The Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). It is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which is housed within SSHRC.
To be eligible to apply, institutions must have registered with the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) by 9 p.m. (eastern), September 15, 2022.
Reminder: The full application must be uploaded to the online portal by 9 p.m. (eastern), October 13, 2022.
All applications must be submitted electronically using the Convergence Portal by the deadline. Applications that are incomplete or submitted after the deadline will be withdrawn from the competition. No extensions to the deadlines will be provided. Instructions on how to access and use the Convergence Portal are provided below.
Nominating institutions and nominees are expected to follow all presentation instructions specified below; this will allow reviewers to provide a fair and balanced assessment of the application. The program will undertake an administrative review of all materials in order to verify that submissions meet the program's eligibility requirements and application guidelines. Submissions that do not meet requirements will be withdrawn from the competition.
Applicants may choose either of the official languages (English or French) to submit documents and information related to this competition. Any accompanying documents should also be submitted in the same language to assist with the peer review process. An additional 20% of space has been allocated to page limits for documents submitted in French.
These instructions are to be used in conjunction with the information in the 2022 Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) funding opportunity.
Awardees will have up to 12 months to take up the award after the Notice of Award and Acceptance has been signed by all parties. If a successful nominee declines an award or fails to commence their duties and to reside in Canada within the timelines stated above, the respective Chair will be reclaimed.
In alignment with the objectives of the program, CERC holders are expected to spend a significant portion of their time and energy at their host institutions in Canada to provide the necessary leadership required to fully achieve their results.
The information provided within the application package is protected under the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations.
Using the Convergence Portal to create and submit your application
You must have a Convergence Portal account to create and submit an application.
You must complete the application using the Convergence Portal. The portal is supported only on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. The portal may appear to function in other browsers, but technical problems can occur, such as information being improperly captured in the system without the user being aware. Use of an unsupported browser is strongly discouraged, and TIPS will not be responsible for any technical issues caused by this.
Follow the instructions provided in the Convergence Portal to complete and submit your application. You must complete one application per nomination. When you are ready to submit, review your application to ensure that it is complete. From the “Finalize Application” section in the Convergence Portal, follow the prompts to submit the application. The status of your submission will change to “Received by Agency”. No changes can be made at that point. Repeat the process for subsequent nominations.
Roles and invitations
Different people may take part in preparing the application in the Convergence Portal.
The Senior Official (SO) is the designated representative who has the authority to create and sign off on the applications (for example, the provost or the vice-president, Research, depending on the institution). Only one SO can be named. The SO has both read and write privileges in the Convergence Portal.
Delegate(s) are designated employees at the institution who have a role in the CERC application process. The institution can name as many delegates as needed. Delegates have both read and write privileges in the Convergence Portal.
The following table describes the read and write privileges in the Convergence Portal: “yes” indicates that the role has read and write privileges; “no” indicates that the role has neither read nor write privileges; “view only” only indicates that the role has read privileges. TIPS has communicated with institutions to identify these roles. If changes need to be made, contact program staff.
Summary of privileges by role
The Convergence Portal will automatically create a dashboard of all the nominations at your institution. This can only be viewed by the SO and delegates (not by nominees). All chair registrations created in the previous stage will appear as applications under the Institutional Applications tab.
Each application will be adjudicated through peer review against the following criteria:
- Criterion 1: Research/academic merit and leadership skills of the nominee (three sub-criteria)
- Criterion 2: Quality of the institutional support (seven sub-criteria)
- Criterion 3: Quality of the research program (six sub-criteria)
- Criterion 4: Potential contribution to the excellence of the Canadian and international research ecosystem (five sub-criteria)
Each application will be peer reviewed by external experts in the nominee’s field of research, after which a diverse multidisciplinary selection board will assess each application using the selection criteria, taking into consideration the expert reviewers’ written assessments and the application materials.
You may wish to consult the funding opportunity description, the Instructions to Reviewers, and the Definition of Ratings prior to drafting the application to better understand the evaluation criteria and how the application will be assessed.
Proposed title of the CERC (i.e., Canada Excellence Research Chair in …)
The CERC title should be descriptive and should not include symbols or abbreviations. For example, use “and” instead of “&”. The title should also be short and in language plain enough for a lay audience and members of the media to understand and use it. See examples of CERC titles.
Language of the application
Indicate which official language will be used for the CERC application.
Expected date of the appointment
Alignment with federal research funding agency
Based on the mandates of the three federal research funding agencies and the research area(s) of the CERC, select the agency with which this CERC primarily aligns. This selection is used by TIPS only for financial and reporting purposes and should not be viewed as directing interdisciplinary research programs to shift their focus or to align primarily with a particular agency’s mandate.
If your application involves Indigenous research, it will be reviewed in the context of SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and the Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research. In this module, you are asked to indicate whether your proposal involves Indigenous research as defined by SSHRC.
The name of the nominee will appear in the “Nominee” module. This information is required by TIPS to ensure potential reviewers are not in a conflict of interest with any nominees.
The Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC) was jointly developed by the federal research granting agencies, along with the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Statistics Canada. The Convergence Portal contains Socioeconomic Objective (SEO) - CRDC 2020 Version 1.0. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, email R&D-Classification@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca.
You must provide at least one primary socioeconomic objective. You may add up to a maximum of three socioeconomic objectives.
Science, technology and innovation research priority areas
Chairs will be awarded in alignment with the Government of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Priorities for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. Applications are invited from a broad range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health and related sciences.
In this module, using the Government of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Priorities for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, select the challenge(s) and area(s) of focus that are relevant to the application. You must select at least one challenge. There is no limit to the number of challenges or areas of focus you can select.
Fields of research
Select the fields of research from the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC) codes that relate to the proposed research. You must provide at least two primary fields of research from different groups (disciplines). You may add up to a maximum of three secondary fields of research directly related to the project (for a maximum total of five fields of research).
List between five and 10 keywords to describe the proposed research program.
Summary of the proposed program
Provide a summary (maximum 2,500 characters), written in lay language, describing the importance and appropriateness of the proposed CERC.
The summary must:
- state the objectives of the proposed research program;
- summarize the research approach; and
- highlight the novelty and expected significance of the work.
This summary will be used in the application adjudication process, and, in the event of an award, for promotional and communications purposes. This summary may be modified from the one provided at registration stage.
Certifications, licenses and permits
All research activities must comply with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research, including but not limited to section 2.4 Agency Requirements for Certain Types of Research. Institutions and nominees should reassure peer reviewers in the “Proposed research program” section of their application that these requirements will be implemented within the research activities, where appropriate (e.g., research involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada, research involving human pluripotent stem cells, and integration of gender and sex into health research).
Partners, collaborators and core team members
Note: Principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, fairness, transparency and accountability should be considered when securing partners and collaborators and when creating the CERC core team.
A partner refers to any kind of institution or organization, based in Canada or internationally, that will make cash and/or in-kind contributions to support the CERC. Partners include:
- Academic institutions, including universities, colleges, polytechnics and institutes
- Other research organizations (including research hospitals)
- Private sector
- Public sector
- Philanthropic / not-for-profit
In this module, list the CERC’s partners. For each partner, you must indicate in which country the partner is located, what type of institution it is (see list above), and the type of contributions (cash and/or in-kind). A partner is one that has committed to making a cash and/or in-kind contribution to the initiative, which does not imply that either a formal agreement or memorandum of understanding need to be in place by the time of submission of the application.
A collaborator refers to the involvement of an individual (from academia or another sector) who plays an active role in the research and research-related activities of the CERC initiative, but is not involved in leading research related to the CERC initiative, or in its administration and management (i.e., not from nominating institution).
In this module, list the CERC’s collaborators. For each collaborator, you must indicate in which country the collaborator is located, the name of their institution, and the type of institution. If applicable, indicate the type and amounts of contributions (cash and/or in-kind).
Individuals at the institution already involved with research related to the proposed CERC program may participate on the CERC core team. These individuals can be faculty members, trainees, technicians and/or research personnel.
Input the names of up to 10 core team members in the module. For each individual, a biosketch will need to be prepared and submitted as a supporting document (see section H below).
Institutions are expected to consider EDI best practices when planning the core personnel’s composition. When selecting personnel, they are expected to consider a diverse pool and not disadvantage people from underrepresented groups, including members of the four designated groups as defined by the Employment Equity Act (women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized minorities).
Institutions must not include any personal information about members of the core team in the EDI section; the focus is on the core personnel’s commitment to EDI, not their EDI profiles.
Refer to the New Frontiers in Research Fund’s Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research when considering the research team and its environment.
Referees / letters of reference
Three reference letters are required before the application can be submitted. In this module, the SO or delegate must list the name, institutional affiliation, country and email of each of the individuals who will be providing letters of reference for the application.
The system generates an email to the selected referee with a link and instructions on how to attach their letter. Referees will not have to create a Convergence Portal account. Once the letter is submitted, it cannot be removed or changed. There is no deadline extension for submitting reference letters. Reference letters must be included with the application at the time of submission, on the deadline date. No letters will be accepted after the deadline.
The CERC program complies with the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations to ensure effective management of conflict of interest of any participant in the review process. It is the responsibility of institutions to ensure that letters of reference submitted in support of nominations meet the program’s requirements regarding conflict of interest. If, during the peer review process, a letter of reference is found not to meet these requirements, the letter will be removed from the nomination package by the Secretariat.
