NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation 2023

The annual Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize examples of collaboration that stand as models of effective partnership between partner organizations and colleges or universities.

NSERC Website

The annual Synergy Awards for innovation recognizes examples of collaboration that stands as models of effective partnership between organizations and colleges or universities The Synergy Awards are intended to showcase innovation and the benefits of uniting strengths to make the most of Canadian ingenuity. Synergy Awards for Innovation are offered in two categories:

  • University partnerships
    A partnership between an eligible Canadian university and one or more partner organizations. The highlighted research partnership must primarily focus on the natural sciences or engineering.
  • College partnerships
    A partnership between an eligible Canadian college and one or more partner organizations. The highlighted research partnership can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities or health.

Universities: Three awards will be offered to three different Canadian partnerships. The winners (principal nominees) will each receive a $200,000 NSERC research grant. Partner organizations will each receive a $50,000 voucher valid for the cash portion of their required contribution to a new research partnerships grant (Alliance grants, College and Community Innovation program, or Idea to Innovation grants).

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Partnerships may be nominated by any individual or group; however, the nominators must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

NSERC strongly encourages nominators and university officials to consider equity, diversity and inclusion in their nomination processes.

The nominated partnership must have been supported, in whole or in part, by at least one NSERC Research Partnerships grant, i.e., Engage, Collaborative Research and Development, Strategic Partnerships (Projects or Networks), Industrial Research Chair, Idea to Innovation, Alliance or Calls for Collaborative Research Projects.

In addition, the partnership must be between a Canadian university professor or group of professors, one or more partnering organizations from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. One member of the academic team must be designated as the nominee and all others, as applicable, as co-nominees.

Nomination Process

The nomination package must include the following:

  1. The Synergy Awards for Innovation form, completed and signed by the nominator (electronic signature accepted).

  2. The Terms and conditions form for nominees completed and signed.
    • For universities, it must be signed by the nominee and each co-nominee, if applicable (academic researchers only, one form per person).
  3. The Terms and conditions form for nominators, completed and signed by the nominator.

  4. A letter of nomination (max. one page), signed by the nominator. The letter should describe why the proposed partnership is being nominated for a Synergy Award for Innovation.

  5. The Nomination template. See the template for instructions (max. seven pages).

  6. Letter(s) from the partnering organization(s) (max. two pages per letter). Please note: Academic institutions are not considered partnering organizations. If there is more than one partner, all letters combined must not exceed 20;pages. The letter(s) must be signed by the most relevant person designated as their authorized contact person. Letters must not duplicate the exact same information that is contained in the nomination and should describe:
    • how and why the partner organization was involved
    • the resources (human, equipment, facilities, etc.) provided
    • how the organization benefited from the outcomes of the partnership
  7. A concise profile for each partnering organization (max. one page each) that contains a description of the organization, its mandate and the nature of its operations in Canada. A reference to the partner organization's website is not acceptable in lieu of the profile.

Nomination Template

A maximum of seven pages (including figures, plus one page of references) quantifying the outcomes for each award criterion for the following:

  • Partnership: Describe the role of each partner;
    • Explain how resources were used and optimized;
    • Highlight any specific or unique management practices that were implemented, without which the project would not have been as successful.
  • Impact and Outcomes: Demonstrate the importance of the topic to Canada:
    • how have the results have been applied at the local, regional, or national scale, and internationally?
    • describe the impact of the partnership's resulting benefits for the partner organization(s)
    • outline effective training of undergraduate and graduate students, as applicable, and their engagement.


Nominations must be submitted electronically via the  Secure Submission for NSERC's Synergy Awards for Innovation site.


The NSERC submission deadline is December 14, 2023 at 8pm (Eastern Time).


Potential nominators and nominees are encouraged to contact Research Awards & Distinctions at rwprizes@uwo.ca regarding Western Research support and coordination of your nomination.