University Research Services

University Research Services
University Research Services

2018 NSERC Collaborative Research & Training Experience (CREATE) Competition

Webpage Overview

Important Dates

If you plan to apply for this program, please let Vera ( know as soon as possible so that we can send you additional resources.

Interested applicants should email by February 1: we just want to know early on how many letters of intent to expect and if an internal competition will be required (NSERC sets a quota each year of how many LOIs each university is allowed to submit).

Important Dates

Related Information

Monday April 16, 2018

Queen's internal deadline: please send your draft form 187 to, using a subject line of "CREATE LOI".  

Each year, NSERC sets a quota of how many CREATE LOIs each university is allowed to submit, so an internal competition may be required if we receive more than our quota. This has not been necessary in the last few years

Tuesday May 1, 2018 NSERC deadline for LOI submission
Friday September 7, 2018 Queen's Internal deadline for the full applications
Friday September 22, 2018 NSERC deadline for the full application (by invitation only)


Queen's Internal Process and Submission

Each year NSERC sets a quota of how many LOIs each university can submit (quota tbd for 2018), so an internal competition may be required if we receive more. This has not been the case in the last few years, but we have to have a mandatory internal deadline of April 9 to determine how many PIs from Queen's intend to apply.

April 9, 2018 11:59 p.m.

Queen's internal deadline: please send your draft form 187 to

All LOIs to be submitted from Queen's will be reviewed by URS (Vera Kettnaker, Kelly Cathcart and Hakan Karatas) and feedback provided to the applicants.


May 1, 2018

LOIs submitted by URS to NSERC on the Online System.

end of June: NSERC notifies all LOI applicants if they are invited to submit a full application

URS will work with the successful LOI applicants on their full application.


2017 NSERC CREATE in a nutshell: 

Funds Available: Up to $1.65 million per project: Funding of up to $150,000 in the first year, and up to $300,000 annually in subsequent years, will be provided by NSERC for a maximum period of six years. At least 80 percent of the CREATE grant must be used for trainees’ stipends. Up to 30 percent of this portion can be distributed to trainees who are not enrolled in the NSE.

Grant duration: Up to 6 years.

Relevant Research Areas: Priority areas (at least 60% of funding) are Environmental science and technologies; Natural resources and energy; Manufacturing; and Information and communications technologies, but other areas in the natural sciences and engineering will also be considered.  

Deadlines:Queen’s internal deadline for letters of intent: April 17. NSERC deadline for the letters of intent: May 1. NSERC deadline for the full application: September 22.

Objectives: The Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program supports the training of teams of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs that:

  • encourage collaborative and integrative approaches, and address significant scientific challenges associated with Canada’s research priorities; and
  • facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.

These innovative programs must include the acquisition and development of important professional skills among students and postdoctoral fellows that complement their qualifications and technical skills.

In addition, these programs should encourage the following as appropriate:

  • student mobility, nationally or internationally, between individual universities and between universities and other sectors; [URS comment: in particular, internships for the students are very important]
  • interdisciplinary research within the natural sciences and engineering (NSE), or at the interface between the NSE and health, or the social sciences and humanities. However, the main focus of the training must still lie within the NSE;
  • increased collaboration between industry and academia; and
  • for the industrial stream, an additional objective is to support improved job-readiness within the industrial sector by exposing participants to the specific challenges of this sector and training people with the skills identified by industry.


In the case of multi-organization collaborations (academic, industrial, government or not-for-profit sectors), the applicant must be from an NSERC-supported field at an NSERC-eligible university. One person must be designated to administer the grant. This person is the “applicant” and is responsible for completing and submitting the Letter of Intent (LOI) and the application (if invited) on behalf of the group. The applicant’s university will be the lead university.

  • Each researcher can only be involved in 2 active CREATE grants. Please note that in 2017, NSERC had introduced additional restrictions which they later retracted, but it is possible that these restrictions will come into force for 2018. The additional restrictions they had tried to introduce last year allowed each applicant to only be part of 1 LOI, and applicants that are part of an active grant would not be allowed to be part of a new LOI until the year following the end of the active grant. As mentioned, NSERC has not said yet if they will reintroduce those new restrictions this year or not.
  • At least 70 percent of the group must be from NSE fields, but co-applicants at the interdisciplinary frontier between NSE and the areas covered under the umbrella of SSHRC and CIHR may be incorporated into proposals.
  • The focus should be on new training initiatives. Existing initiatives must justify the incremental value that will accrue from the CREATE Program.
  • A yearly quota has been established for each university, and only those researchers selected at their university can submit LOIs.
  • For applicants who have previously held a CREATE Grant, the proposed initiative must differ from the previous one. This must be clearly explained in the Letter of Intent.


NSERC Resources for CREATE applicants


Queen's Resources for CREATE applicants

Best Practices for CREATE LOIs 2016 (last updated April 25 2016)

NSERC F100 Best Practices

 Contact for suggestions of possible sources of institutional support.