NSERC Discovery Grants - Fall 2023


Opportunity type:



Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Award amount and duration:

Any amount up to 5 years





DGs are awarded to individual researchers, normally for five years. Researchers can apply for and hold only one DG at a time. Researchers who hold a DG cannot reapply for another DG until the last year of their current award.

Applicants to the DG program must meet NSERC’s Eligibility Requirements for faculty to apply for or hold grant funds.


Subject matter eligibility and funding from other sources

Applicants to the DG program must present a program of research that is eligible under NSERC’s mandate, which is to promote and assist research in the natural sciences and engineering, other than health. The objectives of the research program must be to advance knowledge in the natural sciences or in engineering. The application will be rejected if NSERC determines, at any time during the review cycle, that the subject matter is outside of its mandate. Refer to  Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency , the Addendum to the guidelines for the eligibility of applications related to health, the Peer review manual, and the NSERC Discovery Grants process for decisions on mandate eligibility for further information on the eligibility of subject matter.

Applicants to the DG program must present a program of research that is conceptually distinct from research supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

NSERC encourages researchers to obtain funds from other sources to support the full costs of the research program presented in their DG application, as long as the funding source is not CIHR or SSHRC, and as long as the funds cover different expenses from those proposed in the DG application.

Refer to the Peer review manual and the Instructions for completing an application for further information.


Applicant categories

Applicants to the DG program are categorized as either early career researchers or established researchers. Refer to the Discovery Grants – applicant categories for more information. Applicant categorization is the responsibility of NSERC staff and is based on the information provided by the applicant in the Canadian Common CV (CCV) and application.


The DG 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. DGs are typically five years in duration and are considered “grants in aid” of research, as they provide long-term operating funds and can facilitate access to funding from other programs but are not meant to support the full costs of a research program.

DG recipients are not restricted to the specific activities described in their applications and may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC’s mandate and adhere to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of funds as outlined in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration. This provides researchers with the flexibility to pursue promising research avenues as they emerge and the opportunity to address higher risk (higher reward) topics. Researchers can use their grants to participate in collaborative efforts. 

Memo to potential applicants: Notification of intent to apply for a Discovery Grant


Not applicable


Pre-application deadlines

RSO internal deadline

August 1, 2023 - 6:00 PM

Pre-application program deadline

August 1, 2023 - 6:00 PM

Application deadlines

RSO detailed review deadline

October 18, 2023 - 4:00 PM

RSO final internal review deadline

October 27, 2023 - 12:00 PM

Program application deadline

November 1, 2023 - 6:00 PM


NOTE: Consult your Faculty Associate Dean (Research) (ADR) regarding Faculty-specific deadlines and submission processes.

Principal Investigators: Complete a Research Management System (RMS) record, including a copy of your complete application, and submit this for approvals in RMS.

Approvals: The University of Calgary requires that all funding applications be approved prior to submission. Approval requires signatures via either RMS or the RFAA Trainee form, in the following order:

  • Principal Investigator
  • Department Head
  • Faculty ADR/Dean
  • Research Services (on behalf of the Vice-President Research)

Read the Meaning of Grant Signatures policy to understand what your approval means. Please see the agency guidelines for details about which signatures are required on your application, as it may differ from internal requirements.

Late submissions: Late submissions will only be accepted in cases of medical or family emergencies, or other exceptional circumstances. If you submit your RMS record to Research Services after the internal deadline has passed, you must secure additional approvals. Please read: Late Applications Process.

Additional Information


A] Notice of Intent

The NOI is mandatory when applying for a Discovery Grant. Applicants who do not submit a NOI cannot submit a full application later in the fall. The information contained in the NOI allows NSERC to start some aspects of the review process, including preliminary assignment to an Evaluation Group, selection of external reviewers and verification of the eligibility of the subject matter.

  1. Complete the Notice of Intent form on the NSERC Research Portal
  2. Attach your NSERC Canadian Common CV (CCV)
  3. Submit the NOI through the NSERC Research Portal by the deadline of August 1, 2023 8:00 pm ET (6:00 pm MT)

NOTE: when you submit the NOI, it goes directly to NSERC (it does not come to Research Services). The NOI does not require institutional approval and there is no internal deadline. Please ensure that your NOI is final before submitting. Late applications will not be accepted. NSERC will not accept revisions to a NOI submitted before or after the deadline date.

The RSO is not involved in the NOI submissions process. Applicants submit directly to NSERC. 


B] Full Application

This competition will be run through Research Management System (RMS).

  1. Complete your application in the NSERC Research Portal using the "NSERC Discovery Grants - Fall 2023" as the funding opportunity. Once the application is complete (including required attachments and your CCV), verify each section, and then press "Submit". Your application will be sent to the Research Services Office. Please ensure your application is final and complete; Research Services will not review drafts, and, once received, your application may be submitted to NSERC without further notice. The final deadline for submission of your application is noon on Thursday, October 27, 2023.
  2. Complete the Pre-Award record in RMS (login at https://research.ucalgary.ca/rms) and “Submit for academic approvals” (Under Save & Progress) in good time to allow for approvals from your Department Head and/or ADR prior to the Research Services deadline. Consult your department and faculty for more information on their approval processes and timelines. Ensure you receive all required approvals in advance of noon on October 27, 2023
  • Your application will not be considered submitted and will not be reviewed until both the application is submitted in the Research Portal (a paper copy is not required) and the RMS Approvals have been received.
  • The final deadline of 12:00 p.m. on October 27, is a hard deadline. The three-day deadline ensures that Research Services is able to complete a basic review of the application and secure institutional signature in a timely fashion.

3. As an optional service, if you would like a detailed review, Research Services must receive your complete RMS approvals record and NSERC Research Portal application by 4 pm on October 18, 2023.

  • The detailed review includes a detailed review of the application, checking for eligibility and UofC commitments and risk, compliance with program guidelines, completeness of application, and the opportunity for feedback to improve the application.
  • The basic administrative review involves a minimal check of the application for eligibility and any UofC commitment or risk.


Contact Details


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Discovery grants
Early Career Researchers