Letters of reference must be from internationally established authorities in the field who are not in a conflict of interest with the nominee. The letters should emphasize the international stature of the nominee, the impact of their research, and the value of their contributions. In cases where the nominee is a Canadian Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) researcher based in Canada, the impact can be at the international level and/or at the community, regional or national level.
- One letter must be from a recognized international authority in the nominee’s field who does not reside in the country in which the nominee is currently working.
- All three letters should address how the nominee meets the evaluation criteria of the program.
- All three letters should limit unconscious bias (see reference documents provided below).
Reference letters must be dated and include:
- the referee's name, position, department, institution, email address and telephone number;
- the name of the nominee; and
- the period of time and the capacity in which the referee has known the nominee.
Referees should consult the following documents, to limit unconscious bias:
- The Canadian Privacy Act stipulates that Government of Canada organizations must provide the text of letters of reference to nominees upon request. Organizations are not required to reveal the identity of the letter writer.
- An application that is missing letters of reference or that does not meet the conditions outlined above in terms of conflict of interest will be rejected.
- Email addresses are not verified, and bounce-backs are not registered in Convergence. It is the responsibility of the institution to confirm with the referee that they have received the automated email from the Convergence Portal.
CERC grants are awarded for a period of eight years, with funds disbursed over the duration of the grant based on a payment schedule established by the program.
The different award values are intended to allow participation from a greater range of research disciplines and to continue to support core teams that include students, highly qualified personnel, and early- and mid-career researchers. There is no established distribution between the two award values within the program’s budget envelope. The two award values acknowledge the varying costs of research objectives. The award value that is applied for must be justified in terms of research costs.
- Funding from the CERC program: Indicate how the CERC funds will be used according to the line items (eight years). Actual expenditures may deviate from planned expenditures, as long as the program guidelines on the use of funds are respected. This information is requested for information and evaluation purposes, as well as for program administrative and accountability purposes.
- Contribution from the university: Indicate any funds (cash and/or in-kind) committed in support of the chair by the institution (eight years). This information is requested for information and evaluation purposes.
- Contribution from other sources: Indicate any funds (cash and/or in-kind) committed in support of the chair by sources other than the CERC program or the institution (eight years) (for examples of partners and collaborators, refer to the Partner section). Exclude the concurrent or any subsequent application to CFI associated with the nomination; however, include any other CFI investment that supports the chair or the chairholder’s program.
In Budget justification supporting document N. indicate how the funds will be used, according to the line items (eight years).
The CV details section can either be selected from items on the nominee’s profile or it can be added directly. It has four main sections:
List the affiliation and employment, beginning with the current or most recent position (academic, research, professional and industrial).
List the academic and professional experience, beginning with the most recent.
List grants and contracts from all sources, including industry and academic research institutions for the past five years (in instances of career interruptions and/or special circumstances, the appropriate time limit for this section will be indicated in the Convergence Portal).
Interruptions and special circumstances
An important evaluation criterion in the CERC program is the excellence of the nominee. A key factor in assessing this is the research productivity of the individual. TIPS acknowledges that certain circumstances may legitimately affect a nominee’s record of research achievement. Nominees are encouraged to explain any interruptions or other circumstances that have affected their productivity, if applicable, to allow for a fair assessment of their nomination. Reviewers are instructed to give careful consideration and be sensitive to the impacts of these circumstances when assessing a nominee’s research productivity. See the Canada Research Chairs program’s Guidelines for Assessing the Productivity of Nominees for examples of such circumstances and the specific instructions provided to reviewers in relation to them.
Research interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., closures) are recognized as interruptions beginning March 1, 2020. For further guidance, refer to NSERC’s guidelines for the research community.
Guidelines for explaining circumstances affecting productivity:
- Clearly explain the circumstances that have had an impact on the nominee’s research productivity.
- Provide an estimate of the amount of time the nominee was taken away from the nominee’s work by the affecting circumstance(s) (e.g., “one day a week for five months”, or “one month during the year”). If applicable, include the start and end dates of the period in question.
- Provide the dates of all formal leaves taken.
Nominating institutions and nominees are expected to follow all presentation instructions provided throughout this document, to allow reviewers to provide a fair and balanced assessment of the nomination. Any information submitted beyond the limits stated in these instructions will be removed prior to peer review.
- Indicate the nominee’s name, application ID (e.g., CERC-XXXX-XXXXX) and the title of each documents listed below.
- Page limits must be respected.
- Any acronyms and abbreviations must be explained.
- Pages must be 8 1/2“x 11" (216 mm x 279 mm).
- All text must be in black, using the 11-point Arial font; condensed fonts will not be accepted.
- Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines of type per inch.
- All page margins must be set at a minimum of 3/4“(1.87 cm).
Note: All attachments that are uploaded to the Convergence Portal must be previewed to ensure that they have been uploaded correctly and the content is viewable. Corrupted or protected files that cannot be opened or viewed will not be accepted. TIPS will not be responsible for any technical issues caused by this.
