NSERC Research Tools & Instruments (RTI) Grants Program

RTI Grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 that assist in the purchase or fabrication of research equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, assembly and installation costs). The research community is also encouraged to explore other avenues for funding research tools and instruments, including NSERC's other programs that include the purchase of equipment as eligible expenses, such as Discovery Grants.

NSERC will only accept requests:

  • For tools and instruments that form a comprehensive system intended to support NSERC funded research in the natural sciences and engineering (bundling of unrelated tools and instruments, or of duplicate tools and instruments intended for different uses, will not be accepted).
  • For the purchase of new, used or refurbished equipment, or for the repair or upgrade of equipment, or for the fabrication of equipment that is not readily available off the shelf.
  • For equipment that is purchased after the application deadline.

Note that equipment and items that are part of laboratory infrastructure or intended to render other equipment compliant with health and safety standards are not eligible for RTI support.

For more information on eligible expenses under the RTI program, see the instructions on how to complete an RTI application.

RTI awards must be used to purchase only the specific type of equipment for which the grant was awarded. Grantees who wish to purchase equipment different from that specified in the application must obtain written permission from NSERC Finance prior to its purchase. Grantees may, however, buy a model different from that requested in the application without prior NSERC approval.

Eligibility to Apply

In addition to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for faculty, applicants and co-applicants must each currently hold or be applying for one of the following NSERC research grants at the time of application: Discovery Grant, Strategic Partnerships Grants, Collaborative Research and Development Grants, Canada Research Chairs, and/or Canada Excellence Research Chairs.

In the event the applicant is not successful in obtaining a Discovery Grant while concurrently applying to the RTI Program, each case will be reviewed to determine if there are ample funds from other NSERC research grants to conduct the research linked to the RTI request.

Researchers will be able to participate on one application per competition, either as an applicant or a co applicant, but not both.

Application Procedures

To apply, complete and submit an Application for Research Tools and Instruments. Each applicant and co-applicant must also submit a Canadian Common CV (CCV). The application and CCV(s) must be submitted to your institution's research grants office by the internal deadline date (contact your research grants office for that deadline). The institution will then consider which applications to submit to NSERC on the basis of its own internal selection process.

May 2018 internal selection updates:

  1. There is no longer a university quota restriction associated with this program.
  2. NSERC has reduced the number of criteria for the RTI program from five (5) to three (3). The selection criteria are as follows:
    • Need, urgency and suitability of equipment for the research programs
    • Merit of the research programs supported by the equipment and excellence of the applicant(s)
    • Importance of the equipment for the training of highly qualified personnel
  3. The NSERC deadline date for submitting an RTI application is October 25, 2019. Your application must be submitted on the Research Portal by 12:00pm to ensure ORIS has sufficient time to approve it on through to NSERC by their 6pm (mountain time) deadline.

May 2018 

Please note that an internal (University of Lethbridge) deadline of October 4th has been set to upload a solid draft of your proposal to a Research Proposal Form on the Bridge for institutional approvals.

If a cash contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization (other than the applicant's and/or co-applicants' institution[s]), a letter from the organization confirming this commitment is required. Such letters must clearly explain the financial contribution that the organization will provide to the purchase of the equipment.

Cash contributions from the applicant’s or co-applicant’s NSERC Discovery Grant do not require written authorization from NSERC. However, evidence that authorization was obtained from NSERC to use funds from other types of NSERC grants (e.g. CRD grant) is required.

Incomplete applications will be rejected from the competition.

Agency Name: 
Contact Name: 
Stacey Leavitt
Grant Amount: 
RTI Grants are one-year awards of up to $150,000 that assist in the purchase or fabrication of research equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000 (excluding taxes, customs and importation fees, transportation and shipping charges, assembly and installation costs).
Grant Location: 
External Deadline: 
Friday, October 25, 2019
Internal Deadline: 
Friday, October 4, 2019
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Natural Science
Grant Eligibility: