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Subatomic Physics Major Resources Support Program

Instructions for completing an application

NSERC recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting researchers’ and students’ capacity to conduct their regular research and training activities. NSERC has published guidelines on the consideration of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and training activities. These guidelines provide direction on how to describe these impacts in an application and information on how they will be considered in the review of contributions to research and training and research and training plans.

To lessen the impact of COVID-19 and to support all of our researchers and highly qualified personnel, all active Discovery Grant holders can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at their current funding level. For more information, please consult the NSERC program information in relation to COVID-19 webpage and the Frequently Asked Questions.

In light of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC is also taking action to ensure effective and timely delivery of the Discovery Grants competition by adjusting the in-person meeting component of the review to take place by videoconference. NSERC is committed to maintaining a peer review process of the highest quality, including fairness and consistency between evaluating committees and across competition years.

General information

About the program

Read the program description before you complete the application.

Am I eligible to apply?

Consult the Eligibility Criteria for Faculty 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 according to the instructions, using the Research Portal. In addition, the This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV) must be completed by the applicant and co-applicant(s) and linked to the application.

Presentation standards

In the application, applicants and co-applicants must submit all requested information, and the submitted information must meet the Research Portal Presentation and Attachment Standards. 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. Information that is not required, based on the application instructions, will also 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 those deadlines.

The application must be received at NSERC by 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. If it is not received by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected. The application deadline is indicated in the program description, as well as on the Application Deadlines and Notification of Decision page.

Once an application has been submitted to NSERC, it cannot be updated or modified, either 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 information is used in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Self-identification information

You must complete the form for self-identification (of age, gender, Indigenous identity, disability, visible minority identity), found in the user profile of the Research portal. This information is used to help the federal granting agencies monitor the equity of their programs and design new measures to achieve greater equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the research enterprise. Although you must complete the form, which self-identification information you choose to disclose is voluntary. Self-identification information does not form part of your application and is not accessible to or shared with external reviewers and/or selection committee members. Whether you choose to self-identify has no bearing on the outcome of your application. However, in certain funding opportunities, an agency may offer special consideration for members of a designated equity group. In this case, applicants will be asked for their consent to use their self-identification information for this purpose.

Whom should I contact for help?

Completing the application

Create an application

  • Sign in to the Research Portal.
  • Select the funding opportunity and click Create
  • Select your notification of intent to apply (NOI); it will form the basis for your application
  • 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

Some fields are pre-populated based on the information provided in your NOI. You may edit these fields as needed.

Note: If you have not submitted an NOI for this program, you cannot create or submit an application. Consult the program description for more information.


Administering organization

Organization – Select the organization that will administer the grant.

Department – If your department is not in the list, select “ head office.”


Application title - The title must be short and descriptive. It may be used for publication purposes. Restrict the use of acronyms (e.g., DNA, NATO, etc.), and avoid company or trade names. The title of the application can differ from the title provided on the NOI.

Language of the application - Indicate the language in which the application will be submitted. The main body of the application should be written in either English or French, rather than in a mix of both official languages. The NSERC CCV should be submitted in the same language as the application. The applicant and co-applicant(s) can download their NSERC CCV in either official language. See Uploading your NSERC CCV for more details.

Suggested evaluation group (not editable) – Only resources that support research activities in subatomic physics can apply to the Subatomic Physics Major Resources Support (SAP-MRS) program. Applications that do not meet this requirement will be rejected.

Hours per month to be devoted to research/activity or use of equipment or facility – Enter the number of hours per month you plan to devote to the use or operation of the resource.

Summary of proposal

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

Provide a summary of the proposal in language that the public can understand.

Using simple terms, briefly describe the resource, what it will be used for, and the major research projects and programs it supports. Indicate why and to whom the resource is important, the anticipated outcomes of the research projects and programs supported by the resource, and the benefits to the research fields supported by the resource and to Canada.

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.

Expenditures for previous and current years

Provide the expenditures for the previous and current fiscal years towards the support of the resources' operations, reporting the support provided by previous NSERC SAP-MRS grants (if applicable) and any contributions from other sources.

Use the Budget justification section (free-form attachment) to explain and justify each budget item, any contributions from other sources, as well as the reasons for a positive or a negative balance in each of the years.

Proposed expenditures

For SAP-MRS grants, provide a three-year budget. If your request is for a shorter duration, you must provide an explanation in the Budget justification section. If you do not request support for certain years, you must enter 0 for each of those years.

