Collaborative Research & Training Experience Program: 2025 Competition Year

The NSERC CREATE  program provides a value-added experience to the university training environment, which fosters the acquisition and development of professional skills to a group of trainees that complement qualifications and technical skills, and improve their readiness for both academic and non-academic careers.

Each university is provided with a yearly quota for the number of CREATE Letters of Intent (LOIs) that can be submitted to NSERC. For 2024-2025 completion cycle, Queen’s quota is six LOIs. Given the quota restriction, Queen’s has implemented an internal adjudication process, and only those researchers selected can submit LOIs.

Note: The CREATE Grant is an institutional application, requiring full consultation with University Research Services, and the applicant's Department Head and Associate Dean (Research).

NSERC has revised the CREATE program for the 2025 competition year and beyond.

  • Check the NSERC CREATE  website for updated details of 2025 competition year and its relevant deadlines in early March 2024.
  • In early February 2024, NSERC hosted two information sessions for potential CREATE applicants:

Queen's Event

On Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, the Vice-Principal Research held a panel discussion and Q&A session with Queen’s CREATE awardees and a CREATE programs’ manager about their experiences.

  Queen's NetID required to access these documents

 View the slide Deck (PDF 529 KB)


Queen’s CREATE grant awardees:
Dr. Brian Amsden (Professor, Chemical Engineering & the Donald and Joan McGeachy Chain in Biomedical Engineering at Queen’s University)
Dr. David Skillicorn (Professor, School of Computing at Queen’s University and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Royal Military College)
Dr. Parvin Mousavi (Professor, School of Computing & Canada CIFAR AI chair, Vector at Queen’s University)

CREATE program management:
Leone Ploeg (Executive Manager, Centre for Health Innovation at Queen's University, has managed three CREATE programs in 2009; 2015; 2021)


Dr. Brian Amsden (Associate Vice-Principal Research)
Dr. Aleksandra Bergier (Research Advisor, EDII)
Dr. Merline Fonkwe (Research Projects Advisor - Natural Sciences and Engineering)

Important Dates

The following table is a summary of key internal Queen's and external NSERC deadlines. The timeline provided below will be updated according to NSERC CREATE website with details of 2025 competition year. Details on the internal processes by University Research Services (URS) are below.

Phase 1 - Letter of Intent (LOI)

This phase is now complete for the 2025 competition year.

Phase 2 - Full Application (2024-2025 cycle)

Please note that, as the applications are forwarded to NSERC by University Research Services (URS), strict adherence to internal deadlines is required to ensure applications are submitted on time. All internal deadlines are before the end of day on the dates listed below, unless otherwise indicated.

Date/Deadline Type

Related Information

Wednesday, July 31, 2024


Submit initial draft application, proposed expenditures, and budget justification for URS review - MANDATORY

Monday, September 2, 2024


TRAQ DSS submission

Monday, September 9, 2024


Submit a complete draft full application version for URS review - MANDATORY

Wednesday, September 11, 2024


Institutional letter of support by the VPR

Note: Applicants must (re-)confirm all commitments/contributions from all Depts., Schools/Units, Faculty & other participating academic or non-academic organizations and ensure a penultimate full application version.

Friday, September 20, 2024


Finalized full application submission by applicants via NSERC's On-Line System for the final administrative review.

Monday, September 23, 2024

8:00 pm EST


Full applications forwarded to NSERC by URS

Early March 2025


NSERC’s notification of the competition results


Email application documents and inquiry to:
Dr. Merline Fonkwe  merline.fonkwe@queensu.ca, Research Projects Advisor - Natural Sciences and Engineering



Interested applicants are required to provide the below information. This will be used for identifying and composing the multidisciplinary review panel.

  • Lead applicant name
  • Title of the project and a 100-word description of the training program
  • Proposed co-applicants
  • Potential collaborators and/or partner organizations (if applicable)
  • Submission stream (regular, international)

Please send to Dr. Merline Fonkwe  merline.fonkwe@queensu.ca (Subject Line: NSERC CREATE – Registration) by Friday, February 16, 2024.

Internal Expression of Interest (iEOI) – COMPLETE FOR THE 2025 COMPETITION YEAR

1. The iEOI must be submitted by all interested applicants. The following three (3) documents are required for the internal review:

  • A maximum of two-page description of the CREATE program that includes the following:
    • The objectives, approach, novelty, gap to be filled, sustainability and expected significance of the proposed research training program
    • The rationale for the team composition and how it has the necessary expertise for the successful execution of the training program  
    • The outline of the training program that the trainees will be involved in, and the approximate number of students and postdoctoral fellows planned to train on an annual basis
    • The opportunities for the trainees participate in academic exchanges, either within Canada, or abroad, and conduct internships
    • How the proposed training program would better prepare students for their future careers
    • Anticipated annual budget for the program (indicating other sources of funding, if applicable)
    • The sustainability plan of the training program beyond the term of the grant (i.e. address what will be retained, revised and/or ended, and possible future funding sources)
  • Lead applicant’s CV (Canadian Common CV or NSERC Form 100 format is acceptable)
  • Email or letter support from Associate Dean of Research