All documents outlined below are mandatory
1. Publication conventions in the discipline (maximum one page in English, 1.2 pages in French)
Forms of research publications/contributions can vary greatly among disciplines. Given that the nomination may be peer reviewed by a multidisciplinary selection panel that includes researchers who may not have direct expertise in the nominee’s field, clearly explain the publication conventions in the nominee’s discipline, to allow informed assessment of the nominee’s research contributions by a variety of experienced researchers.
- the publication conventions in the nominee’s discipline(s);
- the choice of venues for the dissemination of the nominee’s research results;
- the citation conventions for the discipline(s) (e.g., senior author first in multi-authored publications);
- the publication conventions in the discipline(s) as they relate to students and trainees; and
- the particularities and/or challenges involved in the publication of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary research results, if applicable.
2. Significant contributions
List the five most significant research contributions that the nominee has made during their career. Explain their significance.
3. Research contributions (over the past five years)
The tri-agencies have signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). This reaffirms their commitment to excellence in research evaluation and the importance of knowledge mobilization. DORA is a global initiative to support the development and promotion of best practices in the assessment of scholarly research. When providing evidence of international leadership in the proposed area of research, consider a variety of research contributions, both traditional academic publications and other kinds of services and relevant experience.
Contributions may include: books, chapters of books, articles, monographs, memoirs, special papers, review articles, conference/symposia proceedings and abstracts, patents, copyrights, products, services, technology transfer, creative or artistic works (including individual or collective literary or artistic works such as novels, short stories, poetry, films, videos, visual art, booklets, records, sound creation, collections, exhibition catalogues, etc.), government publications, book reviews by the nominee or published reviews of his/her work, research reports, papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences, and other forms of written scholarly expression or participation in public discourse and debate that constitute a contribution to research.
- For published contributions, provide complete bibliographic notices (including co-authors, title, publisher, name of publication, volume, date of publication, number of pages, etc.) as they appear in the original publication.
- For multi-authored publications, identify any students and trainees that the nominee supervised by underlining their names. Specify the nominee’s role in co-authored publications and indicate the percentage of the nominee’s contribution to the team effort.
- For written works accepted for publication or in press, indicate the name of publication, date of acceptance and number of pages, and append the letter of acceptance to the nomination in annex. For publications submitted or revised and submitted, indicate the name of publication to which they were submitted, date of submission, number of pages and, if available, the manuscript numbers.
- For publications in languages other than French or English, provide a translation of the title and the name of the publication.
Group the nominee’s research contributions by category in the following order, with the most recent contributions listed first.
- Published refereed contributions, such as: books (where applicable, subdivide according to those that are single-authored, co-authored, and edited works), monographs, book chapters, and articles in scholarly refereed journals. “Refereed contributions” assumes assessment of the work in its entirety—not merely of an abstract or extract—before publication, and by appropriately independent, anonymous and qualified experts (i.e., assessors who are at arm’s length from the author).
- Other refereed contributions, such as: conference proceedings, papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences, articles in professional or trade journals, government publications, etc.
- Non-refereed contributions, such as: book reviews, published reviews of your work, research reports, policy papers, public lectures, creative works, papers in conference proceedings, specialized publications, technical reports, internal reports, discussions, abstracts, symposium records, monographs, books or book chapters, conference presentations, government publications, etc.
- Creative outputs: List your most recent and significant achievements (if applicable), grouping them by category. Creative outputs will be evaluated according to established disciplinary standards, as well as creative and/or artistic merit. Examples of creative outputs may include, for example, exhibitions, performances, publications, presentations, film, video, audio recordings, etc. If applicable, you may include website links (though the Secretariat cannot guarantee that links will be accessed). If including a website link, follow these instructions:
- Provide the complete and exact URL and indicate the path to access the intended support material on the website.
- Include a list of up to three works or excerpts of works (e.g., images, audio, video, written material, etc.) to which you would like to direct the reviewers. Provide titles, dates of creation/production, and a brief context for the works presented.
- Ensure that the website and all links involved will be operational up to six months after the application deadline.
- Specify the browser and version that should be used.
- Forthcoming contributions: Indicate one of the following statuses: "submitted", "revised and submitted", "accepted" or "in press". Provide the name of the journal or book publisher and the number of pages.
Note: TIPS assumes no responsibility in cases where links provided are broken or the server is unavailable during the adjudication period.
Provide evidence of international leadership or of the potential to become an international leader in the field in the next five to 10 years.
- Describe any involvement in broader intellectual leadership activities, such as stewardship of initiatives at a national or international level, that have had an influence or impact that extends beyond the nominee’s own institution.
