NSERC - Discovery Grants, Subatomic Physics

Generating world-firsts in knowledge. Expanding the frontiers of science and engineering

  • Program Type
  • Submission Deadline
    November 1 (application)
  • Program Duration
    Individual: Up to five years / Project: Up to three years
  • Industry Focus

The SAP Discovery Grants program supports both ongoing programs of research, with long-term goals (SAP Individual), as well as research projects with long-term visions and short-term objectives (SAP Project). These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances, whether made individually or as a collaboration. Researchers are free to work in the mode most appropriate for the research area.

NSERC recognizes that, while being of a grant-in-aid nature, SAP Discovery Grants must be sufficient to support a program or project of quality research that can have a meaningful impact on the field of study.

Review Process for NSERC Discovery Grants

This video describes the various steps of the peer review process for each application for an NSERC Discovery Grant.


The Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grants program assists in

  • promoting and maintaining a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities
  • fostering research excellence
  • providing a stimulating environment for research training
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion

    NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

    Applicants are expected to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to enhance excellence in research and training. Where applicable, consideration of sex, gender and diversity in the research design should be addressed in the proposal. Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations should be developed into the rationale for the composition of research teams, including trainees. Ad-hoc expert reviews for large projects (see Review procedures and selection criteria section below) will be expected to address equity, diversity and inclusion considerations. For more information, refer to the application instructions

    General eligibility principles

    "Individual grants"

  • Researchers can apply for only one Individual Discovery Grant (SAP or not) at a time.
  • Recipients of SAP Individual Discovery Grants are not restricted to the specific activities described in the application, but may pursue new research interests, provided they are within NSERC's mandate and adhere to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.
  • Researchers who hold an Individual Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another Individual Discovery Grant until the last year of their current award.
  • SAP Individual Discovery Grants are awarded for one to five years, the normal duration being five years. Applicants requesting a shorter duration for other reasons must provide strong justification. NSERC may award a grant of the normal duration, even if a shorter period is requested.
  • "Project grants"
  • Researchers can hold or apply for a SAP Project Discovery Grant, as either an applicant or co-applicant, at the same time as they hold or apply for an Individual Discovery Grant.
  • Researchers can concurrently hold or apply for more than one SAP Project Discovery Grant, as either an applicant or co-applicant.
  • SAP collaborations that hold a Project Discovery Grant cannot reapply for another Project Discovery Grant that relates to the same research program until the last year of their current award.
  • Members of a SAP collaboration, who are applying for a SAP Project Grant, cannot normally apply for another SAP Discovery Grant to support research activities that are part of the collaboration’s program of research. If you wish to submit a concurrent application, please consult NSERC.
  • When joining a SAP collaboration that is supported by an ongoing SAP Project Grant, researchers can apply for bridging funds through a SAP Project Grant for a duration that would, upon completion, align with the collaboration’s renewal application.
  • Eligible researchers who wish to join a SAP collaboration, without bridging funds, can do so by being added as a co-applicant to an existing award at any point throughout the duration of the award. If you wish to add a co-applicant to an existing award, please consult NSERC.
  • It is mandatory to have at least one co-applicant on a SAP Project Grant application.
  • SAP Project Grants are awarded for one to three years, the normal duration being three years. Applicants requesting a shorter duration must provide strong justification.

    Application procedure

    To apply for a SAP Discovery Grant, applicants must first submit a SAP notification of intent to apply (NOI) by the deadline date. The NOI is a mandatory step in the application process. It allows NSERC to start the review process (e.g., confirmation of assignment to the Subatomic Physics Evaluation Section, selection of appropriate external reviewers and determination of the most appropriate review mechanism for project applications requesting major financial support). Applicants must then submit the application by the deadline date.

    Both applicants and co-applicants are required to complete and submit the NSERC version of the CCV at both the NOI and full application stages for this program. The CCV can be updated following submission with the NOI, prior to submission with the full application.

    Future Phases

    Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.


    Let’s Get Started.

    To apply or join the program, please submit an application.