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REMINDER: Clarification of Important Changes to NSERC's Engage Grant

Further to the recent update to Engage Grants outlined below that will limit university applicants to one new award per fiscal year, please note that in order for the evaluation and award to occur within the 2015-16 NSERC fiscal year, an application must be submitted by the Office of Research Services to NSERC no later than Friday, February 19, 2016. This should be considered a key date for researchers aiming for another award before the new limit comes into effect.  Applications received after February 19th, if awarded, will count as the applicant’s one award for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

To SFU Engage grant applicants:  The SFU internal deadline for receipt of a completed SFU Funding Application Signature Sheet in regard to your Engage application is Monday, February 15.  The application itself must be submitted on-line the following day in order to be reviewed in ORS prior to the February 19 NSERC deadline.

Updates to Engage Grants

Engage Grants are popular with both industry and postsecondary institutions. To ensure the quality and impact of these projects, the following changes will be implemented to preserve the program’s effectiveness while managing its budget:

  • Starting January 15, 2016:

o   Eligible Engage Grants applicants must have received recent peer-reviewed support through NSERC. The rigorous peer review practices provided to NSERC by Canada’s science and engineering braintrust will ensure that high quality university-based Engage projects are selected.


o   Companies participating in Engage must have at least two full-time employees and have been in operation for at least two years when applying. This change will support projects with industrial partners that are positioned to exploit research results beyond the completion of the grant and to sustain the collaboration created through Engage.

  • Starting April 1, 2016:

o   Engage Grants applicants at universities will be limited to one new award per fiscal year so applicants can focus on choosing the right company partners. This will not apply to college-based Engage Grants applicants because it’s the institution that applies rather than the researcher.


o   Industrial partners will be limited to two Engage grants per year. However, partners providing cash contributions to ongoing NSERC-funded projects outside of Engage will be allowed up to two additional Engage applications per year. This change will allow companies that demonstrate a commitment to industrial-academic research greater opportunity to make use of Engage to expand their collaborative network.


These changes will be detailed in the Engage Grants description as of December 15th. Further additions will be made to the description and instructions to help eligible researchers and companies develop a successful application:

  • An elaborated description of what constitutes a company-specific problem;
  • An Industrial Participation section that describes eligibility considerations for company partners;
  • Clarification on the right of academic participants to use the intellectual property from the project for future teaching and research;
  • Guidance on what must be addressed in the company letter of support; and
  • An expanded application checklist that summarizes what to provide in the full application, along with a template to make it easier to complete the two-page freeform section of the proposal.