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

Common menu bar links

Research Tools and Instruments grants program

Instructions for completing an application

General information

About the program

Read the program description before you complete the application.

Am I eligible to apply?

Consult the eligibility requirements for faculty to apply for or hold grant funds to ensure that you can participate in this grant program as an applicant or a co-applicant.

Who completes the application?

The applicant and co-applicant(s) must complete their respective sections of the application as per the instructions, using the Research Portal. In addition, they must each complete an NSERC Canadian Common CV (CCV) and link it to the application.

Presentation standards

You must include all requested information in the application, and the submitted application must meet the Research Portal presentation and attachment standards. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or may be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that are complete and respect the presentation standards. Information that is not required, based on the application instructions, will be removed.

Application deadlines

Your application must be received at your institution’s research grants office by its internal deadline date; contact your research grants office for this date.

The application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. The application deadline is indicated in the program description, as well as in the Research portal.

In instances of systems interruptions, refer to the Service standards for NSERC and SSHRC's online application systems policy on sustained interruptions.

Once an application has been submitted to NSERC, it cannot be updated or modified, before or after the deadline.

Collection and use of personal information

The information you provide in your application 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 Information about programs and information holdings. Details on the use and disclosure of this information are described in Use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC, in the NSERC program literature and below. The personal information is used in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Self-identification information (research team)

You must complete the self-identification form found in the person profile of the Research Portal when applying for funding. This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. This information increases NSERC’s capacity to monitor its progress on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in its programs, to recognize and remove barriers, and to design new measures to achieve greater EDI in the research enterprise. If you do not want to self-identify, you have the option to choose “I prefer not to answer” for each question, but you are required to select a response for the questionnaire to be marked as complete. Self-identification information is not part of the application and will be neither accessible to, nor shared with, external reviewers and/or selection committee members.

For more information, refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Frequently asked questions about the self-identification questionnaire.

Whom should I contact for help?

Completing the application

Create an application

  • Sign in to the This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal.
  • Select the funding opportunity and click on Create.
  • Complete your eligibility profile and click on Validate.
  • Click on Continue and Create Application.
  • Under Applications, open the application.
  • Click on Edit to complete the different sections.


Administering organization

Organization – Select the organization that will administer the grant.

Department – Enter the department where you hold your eligible position. If your department is not in the list, select “head office.”


Application title – The title must be short and should describe the equipment requested. It may be used for publication purposes. Restrict the use of acronyms (e.g., DNA, NATO, etc.), and avoid company or trade names.

Language of the application – Indicate the language in which the application will be submitted. The main body of the application must be written in either English or French and not in a mix of both official languages. The NSERC CCV must be submitted in the same language as the application.

Suggested evaluation group – Select the evaluation group that best fits your research discipline. Your suggestion is used for the preliminary assignment of your application to the appropriate Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) selection committee. NSERC makes the final decision on the assignment.

Hours per month to be devoted to the research/activity, or use of equipment or facility  The applicant and each of the co-applicants must complete this section. Enter the number of hours per month you plan to devote to the use of the equipment requested.

Summary of proposal

A limit of 3,000 characters is allowed in the text box.

Provide a summary of the proposal in plain language that the public can understand. It will be available to the public if your proposal is funded.

Using simple terms, briefly describe the equipment that is requested, what it will be used for and the research activities it will enable. Indicate why and to whom the research activities are important, their anticipated outcomes and the benefits to the research field and to Canada.

If you wish, you may also provide a summary in the other official language in the text box for that purpose.

Proposed expenditures

All project expenditures are subject to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.

Type of expenditure Eligible costs Ineligible costs
(ineligible funding costs must not be included in the application)
Equipment Purchase or rental of equipment, including taxes, shipping and handling  


  • transportation/shipping costs for purchased equipment
  • fabrication, assembly and installation of the equipment
  • extended warranty or service contract
  • brokerage and customs charges for the importation of equipment and supplies
  • testing/calibration costs
  • on-site costs of training staff to use equipment
  • software licensing or upgrades
  • salaries and benefits
  • travel*
  • insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles
  • laboratory infrastructure (including but not limited to ventilation systems, wiring, power units or electrical outlets, floors, ceilings, walls, plumbing, lighting and storage)
  • costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities
  • equipment or items intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards
  • consumables


*Travel required for the supplier to install, repair and/or refurbish equipment is an eligible cost.

