NSERC Discovery Grants Program


The Discovery Grants Program assists in:

  • promoting and maintaining a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities;
  • fostering research excellence; and
  • providing a stimulating environment for research training.

The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research with long-term goals rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects.  These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. Researchers can apply for, and hold, only one Discovery Grant at a time. Discovery Grants are awarded to individual researchers, normally for five years.

Applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training. Applicants should refer to Discovery Grants application instructions and the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application (see link under "Links to NSERC Materials" below).

Before applying, applicants should review NSERC's Eligibility Criteria for Faculty.

Notification of Intent to Apply

All researchers who intend to apply for a Discovery Grant in the 2020 competition must submit a Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant by August 4, 2020 (extension implemented by NSERC). NSERC will only accept a completed NOI through its Research Portal. A Common CV is mandatory for both the NOI and full application stages, and it can - and should - be updated for the full application.

When you submit your NOI in the Portal, it goes straight to NSERC, unlike the full application, which is first routed to Western Research for administrative review and final submission to NSERC.

Application Process & Deadlines

(Check with your department/faculty for additional deadlines)

  • NOI (Notification of Intent): Tuesday August 4, 2020 by/before 8 p.m.
  • Application-InternalFriday, October 23, 2020 by/before 2 p.m. Research Services deadline for submission of a ROLA proposal and a draft application & CCV (1 PDF file exported from the Research Portal) to researchoffice@uwo.ca N.B. Applications are administratively reviewed in the order they're received at researchoffice@uwo.ca.
  • Application-Sponsor: Monday, November 2*, 2020 by/before 2 p.m. Deadline for submission of final application in the Research Portal.
*(Nov. 1 is a Sunday so the deadline moves to the next business day.)

Links to NSERC & Western Materials

Please Note: A researcher may not submit identical applications to more than one of the three federal granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) at the same time, or submit to an agency an application already funded by one of the other agencies.


For more information, or questions relating to the Discovery Grants Program, please contact your Faculty Research Office, or researchoffice@uwo.ca