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NSERC University Information Session Simon Fraser University


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Title: NSERC University Information Session Simon Fraser University

(No Transcript)
NSERC University Information Session Simon Fraser
  • Sandra OConnor, Team Leader, Research Grants,
  • Stephen Holdcroft, Analytical Physical
    Chemistry GSC, NSERC
  • Department of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University
  • September 29, 2009

  • NSERC Updates
  • Strategic Review
  • Program Updates
  • Discovery Grants
  • New Evaluation Process
  • Conference Model
  • How to prepare a grant application
  • Important news from your grants office

NSERC Updates - Regional Offices
  • Ensure a visible presence in the regions and
    bring NSERC closer to students, researchers and
  • Raise awareness of NSERCs activities and promote
    participation in the programs
  • Create links between academic and private sectors
  • Promote science and math education

Ontario Regional Office (Opening soon) Suite
250 2655 North Sheridan Way Mississauga, ON L5K
NSERC Updates - Strategic Review
  • Annual process each year ¼ of federal
    organizations are involved
  • In 2008, 21 organizations participated
  • Principles
  • Review need and impact of program on the
    community it serves
  • Federal role and fit to NSERCs mandate
  • Alignment with the governments ST strategy
  • Value for money (efficiency and effectiveness),
    management performance and accountability
  • Results announced in Budget 2009

Strategic Review Outcome for NSERC
  • Programs to be terminated
  • Centres for Research in Youth, Science Teaching
    and Learning (CRYSTAL)
  • University Faculty Awards (UFA)
  • Research Capacity Development (RCD) program
  • Special Research Opportunity (SRO) program
  • Intellectual Property Mobilization (IPM) program
  • Programs to be reduced
  • Postgraduate Scholarships program PGS-M limited
    to 1 year
  • Major Resources Support (MRS) program
  • Indirect Costs Program

Federal Budget 2009 ST Expenditures
  • Further Developing a Highly Skilled Workforce
  • Canada Graduate Scholarship (Temporary Increase)
    87.5 million / 3 yrs
  • NSERC 35 mil. CIHR 35 mil. SSHRC
    17.5 mil.
  • Industrial RD Internships 3.5 million / 2 yrs
  • Helping Small Medium Sized Companies Innovate
  • Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
    200 million / 2 yrs
  • A More Sustainable Environment
  • Clean Energy Technologies 1 billion / 5 yrs
  • Atomic Energy of Canada 351 million

NSERC Budget 2009-10(millions of dollars)
Total 1,054
Discovery Programs Budget 2009-10(millions of
Total 402.6
Program Updates - Collaborative Research And
Training Experience (CREATE)
  • Support the training of teams of outstanding
    students and PDF through innovative training
    programs that
  • encourage collaborative and integrative
    approaches, and address significant scientific
    challenges and
  • facilitate the transition of new researchers from
    trainees to productive employees in the Canadian
  • Encourage one or more of the following
  • acquisition and development of important
    professional skills (complement their
    qualifications and technical skills)
  • student mobility between Canadian universities
    or internationally as appropriate and
  • interdisciplinary research.

CREATE Competition Whats New for 2009/10
  • Two stage process LOI and Full Application
  • Quotas of LOIs that can be submitted to NSERC
  • 6 LOIs from large universities
  • 4 LOIs from medium universities
  • 2 LOIs from small universities
  • External peer review on full applications only
  • One university letter of support (instead of 3)

Program Updates - Vanier Scholarships Program
  • To attract retain world-class doctoral
  • Tri-Agency program supporting students who
    achieved outstanding success in their studies and
    who will pursue a doctoral program in a Canadian
  • 50,000 / yr for 24 or 36 months
  • Open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents of
    Canada, and international students
  • For more information, please visit

Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements
  • For those holding an active CGS (M or D) award
  • To spend a research period abroad (3-6 months)
  • Up to 6,000 to offset the costs, including
    travel and accommodation
  • NSERCs share 80 (out of 250)
  • Universities to be allocated a set number of
  • Two application deadlines per year
  • June 10 and October 10

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships Program (PGS)
  • PGS program will be aligned with CGS program to a
    duration of one year support at the Masters
  • Focus on PhD level to increase PhD graduates in
    Canadas workforce

