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NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program

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 facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.  Training programs must:


  • include the acquisition and development of important professional skills among students and postdoctoral fellows that complement their qualifications and technical skills
  • encourage mobility nationally or internationally between individual universities and between universities and other sectors
  • support 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)


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:


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.


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

The Research Foundation for the State of São Paulo, la Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) Brazil, has agreed to provide new funding to researchers in the State of São Paulo who have expressed their intention to collaborate with existing (or potential) NSERC CREATE Award grantees in Canada. This agreement will allow researchers in both countries to develop mutually beneficial joint training activities for young researchers.


Canadian researchers who are planning to apply to the CREATE program are invited to include this potential opportunity in their proposals.



  • 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. (New)
  • 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 in subsequent years, will be provided by NSERC for a total period of six years.


Application Process: 

If you plan to submit an LOI, please contact Grace Kim, Assistant Director, Development, at or extension 24765.

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

Only LOIs selected by NSERC’s CREATE multidisciplinary committee will be invited to submit a full application on September 22, 2015.


NSERC will evaluate LOIs on the excellence of the team of researchers (60 percent) and the merit of the proposed training program (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.


More information:  

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