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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada
Nserc logo.png
NSERC header.png
Agency overview
Formed May 1, 1978
Jurisdiction Government of Canada
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Employees 374
Annual budget CAD $958 million
Minister responsible Tony Clement, Minister of Industry
Agency executive Suzanne Fortier, President

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is a Canadian government division that provides grants for research in the natural sciences and in engineering. In 2007-2008, it will invest CAD $958 million in university-based research and training.

NSERC was created on May 1, 1978 with the passing of Bill C-26 and Gordon MacNabb was appointed the first president. It is a separate employer of the Government of Canada and reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry. It is governed by a Council composed of 21 members chosen from the private and public sectors, and universities.

The current President is Suzanne Fortier of Queen's University.

Name Description
Discovery Grants are the basic "operating grants" provided in support of Canadian researchers in five-year awards. Specific supplements (e.g., for northern research) may be awarded also.
Special Research Opportunity (SRO) Grants are provided to allow researchers to take advantage of new and emerging avenues of study as they arise.
Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants are awarded for specific equipment purchases over $7,000 and up to $150,000.
Major Facilities Access (MFA) Grants support researchers' access to major regional or national research facilities.


Scholarships and fellowships

In addition to research grants for university faculty and industry researchers, NSERC provides funding to exceptional individuals at the postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate levels.

Name Short abbreviation Description
Postdoctoral Fellowships PDF are CAD $40,000 for each of two years of postdoctoral research and can be held within or outside of Canada.
Postgraduate Scholarships - Doctoral PGS D scholarships are for Ph.D. students and may be held for three years.
Postgraduate Scholarships - Master's PGS M are for Master's degree students and may be held for one year[1].
Canada Graduate Scholarships CGS The most outstanding candidates in the PGS competitions can be awarded these, which carry a higher level of funding
Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships IPS provide funding for a graduate student who is conducting research in collaboration with an approved industrial partner.
Undergraduate Student Research Awards USRA pay $4500 toward the salary of an undergraduate research assistant for one sixteen-week term. The organization hosting the student must also contribute at least 25% toward the student's salary. A student may also hold a USRA award immediately after graduating from an undergraduate program.


NSERC awards several prestigious prizes annually, covering all levels of study from graduate students to senior scientists. Details about the prizes and their current and past recipients are available at the NSERC Prizes page.

  • The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering is Canada's highest research honour. It is named after 1971 Nobel Prize-winning chemist Gerhard Herzberg and "is awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence and influence in research, for a body of work conducted in Canada that has substantially advanced the natural sciences or engineering fields". The Herzberg Medal was first awarded in 2000, replacing the Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. The Herzberg Medal carries a guarantee of CAD $1 million in research funding over five years.
Past winners
Prize Name Year
Herzberg Medal John C. Polanyi 2007
J. Richard Bond 2006
David Dolphin 2005
John P. Smol 2004
Arthur McDonald 2003
Juan Scaiano 2002
David Schindler 2001
Howard Alper 2000
Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering James Arthur 1999
Keith Ingold 1998
J. Keith Brimacombe 1997
Stephen Hanessian 1996
Peter Hochachka 1995
Alan G. Davenport 1994
Pierre Deslongchamps 1993
William S. Fyfe 1992
Raymond U. Lemieux 1991
  • The NSERC Award of Excellence is given to all finalists for the Herzberg Medal (three per year, including the Herzberg Medal winner, unless already awarded in a previous year).
Past winners
Name Year
David Dolphin 2004
André T. Salama
Richard Bond 2003
Arthur McDonald
John P. Smol
Barrie Frost 2002
Brian Hall
Tito Scaiano
Donald Mackay 2001
Richard Puddephatt
David Schindler
Howard Alper 2000
David Regan
David Schindler
  • E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships, named after chemist Edgar William Richard Steacie, are "awarded to enhance the career development of outstanding and highly promising university faculty who are earning a strong international reputation for original research" [2], with up to six awardees per year. The award provides CAD $90,000 per year toward the Fellow's salary, permitting a stronger emphasis on research by freeing him/her from most teaching duties.
  • The Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering is named for 1994 Nobel-Prize winning physicist Bertram N. Brockhouse and "recognizes outstanding Canadian teams of researchers from different disciplines who have come together to produce achievements of international significance in the natural sciences and engineering in the last six years". The prize carries a CAD $250,000 team research grant award.
Past winners
Name Year
Sajeev John 2004
Geoffrey Ozin
  • The Howard Alper Postdoctoral Prize is named after the first recipient of the Herzberg Medal, Howard Alper, who donated a portion of his award to the founding of this prize. It is awarded annually to the top NSERC-funded postdoctoral researcher in science or engineering. The Alper Prize is CAD $20,000 in addition to the $40,000/yr of the PDF award.
Past winners
Name Year
Kyle Shen 2006
Annick Gauthier 2005
Aneil Agrawal 2004
T. Ryan Gregory 2003
Rees Kassen 2002
Glenn Tattersall 2001
  • The NSERC André Hamer Postgraduate Prizes are "awarded to the most outstanding candidates [one each per year] in NSERC’s master’s and doctoral scholarship competitions". The prizes were founded by Arthur McDonald using a portion of his 2003 Herzberg Medal award and are named in memory of André Hamer, a student Dr. McDonald's who died in 2003.
Past winners
Name Year
Kenneth Chau 2005
Jem Berkes
Sharonna Greenberg 2004
Selena Smith
  • NSERC Doctoral Prizes are awarded to up to four graduating doctoral students per year based on the quality of the Ph.D. thesis work.

Other awards given by NSERC include the Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion, the Innovation Challenge Award, the Synergy Award for Innovation, and induction as Friends of NSERC for individual private citizens who significantly assist research carried out by NSERC-funded scientists and engineers.

See also


External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:




  1. (Canadian) Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, a Canadian government agency that provides grants for research in the natural sciences and in engineering.


  • Anagrams of cenrs


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