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Discovery Frontiers

 NSERC Discovery Frontiers


NSERC Discovery Frontiers

Call for Proposals: New Materials for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency


Notify ROADS of Intent to Apply by November 24, 2014

Draft Letter of Intent due to ROADS by January 19, 2015

FINAL Letter of Intent due to ROADS by February 23, 2015


Discovery Frontiers (DF) grants are initiatives that identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities where Canada can benefit from its world-class capacity to take a leadership role in key areas of research and innovation. Discovery Frontiers address national research priorities and global challenges by supporting a small number of major new transformative and integrative activities. These initiatives will generate substantial impact from a one-time injection of funding for a defined period, addressing challenges and seizing leadership opportunities in areas of national importance.


The DF initiative will bring together groups of researchers in new ways to address a major research challenge. The groups will incorporate new and emerging ideas, and combine their complementary expertise to conduct transformative, paradigm-changing research.


This call for proposals is in the area of New Materials for Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency.


This Discovery Frontiers grant will support research in new materials to improve energy production and the efficiency of alternative and conventional energy systems and provide novel solutions to mitigate environmental challenges association with energy production.


It will also cover paradigm-shifting approaches to:

  • making molecules and materials with low waste/energy properties;
  • developing methods to examine the persistence and ecotoxicology of high use molecules; and
  • seeking replacements for problematic ones leading to cleaner energy production.


It is expected that this DF grant will:

  • enable cross-fertilization of ideas and out-of-the box thinking across the natural sciences and engineering disciplines;
  • further strengthen Canada’s leadership role and capacity in the area;
  • produce valuable knowledge that will be disseminated in the appropriate fashion to maximize its impact; and
  • build synergies with, but not duplicate, existing materials science funding initiatives.


Approaches used will emphasize bold initiatives and interdisciplinary thinking with potential for long-term impacts. International linkages will be required.




In addition to the usual NSERC eligibility criteria for applicants and co-applicants, the following criteria will apply to all DF applications:

  • The activity will encompass discovery research and must involve international collaboration; it can involve industrial or receptor sector participation capacity, if appropriate.
  • The activity should encourage collaboration and integration across several disciplines within the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) and may include aspects of social science and health research.
  • The activity will be distinct from, and will not duplicate, what is being done through other existing NSERC programs such as, but not limited to, the Discovery Accelerator Supplements, CREATE, Strategic Networks or Networks of Centres of Excellence programs.
  • The proposal should demonstrate that the one-time research contribution has the potential to generate substantial and important advances in knowledge.


Value: $1,000,000 per year for four years


Application Process:


Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to NSERC.  Only LOIs selected by NSERC will be invited to submit a full application.


If you plan to apply, please contact Grace Kim, Assistant Director-Development, at or extension 24765 by November 24, 2014.


Draft Letter of Intent due to ROADS by
January 19, 2015.
FINAL Letter of Intent due to ROADS by
February 23, 2015.


ROADS will forward LOIs to NSERC by 5pm on March 2, 2015.


More Information:


Additional information about the Discovery Frontiers program can also be found on the NSERC website at