- If applicable, describe how the nominee would improve the institution’s ability to leverage additional research resources (including financial and non-financial resources).
5. Training and supervisory experience
- Describe the nominee’s role in training students (e.g., doctoral, master’s, undergraduate) and other trainees.
- Describe the nominee’s role in supervising or co-supervising ongoing and/or completed theses at the doctoral, master’s and/or undergraduate level.
- Describe the steps the nominee has taken to involve students (e.g., doctoral, master’s, undergraduate) in their research activities.
- Specify if the nominee’s opportunities for such contributions have been limited because the institution does not have graduate degree programs in their field or discipline. Describe any proactive strategies undertaken to make contributions to student training despite these challenges.
6. Other contributions
Describe other activities that show the impact of the nominee’s work and leadership in knowledge mobilization, such as: consulting; contributions to professional practice or public policy; membership on committees, boards, or policy-making bodies with government or the private sector; media appearances as an expert; social media; awards; contributions to scientific peer review (membership on peer review committees, external reviews, etc.).
The SO may extend the Funding section of the CV details and Research Contributions of the CV documents beyond five years if the nominee has taken a formal leave. The extension may be considered to accommodate situations where for legitimate reasons, they could not or did not take a formal leave (e.g., a prolonged period of unemployment or mandatory military service). The extension may be rounded up to the closest full year and may be applied to more than one eligible leave period.
The formal leave must have:
- been for maternity/parental leave, medical reasons (i.e., extended illness), or the care and nurturing of the nominee’s immediate family members;
- been formally approved by the employer;
- occurred within the 10 years prior to the program’s application submission deadline date; and
- been long enough to have had an impact on the nominee’s productivity.
Canada Foundation for Innovation
In this module, select “yes” or “no” in answer to the question “Is a request for infrastructure support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation included with this CERC nomination?”.
Institutions may include a request for infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (the CFI) with their chair nomination. Through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund, the CFI contributes up to 40% of the total cost of the infrastructure project. The institution and its partners are responsible for securing the remaining funding. For institutions with a special Chair allocation through the Canada Research Chairs Program, the CFI may fund up to 100% of the project’s eligible infrastructure costs if the amount requested from the CFI does not exceed $75,000. As well, institutions may also request funding from the CFI for infrastructure that will be shared by two or more chairs.
The CFI’s board of directors is responsible for the review of requests for infrastructure support for successful chair nominations. Following the review process, the CFI will communicate the decisions directly to the host institutions.
To apply for CFI infrastructure funding, institutions must use the CFI’s Awards Management System (CAMS), following these steps:
- Using the candidate’s account username and password, log onto CAMS.
- Choose Create a new proposal.
- Choose John R. Evans Leaders Fund - Funding for research infrastructure associated with an application for research support funding from another program.
- Under “Joint funding with”, select CERC.
All CFI requests submitted in conjunction with a CERC application must be submitted through CAMS by the CERC program’s application deadline. Program staff will append the CFI request to the chair nomination after it is submitted.
The following supporting documents (A through N) must be uploaded to Convergence as PDF files.
- Page limits must be respected.
- Any acronyms and abbreviations must be explained.
- Pages must be 8 1/2“x 11" (216 mm x 279 mm).
- All text must be in black, using the 11-point Arial font; condensed fonts will not be accepted.
- Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines of type per inch.
- All page margins must be set at a minimum of 3/4” (1.87 cm).
- No personally identifying information should be included in the headers and/or footers (e.g., name, PIN, institution, etc.).
- Either single- or double-column presentation of text, graphs and illustrations is acceptable.
A. Quality of nominee (maximum three pages in English, 3.6 pages in French)
Use the Quality of nominee template to complete this section. This must be a maximum of three pages in English or 3.6 pages in French. In this section, the institution must clearly demonstrate, in detail, how the nominee aligns with the descriptions in the bullets listed below. It is not necessary to repeat information provided in the CV details and CV documents. This section will be used to assess elements of Criterion 1: Research/academic merit and leadership skills of the nominee.
Heading 1: Research/academic merit and leadership skills of the nominee
- Nominee is a top-tier researcher whose accomplishments have made a major societal impact and who is recognized internationally as a leader. In cases where the nominee is a Canadian Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) researcher based in Canada, the impact can be at the international level and/or at the community, regional or national level. Quality and impact of the nominee’s research track record, including their record of service to the research community (e.g., service on peer review committees, faculty recruitment committees, advisory committees, serving as EDI champions).
- Nominee’s record of attracting and mentoring a diverse group of students, trainees and research personnel, and establishing an equitable and inclusive research environment. Informal mentorship should be included (e.g., Black or Indigenous researchers who provide informal mentorship to Black students or Indigenous students due to a lack of representation in other departments).
