Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

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Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada
Nserc logo.png
NSERC header.png
Agency overview
Formed May 1, 1978
Jurisdiction Government of Canada
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is a Canadian government agency that is aiming to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians.[1] The agency supports university students in their advanced studies, promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects. NSERC researchers are on the vanguard of science, building on Canada’s long tradition of scientific excellence.[2]

NSERC is the largest funder of science and engineering research in Canada – investing over $1 billion each year.[3] These investments deliver discoveries – valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors – and they enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers are the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.


NSERC came into existence on May 1, 1978.[4] University-based research had previously been supported through the National Research Council.[5] NSERC is a Separate Employer of the Government of Canada and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.[6]

NSERC is governed by a Council composed of the president and up to 18 members appointed from the private and public sectors. The current President of NSERC is Dr. B. Mario Pinto .

Types of grants[edit]


NSERC offers research grants for a wide range of programs and projects, covering every discipline of the natural sciences and engineering. Some of its most popular grants include:[7]

  • Discovery Grants Program: NSERC’s flagship grant program. Discovery Grants support ongoing programs of research. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all advances in research, whether made individually or in teams. Researchers are free to work in the mode most appropriate for the research area.
  • Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program: These grants provide substantial and timely additional resources to accelerate progress and maximize the impact of superior research programs.
  • Collaborative Health Research Projects Program: These grants support focused, interdisciplinary, collaborative research projects involving any field of the natural sciences or engineering and any field of the health sciences.
  • Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program: The CREATE Program is designed to improve the mentoring and training environment for the Canadian researchers of tomorrow by improving training in areas such as professional skills, communication and collaboration, as well as providing experience relevant to both academic and non-academic research environments.
  • Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program: This program provides the primary avenue for university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering to obtain support for research tools and instruments.

Students and Fellows[edit]

NSERC offers scholarships and fellowships for every stage of study, from undergraduate to postdoctoral. Some examples are:[8]

Institutions and Colleges[edit]

Institutions play a vital role in administering funding and providing a supportive environment for research. Colleges can receive funding for a variety of research activities including:[9]

College faculty members who meet the eligibility criteria can also participate in a number of other NSERC opportunities:[10]

Partnership programs[edit]

NSERC has Research Partnerships Programs to help foster collaborations between university researchers, colleges and other sectors (including government and industry) to develop new knowledge and expertise, transfer it to Canadian-based organizations and meet the objectives of the Government of Canada’s Science & Technology Strategy, including:[11]


NSERC celebrates exceptional examples of research excellence with a wide range of prizes. Individual awards focus on accomplishments that range from innovative discoveries by young researchers to lifetime achievement and influence. NSERC Prizes include:[12]

  • Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering [13]
  • NSERC John C. Polanyi Award [14]
  • Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering [15]
  • Synergy Awards for Innovation [16]
  • E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships [17]
  • NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research [18]
  • NSERC Awards for Science Promotion [19]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]