4 The Discovery Grants Program Excellence of the Discovery Grants Program validated in two major independent reviews (2008) 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 (as of 2009) –New committee structure to give all applicants a higher quality, more comprehensive review (as of 2010)
5 Eligibility to Apply 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, 2011; be in a position that requires independent research and allows supervision of highly qualified personnel (HQP); and spend a minimum of six months per year at an eligible Canadian institution (if holding a position outside Canada). Requirements can be found on NSERC’s Web site.NSERC’s Web site
6 Eligibility of Subject Matter Discovery Grants support: –research programs in the natural sciences and engineering (NSE); and –interdisciplinary research that is predominantly in the NSE Significance, impact, advancement of knowledge or practical applications in NSE. The following eligibility guidelines can be found on NSERC’s Web site: –Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting AgencySelecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency –Preparation and Review of Applications in Interdisciplinary ResearchPreparation and Review of Applications in Interdisciplinary Research Consult NSERC or your research grants office (RGO). Applications deemed more appropriate for another agency will be rejected.
7 Evaluation Process Overview Two-step process separates merit assessment from funding recommendations. Merit assessment uses six-point scale to evaluate: –Excellence of the researcher; –Merit of the proposal; and –Contributions to the training of HQP. Applications grouped in “bins” of comparable merit. Funding recommendations: similar overall ratings within an Evaluation Group (EG) receive comparable funding, with possible modulation related to the cost of research. Greater consistency in process between EGs and between competition years.
8 Two-Step Review Process Merit assessment Funding recommendation
9 The Conference Model The 28 former Grant Selection Committees (GSCs) were replaced by 12 EGs in 2010. Similar to a scientific conference, several sessions occur in parallel streams. Members are assigned to various sections on the basis of the match between members’ expertise and the subject matter. –Members may participate in reviews in several EGs. Flexibility allows applications at the interface between EGs to be reviewed by a combination of members with pertinent expertise from relevant groups.
10 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)
11 How Does the Conference Model Work? EVALUATION GROUP A Group Chair ~ 40 members 4 Section Chairs EVALUATION GROUP B Group Chair ~35 members 4 Section Chairs EVALUATION GROUP C Group Chair ~25 members 3 Section Chairs Section A1-2 Research Topics A2 and A4 Section A2 Research Topic A3 Section A1-1 Research Topic A1 Section A3-1 Research Topic A5 Section A3-2 Research Topic A6 Section A4-1 Research Topics A7 and A8 Section A4-2 Research Topics A9 and B5 Section B1-2 Research Topics B2 and A10 Section B1-1 Research Topic B1 Section B2 Research Topic B3 Section B3-1 Research Topic B4 Section B3-2 Research Topics B1 and B5 Section B4-2 Research Topics B7 and C6 Section B4-1 Research Topics B2 and B6 Section C1-2 Research Topic C2 Section C1-1 Research Topics C1 and B5 Section C2 Research Topic C3 Section C3-1 Research Topic C4 Section C3-2 Research Topics C5 and A5
12 Advantages of the Conference Model Provides a system with the flexibility to: –ensure that applications have the best possible review; –react to the emergence of new research areas; and –enable "traditional" disciplines or well-defined areas to remain together. Reviews benefit from a larger pool of expertise than previously existed in the former system.
14 Life Cycle of a Discovery Grant Application August 1 Submission of Form 180 September to October Initial assignment to EG and contacting of referees November 1 Submission of grant application Mid-November Applications sent out to referees Early December Evaluation Group members receive applications February Grants competition March to April Announcement of results
15 Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant (Form 180) – Why? It is used to identify: the most appropriate EG to review the application; the need and potential benefits of a joint review between EGs; and the external referees for the application.
16 Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant (Form 180) – When and What? Deadline: August 1 –Electronic submission only –Possible adverse consequences if not submitted: difficulty to secure external referee reports; difficulty to identify need for participation of experts from other EGs Includes: –Form 180, listing up to five research topics in priority order –List of contributions in the last six years –List of co-applicants and their contributions (for team grants)
17 Submitting a Discovery Grant Application A full Discovery Grant application includes: an Application for a Grant (Form 101), with supporting documentation;* a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and all co-applicants; samples of research contributions (e.g., reprints, pre- prints, thesis chapters, manuscripts, patents, technical reports, etc.); and all required appendices. * Note that applications, including samples of research contributions, are to be submitted electronically.