SAP-MRS grants are normally awarded for three years. However, for thematic resources, a duration of up to five years may be requested. If you planned to request support for more than three years, you should contact the program officer responsible for the subatomic physics suite of programs at the NOI stage. If you did not do so, and circumstances have changed since submitting the NOI so that you may be able to request support for five years, you must contact the Program Officer before submitting your application.

Verify all of your entries carefully. The Total Amount Requested from NSERC is calculated automatically by subtracting the Total Cash Contributions, if any, from the Total Proposed Expenditures.

For SAP-MRS grants, the amount requested in the application should not differ by more than 20% from that included in the NOI. If the request differs by more than 20%, the applicant needs to justify the difference and obtain NSERC’s approval before submitting the grant application.

Use the Budget justification section (free-form attachment) to explain and justify each budget item and any contributions from other sources towards the support of the resource.

In the case of adjunct professors whose primary position is in industry or government, NSERC will award funds only for the direct support of students (salaries or stipends and student travel costs). All other costs must be covered through other sources of funding.

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.

Review and take into account the eligible and ineligible costs that are specific to the SAP-MRS program in the program description in the Program Guide for Professors.

SAP-MRS grants cannot be used to pay for indirect costs of research or expenses that are central or departmental institutional costs. Examples of such indirect costs include, but are not limited to, costs to maintain and renovate research spaces and buildings, leasing costs of spaces and equipment, costs of utilities, general technical support to laboratories, security and occupational safety, financial and administrative support, or insurance. Moreover, SAP-MRS grants cannot be used to pay for the establishment, construction, or infrastructure expansion of a resource.

Past contributions to the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP)

The applicant and each of the co-applicants must complete this section.

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

Discuss your most significant contributions to the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) over the last six years.

Training supported by NSERC ranges from undergraduate theses and summer projects to postdoctoral levels, and includes technical and other research personnel.

You must clearly explain your role in any co-supervision of HQP.

The assessment of past contributions to HQP training focuses on the quality and impact of training, as demonstrated through three components. Each component should be supported through your CCV and/or application text:

  • Training environment

    Describe the research training and development opportunities provided for HQP (e.g., HQP science outreach and engagement, interdisciplinary research, collaborations, interaction with the private and public sectors).

    Describe qualitatively any challenges or barriers encountered in ensuring an inclusive research and training environment.

    Describe specific actions implemented to support equity and inclusion in recruitment practices, mentorship approaches, and initiatives aimed at ensuring an inclusive research and training environment and trainee growth (if applicable).

Important: Trainee demographic data is not requested or required to assess impacts resulting from consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in the research and training environment.

For more information on equitable, diverse and inclusive research and training environments, refer to NSERC’s Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application (questions 1 to 4) and New Frontiers in Research Funds’ This link will take you to another Web site (NFRF’s) Best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion in research.

For more information on equitable and inclusive recruitment practices, refer to the Canada Research Chairs’ (CRC’s) This link will take you to another Web site Equity, diversity and inclusion: A best practice guide for recruitment, hiring and retention and This link will take you to another Web site NFRF’s Best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion in research.

  • HQP awards and research contributions

    Describe research contributions produced by HQP (e.g., publications, patents, key presentations) and highlight awards, scholarships and fellowships won by HQP.

  • Outcomes and skills gained by HQP

    Describe your most significant examples of HQP and explain how your training contributed to their success (e.g., skills and experiences gained, outcomes such as further studies or career). A successful outcome can be broadly defined as an HQP doing something that has impact. This impact can be either in the natural sciences and engineering or outside this area, but it needs to be clear how the skills gained in the applicant’s research training environment are being used by the HQP.

    Cases of HQP delays (e.g., parental leave, medical leave or bereavement) that are beyond your control can be considered. A pattern of prolonged periods of study or frequent student withdrawal from programs should be explained, while providing only minimal personal information needed to explain the issue.

Most significant contributions to research

The applicant and each of the co-applicants must complete this section.

A limit of 9,000 characters is allowed in the text box.

Describe up to five of your most significant contributions to research and/or to practical applications over the last six years. Contributions made more than six years ago but for which the impact is being felt now (e.g., exploitation of patent, inclusion in a code, etc.) may be included.

For each contribution, describe its significance in terms of influence on the direction of thought and activity in the target community, as well as its significance to, and use by, other researchers and end users. For collaborative contributions, describe your role.

A contribution does not have to be a single publication or report. For example, a group of publications on a specific subject could be discussed as one contribution.


