NSERC BUDGET TIPS FOR Discovery Grants and Research Tools by nastynas


									                   NSERC 2008 BUDGET TIPS FOR:
    Discovery Grants and Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants

General Tips:

•    All costs should be in Canadian dollars; provide exchange rate where applicable.
•    Avoid using acronyms or explain them fully.
•    Do not refer readers to Web sites for additional information on your proposal.
•    It is advisable to present your Budget Justification items in the same order as that presented
     on the Budget Form Page.

General Tips for Discovery Grants:

•    Requests for Discovery funding should extend for 5 years; if a different duration is requested,
     an explanation is required.

•    It is advisable to request the same amount of funding in each year when applying for a
     Discovery grant. Discovery grants are awarded with identical annual funding. Differing annual
     amounts are not normally awarded unless additional funding becomes available and NSERC
     increases the award after the fact. If you cannot arrange your budget in this way, you might
     want to ask for the largest amount during your first year.

Budget Details Unique to Research Tools & Instruments (RTI):

IMPORTANT: A moratorium on Categories 2 and 3 is in effect. During this moratorium, NSERC
will accept applications under Category 1 for equipment whose total net cost, i.e., excluding
taxes, shipping, and handling, is up to $250,000, provided that the applicant is able to secure
funding from other sources to bring the amount requested from NSERC to $150,000 or less. This
moratorium does not apply to applications in subatomic physics; these are evaluated within the
subatomic physics envelope, and applications in Categories 2 and 3 will still be accepted.

•    RTI Grants are one-year awards that assist in buying or developing research equipment that
     costs more than $7,000. In exceptional cases, multiple-year requests will be accepted. The
     onus is on the applicant to clearly explain the rationale. Items costing less than $7,000 each
     can be purchased with Discovery Grant funds or be included as a complement to a main
     piece of equipment being requested.

The following instructions pertain to Category 1 RTI

•    NSERC will pay some or all of applicable taxes, as well as some or all of the shipping and
     handling expenses, as long as the overall grant does not exceed $150,000. The applicant will
     be responsible for any amount in excess of $150,000.
•    The eligibility of specialized facilities such as large environmental chambers and mobile
     laboratories is considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants or research grants officers
     should contact NSERC before submitting proposals.
•    NSERC will accept applications only for equipment that has not yet been purchased, or that
     has been purchased within the one-year period immediately prior to the current deadline for
     receipt of applications. The applicant must indicate whether equipment has already been
     purchased and justify why a purchase prior to the application was necessary.
•   If a cash contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization
    (other than the applicants’ institutions(s)), a letter is required from the organization confirming
    this commitment.
•   Letters from supporting organizations, if submitted, should clearly explain the support that the
    organizations will provide, such as their involvement in the research, their financial
    contribution (cash or in-kind) to the purchase and installation of the equipment, etc.

Eligible expenses for Category 1 RTI include equipment or facilities (purchase or rental) including
computing equipment, transportation costs for purchased equipment, extended warranty,
brokerage and customs charges fro the importation of equipment and supplies.

Expenses that are NOT ELIGIBLE include salaries, benefits, travel, insurance costs for
equipment and research vehicles, costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or
supporting facilities, and software licensing or upgrades for subsequent years.

Provide two recent quotations for items or systems costing more than $25,000. Give a brief
description of the document and indicate whether you will be submitting it as an attached file or
as a paper copy.


Salaries, Stipends and Benefits:

•   A maximum salary/stipend of $16,500 per annum for master's students and $19,000 per
    annum for doctoral students from Agency funds. Non-discretionary benefits are also an
    eligible expense (recommended rate is 13.5%)
•   Postdoctoral fellows paid in whole or in part from NSERC funds must receive a total
    stipend/salary of at least $25,000 per annum plus non-discretionary benefits (recommended
    rate is 17%).
•   Salaries to postdoctoral fellows are limited to two years' support from the Agency.
    Three years' support is acceptable, when justified, to attract exceptional foreign candidates.
    The three-year appointment must be offered up front and reported to the Agency with a
    written justification within one month of an offer being accepted.
•   It is advisable to request the maximum allowable stipend. If the student ultimately obtains
    supplemental funding from TA work or a scholarship, etc., the residual funding can be applied
    elsewhere within your budget; NSERC is flexible.
•   Summer/Undergraduate Stipends: Provide rate in $/hour or $/month and the duration of their
•   NSERC strongly favors students over Postdoctoral Fellows since participation by students is
    viewed as training of the next generation of researchers. Student stipends should always be
    included in your budget. You will need to provide extensive justification for the inclusion of
    Postdoctoral fellows.

Equipment or Facilities:

•   Funding for items more than $7,000 or for related items constituting a single functional unit
    valued at more than $7,000 (before taxes, shipping and handling) should be requested
    through the Research Tools and Instruments program.

•   Provide details regarding the equipment or facilities to be purchased or rented including: a
    breakdown of the items requested, models, manufacturers, prices, and applicable taxes.
    Justify each item requested.
•   Include 1.98% GST in your budget.
•   Fees to be paid for the use of equipment or a facility should be described (e.g., hours and
•   Also report the need for beam time or other special facilities, and if time has been allocated
    for these.

Operation and Maintenance:

•   Extended warranties and maintenance contracts are eligible expenses for equipment
•   Eligible expenses related to computers and electronic communications include computers,
    modems, other hardware and software required for the research, and monthly charges for the
    use of the Internet from the Institution or the home.
•   Expenses related to computers and communications that are NOT ELIGIBLE include
    standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones, connection or installation of lines
    (telephone or other links), voice mail, cellular phone rental or purchase, library acquisitions,
    computer and other information services provided to all members of an Institution.
•   The Research and High-Performance Computing Support Department offers consultation on
    computer equipment purchases at no charge. For information visit their web site at
•   Please contact Patricia Monger (monger@mcmaster.ca; x27209) to facilitate your computing
    equipment purchases.

Materials and Supplies:

•   Provide details regarding the need for materials and supplies and explain major items.


•   Trips are limited to 125 days per person per year at the lowest rate available, not to exceed
    full economy fare.
•   Passport and immigration fees are NOT eligible.
•   Travel cancellation insurance is an eligible expense.
•   Regarding Discovery Grant travel: Briefly elaborate on travel costs (approximate location, air,
    automotive, subsistence, conference fees, et al) and explain how the travel relates to the
    proposed research. Will students travel with the researcher? Will a paper be presented?
    (Travel/Conference funding is more positively considered if a paper is to be presented.) Will
    networking between colleagues occur that will facilitate research objectives?
•   Travel related to collaboration and consultation: Elaborate on the value of the collaboration,
    with whom you will be collaborating, and the way in which it will enhance your research.
•   Regarding Field Trips: If you have checked “yes” in answer to the Certification question
    “Does any phase of the research described in this proposal a) take place outside an office or
    laboratory, or b) involve an undertaking as described in Part 1 of Appendix B” on page 1 of
    Application for a Grant, Form 101, Part I, you will need to complete Application for a Grant,
    Form 101, Appendix A, Environmental Impact, and Appendix B, CEAA Pre Screening

Dissemination costs:
•   Dissemination costs should always be included in any application (not applicable for RTI).
    NSERC expects that your research can and should lead to publications. Requests for
    Travel/Conference funding is more positively considered if a paper is to be presented.

Membership costs:

•   NEW: Costs of membership in professional associations or scientific societies ONLY if they
    direct economic benefits to the research program/project.

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