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Discovery Grants Program

Grants to Canada Investigators for Ongoing
Science and Engineering Research at IHEs

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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

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Grants to Canada individual researchers to support high-quality research in engineering and natural sciences at Canadian institutions of higher education. Applicants must submit a notice of intent before applying. Funding is intended for both early career and established researchers.

The Discovery Grants Program assists in:

- Promoting and maintaining a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities;
fostering research excellence;
- Providing a stimulating environment for research training.

The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research with long-term goals rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. Discovery Grants are considered “grants in aid” of research, as they provide long term operating funds and can facilitate access to funding from other programs, but are not meant to support the full costs of a research program.

Recipients of Discovery Grants are not restricted to the specific activities described in their applications, and may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC’s mandate. This provides researchers with the flexibility to pursue promising research avenues as they emerge and the opportunity to address higher-risk (higher reward) topics. Researchers can use their grants to participate in collaborative efforts.

Applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training.

List of Evaluation Groups and Research Topics:

-Genes, Cells and Molecules
-Biological Systems and Functions
-Evolution and Ecology
-Computer Science
-Mathematics and Statistics
-Civil, Industrial and Systems Engineering
-Electrical and Computer Engineering
-Materials and Chemical Engineering
-Mechanical Engineering

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174293

Term of Contract:

Discovery Grants are normally awarded for five years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Discovery Grants are awarded to individual researchers. Researchers can apply for and hold only one Discovery Grant at a time. Researchers who hold a Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another Discovery Grant until the last year of their current award. If you currently hold a team grant and wish to apply individually, consult NSERC.

NSERC does not consider requests for supplements to existing Discovery Grants, except for E. W. R. Steacie Memorial Fellows and Discovery Grant Northern Research Supplements holders. Recipients may, however, apply for all other types of NSERC grants.

Eligible to apply for and hold funds:

- Applicant: Principal investigator on an application (i.e., university faculty). For applications to the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program, the applicant is a designated institutional administrator.
- Co-applicant: Member of a research group applying for a team grant (i.e., university faculty or college faculty).

More information on Eligibility Criteria for Faculty:

Pre-proposal Conference:

NSERC is hosting webinars to assist the research community on “How to complete an application” using the Research Portal and the NSERC Canadian Common CV (CCV). You will find below, tentative dates for these upcoming webinars.

Discovery Grant - Submission of a Notification of Intent to Apply

English Sessions dates:
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Time 1 to 3 p.m. (ET)
Open to Members of the research community across Canada

French Sessions Dates:
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Time 1 to 3 p.m. (ET)
Open to Members of the research community across Canada

Discovery Grant - Submission of an application

English Sessions Dates:
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Time 1 to 3 p.m. (ET)
Open to Members of the research community across Canada

French Sessions Dates:
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Time 1 to 3 p.m. (ET)
Open to Members of the research community across Canada


Pre-Application Information:

A Notification of Intent to Apply (NOI) must be submitted by the deadline date of August 1st, 2019, 8:00 p.m. (ET). NSERC will not accept an NOI after the deadline date.

The NOI is mandatory when applying for a Discovery Grant. Applicants who do not submit a NOI cannot submit a full application. The information contained in the NOI allows NSERC to start some aspects of the review process, including the preliminary assignment to an Evaluation Group, the selection of external reviewers and the verification of the eligibility of the subject matter.

Application Deadline:
-August 1 (Notification of Intent to Apply)
-November 1 (Application)

To view instructions:

Instructions for completing an application:

Applicant Categories:

Memo to Potential Applicants:

List of Evaluation Groups and Research Topics:

Peer Review Manuals:

Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Create a Canadian Common CV here:

Create or access a Notification of Intent to Apply or an Application through the Research Portal:

Contact List:

General Inquiries:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon