NSERC and SSHRC grant extensions

Thursday, April 9, 2020

This message was originally sent to researchers by Charmain Dean, vice-president, research and international.


  • NSERC or SSHRC grant holders may request a one-year no-cost extension for grants with an end-date of between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021
  • All active Discovery Grant holders can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at the current funding level – more information on this process will follow
  • NSERC recognizes that the majority of funds is used for support of students and strongly encourages the use of funding for the purpose of supporting students during these tumultuous times

We have received notice that in recognition that agency-funded research activities may be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC and SSHRC have provided Research Grant Offices and Vice-Presidents of Research the authority to approve no-cost extension requests of up to 12 months. For Discovery Grants however, funds will be provided for an additional year – more information on Discovery Grants is provided below.

We have initiated a process to reach out to researchers to enable no-cost extensions and will continue to contact researchers who hold NSERC or SSHRC grant(s) with an end-date of between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 to approve a one-year, no-cost extension, if desired. We expect to conclude this process by April 30.

This provision applies to all grants, including grants previously extended for any length or any reason (including, where applicable, automatic extensions).

Discovery Grants

Additionally, all active NSERC Discovery Grant holders can elect to receive a one-year extension with funds at the current level. This includes grants from the recent 2020 competition. Grantees due to apply in the 2021 competition can elect not to apply for funding this summer/fall.

This one-year, funded extension will be granted for the following programs: Discovery Grants, Discovery Grants – Subatomic Physics (Individual, Project and Major Resources), Discovery Grants – Northern Research Supplements and Discovery Development Grants. Further information for securing funds for extended Discovery Grants will be provided shortly. We will contact Discovery Grant holders as information becomes available and process these funded extensions.

In light of these extensions, the 2021 Discovery Grants competition will be for new applicants (those not currently holding a Discovery Grant) and those who choose not to accept the extension.

NSERC recognizes that the majority of funds is used for support of students and strongly encourages the use of funding for the purpose of supporting students during these tumultuous times.

Recall that program information for NSERC and SSHRC is updated regularly on their websites at nserc-crsng.gc.ca and sshrc-crsh.gc.ca and more program-specific details including changes in deadlines for applications can be found on these pages.

Note that these processes identified above involve the majority of faculty across campus so please be patient while we process these requests as quickly as possible. Urgent questions may be sent to researchqueries@uwaterloo.ca.