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

Common menu bar links

Ship Time Program

Duration Up to two years
Application deadline September 1
Application procedures See below
How to apply
  • Form 100 – Personal Data Form
  • Form 101 – Application for a Grant
To create or access an application, select On-line System Login. To view instructions, select Instructions for completing an application – Form 101.
For more information


The Ship Time program allows those holding an NSERC Discovery Grant (DG) to apply for additional funds to access vessels in support of their research programs.


This Ship Time program is aimed at all NSERC-funded researchers who intend to use a vessel for their DG-supported research in the coming years. It applies to: the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)/Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessels, undersea vehicles operated by the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility or other similar research platforms, and any other Canadian or foreign vessels crewed in conformance with the This link will take you to another Web site Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

Ship Time grants support ongoing DG research programs. These grants recognize the high costs associated with chartering research vessels in Canada and abroad. Applicants must hold a Discovery Grant (or be successful in the current DG competition) to be eligible to receive a Ship Time grant. Recipients of Ship Time grants must use the funds as described in the application. Requests to use an alternate vessel will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Ship Time applicants may apply for more than one vessel at a time. Should the two vessels be part of the same project (e.g., a remotely operated vehicle and a support vessel), only one application is to be submitted.

The normal duration of Ship Time grants is one year. Two-year grants will be considered in exceptional circumstances, where the project completion requires a firm commitment of funding for more than one year.

NSERC does not consider requests for supplements to existing Ship Time grants. For questions about ship time associated with other NSERC programs, contact the Program Officer directly.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering community and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are key priorities in our current strategic plan, NSERC 2020, and are highlighted in the strategic goal of “Building a Diversified and Competitive Research Base”.

Applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented and disadvantaged groups in the natural sciences and engineering as one way to enhance excellence in research and training. Where applicable, consideration of sex, gender and diversity in the research design should be addressed in the proposal. Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations should be developed into the rationale of the composition of research teams and trainees. For more information, applicants should refer to the application instructions and the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.

Application procedures

Grantees and applicants whose research is, or will be, supported under the DG program must submit their completed Ship Time application by September 1. If an applicant is intending to access a This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Coast Guard vessel, they also need to contact DFO Science staff directly for their full application requirements.

For each project requiring a vessel, submit the following documents (except in cases where the vessel is combined with a remotely operated vehicle):

  • Application for a Grant (Form 101)
  • Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and each co-applicant
  • Quotation for all vessels to be used
  • Additional material (e.g. letters of support), as required

The onus is on the applicant to submit a complete application that conforms to the presentation standards requested by NSERC. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or disadvantaged. Late applications and material received under separate cover will not be accepted.

Review procedures and selection criteria (weighted scoring)

Applications are evaluated by the Ship Time Allocations Committee (STAC) according to the following weighted selection criteria, which are based on the information provided in the Ship Time application materials:

Scientific or engineering excellence (30%)

  • Demonstrate the scientific or engineering excellence of the proposed project(s).
  • Highlight the significance and expected contributions to research, including potential for major advances and impacts.
  • Show the feasibility of the plan(s) to use the research vessel or platform.
  • Illustrate the complementarity of expertise and the synergy of group members.
  • Consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the rationale of the team composition.
  • Summarize the effective use of previous ship-based experience (NSERC-funded or otherwise)

Need and urgency for ship time (30%)

  • Highlight the urgency and justify the timing of the expedition.
  • Detail the importance of the ship time to the advancement of the Discovery research program(s) and achievement of the scientific or engineering goal(s).
  • Demonstrate that proposed methods are the best approach to answering research questions.

Need for funds (20%)

  • Justify the research platform or vessel chosen, as opposed to using other (less costly) methods to obtain data.
  • Detail the availability of the equipment required to undertake the research.
  • Discuss the provision of technical support.
  • Illustrate attempts to maximize existing resources (extent to which the required platform may be shared with others).

Contribution to the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) (20%)

  • Describe the quality and extent of the HQP training environment.
  • Demonstrate the opportunities for hands-on training.
  • Consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the training of HQP.
  • Highlight the outcomes and skills to be gained by HQP.

Note: It is the responsibility of the grant holder to ensure that any vessel being used for NSERC-supported research is crewed in conformance with the This link will take you to another Web site Canada Shipping Act, 2001.