19 Evaluation Criteria Scientific or engineering excellence of the researcher(s) Merit of the proposal Contribution to the training of HQP
20 Scientific or Engineering Excellence of the Researcher(s) Knowledge, expertise and experience Contributions to research in the NSE Importance of contributions Complementarity of expertise and synergy (for team applications)
21 Merit of the Proposal Originality and innovation Significance and expected contributions to research, and potential for technological impact Clarity and scope of objectives Clarity and appropriateness of methodology Feasibility Extent to which the proposal addresses all relevant issues Appropriateness and justification of the budget Relationship to other sources of funding
22 Contributions to the Training of Highly Qualified Personnel Quality and impact of contributions to training during the last six years Proposed plan for future training of HQP in the NSE –Describe the nature of the training (e.g., length, specific projects) in which HQP will be involved, the HQP’s contributions and pertinence to the research program proposed. –Applicants should discuss the soundness of their plans and the expected outcomes. Enhancement of training arising from a collaborative or interdisciplinary environment (where applicable) Read the Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training.Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training
23 Relative Cost of Research Determined by the reviewers as Low, Normal or High as compared to the norm for the research areas represented in the applications considered by the EG(s). Factors considered include: –salaries and benefits; –equipment and/or facilities; –materials and supplies; –travel; and –dissemination.
25 Grant Proposal: Tips Write summary in plain language. Provide a progress report on related research. Position the research within the field and state-of-the-art. Clearly articulate short- and long-term objectives. Provide a detailed methodology. Form 101
26 Grant Proposal: Tips Clearly define your role in any collaborative research and planned joint HQP training. Describe plans for quality HQP training. Present a realistic budget. Discuss relationships to other research support. Consider comments/recommendations you may have received in the last Messages to Applicant. Form 101
27 Personal Data Form: Tips List all sources of support. Describe up to five most significant research contributions. List all other research contributions. Explain your role in collaborative research activities. Describe contributions to HQP training. Describe nature of HQP studies (master’s and undergraduate). Form 100
28 Personal Data Form: Tips Include as much information as possible. List your student’s names in bold font in the list of contributions. Explain your role in co-supervision activities. 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. Form 100
PART II Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants Program
30 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program – Category 1 RTI Grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the NSE by supporting the purchase of research equipment and installations. One-year awards that assist buying or developing research equipment that costs more than $7,000, up to $150,000. NSERC will accept applications for equipment whose total net cost is up to $250,000, provided that funding from other sources is secured by the applicant to bring the amount requested from NSERC to $150,000 or less. Consult the RTI Grants Program description on NSERC’s Web site. NSERC’s Web site
31 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program – Eligibility and Requirements Eligibility requirements to apply to NSERC must be satisfied (see slide 5). Only applications from applicants and co-applicants who currently hold, or are applying for, an NSERC research grant (e.g., Discovery Grant, Strategic Project Grant, research partnership, Canada Research Chair) at the time of application are accepted. If a cash contribution toward the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization other than the applicant's institution, a letter is required from the organization confirming this commitment.
32 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program – Submitting an Application No Notification of Intent to Apply Application to be submitted by October 25 RTI Grant application includes: -an Application for a Grant (Form 101) with supporting documentation;* -a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and all co- applicants; and -all required appendices. * Note that applications are to be submitted electronically.
33 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program – Selection Criteria Excellence of the applicant(s) Merit of the proposed research program(s) Need and urgency for the equipment—including availability of, and access to, similar equipment Suitability of the proposed equipment for the proposed research program(s) Importance of the equipment for the training of HQP
34 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program – Evaluation Process Applications are rated and ranked. Based on the available funds, the most meritorious applications are supported down to a cutoff line. RTI Grants are usually awarded for the full cost of the requested items (including tax, transportation and eligible installation costs). EGs may recommend partial funding, but the amount recommended must be sufficient to allow for the purchase of a functional unit.
35 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program – Eligible Costs
36 Research Tools and Instruments Grants Applications – Tips Describe the research program(s) that will be carried out using the equipment. Explain the need and urgency of the equipment. Justify the need and appropriateness for each item. Illustrate the suitability of the proposed equipment for the research program(s). Discuss the importance of the equipment for the training of HQP—quality and opportunities for hands-on training.
38 Discovery Grant or Research Tools and Instruments Grant Applications – Reminders Consult the Peer Review Manual, Section 6 (DG) or Section 7 (RTI). Read all instructions carefully and follow presentation standards. –Use all the space allotted to you, with clear headings and good layout. –Respect guidelines for font size, margins and page limits. –Identify students’ contributions in bold font.
39 Discovery Grant or Research Tools and Instruments Grant Applications – Reminders Ensure completeness of application. Keep in mind that two audiences read your application—expert and non-expert. Ask colleagues and/or your RGO for comments on your application. Read other successful proposals.
40 NSERC Contacts EGs Program Officerfirstname.firstname.lastname@example.org Deadlines, acknowledgement of applications and results Your university RGO Your account, Grants in Aid of Research Statement of Account (Form 300) Your university Business Officer (BO) NSERC Web sitewww.nserc-crsng.gc.ca Discovery Grants Program (including eligibility) E-mail: email@example.com@nserc-crsng.gc.ca Tel.: 613-995-5829 Use of Grant FundsE-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org@nserc-crsng.gc.ca On-line Services HelpdeskE-mail: email@example.com@nserc-crsng.gc.ca