University Research Services

University Research Services
University Research Services

2017 NSERC Strategic Project Grant Competition

In June 2016, NSERC announced the introduction of a LOI stage for the 2017 competition of Strategic project grants:
" Based on feedback received during consultations with the community, NSERC will be adding a Letter of Intent (LOI) stage to the application process for the Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects, starting with the 2017 competition cycle. The LOI stage will be mandatory for all applications to Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects (SPG-P).  "

Webpage Overview

Important Dates

  • Jan 23, 2017 Queen's (Internal) Deadline for NSERC Strategic Project Letters of Intent:  Letters of commitment from industry partners received, proposal draft and budget forwarded to
  • Feb 1 2017: Letters of Intent for NSERC Strategic Project grants due at NSERC
  • March 1: Applicants for Strategic Networks should notify of their intent as soon as possible, but no later than March 1
  • April 1, 2017 -NSERC (External) Deadline. Preliminary applications for NSERC Strategic Networks must be received by NSERC on a USB stick by courier by 4 p.m. on April 1.
  • May 24, 2017: internal deadline for Strategic Project Full applications.
  • June 7, 2017: Full applications due for those NSERC Strategic Project applicants who were invited to submit a full proposal by NSERC on April 1.
  • September 15, 2017: NSERC will announce the grants.

LOI and Application Review Process URS

LOI reviews requested before Jan 23 (the sooner the better) and Full application reviews requested by May 24 (the sooner the better) by emailing a draft will receive a non-technical review for NSERC instructions, guidelines, evaluation criteria, general grant craftsmanship, completeness, and internal consistency. Applicants are also encouraged to ask colleagues for a technical review of their proposals. All applications will be checked for completeness and for compliance with Queen's regulations before submission to NSERC.

Submission Process

Strategic Projects: proposals are prepared on the NSERC Online System (using F100 forms). When the PI hits "Submit to RGO", the proposal will be reviewed by Queen's URS, and then forwarded to NSERC by URS if the proposal conforms to Queen's regulations.
Minimum requirements for forwarding the proposal to NSERC by URS:
- TRAQ DSS approved by department and faculty
- If supporting companies or government organizations are contributing cash, then the Queen's policy for indirect costs applies (25%)
- Proposals involving researchers at other universities also require approval of the proposal by an authorized representative of the research office of that university to be emailed to

Information & Resources

Strategic Project Grants in a nutshell:

Funds Available: No minimum or maximum specified. The national average grant size in 2016 was 178K/year.  The smallest grant was $79K/year and the largest was $284K/year.  Grant duration is 1-3 years, but almost all are 3 years long.All 2016 awards:

Relevant Research Areas: Advanced Manufacturing, Environment and Agriculture, Information and Communications Technologies, Natural Resources and Energy. Specific topics of interest within those areas. Note that "Natural Resources and Energy" also contains several environmental topics.

Program objective: The goal of the SPG-P program is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years.

Partner requirements: at least one supporting organization that must be either a Canadian-based  company or a government organization with a policy mandate related to the proposal topic. The supporting organization must be actively involved in all stages of the project; therefore, in-kind contributions are required, but cash is not. NSERC encourages applicants to also incorporate international collaborations into their proposals.


  • For the PI, general NSERC eligibility criteria for faculty apply. Co-applicant adjunct faculty can't have their primary employment at a supporting organization (see NSERC FAQ) Some co-applicants can be from non-NSERC fields - the detailed information on NSERC's webpages about the Strategic program provide details on their eligibility criteria.
  • The project must support the goal of Strategic Partnership Grants and fall within one of the target areas (see above, under Relevant Research Areas).
  • Priority will be given to applications that address the research topics identified in each target area. Projects that make a compelling case for research within the Context section of a target area description, but are outside the research topics, will be considered “exceptional” and may be funded subject to the availability of funds. No more than 20 percent of the budget will be allocated to “exceptional opportunities.”
  • At least one academic researcher and at least one supporting organization must collaborate in the project.
  • The supporting organization must be actively involved in all stages of the project; therefore, in-kind contributions are required, but cash is not.
  • Applications targeting incremental improvements to existing technologies will not be considered.

NSERC Strategic Network Grants

For the 2017 competition the preliminary applications must address one or more of the Strategic Partnership Grants target areas (Advanced Manufacturing, Environment and Agriculture, Information and Communication Technologies or Natural Resources and Energy). Applications are encouraged in clean technologies across all four target areas and with a focus on the impacts of climate change; including climate change mitigation and adaptation (if appropriate). The network must have a strategy for international collaboration, which may involve establishing or enhancing Canada’s leadership role, leveraging international partners’ expertise and/or facilitating dialogue for international collaboration in areas of mutually beneficial interest to further network goals.

  • Stream A for entirely new networks, not previously funded by anyone: $500K-$1.125m/y, for 5 years.
  • Stream B for networks previously funded by federal or provincial sources:industry/gov partner cash will be matched 3:1, for grants of $500K-$1.125m/y, for 5 years.

Applicants interested in applying for a Strategic Network Grant should contact early on so that URS can provide development support.


NSERC's 2017 Strategic Grant Webinar Slides

Slides from the Dec 16 webinar about the new LOI phase of the NSERC Strategic grants
NSERC slides for the 2017 Strategic Full Application competition

Queen's Best Practices Documents

The Queen's-specific resources below reside on QShare and can be accessed with your Queen's NetID and password:


Queen's Info Session Slides

Slides from the Strategic Project Info Session 2016

Slides of a Reviewer's perspective presentation: (older, but lots of good advice):

NSERC Strategic Project Info-Session Slides 2015

Slides from the URS Strategic Project Workshop 2014

Slides from the URS Strategic Project Workshop 2013

Slides from the URS Strategic Project Workshop 2012

NSERC Resources

NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants:

Additional information specific for Strategic Project Grants:

Additional information specific for Strategic Network Grants:

Description of the 2017 target areas:

International joint calls for 2017 SPG proposals:

FAQ Page for SPG applicants:

NSERC Instructions

NSERC instructions for completing F101 for SPG-P:

NSERC instructions for F100:

NSERC instructions for F183A:

NSERC instructions for the F183A link manager (helps to trouble-shoot problems with linking/changing/unlinking the F183A)