The Discovery Grants (DG) Program
  • Excellence of Discovery Grants Program validated
    in two major independent reviews
  • Strong support for existing program criteria to
    measure excellence
  • Recommendations for enhancement
  • New rating principles and measures to allow the
    peer review system to respond more dynamically
    to applicants performance
  • New committee structure to give all applicants a
    higher quality, more focused, review (in 2010)

New Evaluation Process - Principles
  • Two-step process separating merit review and
    funding recommendations
  • Merit assessment based on the same criteria as in
    the past
  • Excellence of the Researcher
  • Merit of the Proposal
  • Contributions to the Training of HQP
  • Funding recommendations - comparable funding for
    those with similar overall ratings within a group
  • Greater consistency in process between Evaluation
    Groups and between competition years

Discovery Grant Indicators
Two-Step Review Process
Comparing 2009 and 2008 CompetitionsChange in
Grant Amount
All DG Program Strengths Retained
  • The merit evaluation criteria are unchanged
  • Supports a program of research, giving researcher
    freedom to pursue most promising directions
  • Continuity of funding for highest performers
  • Continued commitment to support meritorious
    early-career researchers
  • Overall program budget is stable

GSC Structure Review Towards the FutureThe
Conference Model
The Conference Model
  • Current 28 GSCs replaced by 12 Evaluation Groups
  • The conference model has been previously
    implemented by some Grant Selection Committees
  • It is similar to a scientific conference, where
    several sessions are occurring in parallel
  • Members assigned to various sections on basis of
    match between members expertise and the subject
  • Members may participate in reviews in several EGs
  • Some sections may be at the interface between two
    Evaluation Groups and reviewed by an appropriate
    combination of members from both groups

New Evaluation Groups
  • Genes, Cells and Molecules (1501)
  • Biological Systems and Functions (1502)
  • Evolution and Ecology (1503)
  • Chemistry (1504)
  • Physics (1505)
  • Geosciences (1506)
  • Computer Science (1507)
  • Mathematics and Statistics (1508)
  • Civil, Industrial and Systems Engineering (1509)
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering (1510)
  • Materials and Chemical Engineering (1511)
  • Mechanical Engineering (1512)

How Does the Conference Model Work?
Sections Units Related by Subject Matter and
Member Expertise
A4 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A3 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
Section A3-1
A1 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A5 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A2 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
Section A2-1
Section A1
A6 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A9 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A10 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A11 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword
A8 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
Section A2-2
A12 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A16 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
A15 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword
A13 Research Topic Keywords Subject
areas Something else Keyword Buzzword
Advantages of the Conference Model
  • Provides a system with increased flexibility to
    ensure that applications have the best possible
  • Reduces/eliminates the need for written
    consultations between two groups such
    applications can be reviewed by a joint section
    and benefit from a larger pool of expertise than
    in the current system
  • Enables "traditional" disciplines or well-defined
    areas to remain together

Applying to the Discovery Grants Program
To Be Eligible, You Must
  • Hold, or have a firm offer of, an academic
    appointment at a Canadian institution (minimum
    three-year term position) as of September 1, 2010
  • Be in a position that requires independent
    research and allows supervision of Highly
    Qualified Personnel (HQP)
  • Spend a minimum of six months per year at an
    eligible Canadian institution (if holding a
    position outside Canada)
  • Guidelines can be found on NSERCs website

Eligibility of Subject Matter
  • Discovery Grants support
  • Research programs in the natural sciences and
    engineering (NSE)
  • Interdisciplinary research that is predominantly
    in NSE
  • Significance, impact, advancement of knowledge or
    practical application in NSE
  • Eligibility Guidelines can be found on NSERCs
    website for
  • Health Research
  • Interdisciplinary Research

Notification of Intent (NOI) to Apply for a
Discovery Grant (Form 180)
  • Deadline August 1
  • Can have adverse consequences if not submitted
  • NOI includes
  • Form 180, listing up to 5 Research Topics
  • List of Contributions (2003-2009)
  • List of Co-Applicants and their Contributions
    (for Team Grants)
  • Facilitates preliminary assignment to an
    Evaluation Group and selection of external

