Friday, September 2, 2011

NSERC Discovery Grant 2012 Competition-Funding Opportunity

Discovery Grants Program (Individual, Team and Subatomic Physics Project (SAP))

The Discovery Grants Program is focused on promoting and maintaining diverse and high-quality research in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities; and providing a stimulating environment for research training. Discovery Grants fund ongoing programs of research with long-term goals as opposed to short-term projects, and are normally five years in duration. A shorter period can be requested at the time of application by those researchers who are phasing out their research program.

Important Dates

Internal Deadline: October 26, 2011 for all Discovery Grants, September 22, 2011 for SAP (requests over $500,000 per year)

Sponsor Deadline: November 1, 2011 for all Discovery Grants, October 1, 2011 for SAP (requests over $500,000 per year)

Information Sessions

St. George Session 1 - September 8, 2011, 10AM – Noon in Room 2118 Sidney Smith RSVP to Martina Simmonds,

UTM - September 9, 2011, 1PM – 3PM in Room 3130 William G Davis Building (South Bldg) RSVP to Carmen Bryson,

St. George Session 2 - September 13, 2011, Noon – 2PM in Room 2172 Medical Sciences Building RSVP to Martina Simmonds,

UTSC - September 14, 2011, 2PM – 4PM in Room AA160 Arts & Administration Building RSVP to Michele McDonell,

Who Can Apply

Generally, those eligible to apply for NSERC funding hold (or have a firm offer of) an academic appointment such as: tenured, tenure-track or lifetime professor emeritus, or a term/contract position of no less than three years. If you have questions about NSERC’s or UofT’s eligibility rules, please contact us. If you have questions about your appointment, please contact your department chair.

Researchers can apply for only one Discovery Grant at a time, either individually or as part of a team, and can hold only one Discovery Grant at any given time. Researchers who hold an individual Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another individual Discovery Grant until the last year of their current award. This restriction does not apply to SAP (Subatomic Physics) Project Grants, which may be held concurrently with an individual or team grant. If you are currently the sole holder of a Discovery Grant, you may participate in an application for a Discovery Grant with other researchers on the understanding that the Discovery Grant you currently hold will be cancelled. If you currently hold a team grant and wish to apply individually, consult NSERC.

Value of Funding

While NSERC does not establish minimum or maximum grant values for the Discovery Grant program, NSERC operates under the principle that a Discovery Grant must be sufficient to support a program of quality research that can have a meaningful impact on the field of study. As a result, NSERC applies the principle of a discipline-specific minimum Discovery Grant amount to ensure that any funded researcher receives sufficient funds to support at least one graduate student. The amount of funding requested must be fully justified in the application.

How to Apply

NSERC’s Discovery Grant application is completed entirely on-line on their website. There are two steps involved in completing a Discovery Grant application:

First step:

Those wishing to apply for a Discovery Grant must first submit a Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant (Form 180), along with a list of your research contributions for the last six years. Form 180 was due to NSERC on August 1, 2011. If you have not yet submitted a Form 180 but intend to apply, please contact Jessica Keating to discuss your situation further.

Second step:

You must then submit the following online by the application internal deadline date:
• an Application for a Grant (Form 101) and a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and each co-applicant;
• samples of contributions such as reprints, preprints and/or manuscripts, excerpts from your thesis, technical reports, etc., to be used by reviewers to assess the quality of your work. These documents should be chosen to represent your most significant recent contributions, or those most relevant to the proposed work, in the last six years; and
• a list of the samples of contributions you are submitting with your application.

Please visit the NSERC website for additional information

How are Applications Reviewed

Applications are reviewed by Evaluation Groups and there may also be input from referees. Applications are assigned to Evaluation Groups on the basis of the research topics, the objectives of the proposed research program, and input from applicants and Evaluation Groups. Applications are rated according to the following criteria. The onus is on applicants to address these explicitly in their proposal.
• Scientific or Engineering Excellence of the Researcher(s)
• Merit of the Proposal
• Contribution to the Training of Highly Qualified Personnel
• Relative Cost of Research
NSERC has prepared an excellent on-line video that describes the grant evaluation and selection process. Applicants who are applying to the Discovery Grant program, or thinking of applying, should seriously consider watching the presentation (run time, approximately 11 minutes) available at: weblink to video

What Does Research Services Require

The following documents must be submitted to Research Services on or before October 26, 2011 (September 22, 2011 for SAP) as these will be the basis for e-approving the online application:
• A completed RIS form with all required signatures from the department and division (i.e., unit head or one-up, Vice Principal-Research (UTM/UTSC), Vice Dean-Research and/or Dean, as applicable).
• Any additional documentation required to support your NSERC eligibility (e.g., letter of appointment, and, where applicable, Form 100 Appendices B and/or C) and that of your UofT co-applicants who hold irregular appointments (such as non-tenured, status-only).

Please visit the Research Services’ website for additional information

Discovery Accelerator Supplement

For the Discovery Accelerator Supplement (DAS) grants program, no separate application is required. Selection of recipients of Discovery Accelerator Supplements are made in conjunction with the review of Discovery Grant applications by the Grant Selection Committee. Each DAS award is valued at $120,000 over three years ($40,000 annually) and provides recipients with additional resources (in addition to your Discovery Grant (Individual, Team or Subatomic Physics) to compete with the best in the world. These resources may be used to expand the recipient’s research group (i.e., students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians), to purchase, or to have access to, specialized equipment, or for other initiatives/resources that would accelerate the progress of their research program.

For more information on the DAS program see NSERC’s website

Additional Information

For information on applying to this program please contact Jessica Keating at Research Services by email at
Additional information on the Discovery Grants Program can found on our website or the NSERC website

Please note that as of Monday July 18, 2011 I will no longer be the Research Funding Administrator for the Health & Life Sciences. If you could please direct only your HLS questions to Deanna Pong ( that would be much appreciated.

Jessica Keating
Research Funding Officer, Natural Sciences & Engineering
Agency & Foundation Funding
Office of Research Services
University of Toronto
McMurrich Building, 3rd floor
12 Queen's Park Crescent West
Toronto, ON M5S 1S8
Tel: 416.946.7517
Fax: 416.946.3707

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