Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grants

The NSERC Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research (with long-term goals) rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. Discovery Grants are considered ‘grants in aid’ of research as they provide long term operating funds to support the costs of a research program.

Eligibility: Applicants to the Discovery Grants Program must apply with a program of research that is eligible under NSERC’s mandate, which is to promote and assist research in the natural sciences and engineering, other than health. The intended objectives of the research program must be, primarily, to advance knowledge in the natural sciences or in engineering.

The Notice of Intent (NOI) for Discovery Grants is now available in the Research Portal. The NOI is a mandatory step and applicants who don’t submit an NOI cannot submit a full application in the Fall. Please consult the NOI instructions for assistance.


  1. Monday, August 3rd @ 8PM ET – NSERC NOI deadline. B. The NOI deadline of August 1st is a Saturday so the deadline automatically defaults to the next business day.  August 3rd is not a federal holiday and NSERC is open for support.
  2. Monday, October 26th – at 5PM – Western RD&S ROLA and application deadline (mandatory).
  3. Monday, November 2nd at 2PM –  NSERC deadline (mandatory).  B. The application deadline of November 1st falls on a Sunday so the deadline automatically defaults to the next business day.

**Please note that faculties/departments will have their own internal deadlines.  Please consult your faculty research office for more information.

A Common CV (CCV) is required at the NOI stage. If you have not completed a CCV before, please be aware that it will take a significant amount of time so be sure to plan accordingly.

The Discovery Grant-Team competition is no longer available.

FAQs for submitting your NOTICE OF INTENT

How many EGs/research topics should I choose?  Select your primary Evaluation Group (EG) and use the full list of EGs and research topics.  The NOI is used to effectively align reviewer(s) with application(s).  If reviewers aren’t available or you don’t select any other research topics, then NSERC will decide where your application best fits when forming the EGs.

Can my title or my summary change after the NOI?  The title and summary can change between the NOI and the full application, keeping in mind that NSERC has chosen reviewers for your application based on what was submitted in the NOI.

Does the NOI go to Western first?  No, the NOI goes straight to NSERC when you “submit”.  This is different from the full NSERC Discovery Grant application in the Fall which is sent to Western first for approval.

Do I need a ROLA for the NOI?  No, a ROLA is not required for the NOI.  However, a completed ROLA with Chair/Dean approvals is required by Research Western to forward an application to NSERC. If you are renewing your NSERC Discovery Grant this year, a ROLA will be created for you after August 3rd.

I’m deferring my Discovery Grant renewal until next year. Should I alert NSERC?  Yes. If you intend to defer your renewal application for another year (i.e. apply Fall 2016), send an email to NSERC-Discovery Grants at – or alternatively the program officer for your Evaluation Group (EG) – with a cc to  Provide your name, department and EG# (e.g.  ‘EG#1501 Genes, Cell and Molecules’), and indicate that you are NOT applying this Fall.   A contact list for each EG with phone numbers is available online.


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