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NSERC Research Tools and Instruments Program

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Program


Notify ROADS of Intent to apply by August 21, 2017

For peer review, submit a draft application to ROADS by September 18, 2017

Final Application due to ROADS by October 18, 2017



The objective of the Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) program is to foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering by supporting the purchase of research equipment. 


Updates to the 2018 RTI competition:

  • NSERC has eliminated quotas to allow all eligible Canadian university researchers to apply. This eliminates the need for an internal selection process. However, ROADS will establish an internal peer review process to allow McMaster researchers the opportunity to receive valuable feedback on their draft proposals from colleagues who have developed successful RTI application in the past. Draft applications submitted by September 18th will receive peer review.
  • Researchers will be able to participate on one application per competition, either as an applicant or a co applicant, but not both.
  • NSERC will make significant changes to the application form; the updated instructions will be available on NSERC’s website in August. 



RTI grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 that assist in the purchase or fabrication of research equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, and assembly and installation fees). Net cost represents the cost of the equipment after any discount from the vendor. Vendor discount must be free of conditions, restrictions, or limitations.

The research community is also encouraged to explore other avenues for funding research tools and instruments’, including NSERC’s other programs that include purchase of equipment and eligible expenses, such as Discovery Grants.



In addition to meeting NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for Faculty, applicants and co-applicant must currently hold or be applying for an NSERC research grant (e.g., Discovery, Strategic Partnerships, Collaborative Research and Development, Canada Research Chairs, Canada Excellence Research Chair) at the time of submitting the RTI application.

NSERC will only accept requests:

  • For tools and instruments that form a comprehensive system intended to support NSERC funded research in the natural sciences and engineering (bundling of unrelated tools and instruments, or of duplicate tools and instruments intended for different uses, will not be accepted).
  • For the purchase of new, used, or refurbished equipment, or for the repair or upgrade of equipment, or for the fabrication of equipment that is not readily available off the shelf; and
  • For equipment that is purchased after the application deadline.


Application Process:

If you plan to submit an application, please send a list of your team, requested equipment and a brief summary of the research program to Grace Kim, Assistant Director, Development, at or extension 24765 by August 21.

A complete draft of the application is due to ROADS by September 18, 2017 for review by a McMaster peer reviewer and ROADS.

The final application and a completed and signed Application Approval Form are due to ROADS by October 18, 2017.  Please note applications received after this date may not receive a full content review by ROADS.

ROADS will submit the application to NSERC by 4:30 pm on October 25. 


More Information:

If you have questions regarding the RTI program, please contact Grace Kim, Assistant Director, Development, ROADS, at or extension 24765.

Additional information about the RTI program can be found on NSERC’s website at


NSERC Research Portal Webinars

Research Tools and Instruments – Submission of an application


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017


1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (ET)

Open to

Members of the research community across Canada