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. TIPS PERTAINING TO SPECIFIC NSERC BUDGET ITEMS 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 involvement. • 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 rate). • 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 http://www.rhpcs.mcmaster.ca • Please contact Patricia Monger (firstname.lastname@example.org; x27209) to facilitate your computing equipment purchases. Materials and Supplies: • Provide details regarding the need for materials and supplies and explain major items. Travel: • 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 Checklist. 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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