Life Cycle of a DG Application
August 1 Submission of Form 180
Mid-September Assignment to Evaluation Group and
November 1 Submission of Grant Application
Mid-November Mail-out to External Referees
Early-December Group Members receive applications
February Grants Competition
March April Announcement of Results
Evaluation of Discovery Grant Applications
  • Stephen Holdcroft, Chemistry Evaluation Group
  • Analytical Physical Chemistry GSC, since July
  • Department of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University

At the Meeting
2nd Internal
Excellence Exceptional Outstanding Outstanding Out
standing Very Strong
Merit Outstanding Very Strong Very Strong Very
Strong Strong
HQP Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding Very
Strong Strong
COR Factor H H N N L
1st Internal
Levels of Review
  • External Reviewers
  • GSC members rank order five external referees
  • NSERC contacts first three on the list if cannot
    get positive response, will proceed to subsequent
  • At least one from applicants list on Form 180
  • At least one not from applicants list
  • Recent contributions used to ensure no conflict
    exists with external referees

Levels of Review
  • Generally, at least five to seven GSC members
    will read each proposal
  • One primary reviewer
  • One secondary reviewer
  • Three to five additional readers
  • All GSC members have an equal vote
  • MOST of them will not be experts in the field!
  • 10 minutes to discuss each proposal!

Discovery Grant Evaluation Criteria
  • Scientific or engineering excellence of the
  • Merit of the proposal
  • Contribution to the training of highly qualified
    personnel (HQP)
  • 6 evaluation indicators for each component
  • Exceptional
  • Outstanding
  • Very Strong
  • Strong
  • Moderate
  • Insufficient

This past competition, each of three assessments
had equal weight. All proposals binned. 16
bins EEE was top III was lowest
Assigned Ratings, All GSCs - 2009 DG Competition
Scientific or Engineering Excellence of the
  • Knowledge, expertise and experience
  • Contribution to research
  • Importance of contributions
  • Complementarity of expertise and synergy (for
    team applications)

Merit of the Proposal
  • Originality and innovation
  • Significance and expected contribution to
  • Clarity and scope of objectives
  • Clarity and appropriateness of methodology
  • Feasibility
  • Extent to which the proposal addresses all
    relevant issues
  • Relationship to other sources of funding.

Contributions to the Training of HQP
  • Quality and extent of contributions during the
    last six years
  • Appropriateness of the proposal for the training
    of HQP
  • Enhancement of training arising from a
    collaborative or interdisciplinary environment
    (where appropriate)
  • Read the Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment
    of Contributions to Research and Training

Reporting HQP
Merit of the proposal
Excellence of the Researcher
Training of HQP
Need for funds
Relative Cost of Research
  • Assessing the Relative Cost of Research within
    the Evaluation Group
  • Low, Normal or High
  • Factors considered include Salaries and
    benefits Equipment and/or facilities Materials
    and supplies Travel Dissemination
  • Appropriateness of and justification for the
  • Relationship to other sources of funding

Special Considerations
  • All applications are evaluated against the same
    expectations in terms of the quality of the
    contributions that have been (during the past 6
    years) or will be produced
  • Special circumstances that Evaluation Groups may
  • Delays in Research and Dissemination of Research
  • Researchers from Small Institutions and/or
    Different Provincial Research Support
  • Adjunct and Emeritus Professors

Grant Proposal Tips
  • GSC members reading between 60 to 100 proposals
    between December 20 and February 1 (DGs and
  • 10 minutes of discussion per proposal during
    discussion week
  • First and second readers assigned based on
    self-identified high or moderate comfort ratings
    based on Form 180
  • Speak to the nonspecialist readers of your
  • Divide proposal into labelled sections
  • Ensure figures are sufficiently large to be
  • Do not assume that readers will get colour/high
    resolution figures in their copies of your grant

Grant Proposal Tips
Form 101
  • Free format component
  • 5 pages for proposal 1 page for references
  • Extra pages will be removed!
  • Some grant writers save space by using different
    symbols to direct readers to citations in Form
  • Proposals with vision excitement that take
    research into new directions will be ranked
    higher than modest logical extensions of the
    grantees previous work
  • distinction between v. strong and higher versus
    strong moderate for Merit of Proposal

