NSERC Research Tools and Instruments Grants

The Research Tools and Instruments Grants (RTI) program is the primary NSERC competition available to natural sciences and engineering researchers for obtaining funding support for the acquisition of research equipment.

**New for 2019** SPARC has developed a comprehensive RTI playbook. This resource, available by request from Mika Johnson, provides information and strategy to guide the development of a competitive RTI application.


There have been several changes to the RTI program and selection criteria in recent years. See below for a summary of these changes. Please be sure to address the current assessment criteria and see SPARC's RTI playbook for tips. 

  • As of competition year 2020, the RTI selection criteria includes several new sub-criteria regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • As of competition year 2019 the RTI selection critieria changed from five to three assessment criteria. 
  • As of competition year 2018 two major changes were made to the RTI program and were carried forward to future years:
    • 1) Institutional quotas have been eliminated, therefore UBC researchers are no longer required to submit an RTI pre-selection application; and
    • 2) The RTI competition is open to all eligible Canadian university researchers. However, researchers are permitted by NSERC to participate in only one RTI application per competition, either as an applicant or a co-applicant, but not both. There is no restriction on participation as an "other user".

NSERC's English Language RTI webinar slides from August 2019 are available via the "NSERC RTI External Resources" tab below.

Open All  

NSERC RTI Quick Facts
  • Permissible requested amount: up to $150,000 towards the purchase of equipment with a net cost between $7,001 and $250,000.
  • For equipment with a net cost above $150,000 additional funding or contributions must be secured at the time of application.  
  • Applicants must hold active NSERC research grant, or presently be applying for an NSERC grant to be eligible as an applicant or co-applicant
  • Proposal can include items that form a comprehensive system intended to support a single or multiple research programs
  • Bundling of unrelated equipment, or of duplicate tools/instruments intended for different uses, is not permitted
  • Researchers are permitted by NSERC to particpate in only one RTI application per competition, either as an applicant or a co-applicants, but not both. There is no limit to participation as an "Other user".
  • UBC submission procedures and deadlines for the NSERC RTI Grants competition can be found on the relevant ORS webpage: Vancouver | Okanagan

NSERC RTI SPARC Services and Resources
  • Sample Grant Library: Examples of successful RTI applications from previous competitions. Please note that all sample grants currently use outdated assessment criteria. (NSERC CWL-protected Resources).
  • RTI Playbook: A resource to guide UBC applicants through the development of a competitive RTI application. Available by request; please contact Mika Johnson.

SPARC Contacts

Mika Johnson, NSE Research Development Officer 
mika.johnson@ubc.ca; 604-822-8136

Tim Salcudean, Sciences & Engineering Research Advisor, VP Research & Innovation
tims@ece.ubc.ca; 604-822-3243