NSERC Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants - Individual Stream 2023


Opportunity type:



Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Award amount and duration:

Up to $500,000/year for up to five years





Individual Grants

  • Researchers can apply for only one Individual Discovery Grant (SAP or not) at a time.
  • Recipients of SAP Individual Discovery Grants are not restricted to the specific activities described in the application, but may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC's mandate and adhere to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.
  • Researchers who hold an Individual Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another Individual Discovery Grant until the last year of their current award.
  • SAP Individual Discovery Grants are awarded for one to five years, the normal duration being five years. Applicants requesting a shorter duration for other reasons must provide strong justification. NSERC may award a grant of the normal duration, even if a shorter period is requested.

Project Grants

  • Researchers can hold or apply for a SAP Project Discovery Grant, as either an applicant or co-applicant, at the same time as they hold or apply for an Individual Discovery Grant.

  • Researchers can concurrently hold or apply for more than one SAP Project Discovery Grant, as either an applicant or co-applicant.
  • SAP collaborations that hold a Project Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another Project Discovery Grant that relates to the same research program until the last year of their current award.
  • Members of a SAP collaboration, who are applying for a SAP Project Grant, cannot normally apply for another SAP Discovery Grant to support research activities that are part of the collaboration’s program of research. If you wish to submit a concurrent application, please consult NSERC.
  • When joining a SAP collaboration that is supported by an ongoing SAP Project Grant, researchers can apply for bridging funds through a SAP Project Grant for a duration that would, upon completion, align with the collaboration’s renewal application.
  • Eligible researchers who wish to join a SAP collaboration, without bridging funds, can do so by being added as a co-applicant to an existing award at any point throughout the duration of the award. If you wish to add a co-applicant to an existing award, please consult NSERC.
  • It is mandatory to have at least one co-applicant on a SAP Project Grant application.
  • SAP Project Grants are awarded for one to three years, the normal duration being three years. Applicants requesting a shorter duration must provide strong justification.


The SAP Discovery Grants program supports both ongoing programs of research, with long-term goals (SAP Individual), as well as research projects with long-term visions and short-term objectives (SAP Project). These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances, whether made individually or as a collaboration. Researchers are free to work in the mode most appropriate for the research area.

NSERC recognizes that, while being of a grant-in-aid nature, SAP Discovery Grants must be sufficient to support a program or project of quality research that can have a meaningful impact on the field of study.

Research Portal and Canadian Common CV

In 2013, NSERC transitioned the Discovery Grant program to the Research Portal and Canadian Common CV, replacing the NSERC On-line system as well as the Form 101 (Application for a Grant) and Form 100 (Personal Data Form).

Notice of Intent (NOI)

The NOI is mandatory when applying for a SAP 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 Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

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.

Full Application

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

  1. Complete your application in the NSERC Research Portal using the "Subatomic Physics Discovery Grants program 2022" 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. 
  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. Please ensure that all required documentation is accounted for by noon of 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 2023, 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 4pm 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.


Relevant Documents





N/A (Not Applicable)


Application deadlines

RSO detailed review deadline

September 18, 2023 - 4:00 PM

RSO final internal review deadline

October 27, 2023 - 12:00 PM

Program application deadline

November 1, 2023 - 4:00 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.

Postdocs, students, and trainees: For fellowships and externally-sponsored research training awards or opportunities, you must complete the Research Funding Application Approval (RFAA) Trainee PDF form, and submit it, along with a complete copy of the application, to Research Services at rsotrainee@ucalgary.ca. Trainees should not use RMS at this time.

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

Applicant Categories

Applicants to the Discovery Grant 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.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Applicants are expected to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training. Where applicable, consideration of sex, gender and diversity in the research design should be addressed in the proposal. Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations should be developed into the rationale for the composition of research teams, including trainees. Ad-hoc expert reviews for large projects (see Review procedures and selection criteria section below) will be expected to address equity, diversity and inclusion considerations. For more information, refer to the application instructions and the Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.

Contact Details


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
NSERC Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants Program