Grant Proposal Tips
Form 101
  • Write summary in plain language
  • Provide a progress report on related research
  • 2 pages max!
  • Position the research within the field
  • Articulate short- and long-term objectives
  • Proposal must describe a program of research not
    simple projects
  • Provide a detailed methodology
  • Speaks to applicants expertise to carry out
    proposal AND to access to required resources as
    well as to suitability of methodology to address
    fundamental questions
  • Proposal should encompass a minimum of 3 pages
  • Indicate roles for HQP in various aspects of
  • speaks to appropriateness for HQP training at
    various levels)

Grant Proposal Tips
Form 101
  • Describe plans for quality HQP training
  • embed in proposal itself who will do what
  • Prepare realistic budget
  • Discuss relationships to other research support
  • e.g. CHIR very important if you have substantial
    from other sources address in detail
  • Consider recent evaluation comments/
    recommendations (previous Messages to Applicant)
  • GSC members do not have previous NSERC proposals
    on hand BUT Program Officer will read out
    previous Messages to Applicant upon request
  • Best proposals addressed previous criticisms

Personal Data Form Tips
Form 100
  • List all sources of support
  • Describe five most significant research
  • Can be individual papers or groups of papers
  • List all other research contributions (2003-09)
  • Describe contributions to HQP training (2003-09)
  • Describe nature of HQP studies (graduate/undergrad
  • Highlight exceptional students/postdocs
  • Clearly define your role in any collaborative
    research and joint HQP training
  • Give other evidence of impact of work
  • Explain any delays in research activity or
    particular circumstances that might have affected
    productivity or contributions to HQP training

Personal Data Form Tips
Form 100
  • BOLD names of HQP who are co-authors in
  • Clearly identify NSERC-supported HQP/publications
    if you have funding from other sources (e.g.
  • Make certain that your sample contributions are
    NSERC-funded if possible
  • Make certain that number of HQP listed in matrix
    on page 1 tallies with explicit reporting of HQP
  • Undergraduate students ARE important HQP
    include them in the explicit reporting of HQP!

Personal Data Form Tips
Form 100
  • Include invited seminars and conference
    attendance as well as awards (goes towards
    Excellence of Researcher and demonstrating Impact
    of Work)
  • Include participation in outreach programs (goes
    towards Excellence of Researcher)

A Complete Discovery Grant Application Includes
  • An Application for a Grant (Form 101) with
    supporting documentation
  • A Personal Data Form (Form 100) for applicant and
    all co-applicants
  • Include samples of Research Contributions
    (reprints, pre-prints, thesis chapters,
    manuscripts, patents, technical reports, etc.)
  • - These go to external reviewers and to first and
    second internal readers
  • Be sure to include all required Appendices

Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) - Category 1
  • Deadline date October 25
  • Ongoing moratorium on Categories 2 and 3
  • NSERC will accept requests up to 150,000
    (equipment value can be up to 250,000)
  • Must already hold or be submitting an application
    for an NSERC research grant (not necessarily a
    Discovery Grant)
  • RTIs evaluated by a subcommittee of GSC
  • Evaluators provide a forced ranking of proposals
    to program officers in early January
  • Review outcome of ranked RTIs at end of
    competition week

RTI Evaluation Criteria
  • Describe the research that will be done with the
  • Explain the need and urgency of the request
  • Justify each item
  • Illustrate the suitability of the proposed
    equipment for research program
  • Indicate the impact on HQP training
  • Give alternative configurations and pricing

Final Advice
  • Use the 2009 Web version of the forms and Guide
  • Read How to Prepare a Winning DG Proposal
  • Consult the Peer Review Manual (Chapter 6)
  • Read all instructions carefully and follow
    presentation standards
  • Remember that more than one audience reads your
  • Ask colleagues and/or your Research Grants Office
    for comments on your application
  • Read other successful proposals
  • Ensure completeness of application

NSERC Contacts
  • You can help us help yousend us your success
  • Upcoming cover publications
  • International awards

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