- Plan for establishing and maintaining a diverse core team (at the student, trainee, personnel and early-career researcher levels), and an environment that is safe and inclusive and allows all team members to reach their full research potential (e.g., through the recruitment and outreach strategy, equitable training opportunities, professional development and mentoring). Refer to the New Frontiers in Research Fund’s Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research when considering the composition of the core team.
B. Quality of the institutional support (maximum six pages in English, 7.2 pages in French)
Use the Quality of the institutional support template to complete this section. This must be a maximum of six pages in English or 7.2 pages in French. In this section, the institution must describe the activities planned to support the chair throughout their award to ensure their success, describe their commitment to EDI principles, as well as the plans in place to ensure the sustainability, including retention, of the chair beyond the period of the award. This section will be used to assess elements of Criterion 2: Quality of the institutional support.
Heading 1: Institutional environment
- Quality of the institutional environment (existing or planned) that will support the chairholder and the CERC core team throughout the tenure of the award to ensure the success of the research program. This assessment will include the activities planned to support the Chair, such as establishing governance committees and advisory bodies, stewardship plans, etc., and the core team throughout the award.
- Institution’s research strengths in the proposed field, assessed against global standards of excellence.
Heading 2: Activities planned to support the Chair
- Level of additional support that will be provided to ensure the success of the research program, protected time for research (e.g., release from certain teaching or administrative duties), mentoring (if applicable), training, additional funds, office space, administrative support, and hiring of other faculty members.
Heading 3: Sustainability
- Ability to sustain the research advantage created by the proposed Chair after the term of the Chair ends, including retention of the Chair beyond the period of the award.
- Quality of the institutional support in terms of its ability to leverage additional resources to promote knowledge mobilization and translation through partnerships with the private sector, public sector, international research institutions, academic and/or philanthropic organizations.
Heading 4: Institutional EDI commitment
- Strength of the institution’s overall commitment to EDI in research and academia, and the level of support it will provide to the chairholder in helping to establish and sustain an equitable, diverse and inclusive research team and environment that also contributes towards a more equitable, diverse and inclusive research ecosystem. Any financial support provided to the chair for these objectives should also be noted in the budget section.
C. CERC recruitment process (maximum two pages in English, 2.4 pages in French)
Use the CERC recruitment process template to complete this section. This must be a maximum of two pages in English or 2.4 pages in French. In this section, describe the quality of the outreach and selection processes used by the institution to recruit the nominee, in terms of the institution’s demonstrated commitment to open, transparent, fair and equitable processes, and to identifying and addressing systemic barriers (e.g., strategy used to identify a diverse pool of applicants, advertising venues, accommodations used). For more information, refer to the recruitment requirements in the application instructions. This section will be used to assess the last element of Criterion 2: Quality of the institutional support.
Heading 1: Diversity of applicants
- Describe the efforts that were made to identify a diverse pool of potential applicants (e.g., tapping into focus groups / associations and organizations).
- Provide data on the diversity of the applicant pool identified through this candidate search. Provide the data for each of the underrepresented groups (racialized minorities, Indigenous Peoples, women, persons with disabilities, individuals from the LGBTQ2+ communities) as actual numbers and as a percentage of the total pool (e.g., women 50% [N: 15/30]). Do not provide any identifying data for specific individuals.
- If the applicant pool was not diverse, describe the challenges faced by the institution in identifying a diverse pool of potential applicants.
Heading 2: Safeguards in the evaluation process
- Describe how fairness, transparency and accountability were upheld throughout the process.
- Describe how the institution’s commitment to EDI was considered and upheld in the process.
- Describe the composition of the search committee in terms of its diversity.
- Describe the training provided to search-committee members on unconscious bias.
- Describe the assessment and selection process, including who participated in the process and at what stages and what their specific roles were.
- Describe what mechanisms were used within the evaluation process to ensure that applicants with career interruptions or who required accommodations were not unfairly disadvantaged.
D. Publicly advertised job posting
For all new nominations, upload the job posting leading to the present nomination. See Requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Excellence Research Chairs for more information.
E. Proposed research program (maximum 15 pages in English, 18 pages in French)
Use the Proposed research program template to complete this section. This must be a maximum of 15 pages in English or 18 pages in French. In this section, the nominee must provide a high-level description of the proposed chair’s research program, the research area to which the chair will contribute at the institution, the value-added of the CERC research program to the research area, and the expected outcomes of the research program. The Government of Canada values knowledge translation and mobilization to help foster a culture of social and commercial innovation. Chairs and CERC-funded institutions are expected to promote co-creation with partners from all sectors (academic, public, private, not-for-profit), in order to increase research results uptake for the benefit of all Canadians. There should be an effort to promote and facilitate knowledge translation and mobilization of the Chair’s research results into various forms, to support economic growth and social innovation. Each research program should pursue significant partnerships and collaborations with Canadian and international entities (academic, public, private, not-for-profit), as well as by and with Indigenous Peoples and communities, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, if applicable, to ensure that the research design is co-created and that the benefits and advantages of the knowledge obtained through research supported by the CERC program are applied broadly to support social and economic growth. This section will be used to assess elements of Criterion 3: Quality of the research program.