Applications for computing equipment are considered on the same basis as all other equipment applications. RTI grant funds may be used to purchase hardware and/or to pay for the acquisition of software.

Expenses covered by the Research Support Fund (RSF) are ineligible for funding through the RTI program. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site RSF website for information on the indirect costs covered by this program.

Cash contributions

Indicate any cash contributions, if applicable. A cash contribution is financial support provided by another source of funding, such as a university, industry or other sources. A vendor discount is not a cash contribution.

Use the Budget justification section (explained under Attachments, below) to explain and justify each budget item and any contributions from other sources toward the purchase of the equipment.

Activity details

Certification requirements

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 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 human pluripotent and/or totipotent 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 to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’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. Funding will not be released until approval has been obtained from the SCOC.

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: For more information, consult NSERCís guidelines on impact assessment.

Research subject codes

Consult the Research subject codes web page for more information. A primary research subject code is required.

Area of application codes

Consult the Area of application codes web page for more information. A primary area of application code is required.


Provide a maximum of ten keywords that best describe your proposal.

Eligibility profile

You must re-validate your eligibility profile. Review your information and ensure it accurately reflects the details of your eligible position. If your position is not in the list provided, enter free-form text. Click on Save and validate.


In the Application Overview page, click on Attach to include each required document. Attachments are free form and must respect Research Portal presentation and attachment standards and page limits, where applicable.

Important: You must preview all of your attachments in the research portal to ensure that the documents have been uploaded correctly and that the content is viewable. NSERC will not accept corrupt or protected files that cannot be opened or viewed.


Limit of four pages.

Refer to the Selection criteria section of the Research Tools and Instruments grants program description and address each of the criteria. The applicant prepares the proposal with input from co-applicants, as required.

Budget justification

Limit of three pages.

This section must contain only information pertinent to the budget and relationship to other research support.

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 items requested are appropriate, including details on models and manufacturers.

In a table format like the one below, give a clear cost breakdown of the items requested indicating the subtotal(s), the institutional tax rate, the total tax and, if applicable, the currency exchange rate(s) and the converted currency total(s).

Table template

Item   Quantity   Cost per unit in original currency   Exchange rate   Total cost in Canadian dollars  
Institutional tax rate (%):  
Total tax:  
Total cost:  
Total confirmed from other source(s):  
Total requested from NSERC:  

All proposed expenditures, including those taken from quotations, must be in Canadian dollars. To convert to Canadian currency, you must use an exchange rate consistent with the Bank of Canada rate at the time of application. Ensure that tax rates (i.e., applicable exemptions or rebates) used in the budget are consistent with the tax rates used by your institution. Failure to use the above described exchange rate and/or tax rate(s), or the addition of any other line item in the budget intended to cover fluctuations in cost, may result in a revised award amount.

Ensure that you include two quotations, when applicable. If you cannot provide the number of quotations required, provide a justification under a clear heading (refer to Quotations section, below).

Relationship to other research support ó explanation

You must provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to assess the relationship between the equipment requested in this application and in other relevant research funds held or applied for, including those of any co-applicants. These funds can include grants and contributions from funding agencies, organizations, the private sector, institution start-up funds, research chairs, the primary place of employment (for adjunct professors) and other institutional research support.

You must clearly demonstrate that the funds requested in the RTI application will be for expenses that are distinct from those covered by support (in kind or cash) from other sources. For funding applied for, you must demonstrate that there will be no duplication of funding for the same expense(s) by explaining how funds will be used if all applications are successful.


Two files with a size limit of 10 MB each.

You must provide two (2) recent quotations for any individual item(s) over $25,000 net* or for any system(s) to be purchased from a single supplier and costing over $25,000 net*. If the required number of quotations cannot reasonably be submitted, you must provide a clear justification in the Budget justification section.

The application will be rejected if the quotations or the justification are not submitted with the application.