Submit these documents in one attachment file via email to Dr. Merline Fonkwe  merline.fonkwe@queensu.ca, (Subject Line: NSERC CREATE – iEOI) by Monday, March 4, 2024

2. The internal review panel (composition to follow) will evaluate the iEOIs and the pitch sessions and communicate feedback and decisions to all iEOI applicants. Queen’s internal evaluation criteria for iEOIs and pitches will be similar to those of NSERC for full applications:

a) Merit of the proposed training program (50%)

b) Excellence of the team of researchers (25%)—see NSERC's policy and guidelines on contributions to research and training.

c) Program management and long-term sustainability (25%)

Internal Review: Draft Letter of Intent (LOI) and Draft Full Application – OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED

The content and administrative review will be performed by a Research Projects Advisor (RPA) on a first-come, first-serve basis to ensure that application is complete and complies with the agency requirements. If you wish to have your draft LOI and full application reviewed, please email your application to  merline.fonkwe@queensu.caThe more complete the application, the more useful the review process will be. 

This is not a scientific review (i.e., a review by a researcher in your discipline). The RPA will:

  • Perform a detailed reading and content review of your full application (including editing suggestions)
  • Perform a budget review
  • Provide detailed comments/feedback


  • LOI submission by the selected applicants directly to NSERC – Deadline: Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 8:00 pm (EST)

The entire LOI application process is performed using NSERC's On-Line System. A complete LOI includes the following:

1. Form 187 - Letter of intent to apply for a Collaborative Research and Training Experience program

2. Form 100 - Personal data form, for the applicant

3. 300-word summary, including the objective(s), originality, novelty, and significance of the proposed training program.

4. Support Letter signed by VPR (confirmation that LOI is part of Queen’s quota).

5. List of suggested external reviewers.


A TRAQ DSS is required at the full application stage – Deadline Monday, September 02, 2024

The TRAQs must include:

  • Draft of the research proposal;
  • Draft of the budget/budget justification; and
  • Copy of the hospital-impact form (if the research would be considered hospital-based).

See the TRAQ Resources section in the "Information & Resources" tab below for more information.

Full Application

  • Full application submission forwarded by URS to NSERC – Deadline: Monday, September 20, 2024 at 8:00 pm (EST)

The entire application process is performed using NSERC's On-Line System. A complete Full application includes the following:

  • Form 102, including all free form sections
  • Form 100 for the applicant
  • Form 100, CCV, or regular CV for up to ten co-applicants (Co-applicants who submit a CCV or regular CV will not be able to see the application on the online system)
  • Institutional letter of support by the Vice-Principal Research
  • A maximum of three support letters from collaborators

Objectives: 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.

The training initiative should be focused on providing a value-added experience to the university training environment to better prepare research trainees for their future careers in industry, government or academia.

The innovative training program should:

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

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

  • student mobility, nationally or internationally, between individual universities and between universities and other sectors;
  • 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;
  • 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.

Successful applicants will consist of a group of accomplished researchers who will work collaboratively to offer a defined research training program to a group of trainees. This environment will provide trainees with experience relevant to both academic and non-academic careers. The research training experience should focus on providing an enriched training experience for graduate (master’s and doctoral) students.

Note: NSERC and Mitacs have formalized their existing relationship. Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of Mitacs programs that support internships in industry as well as other opportunities to increase the number of trainees.

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 (± \$50,000 per year variation allowed), 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: All areas of natural science and engineering.


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. Each researcher can only be the applicant on one CREATE per year.
  • At least 70% 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. 
  • Each training program will have a program committee responsible for overseeing the progress of the program and its future directions. The applicant may not be the Chair of the Program Committee.
  • 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.

Recent program changes:

  • 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.
  • A start date of September 1 is now able to be requested (or the default start date of April 1). 

  Queen's NetID required to access these documents

Previously Funded CREATE Program

Research summary from a previously successful application from Queen’s Parvin Mousavi: CREATE Training Program in Medical Informatics: Preparing Canada's Workforce for Health Data of Tomorrow:

(  Queen's NetID required to view the sample application)

Note: This sample application is intended for internal use at Queen’s only. You must enter your Queen's NetID and password to access this file. It is prohibited to circulate the sample applications outside of Queen’s or to host the example applications elsewhere online. Similarly, it is strictly prohibited to duplicate any of the text provided.

Research – Network and Data Management

Training Program Implementation

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenization (EDII)

If you don’t have a clear EDII action plan in place, please reach out to Dr. Aleksandra Bergier ( a.bergier@queensu.ca) as soon as possible to initiate the conversation and the planning process. If you haven’t already, we also strongly recommend that you take the EDI in Research Training Modules.


Completing the TRAQ DSS for Research that is not Hospital-Based

Completing the TRAQ DSS for Hospital-Based Research