NSERC program information in relation to COVID‑19 (updated May 26, 2020)

NSERC continues to make adjustments to its operations as we monitor the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We will continue to support our grants, scholarships and awards recipients, as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and we will make further adjustments as needed.

The granting agencies recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect your work, your ability to conduct and review research, and your ability to prepare and submit publications or grant and scholarship applications. We understand that some research could be jeopardized or slowed down; the preparation of research and financial reports may be delayed; and meetings, events, and travel plans may also be affected. The Agencies will continue to support the research community as we adapt to these challenges.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will provide program-by-program specific information as we continue to monitor and evaluate adjustments to program application deadlines and the reporting of due dates, as needed. These will be communicated through the NSERC website with regular updates. We will continue to make adjustments and put in place additional measures as necessary. 

The information below will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any questions, please refer to NSERC’s Contact Us page.

General Information

NSERC Investments in COVID-19 Research 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC is leveraging the expertise of researchers in natural science and engineering and their partners across Canada to address this unprecedented crisis.

Please visit the NSERC investments in COVID-19 research webpage to see a breakdown of the investments made through the NSERC Alliance COVID-19 and Tri-agency Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 grants

Program-specific Details

Eligiblity changes to Post-Doctoral Fellowships program 

NSERC is removing the one-per-lifetime restriction on applications to the NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF) program. For the 2021 competition year (application deadline October 19, 2020), unsuccessful applicants from previous competitions will be able to apply again, provided they still meet all other eligibility criteria. Please note that this change will not be shown in the Postdoctoral Fellowships program description until its regular update when the competition is launched at the end of July 2020. 


Given the COVID-19 situation, NSERC is allowing some flexibility in programming so that grantees can adapt to virtual delivery. As much as possible, NSERC expects that the program that was originally proposed and evaluated by the selection committee should be delivered. Grantees may adjust their delivery method without seeking NSERC approval as long as the target audience and program content remain similar. Likewise, the budget may be adjusted to accommodate expenses for virtual delivery without seeking NSERC approval as long as new expenditures are eligible according to the Grants Guide. Questions about eligible expenses or significant changes to the target audience or program content should be summarized in an email and sent to promoscience@nserc-crsng.gc.ca for review and approval.

New rules for grant extensions, reporting and eligibility for the current (2020) competition have already been communicated with recipients and applicable research grant officers (RGOs). For those applying to the 2020 competition and holding a grant with an end date of December 31, 2020, the deadline to request an extension is July 31, 2020. All other grantees may request the extension before the end date of their grant. Deferral requests should be made by December 1 of each year to ensure adequate processing time.

The 2020 PromoScience competition will take place as planned.