University Research Services

University Research Services
University Research Services

2018 NSERC Collaborative Research & Training Experience (CREATE) Competition

Jump to: Important Dates | Queen's Internal Process and Submission | Program Summary | NSERC Resources for CREATE applicants | Queen's Resources for CREATE applicants | Contacts

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 is 6 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 16 to determine how many PIs from Queen's intend to apply.

April 16, 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.


2018 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 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 be considered, and the priority areas do not receive any preference. 

Deadlines: Queen’s internal deadline for letters of intent: April 16, 2018. NSERC deadline for the letters of intent: May 1, 2018. NSERC deadline for the full application: September 22, 2018 (as this is a Saturday, the real deadline is Monday September 24, 2018). 

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. 
  • 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. Queen's has a quota of 6 for 2018. 
  • 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.

Changes from 2017:

NSERC has announced a number of changes for CREATE grants in their February 2018 webinar. These will be reflected on the NSERC CREATE website when it is update in March 2018. For now the changes are listed below:

  • Research Coordinators can now receive their salary from the grant for all 6 years, not just the first 2 years (as was the rule in the past). This also applies to any existing active CREATES. 
  • The amounts requested per year can now vary by +/- $50K from the default amounts of $150K/y in year 1 and $300K/y in years 2-6 so long as the total still sums to $1.65M. 
  • Applicants should consider gender diversity in the applicant team and in their plans for recruiting students. This is especially true for disciplines where there is a recognized gender imbalance. For example, if your discipline does not tend to have many female graduate students, plans for graduate student recruitment should include strategies to increase the number of female students. 
  • Each team member may only be part of 2 active CREATE grants:
    • Researchers who are not part of any current CREATE grant may appear in 2 LOIs. 
    • Researchers who are in the applicant team of 1 active CREATE can only be part of 1 new LOI.
    • Researchers who are in two active CREATEs cannot be included in any LOI.
  • A start date of September 1 is now able to be requested. This applies to the CREATEs to be awarded in spring 2018. 


NSERC Resources for CREATE applicants


Queen's Resources for CREATE applicants

Best Practices for CREATE LOIs 2018 (DOC, 39 KB)

NSERC F100 Best Practices

 Contact for suggestions of possible sources of institutional support.