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NSERC continues to make adjustments to its operations as we monitor the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to support our grants, scholarships and awards recipients, as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and we will make further adjustments as needed.

The granting agencies recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect your work, your ability to conduct and review research, and your ability to prepare and submit publications or grant and scholarship applications. We understand that some research could be jeopardized or slowed down; the preparation of research and financial reports may be delayed; and meetings, events, and travel plans may also be affected. The Agencies will continue to support the research community as we adapt to these challenges.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will provide program-by-program specific information as we continue to monitor and evaluate adjustments to program application deadlines and the reporting of due dates, as needed. These will be communicated through the NSERC website with regular updates. We will continue to make adjustments and put in place additional measures as necessary. 

The information below will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any questions, please refer to NSERC’s Contact Us page.

Program-specific details

Call for joint Canada-UK projects on quantum technologies (QT)
The expression of interest deadline has been extended to June 8, 2020. The two funding agencies will respond jointly to expressions of interest by June 12, 2020.

Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA)
The application deadline has been suspended. NSERC will continue to accept applications past May 1, 2020, without penalty.

Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) – letter of intent
The application deadline for the letter of intent has been extended to June 1, 2020.

Science Communication Skills grant (pilot)
The application deadline has been extended to June 15, 2020.

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship
The application deadline has been extended to July 7, 2020.

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Masters (CGS M)
The opening of the Research Portal for students to accept or decline awards has been delayed until April 15, 2020. Applicants requiring an extension to the 21 day window to accept or decline their award should contact the relevant agency.

CGS M allocations by institution extended to next competition cycle. No change to December 1, 2020 application deadline at this time.

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (PGS/CGS-D)
The release of results from the 2020 PGS/CGS–D competition is proceeding as planned. Results are expected in April. Should delays be experienced, they will be communicated as soon as possible. 

Discovery Grants
The release of results from the 2020 Discovery Grants competition is proceeding as planned.  Results are expected to be posted on the Research Portal by mid-April. Should delays be experienced, they will be communicated as soon as possible. 

Results posted include Discovery Grants – Individual, Discovery Grants – Subatomic Physics, Discovery Grants – Northern Research Supplements, Discovery Launch Supplements, Discovery Accelerator Supplements and the Discovery Development Grants.

Discovery Grants appeals process
The deadline to submit an appeal has been extended till June 30, 2020.

Research Tools and Instruments (RTI)
The release of results from the 2020 RTI competition is proceeding as planned. Results are expected to be posted on the Research Portal by mid-April. Should delays be experienced, they will be communicated as soon as possible. 

Collaborative Research and Development grants
All grant applications: Results will be communicated shortly, only minor delays are expected.

Alliance grants (option 1)
NSERC continues to accept applications. Applicants can expect delays in processing times, depending on the capacity of peer reviewers and of NSERC personnel.

Applications for which external reviews were received by March 12, 2020, should receive answers from NSERC in April.

Alliance grants (option 2)
The first meeting of the review panel is postponed until June 2020.

Synergy Awards
The application deadline has been moved to June 1, 2020.

Idea to Innovation (I2I) grants
The March 30, 2020 I2I application deadline has been postponed to June 22, 2020.
The evaluation of I2I applications submitted in January 2020 will not be affected by these changes.

College Engage and Applied Research and Development (ARD) grants
NSERC will continue to receive applications, but processing times will be partly
dependent on the availability of external reviewers, notably for ARDs.

College and Community Innovation program
The 2020 competition for the Innovation Enhancement grants has been postponed until further notice.

Science Odyssey
Science Odyssey has cancelled the celebration planned from May 2 to 17, 2020.

The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering 
The Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research
The John C. Polanyi Award

The deadline for these programs has been extended to May 1, 2020.

All programs:  Research reports due to NSERC have all been granted an extension of four weeks (to be revised as appropriate).

Other general program information

Grant extensions

NSERC and SSHRC recognize that agency-funded research activities may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic institutions can immediately approve extensions requests up to 12 months for Agency grants with an end date between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 inclusively. This provision applies to all grants, regardless of whether they have received a previous time extension of any length for any reason (including, where applicable, automatic extensions). The intent of this provision is to allow grantees to continue spending grant funds, and institutions to delay the processing of residual grant funds (per the NSERC/SSHRC Guidelines for the General Research Fund). Institutions are to keep complete and accurate records on the grants being extended. The mechanism for institutions to notify the Agencies of the details of these extensions will be determined and communicated in the near future.

Financial reporting

The deadline for submitting financial reporting (Forms 300 and 301) for the 2019-20 (April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) Annual Reconciliation of Active Awards has been postponed until September 30, 2020.

Travel and travel cancellations

NSERC confirms that in addition to the costs described in the earlier Tri-agency statement regarding cancelled travel plans of researchers and members of their teams, other non-refundable expenses may be incurred as a result of cancelled travel and/or meetings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Provided the expenses would have been eligible had the travel/meeting taken place as planned, these non-refundable costs can be reimbursed out of existing grant funds.

Other exceptional expenditures

In addition to the reimbursement of non-refundable travel and meeting costs as previously described, NSERC recognizes that in some cases other costs may be incurred in relation to ongoing financial commitments, such as the remuneration of individuals paid out of agency grants. For example, individuals receiving a salary or stipend from grant funds may be recommended or required to self-isolate, and/or may be unable to work or telework for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSERC confirms that if the costs are not covered by other sources of funds within the institution, and provided these expenses would otherwise have been eligible to be paid out of the grant, these can be paid from existing grant funds.


For more information, visit: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/NewsRelease-CommuniqueDePresse_eng.asp?ID=1139