Heading 1: High-level research plan, including knowledge mobilization
The high-level research plan should describe the broad goal(s) and aim(s) of the proposed chair’s research program for both the eight-year period and beyond the term of the chair. It should include a brief overview of the research strategies and key activities, including methodological approaches and procedures for data collection and analysis, as well as the intellectual significance (excellence, originality and innovation) of the proposed research and interactions with knowledge users.
Heading 2: Alignment of the proposed initiative with the Government of Canada’s science, technology and innovation priority research areas
Under each of the following headings, provide a detailed description of how the proposed research program will address these evaluation criteria.
Heading 3: Promise of the proposed field of research for the Chair, measured in the context of leading global research in the field
Heading 4: Extent to which the proposed research program enhances knowledge mobilization and translation so that all sectors of society (industry, government, academia, not-for-profit, etc.) benefit from the research and data generated
Heading 5: Extent to which the Chair fills a gap within existing expertise at the institution or in Canada
Heading 6: Quality of the proposed research program in terms of how it has embedded EDI considerations (i.e., gender-based analysis plus [GBA+] or sex- and gender-based analysis plus [SGBA+]) at each stage of the research process (research questions, design, methodology, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and dissemination of results), as applicable
Heading 7: Quality of the proposed research program in terms of how research is co-created and co-led by and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, as leaders, investigators, trainees, partners and collaborators, using a distinction-based approach, and its recognition of Indigenous ways of knowing (as applicable)
Note: Institutions are expected to support nominees in integrating Indigenous research into their program.
F. Potential contribution to the excellence of the Canadian and international research ecosystem (maximum five pages in English, six pages in French)
Use the Potential contribution to the excellence of the Canadian and international research ecosystem template to complete this section. This must be a maximum of five pages in English or six pages in French. In this section, the institution must describe the potential contribution of the CERC in enhancing the research landscape in Canada, such as building research capacity in new fields, including plans for highly qualified personnel, or increasing critical mass in existing areas; the likelihood that the work of the proposed Chair will advance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research, and innovation excellence; and potential for the proposed Chair’s expertise to create social and economic advantages for Canada. This assessment is not based on areas of research priority, but, rather, potential of the chair to make an impactful contribution to the research ecosystem in Canada. This section will be used to assess elements of Criterion 4: Potential contribution to the excellence of the Canadian and international research ecosystem.
Heading 1: Potential contribution
- Likelihood that the work associated with the proposed research program will be recognized as globally relevant and will advance the frontiers of research in the field on a global scale.
Heading 2: Advancing Canada’s reputation as a global centre of excellence
- Likelihood that the work of the proposed Chair will advance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence.
Heading 3: Social and economic advantages for Canada
- Potential to apply the research results from the Chair to advance public policy and/or the potential to commercialize research discoveries from the Chair in order to create social and economic advantages for Canada.
Heading 4: Contribution and fit to the global research ecosystem in Canada
- Opportunities for collaboration with other researchers working in the same or related areas at the nominating institution, in the same region, within Canada and abroad.
- Plan of the Chair and core team members to communicate the research results and their impacts to the world and a variety of audiences.
G. References (no page limit)
Provide a list of all references cited in the application, using the References template. There is no page limit for this supporting document. Reviewers and board members are not required to consult the references.
H. Core team biosketches (maximum 20 pages in English, 24 pages in French)
Each of the up to 10 individuals listed in the “Core team” module mentioned above must complete a biosketch of a maximum of two pages in English or 2.4 pages in French. The information will assist reviewers with assessing the existing institutional research strengths in the proposed area of the CERC. The biosketches represent individuals involved with research related to the proposed CERC program, who may participate on the CERC core team. These individuals can be faculty members, trainees, technicians and/or research personnel. In some instances, and if well-justified in the application, these individuals may be from other institutions.
A Biosketch template is provided. Provide information, as relevant to the proposal, for each of the headings in the template.
- Name of core team member.
- Anticipated role in proposal.
- Education/training: Include only current and/or completed degree programs.
- Employment/affiliations: List current, primary position/appointment, place of employment (if at an academic institution, indicate if tenured or tenure-track, full-time or part-time), and other academic and professional work experience, including administrative appointments.
- Research funding: List sources of support currently held or applied for in the past four years.
- Most significant contributions (up to five): List most significant contributions to research and/or practical applications over the last five years. Contributions made more than six years ago, but for which the impact is being felt now, may also be included. For each, briefly describe the significance in terms of influence on the target community and use by other researchers or end users. For collaborative contributions, briefly describe role.
