NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE)

Program Overview

This program supports the training of teams of highly qualified students (mainly graduate) and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs. These programs encourage collaborative and integrative approaches, and address significant scientific challenges associated with Canada’s research priorities. They also facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.

Value: Maximum of $1.65 million CAD over six years. At least 80% of the funding must be used for trainees’ stipends.


See CREATE Overview for additional requirements.

  • Applicant must be from an NSERC-supported field at an NSERC-eligible university. The applicant's university will be the lead university.
  • At least 70% of the group must be from NSE field, but co-applicants at the interdisciplinary frontier may be incorporated into proposals.
  • Focus should be on new training initiatives.
  • A researcher may only be the applicant on one CREATE initiative annually.

Internal Process and Development Support

As SFU is given a quota on the Letters of Intent (LOI) that can be submitted to NSERC, Institutional Strategic Awards (ISA) is coordinating the following process:

  • Interested applicants attend Feb 19th info session/meet with Research Facilitator & ISA staff.
  • Internal Letter of Intent (LOI) submitted to ISA by lead applicant via internal form.
  • Associate VPR selects up to six LOIs to advance to NSERC.
  • Institutional endorsement letters provided to selected applicants for NSERC LOI.

SFU faculty participating in CREATE proposals being led by another institution are asked to notify us as soon as possible at isao@sfu.ca.

If invited to full application, the ISA will provide application development support and institutional expertise/resources for project team.

NSERC Application Process & Selection Criteria

Applying to the CREATE Program involves a two phase application process: Phase 1: Letter of Intent (LOI) and Phase 2: Application. The CREATE Program is highly selective, with pre-screening based on the LOI. Only applicants successful at the LOI stage will be invited to submit an application.

For Phase 1 - Letter of Intent:

  • Merit of the proposed training program: 60%
  • Excellence of the team of researchers:   40%

For Phase 2 - Application (if invited):

  • Merit of the proposed training program: 50%
  • Excellence of the team of researchers:   25%
  • Program management & sustainability:   25%

An NSERC CREATE multidisciplinary selection committee of Canadian and foreign members from academia and the private sector will review the LOIs and invited applications.

Submission Requirements

For internal Letter of Intent (LOI):

For Phase 1 - NSERC Letter of Intent (LOI):

  • Form 100 for applicant
  • Form 187 (LOI) submitted to SFU, then NSERC through NSERC's online system
  • Industry letter (Industrial Stream)
  • Institutional support letter (arranged by ISA)

For Phase 2 - NSERC Application (if invited)*:

  • Form 100 for applicant
  • Form 100 or CCV for up to 10 co-applicants
  • Form 102 (Application)
  • Max 3 collaborator letters
  • Institutional support letter (arranged by ISA)

*ORS Signature Sheet is required

Helpful Resources

CREATE Competition Results

2019 NSERC national webinar: recording / slides / Q&A

Statistics on NSERC CREATE program (exported from NSERC's website Jan 2019 - Excel file)

2019 ISA info session: recording / slides  



  • Feb 19, 2 p.m., SFU's Big Data Hub, Presentation Studio (ASB 10900): ISA info session [webcast link to come]
  • March 1: Internal LOI to ISA
  • March 8: Internal selection by AVPR
  • March-April: LOI dev. period
  • April 12: Draft NSERC LOI to ISA
  • May 1: Final LOI to NSERC
  • June: LOI results announced
  • June-Aug: App. development period
  • Sept 11: Draft application to ISA
  • Sept 18: Final application to ORS
  • Sept 23: Final application to NSERC
  • March 2020: Competition results announced


isao@sfu.ca, 778-782-3229