Changes to the definition of Early Career Researcher in Discovery Grant competition

What is an Early Career Researcher?

Early Career Researchers (ECR) are researchers who are within three years of the start date of an NSERC eligible position, and who have no academic or non-academic independent research experience prior to the three-year window at the time of submitting the Notification of Intent to Apply for a Discovery Grant (NOI). For example, to be classified as an ECR, a researcher submitting an NOI in August 2016 would have been hired on or after July 2013.

The three-year window for being considered an ECR can be adjusted to take into account instances where a researcher has had an acceptable delay in research or period of inactivity (illness, parental leave, etc.). For example, a researcher submitting an NOI in August 2016 and who took a six-month parental leave within the past three years must have been hired on or after January 2013 in order to be considered an ECR.

For more information about NSERC Discovery Grant Applicant Categories please follow this  LINK


  • Form 187 – Outline of Training Program
    • For applicants who have previously held a CREATE Grant, the proposed initiative must differ significantly from the previous one. An additional page is now allowed to clearly explain this in the Letter of Intent.
    • The HQP table was modified to indicate NSE and Non-NSE trainees.
  • Program Description
    • Details were added to the collaboration with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) section.
    • Details regarding progress reports and performance evaluations was added.
    • The weighting of the selection criteria was modified.
  • The Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.
  • Form 187 – Outline of Training Program
    • For applicants who have previously held a CREATE Grant, the proposed initiative must differ significantly from the previous one. An additional page is now allowed to clearly explain this in the Letter of Intent.
    • The HQP table was modified to indicate NSE and Non-NSE trainees.
  • Program Description
    • Details were added to the collaboration with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) section.
    • Details regarding progress reports and performance evaluations was added.
    • The weighting of the selection criteria was modified.
  • The Frequently Asked Questions have been updated.