*Net cost is defined as the purchase cost of the equipment after any discount from the vendor and before taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation costs.


Inviting co-applicants

Include only those who frequently use the equipment as co-applicants. There is no typical number of co-applicants.

From the Application overview page in the Invitations section, click on Manage invitations. Provide the email address and the last name of each co-applicant. An email will be sent to each participant with instructions on how to accept the invitation.

Information required from co-applicants

In addition to information that must be provided to the applicant for the proposal, co-applicants must accept the invitation as specified in the invitation email. In the research portal, complete the Eligibility profile, provide the number of hours per month to be devoted to the use of the equipment and upload your NSERC CCV.

A Submit button will be displayed once you have validated the information and uploaded your NSERC CCV. Select Submit to send your part of the application to the applicant.

Once co-applicants complete their portions and select Submit, the applicant will see the status of the co-applicant invitations change from Invitation sent to Invitation accepted and completed and a green check mark will appear in the Status column.

Note: Co-applicants (except those from the applicant’s institution) must advise the authorized officer of their organization that the applicant, or the applicant’s institution, will be seeking their authorized officer’s signature and agreement to the co-applicant’s participation before the application is submitted to NSERC.

Uploading your NSERC CCV

To successfully upload your CCV, the first name and family name used to create your CCV site account must be identical to those used to create your Research Portal account. As well, the email address used to create your Research Portal account must be identical to at least one of the emails you listed on the CCV site.

The applicant and each of the co-applicants must submit a CCV:

  • In the Application overview page, click on Attach.
  • Enter your CCV confirmation number (refer to the NSERC CCV instructions for information on how to obtain your CCV confirmation number).
  • Click Upload.
  • Click Back to application overview.
  • Preview your CCV in the Research Portal and verify that it was uploaded correctly and that it contains all of the entries that you wish to submit for peer review.
  • Your CCV must be in the same language as your application.

Note: While the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV website is bilingual, you can only save your NSERC CCV in one official language at a time corresponding to the language of the platform you are using. For example, to save a French version of your NSERC CCV you must sign into your account using the French platform.

Submitting your application to NSERC

Click on the Submit button at the bottom of the Application overview page. A pop-up message will appear. You will be required to extract and view your application to ensure that it is complete and that all relevant attachments extract properly. Note that the CCV will not appear in the extracted application. Save a copy of your application for your records. Once you have checked the confirmation box, click on the Submit button displayed in the pop-up message.

To complete the submission process, you will need to read and accept the terms and conditions by clicking on the I Accept button. You will receive a confirmation message on the web page, as well as a confirmation email.

When you submit your application, it is sent to your research administrator for approval and submission to NSERC. The status of your application will be changed to Received by administrator. Once your research administrator has approved and forwarded your application to NSERC, the application status will be changed to Received by agency.

To verify the status of your submission, return to the home page.

Note: The retention period in the Research Portal is three months after the deadline date. If you wish to keep a record of your submitted NSERC application, use the Export application and attachments to PDF function and save a copy.


NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically using the Research portal. User ID/password-based “signatures” allow applicants, supporting organizations and authorized institutional representatives—such as research grants officers, scholarships liaison officers and business officers—to “sign” and submit online applications and other documents to NSERC. Refer to the frequently asked questions in the Program guide for professors for more details.

What do the “signatures” mean?

For applicants and co-applicants

Before you, as an applicant or co-applicant, can submit your application to NSERC or upload your NSERC CCV 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.

The “signatures” of the institutional authorities certify that

  • the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities 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 ("the Agreement") 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 Tri-agency guide on financial administration, and the relevant program literature
  • as required by the agreement, the applicant and co-applicant(s) meet the eligibility requirements for the relevant funding opportunity
  • prior to submission of the application, the institution has obtained written approval from any other institutions involved in the application process
  • you will not use or disclose any information that you obtain or view on the research portal for any purposes other than your participation in the agency’s process
  • you understand that the agency reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to terminate or restrict your access to the research portal at any time, without notice

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 co-applicant and a principal of a collaborating organization, another senior official must “sign” on behalf of the organization.