NSERC Alliance Grants encourage university researchers to collaborate with partner organizations, which can be from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. These grants support research projects led by strong, complementary, collaborative teams that will generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canada.

Research supported by Alliance grants will:

  • generate new knowledge and/or technology to address complex challenges;
  • create economic, social and/or environmental benefits;
  • contribute to Canada’s long-term competitiveness;
  • support public policy;
  • train new researchers in areas that are important to Canada and to the partner organizations;
  • draw on diverse perspectives and skill sets to accelerate the translation and application of research results.

You must have at least one partner organization (in the private, public or not-for-profit sector) whose cash contributions will be recognized for cost-sharing (see Alliance grants: Role of partner organizations).


Funding Value
$150,000 – $1M/year

Institutional Allocation Per Year:
No limits

1 to 5 years


Eligible project expenses include:

  • direct costs of research.
  • salary support for research trainees (undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows) to perform research and related training.
  • materials and supplies.
  • activities that support collaborations and knowledge mobilization related to the project.
  • activities to develop and grow the research collaborations with the partner organizations.
  • You may also include the costs of equipment, provided that the equipment is:
    • essential to achieving the objectives of the research project; and
    • is incremental to the equipment already available at the university or at the partner organization’s location.
  • For large or multi-party projects (NSERC award valued at $750,000 or above), you may also include project management costs, up to a maximum of 10% of the total direct research costs.


The award amount is calculated on the basis of cost-sharing with partner organizations. The portion of the cost of the project that can be cost-shared with NSERC includes only the cash contributions from partner organizations that are recognized for cost-sharing. The following table shows what percentage of the project’s funding can be covered by an Alliance grant according to the size and type of partner organization(s) involved:

Size of Partner Organization Type of Partnership NSERC Contribution

Large organizations, including private, public and not-for-profit organizations

(500+ employees globally)

As a sole partner organization or in partnership exclusively with other large organizations within the same sector (private, public or not-for-profit) 50% (1:1 match)
As a partner with small and medium-sized enterprises such as in a value- or supply-chain relationship, or with other sectors (private, public or not-for-profit) 66% (2:1 match)

Small and medium-sized private, public or not-for-profit organizations

(Fewer than 500 employees globally)

As a sole partner organization or in partnership with other sectors (private, public or not-for-profit) 66% (2:1 match)


Note: University cash is not matched although it can be used towards defraying project costs.

Partner organizations can be private, public or not-for-profit. Applicants should partner with the organizations they need to achieve their research goals and successfully mobilize research results.

At least one of these partners must have a demonstrated ability to exploit such research results, while other partners may be chosen for their ability to generate and mobilize knowledge. Partner organizations must collectively support the project through cash and/or in-kind contributions.


Applicants must include an EDI strategy in the project’s research design and to consider how to promote and support a variety of forms of mentoring to ensure trainees’ equitable participation and growth. Furthermore, applicants must strive for equity, diversity and inclusion when developing their group of co-applicants, partners and trainees.


All Option 1 applications (request of $150,000 or more annually) must undergo an internal Strategic Projects and Opportunities Review Team (SPORT) assessment in order to receive institutional approval. Intake rounds are currently scheduled for January and May 2020 (please refer to Deadlines table below). An internal Notice of Intent (iNOI) will be required, and consists of the following components:
1.       iNOI Form (attached)

2.       Alliance Proposal using the proposal template with section lengths as per the table on the NSERC Alliance Grants webpage.


Milestone Date
January Intake: iNOI due (email to January 13, 2020
SPORT Feedback and VPRI Decision Late January 2020
May Intake: iNOI due (email to May 4, 2020
SPORT Feedback and VPRI Decision Mid May 2020

Project Charter meetings will be scheduled with the applicant following SPORT review and a favourable decision from the Vice-President Research and Innovation (VPRI) to pursue a full proposal for submission to NSERC.

For further information, please contact:

Maheen Hasan

Strategic and Institutional Research Specialist

Office of Research Services


Phone: Ext 44200

  • Funder: NSERC
  • Notes:Please see the funding call for further information on the two internal Notice of Intent (iNOI) deadlines (January 13, 2020 and May 4, 2020).