it is a one-time payment for early career researchers separate from the Discovery Grant. However, the Discovery Launch Supplement funds can be spent throughout the active Discovery Grants period, including any extension.

5. I am to be a peer reviewer for the Discovery Grants competition. What happens now?

NSERC values the significant contributions our peer reviewers make, and we will continue to need your expertise in the Discovery Grants competition. NSERC will follow up with peer reviewers through targeted communications.

6. Do I have to take the one-year extension with funds?

No, you do not have to accept the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 if you do not want it.

7. I hold either a Discovery Grant, Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grant (Individual, Project or Major Resources Support), Discovery Development Grant or Northern Research Supplement. Am I eligible for the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

Yes, the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 applies to all existing holders of Discovery Grants, Discovery Development Grants, Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants (Individual, Project, Major Resources Support Grants), and Northern Research Supplements.

8. My Discovery Grant has already been extended with funds. Will I be eligible for the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

Yes, you will be eligible to receive the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 regardless of whether you have received a previous extension with funds once you’ve entered your last installment year.

9. Will I be eligible for additional extensions to my Discovery Grant in the future if I accept the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

Yes, accepting the Discovery Grants one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19 will not affect your eligibility to receive additional extensions in the future such as those provided for family and medical leave, deferral of an instalment or automatic one-year extension to use unspent funds.

10. I hold a Discovery Accelerator Supplement. Am I eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, Discovery Accelerator Supplements are not eligible for the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19. However, the Discovery Accelerator Supplement funds can be spent throughout the active Discovery Grants period, including any extension.

11. I currently hold an NSERC Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) grant. Am I eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, RTI grants are not eligible for the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19.
Holders of RTI and SAP RTI (including SAP RTI 1 and 2/3) can immediately request an extension in time of up to 12 months for Agency grants with an end date between February 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 inclusively through their academic institution. This provision applies to all grants, regardless of whether they have received a previous time extension of any length for any reason (including, where applicable, automatic extensions). The intent of this provision is to allow grantees to continue spending grant funds, and institutions to delay the processing of residual grant funds (per the NSERC/SSHRC Guidelines for the General Research Fund).

12. I currently hold an NSERC Ship Time grant. Am I eligible for a one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, Ship Time grants are not eligible for the one-year extension with funds due to COVID-19. Holders of Ship Time can request an extension in time by contacting NSERC at envirosciences-sciencesenviro@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

13. What is the Discovery Grants program doing to support applicants to the  Discovery Grants competition that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Applications will [continue to] be peer reviewed based on policies and guidelines that are in line with previous years. Outcomes will [continue to] be based on the quality of the applications received. NSERC recognizes that all researchers will experience delays and impacts to their research due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will be accounted for in peer review.

14. Will an additional year be added to the existing six-year window in the CCV and full application for applicants who take the extension with funds due to COVID-19?

No, the existing six-year window for inclusion of contributions to research and training of HQP in the CCV will not be extended. However, for Discovery Grants, new guidelines for consideration of leaves have been implemented. Applicants with an eligible leave of absence will be entitled to an attachment used to list supplemental contributions to research and training beyond the six year window, for a period equivalent to the duration of the leave. To recognize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and training, the new attachment may be used to list supplemental contributions to research and training for a period equivalent to the duration of delays related to COVID-19.

Guidance is also being developed for considerations of COVID-19 impacts in peer review. Details on the new attachment will be available in the full application instructions. Note that for Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants, the guidance for considerations of COVID-19 impacts has been implemented, but the new attachment for supplemental contributions to research and training will be introduced at a later date.

15. I currently hold a Northern Research Supplement (NRS).  Can I accept the extension with funds for the supplement and NOT my Discovery Grant?

If you accept the COVID-19 extension with funds, it will be for both your DG and your NRS. You cannot have one without the other.

16. Where can I go for more information?

NSERC will follow up with all applicants and peer reviewers for the Discovery competitions through targeted communications to help you navigate next steps and walk you through your options. As usual, we will plan to hold webinars in the lead up to the competitions to answer your questions. In the meantime, please visit NSERC’s website, which will be updated regularly. You may also continue to contact NSERC Research Grants at resgrant@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.


1Note: The authority to use funds end date is the last day of the period during which the primary investigator is authorized to use grant funds; typically, the last day of an automatic 1-year extension to use unspent funds. A grant end date is the last day of the funded period of a grant; typically, the last day of the fifth year of a Discovery Grant.