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Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE)

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE)


Notify ROADS of Intent to Apply by February 27, 2017

Letters of Intent due to ROADS for internal selection by March 21, 2017



The CREATE Program supports the training of teams of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs that:

  • encourage collaborative and integrative approaches, and address significant scientific challenges associated with Canada’s research priorities, and
  • facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce. 


These innovative programs must include the acquisition and development of important professional skills among students and postdoctoral fellows that complement their qualifications and technical skills.


In addition, training programs should encourage the following as appropriate:

  • student mobility nationally or internationally between individual universities and between universities and other sectors
  • interdisciplinary research within the natural sciences and engineering (NSE), or at the interface between the NSE and health, or the social sciences and humanities (the main focus of the training must still lie within the NSE)
  • increased collaboration between industry and academia; and
  • for the industrial stream, an additional objective is to support improved job-readiness within the industrial sector by exposing participants to the specific challenges of this sector and training people with the skills identified by industry.


The training initiative should be focused on providing a value-added experience to the university training environment to better prepare research trainees for their future careers in industry, government or academia.


At least 60 percent of the CREATE funding will be directed to the following priority areas:


  • Environmental science and technologies
  • Natural resources and energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Information and communications technologies


In addition, the CREATE Program will continue to offer two opportunities within its current budget envelope:


Regular Stream

May involve any collaborations: academic/government/industry/NGO, Canadian/international.


Industrial Stream

The industrial stream will enhance linkages between industry and academia by increasing the supply of highly qualified personnel (HQP) who are “employer-ready” and can generate immediate results after graduation, improving job readiness as an immediate benefit to the industrial employer.  Up to 50 percent of the CREATE grants will be dedicated to the industrial stream.


Up to 50 percent of the CREATE grants will be dedicated to the industrial stream.


Industrial Collaborators

  • In general, an industrial collaborator is defined as a Canadian-based business providing products or services, and that derives the majority of its revenues from the sale of these products and services and not from government aid. Such partners must be willing and able to exploit the research results for the economic benefit of Canada;
  • Multinationals may be eligible if they have commercial activities that take place in Canada, such as research and development or manufacturing related to the proposed research, and if the funded activity will result in significant economic benefit to Canada


International Collaboration


The German Research Foundation

An agreement between NSERC and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, the German Research Foundation) has been established. A CREATE proposal can be submitted in parallel with a proposal submitted by German collaborators to the DFG for an International Research Training Group (IRTG) grant. The intent of the agreement is to establish a formal mechanism for supporting a bilateral training program that involves an exchange of students between Germany and Canada.


In order to be considered for this opportunity, Canadian candidates should first establish a collaboration with German researchers.  The German researchers must start by submitting a pre-proposal to the DFG. A submission in November to the DFG is recommended to ensure that the result is available before NSERC’s Letters of Intent deadline May 1st.


The Research Foundation for the State of São Paulo

**ON HOLD** The partnership agreement with FAPESP is under review until further notice. 



  • CREATE grants are tenable only at NSERC-eligible Canadian universities, and the applicant must hold an eligible position at that university.
  • Researchers at non-eligible organizations may participate as collaborators.
  • All universities who will be involved in the application must have at least one co-applicant listed in the proposal.
  • In the case of multi-organization collaborations (academic, industrial, government or not-for-profit sectors), the applicant must be from an NSERC-supported field at an NSERC-eligible university.
  • At least 70 percent of the group must be from NSE fields, but co-applicants at the interdisciplinary frontier between NSE and the areas covered under the umbrella of SSHRC and CIHR may be incorporated into proposals. Applicants submitting proposals at the interdisciplinary frontiers of the granting agencies may be required to justify why NSERC is in fact the most appropriate funding agency for their training proposals.
  • The focus should be on new training initiatives. Existing initiatives must justify the incremental value that will accrue from the CREATE Program.
  • A researcher can only participate in a maximum of two active CREATE initiatives-as either an applicant or co-applicant.
  • If applicable, the role of current holders of, or participants in, an on-going CREATE grant relative to their role in the proposed CREATE initiative must be well explained on the “Excellence of proposed team of researchers” page of both the LOI and application. The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to enable the selection committee to evaluate the relationship with other CREATE initiatives and other sources of support.
  • Each training program will have a program committee responsible for overseeing the progress of the program and its future directions. The applicant may not be the Chair of the Program Committee.


For the industrial stream:

  • Each training program will need to have one or more confirmed and named industrial members(s) on their program committee;
  • The training program will have to include internships within the collaborating industry(ies) for at least 20 percent of the duration of their training. Agreements on these internships will have to be in place at the time of application; and
  • A document from the industrial participant, confirming both of the above conditions, will have to be submitted at both the LOI and application phases.



Funding of up to $150,000 in the first year and up to $300,000 annually for five years will be provided by NSERC for a total period of six years.


Application Process: 

Since institutional commitments may be involved, Faculty endorsement is required for all applications on which McMaster researchers are identified as applicants or co-applicants.


If you plan to submit an LOI, please contact Miky Dumitrescu, at or extension 21548 by February 27, 2017.


The LOI is due to the Research Office for Administration, Development and Support (ROADS) by March 21, 2017.


Please note that NSERC has limited the number of LOIs that may be submitted by McMaster to six.  LOIs submitted by March 21, 2017 will undergo an internal review process and only those selected will be forwarded to NSERC by May 1, 2017.


Only LOIs selected by NSERC’s CREATE multidisciplinary committee will be invited to submit a full application for September 22 2017.


NSERC will evaluate LOIs on the excellence of the merit of the proposed training program (60 percent) and the team of researchers (40 percent). The merit of the proposed training program will be evaluated on its:


  • innovative, collaborative and integrative character;
  • capacity to better prepare trainees for the workforce; and
  • potential to support teams of outstanding students and postdoctoral fellows.


NSERC CREATE information webinar: 

A recording of the CREATE webinar is available via the following link:

The slides from the webinar can be found here


More information:  

Additional information regarding the CREATE Program can be found on the NSERC website at