Each individual must submit the biosketch to the SO/Delegate, who will compile them into a single PDF file, with a cover page that indexes each of the core team members (each individual’s name, title, expertise, and their potential involvement in the proposed CERC program; for example, “research collaborator in regard to X topic” or “expert on experimental procedures at Y facility”). The SO/Delegate then uploads this PDF to Convergence.
I. Letter of support from the host institution (maximum two pages per letter in English, 2.4 pages in French)
The executive head of the institution must provide a letter confirming the institution’s support of and agreement with the information contained in the nomination. The following document should be consulted to limit unconscious bias: Limiting Unconscious Bias.
The SO/Delegate will upload the letter in a PDF format to the Convergence Portal.
J. Letters of support from partners contributing financially or in-kind to the CERC (maximum two pages per letter in English, 2.4 pages in French)
Each organization providing a cash and/or in-kind contribution must provide a letter confirming its support for the CERC.
The case for the nomination would be strengthened if the letter described how the organization would benefit from the anticipated outcomes, the expected nature and extent of the interaction of the CERC with the organization’s personnel, as well as the potential benefit to Canada. The following document should be consulted to limit unconscious bias: Limiting Unconscious Bias.
There is no limit to the number of support letters that can be attached to the application; however, each letter should be a maximum of two pages in English or 2.4 pages in French.
The SO/Delegate will compile the letters into a single PDF file, with a cover page listing all the letters included therein. The SO/Delegate will then upload this PDF to the Convergence Portal.
K. Letters of support from collaborators (maximum two pages per letter in English, 2.4 pages in French)
Collaborators may submit letters of support (maximum two pages per letter in English; 2.4 pages per letter in French) to the SO/Delegate, who will compile them into a single PDF file. The SO/Delegate will then upload this PDF to the Convergence Portal.
A reminder that a collaborator refers to the involvement of an individual (from academia or from other sectors) who plays an active role in the research and research-related activities of the CERC, but is not involved in leading research related to the CERC initiative, or in its administration and management (i.e., is not from the lead or partner institutions). The following document should be consulted to limit unconscious bias: Limiting Unconscious Bias.
Letters of support from collaborators should provide an overview of:
- who the collaborator is;
- why they are interested in collaborating, and what they expect to gain through the collaboration; and
- what they are contributing to the collaboration (cash and/or in-kind contributions), if applicable.
L. Nominees currently at a Canadian institution, if applicable (maximum two pages in English, 2.4 pages in French)
This section is mandatory in cases where an individual who currently holds a full-time academic appointment at a Canadian institution is being nominated.
Use the Nominee in Canada template to demonstrate the net benefit to the country in moving the researcher from one Canadian institution to another. This should be a maximum of two pages in English or 2.4 pages in French.
M. Environmental Impact Assessment
In the Certifications, Licences and Permits section, institutions and nominees must review the Environmental Information form (PDF, Appendix A) and determine if any of the situations listed in Part II apply to the proposed research program. If the answer is “yes” to at least one of the four questions in Part II, they must complete Appendix A and upload it. If none of the situations apply to the proposed research activities, no Appendix A is required.
N. Budget justification
Prepare a budget justification of a maximum of 10 pages in English or 12 pages in French, using the Budget justification template. Use of graphs and tables is encouraged.
Explain and justify each item in the “Funding from the CERC program”, “Contribution from the university” and “Contribution from other sources” tables in the Proposed budget module in the Convergence Portal.
Only the SO has access to this module. The SO must answer a set of questions related to the recruitment of the nominee in order to attest that the institution has followed the requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Excellence Research Chairs. They will then validate the information and submit the application.
In particular, the SO must attest that they discussed the unique nature of this nomination with the nominee, and that the nominee is not being nominated by another institution in the current CERC competition. Multiple nominations of the same nominee will result in the rejection of all applications associated to this nominee.
The SO must also attest that a discussion has been held with the nominee to clarify that individuals who are awarded a research chair through the program are subject to the nominating institution’s employer policies and that chairholders are not employees of the program or the Government of Canada.
As part of its monitoring activities, Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat reserves the right to review the supporting documents at any time within 48 months of submission, to confirm that the recruitment and nomination process used for this application followed the program’s requirements.
Where results of a monitoring exercise find that the program’s requirements have not been followed for this nomination, the program reserves the right to withdraw the application, suspend future payments or terminate the award of an already active Chair.
The nomination must also align with the program's commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and with the institution's EDI action plan.
If the answer is “yes” to the question, “Does the nominee hold a full-time academic appointment at a Canadian institution?”, the institution will be required to submit a supporting document (see supporting document L. Nominees currently at a Canadian institution) to demonstrate the net benefit to the country in moving the researcher from one Canadian institution to another.
If you have questions: