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NSERC Discovery Grant Workshop July 27, 2011
Discovery Grant Workshop • Timeline • Evaluation • Evaluation Groups • Peer Review Process • Criteria • Application • Form 180 • Form 101 • Form 100 • RTI Grant application and evaluation • Resources and contacts
Program vs. Project “The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research (with long-term goals) rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects.”
Timeline August 1 Submit Form 180 August OctoberResearch Office assistance with applications available September 15: ORS will facilitate external peer review September 21: ORS editing/revision assistance October 14: ORS proofreading/budget assistance October 14 Laurier ORS internal deadline: RTI October 21 Laurier ORS internal deadline: Discovery Grant October 25 NSERC RTI deadline November 1 NSERC Discovery Grant deadline March April Announcement of results
Recent changes Grant Selection Committees Evaluation Groups 3 Equally-Weighted Criteria Peer Review System: “Conference Model”
Evaluation Groups The Grant Selection Committees have been replaced by 12 discipline-based Evaluation Groups: 1501- Genes, Cells and Molecules 1509– Civil, Industrial and 1502- Biological Systems and Functions Systems Engineering 1503- Evolution and Ecology 1510- Electrical and Computer 1504- Chemistry Engineering 1505- Physics 1511- Materials and Chemical 1506- Geosciences Engineering 1507- Computer Science 1512- Mechanical Engineering 1508- Mathematics and Statistics
Evaluation Groups: resources • “List of evaluation groups and research topics” • includes descriptions of which topics are included in each of the twelve EGs • “Evaluation Groups” • includes membership lists with affiliations and NSERC program officer contacts for each of the twelve EGs
NSERC Evaluation Process • Two-step process separates merit assessment from funding recommendations • Proposal will be read by FIVE people: 2 Assessors and 3 Readers – each with a vote. • Merit assessment uses six-point scale to evaluate 3 equally-weighted criteria: • Excellence of the researcher; • Merit of the proposal; and • Contributions to the training of HQP.
Categories of Researchers • Early Career Researchers • within 2 years of the start of their first eligible position at the university • no prior academic or non-academic independent research experience • Established Researchers • all other applicants!
Stage 1: Merit Assessment • each application is evaluated using the 3 criteria on a 6-point scale • the 2 assessors + 3 readers vote on the overall rating: e.g., strong/strong/strong, outstanding/very strong/strong, etc. • “Discovery Grants Indicators” gives detailed specific guidelines for each category
Criterion A. Scientific or Engineering Excellence of the Researcher • knowledge, expertise and experience • quality of past or potential contributions and impact on the proposed and other areas of research • importance of contributions to and use by other researchers and end-users • complementarity of expertise of the members of the team and synergy (where applicable)
originality and innovation; extent to which the proposal suggests and explores novel or potentially transformative concepts and lines of inquiry significance and expected contributions to research; potential for technological impact clarity and scope of objectives clarity and appropriateness of methodology feasibility extent to which the scope of the proposal addresses all relevant issues, including the need for varied expertise within or across disciplines appropriateness and justification for the budget explanation of the relationship between other sources of funding and the current proposal; extent to which it is clear, comprehensive, and convincing Criterion B. Merit of the Proposal
Criterion C. Contribution to the Training of Highly Qualified Personnel • Quality and extent of past and potential contributions to the training of HQP (e.g., post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, technicians) • Appropriateness of the proposal for the training of HQP • Enhancement of training arising from a collaborative or interdisciplinary environment (where applicable)
Relative Cost of Research • In addition to the 3 main selection criteria, applications are also assessed with regard to the cost of the proposed research relative to the normal costs in the discipline. • These can include special needs related to the nature of collaborative activities or infrastructure costs such as user fees.
Stage 2: Funding Recommendations • Applications grouped in “bins” of comparable merit. • Funding recommendations: similar overall ratings within an Evaluation Group (EG) receive comparable funding, with possible modulation related to the cost of research. • Each EG has an Executive Review Committee that recommends funding
Bin A, e/e/e Bin B, e/e/o & o/e/e & e/o/o Bin C, e/o/o & o/o/e & o/e/o Bin D, o/o/o Bin E, o/o/vs & vs/o/o & o/vs/o Bin F, o/vs/vs & vs/vs/o & vs/o/vs Bin G, vs/vs/vs Bin H, vs/vs/s & s/vs/vs & vs/s/vs Bin I, vs/s/s & s/s/vs & s/vs/s Bin J, s/s/s Bin K, s/s/m & m/s/s & s/m/s Bin L, s/m/m & m/m/s & m/s/m Bin M, m/m/m Bin N, m/m/i & i/m/m & m/i/m Bin O, m/i/i & i/i/m & i/m/i Bin P, i/i/i Funding bins ratings: e = exceptional; o = outstanding; vs = very strong; s = strong; m = moderate; i = insufficient
Nuances • insufficient anywhere = no funding (both established and early researchers) • moderate in one criterion = an impact • moderate in excellence of researcher = no funding for established researchers • moderate in merit of proposal = no impact for early researchers; 1 year award for established researchers (only once) • moderate in HQP = possible 5 year grant once • generally, minimum for funding = s/s/s
Evaluation Criteria: resources • “Discovery Grants Merit Indicators” • includes detailed breakdown for each level on the 6-point rating scale for each of the 3 criteria • from chapter 6 of the Peer Review Manual • Peer Review Manual 2010-2011 • designed as a guide for Evaluation Group members • valuable information for applicants, especially chapter 6 • Video • “Demystifying the review process for NSERC Discovery Grants”
Applying for a Discovery Grant • Plan! • Start NOW! • Use all available resources • Seek out internal peer-review • Make use of Research Office assistance • facilitating pre-application external peer review • writing, revising, proofreading • budget
Form 180:Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant Used to identify: • the most appropriate Evaluation Group to review the application • the need and potential benefits of a joint review between EGs; and • the external referees for the application
Form 180: When & What? • Deadline: August 1 • electronic submission only • possible adverse consequences if not submitted: difficulty in securing external referee reports; difficulty in identifying need for participation of experts from other EGs • Includes: • Form 180, listing up to 5 research topics in priority order • list of contributions in the last six years • list of co-applicants and their contributions (for team grants)
Form 180 Form 180 Summary not adjudicated – but be as complete, clear, and detailed as you can Check Form 180 instructions on NSERC website! Suggest (up to) 5 possible external assessors, describing their field of expertise
Complete Discovery Grant Application • Form 101: Application for a Grant • with supporting documentation • Form 100: Personal Data Form • for applicant and all co-applicants • samples of research contributions • e.g., reprints, pre-prints, thesis chapters, manuscripts, patents, technical reports) • all required appendices *Note that all applications, including samples of research contributions, are to be submitted electronically
Recent research progress related to the proposal or attributable to your previous Discovery Grant Objectives short-term (this project) AND long-term (your research program) Pertinent literature review put your research in context Methods and proposed approach clearly explain exactly what you will do and why and how Anticipated impact this includes the “so what” factor! The 5-page proposal Write for an expert-non-expert!
The 5-page proposal Suggested approximate page breakdown: progress report/ lit.review objectives methods & approach benefit to field and Canada 1 2 3 4 5
Contribution to the Training of Highly Qualified Personnel • Maximum 1 page • Plan for Training of HQP • Appropriate projects • Involvement of trainees in projects • Expected outcomes re: contribution to knowledge • Training value of proposed projects • Co-Supervision or Collaborative Training Environment (if appropriate)
NSERC highly values training all types of HQP (esp. MSc and PhD) ensure representation: include details throughout proposal be explicit: who doing what what do you offer to HQP? what can you offer to HQP? consent form to use HQP personal information must be obtained Contribution to the Training of Highly Qualified Personnel • Various places to tout your HQP in your proposal: • budget justification • relationship to other support (if appropriate) • Form 100
you must justify the cost of what you are requesting ask for what you need to carry out proposed research can reveal much about your proposal take advantage of unlimited pages (within reason) “Direct Costs of Research” salaries/stipends equipment materials travel dissemination other Budget Justification
Relationship to Other Funding • important section; often overlooked • clearly describe any relationship with other funding sources • reviewers will be critical of blending tri-council funds • unlimited pages give opportunity to describe support of HQP funded by other sources
Form 100: CV Module • follow guideline instructions closely • Free-form (formerly “Part II”) 5 sections to include: • Most Significant Contributions • Research Contributions • Other Evidence of Impact • Delays • Contributions to Training of HQP • Maximum 5 pages in free-form section
Form 100, continued • “Most Significant Contributions” should be appropriate to proposal; narrative style • Include source of funding for each publication listed; clarify role if not PI/corresponding author • HIGHLIGHT your HQP authors – NSERC suggests bolding • Reviewers have been known to check funding acknowledgements on publications listed • Where appropriate, state value/impact of contributions explicitly; if an award is prestigious, say so
Application Resources • “Discovery Grants Information Centre” • Peer Review Manual • Videos: • “Tips on applying for an NSERC Discovery Grant” • “Demystifying the review process for NSERC Discovery Grants” • Use of Grant Funds • Discovery Grant Information Session • Form 100, 101, and 180 instructions
Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program, Category 1 • RTI grants foster and enhance the discovery, innovation, and training capability of university researchers by supporting the purchase of research equipment • One-year awards assist buying or developing research equipment that costs $7,000-$150,000
RTI eligibility and requirements • NSERC eligibility requirements must be satisfied • Only applications from applicants and co-applicants who currently hold or are applying for an NSERC research grant (e.g., Discovery Grant, Strategic Project Grant, research partnership, etc.) at the time of application can apply • If a cash contribution toward the equipment purchase is provided by an organization other than the applicant’s institution, a letter is required from that organization confirming the commitment.
RTI – submitting an application • No Notification of Intent to Apply • NSERC deadline: October 25 • Laurier internal deadline: October 14 • RTI Grant application includes: • RTI Form 101 (application) with supporting documentation* • Form 100 (Personal Data Form: CV) for the applicant and all co-applicants • all required appendices *Applications are to be submitted electronically
RTI applications - tips • As clearly and in as much specific detail as you can: • Describe the research program(s) that will be carried out using the equipment • Explain the need and urgency of the equipment • Justify the need and appropriateness of each item • Illustrate the suitability of the proposed equipment for the research program(s) • Discuss the importance of the equipment for the training of HQP – both quality and opportunities for hands-on training
RTI selection criteria • Excellence of the applicant(s) • Merit of the proposed research program(s) • Need and urgency for the equipment, including availability and access to similar equipment • Suitability of the proposed equipment for the proposed research program(s) • Importance of the equipment for training HQP
RTI evaluation process • Applications are rated and ranked • Based on the available funds, the most meritorious applications are supported, down to a cutoff line • RTI Grants are usually awarded for the full cost of the requested items (including tax, transportation, and eligible installation costs) • EGs may recommend partial funding, but the amount recommended must be sufficient to allow for the purchase of a functional unit
RTI Grant resources • RTI Form 101 instructions • RTI program description
Research Office Application Assistance • Proposal writing, editing, proofreading • Elin Edwards, editorial/communications officer – firstname.lastname@example.org, x3533 • Barry Ries, editorial/communications officer – email@example.com, x3479 • Budgets, technical assistance with forms and on-line system • Paul Barnard, grants officer – firstname.lastname@example.org, x3131
Final Steps • All forms and attachments must be submitted to NSERC electronically by Laurier internal deadline • Once you have submitted the grant to NSERC, the Laurier ORS must authorize it and do the final submission • this is equal to the “institutional signature” • In addition, submit to the Research Office: • the External Grant and Contract Cover Sheet, with signatures by your department chair and dean.