  • Include the full reference to your contributions in this text box or provide the appropriate reference to your NSERC CCV.
  • Provide dates and clearly explain the impact of any significant delays in the research activity or in the dissemination of research results (e.g., parental leave, medical leave, bereavement, extraordinary administrative duties, delays related to COVID-19) in the NSERC CCV under the section on employment (leaves of absence / delays and their impact on research).

Additional information on contributions

The applicant and each of the co-applicants must complete this section.

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

Provide details, as appropriate, on the contributions listed in your NSERC CCV. Such details may include:

  • nature of collaborations with other researchers
  • rationale or practice used for
    • the order of authors in the publications listed
    • the inclusion of students in the list of authors
  • your role in joint publications
  • reason for selecting certain venues (e.g., journals, conferences) for publications, and particular features of the venues (e.g., target audiences, review procedures)
  • impact or potential impact of patents and technology transfer
  • nature of industrially relevant R&D activities
  • significance of technical reports
  • attestation to the nature and the significance of confidential technical and internal reports
  • original research reported in books or technical reports

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 stem cells: If you select Yes, or if the application is found to fall into this category through peer review 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 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 NSERC’s Guidelines on Impact Assessment.

Research subject codes

Consult the Research Subject Codes. A primary research subject code is required.

Area of application codes

Consult the Area of Application Codes. A primary area of application code is required.

Key words

Modify, as required, the key words to best describe your proposal.

Eligibility profile

You must re-validate your eligibility profile. Click on Save and validate.


In the Application overview page, click Attach to include each required document type. Attachments are free-form and must respect the Research portal presentation and attachment standards and page limits, where appropriate.

Important note: 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 corrupted or protected files that cannot be opened or viewed.


This is a free-form PDF attachment.

Address all the selection criteria for the SAP-MRS program, as presented in the Program Guide for Professors. Using individual headings that relate to each criterion, explain how your resource meets all eight criteria. The onus is on the applicant to thoroughly address each criterion and provide detailed information to the subatomic physics evaluation section.

If the resource has a Web site to enable users to apply for access, screen shots of the appropriate Web pages can be included in the proposal. The readers should not be referred to the resource’s Web site for additional information on your proposal.

The following page limits apply:

  • For applications requesting an average of up to $499,999 per year (over the requested duration), a maximum of 15 pages is allowed.
  • For applications requesting an average in the range of $500,000 to $999,999 per year (over the requested duration), a maximum of 20 pages is allowed.
  • For applications requesting an average of $1,000,000 per year or more (over the requested duration), a maximum of 25 pages is allowed.

Moreover, regardless of the requested average amount per year, the applicant and each co-applicant may submit the following information on one additional page each:

  • the number of hours or days of use of the resource, as well as the access fees paid in each of the last five years, if applicable;
  • a description of the past impact (if applicable) and expected future impact of the resource on their research program and on the training of HQP;
  • a list of the contributions in the previous five years (e.g., publications, technical reports, patents, etc.) that depended upon the use of the resource, if applicable.

Note that the applicant and each co-applicant must make use of a separate page, which must be independent from the description of the proposal. If the applicant or any of the co-applicants does not make use of the entirety of their dedicated page, the unused space cannot be shared with another co-applicant.

Budget justification

This is a free-form PDF attachment.

There is no page limit. The file size limit is 10 Mb.

Provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item. The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the requested support is appropriate.

Refer to the NSERC CCV instructions for information on obtaining consent to name individuals in your proposal.

Applicants must use this section only for the purpose of justifying the proposed budget. They should not make use of any part of it to provide additional information on the proposal and further address the selection criteria. Applications that do not comply with this requirement will be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that do. NSERC reserves the right to remove pages from this section if they are unrelated to the budget justification.

Salaries and benefits

Give the names (if known), categories of employment and proposed salaries (with explicit indication of the non-discretionary benefits) for professional and technical staff employed to provide support to users, or to operate and maintain the resource. Eligible remuneration of any other nature that is required as part of the activities of the resource must also be explained.

Equipment or facility

Give a breakdown of minor equipment/upgrades that are essential to the operation and maintenance of the resource, providing detail on items requested, models, manufacturers, prices, and applicable taxes. Justify each item requested.

Note: The SAP Research Tools and Instruments (SAP-RTI) Grants program provides the primary avenue to obtain support for tools and instruments with a net cost of more than $7,000. Minor equipment/upgrades that are essential to the operation and maintenance of a resource can be purchased through a SAP-MRS grant, even if the cost is higher than $7,000. NSERC reserves the right to request that an equipment submitted as part of a SAP-MRS grant be re-submitted as a SAP-RTI grant application.

Materials and supplies

Provide details of the budget requested for materials and supplies and explain major items.


Provide details and explain how each activity relates to the resource's plan to keep abreast of scientific and technical advances.


Provide details and explain how each activity relates to outreach to increase the potential user communities’ awareness of the activities and opportunities offered by the resource. Any other eligible dissemination expense, such as for publications, should also be explained.

Other expenses

List all items not covered in previous categories and provide a detailed explanation for major items.

Contributions from other sources (if applicable)

If appropriate, explain any contributions from other sources. Resources that apply user fees should report that income in this section.

Relationship to other research support - explanation

This is a free-form PDF attachment.

There is no page limit. The file size limit is 10 Mb.

This section refers only to other research support that will be held by the applicant or any of the co-applicants, or may become active within the funding period of the proposed SAP-MRS grant. Do not provide additional information related to the proposal or further address the selection criteria. Applications that do not comply with this requirement would be at a disadvantage in comparison with those that do. NSERC reserves the right to remove pages from this section if they do not relate to explaining relationships with other research support.

Refer to This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency for additional information.

The explanation of other research support (held and/or applied for) is considered in the evaluation of the need for funds. You may hold funds from other sources for the same research ideas or objectives, as long as they are used to cover different expenses and the funding sources are not the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and/or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Other sources of support 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.

Explain any relationship and/or overlap (conceptual or financial) between work supported by other funding sources and work supported by NSERC (including the current application). The onus is on applicants to provide sufficient information to enable the reviewers to assess the relationship between this application and other sources of support, and the incremental value of additional support from the SAP-MRS program. Failure to provide adequate information to assess the relationship to other research will result in a rating of “Insufficient” for the need for funds criterion.

List of references

This is a free-form PDF attachment.

Page limit: two pages.

  • Provide a list of literature references in support of your proposal.
  • Do not refer readers to Web sites for additional information on your proposal.
  • Do not include hyperlinks or footnotes in your list of references.

Attestation on confidential research contributions (if applicable)

This is a free-form PDF attachment —file size limit of 10 MB.

If applicable, provide letters from users attesting to the nature and the significance of confidential technical and internal reports, some of which may be confidential to protect proprietary information.


Inviting co-applicants

There is no typical number of co-applicants for a SAP-MRS application. However, the maximum number of co-applicants is 10. NSERC recognizes that not all resources are the same and that the profile of co-applicants will vary accordingly. The decision of which major users to include as co-applicants is left to the discretion of the applicant.

From the Application overview page in the Invitations section, click on Manage invitation.

Provide the name and email address of each co-applicant. An email will be sent to each participant with instructions on how to accept the invitation. Co-applicants who were already invited at the NOI stage must accept it again at the application stage. The list of co-applicants may be modified from the time when the NOI was submitted.

Information required from co-applicants

As a co-applicant you must accept the invitation as specified in the invitation email (even if you have previously accepted it at the NOI stage). In the Research Portal, complete or update your Eligibility Profile, upload your NSERC CCV and provide the following information using the instructions specified above:

  • Time to be devoted to research/activity (hours per month devoted by the co-applicant to the use or operation of the resource);
  • Past contributions to the training of HQP;
  • Most significant contributions to research;
  • Additional information on contributions.

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)'s participation before the application is submitted to NSERC.

Uploading your NSERC CCV (applicant and co-applicants)

  • In the Application Overview page, click Attach.
  • Enter your CCV confirmation number. (Refer to the NSERC CCV instructions for professors for details on how to obtain your confirmation number.)
  • Click Upload.
  • Your CCV should be in the same language as your application.

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

The applicant and each co-applicant must link their NSERC CCV to the application. Note that applicants or co-applicants can update their NSERC CCVs after the NOI is submitted, before submitting the full application.

Important note:  Preview your CCV in the Research Portal, and that of your co-applicant(s) if applicable, before submitting your application and ensure that the file(s) uploaded correctly.

Submitting the 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 the confirmation box has been checked, 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 of applications in the Research Portal is three months after the deadline date. Applicants wishing to keep a record of their submitted NSERC application should 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 on-line applications and other documents to NSERC. Refer to the frequently asked questions in the Program Guide for Professors for more details.

What do “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 Financial Administration Guide, and the relevant program literature;
  • as required by the agreement, you, as the applicant and co-applicant(s), meet the eligibility requirements for the relevant funding opportunity
  • before submitting 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; and
  • 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.