Slide 1

Report
CCCESD
Carleton University, Ottawa
November 20, 2009
Dave Bowen Team Leader
Environmental Sciences
Discovery Grants
NSERC
Outline
 2009 Budget
 2009 Discovery Grants Competition
 Next Steps – Discovery Grants
 Other programs
Federal Budget 2009 S&T
expenditures = $5.1 billion including:
 Investments in Knowledge Infrastructure
– University / College infrastructure - $2 billion / 2 yrs
– Canada Foundation for Innovation - $750 million
– Institute for Quantum Computing - $50 million / 2 yrs
– Federal laboratories infrastructure - $250 million / 2 yrs
– Arctic Research Infrastructure - $85 million / 2 yrs
– Canada Health Infoway - $500 million
– Broadband implementation strategy - $225 million
Federal Budget 2009 S&T Expenditures
Further Developing a Highly Skilled Workforce
 Canada Graduate Scholarship Temporary Increase
– $87.5 million / 3 yrs
NSERC – $35 million | CIHR - $35 million | SSHRC – $17.5 million
 Industrial R&D Internships - $ 3.5 million / 2 yrs
Helping Small and Medium Sized Companies Innovate
 Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – $200
million / 2 yrs
A More Sustainable Environment
 Clean Energy Technologies $ 1 billion / 5 yrs
 Atomic Energy of Canada - $351 million
Strategic Review
 Annual process – each year ¼ of federal
organizations are involved
– In 2008, 21 federal organizations participated
 Principles:
– Need and impact of program on the community it
serves.
– Federal role and fit to NSERC’s mandate.
– Alignment with the government’s S&T strategy.
– Value for money (efficiency and effectiveness),
management performance and accountability.
 Results announced in Budget 2009
Strategic Review: Outcome for NSERC
 Programs to be terminated:
– Centres Research in Youth, Science Teaching and
Learning (CRYSTAL)
– University Faculty Awards (UFA)
– Research Capacity Development (RCD) program
– Special Research Opportunity (SRO) program
– Intellectual Property Mobilization (IPM) program
 Programs to be reduced:
– Postgraduate Scholarships program – Optional 2nd year
of masters’ level support
– Major Resources Support (MRS) program
– Indirect Costs Program
2009 Discovery Grants Competition
“Delivering on NSERC’s
Commitment to Excellence”
Why were improvements made?

Excellence of Discovery Grants Program
validated in two major independent reviews

Strong support for existing program criteria to
measure excellence

Recommendations for enhancement:
–
–
new rating principles and measures to allow the peer
review system to respond more dynamically to
applicants’ performance
new committee structure to give all applicants a higher
quality, more focused, review (in 2010)
Consultations and decisions
 (2008) Extensive consultations with key
stakeholders to validate the new review process
and committee structure
 (2008) Changes endorsed by NSERC’s Council
and its Standing Committee on Grants and
Scholarships
 (2009) New rating principles and measures
implemented in the 2009 Discovery Grants
Competition
Evaluation principles introduced
 Two-step process separating merit review
and funding recommendations
 Merit assessment based on the same
criteria as in the past
 Funding recommendations ─ comparable
funding for those with similar overall
ratings within a committee
 Greater consistency in process from
committee to committee and competition
to competition
Excellence of
researcher
A (L, N, H)
B (L, N, H)
Merit of proposal
C (L. N. H)
D (L, N, H)
.
.
.
Contribution to
training of HQP
Cost of research
Fu
nd
ing
"B
ins
Fu
nd
"
ing
"B
ins
"
Mo
d
Ins erate
uff
icie
nt
Ins
uff
icie
nt
Str
o
Mo ng
de
rat
e
E
Ouxcep
tst tion
an al
din
g
Ou
Ve tstan
ry
Str ding
on
g
Ve
Str ry Str
on on
g
g
Ex
cep
tio
na
l
Enhanced two-step review process
High
Normal
Low
N
O
P
All program strengths retained
 The merit evaluation criteria are
unchanged
 Supports a program of research, giving
researcher freedom to pursue most
promising directions
 Continuity of funding for highest
performers
 Continued commitment to support
meritorious early-career researchers
 Overall program budget is stable
Implementation
 The introduction of the new review
process went smoothly
 Most review committee members liked the
new rating approach. They said it was fair
and allowed them to spend more time
focusing on the scientific content of the
applications
Impacts achieved
 A more dynamic system
 Continuity of funding for researchers with
strong contributions to research and
training and a strong research proposal
 Opportunity for significant funding
increases for those with superior
contributions and research plans, no
matter their history in the program
Comparing 2009 and 2008 Competitions
Change in Grant Amount
200,000
180,000
2009
New Amount (in $)
160,000
140,000
120,000
100,000
80,000
60,000
40,000
20,000
0
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
100,000
120,000
140,000
160,000
180,000
200,000
140,000
160,000
180,000
200,000
Previous Amount (in $)
200,000
180,000
New Amount (in $)
160,000
2008
140,000
120,000
100,000
80,000
60,000
40,000
20,000
0
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
100,000
120,000
Previous Amount (in $)
Overall Comparative Statistics
Average Grant ($)
2005 to 2008
2009
Grant Selection Committee¹
Integrative Animal Biology
Cell Biology
Molecular and Developmental Genetics
Evolution and Ecology
Plant Biology and Food Science
Psychology: Brain, Behaviour and
Cognitive Science
Inorganic and Organic Chemistry
Analytical and Physical Chemistry
Chemistry
Geosciences
Condensed Matter Physics
General Physics
Space and Astronomy
Statistical Sciences
Pure and Applied Mathematics
Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Communications, Computers and
Components Engineering
Electromagnetics and Electrical
Systems Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Computing and Information Sciences
Interdisciplinary
Success Rate (%)
2005 to 2008
2009
Competition Range
Results
Competition Range
Results
32,480 - 36,551
35,099 - 38,619
33,510 - 45,732
26,510 - 29,386
35,259 - 40,058
35,047
35,539
47,822
33,351
43,947
52.7% - 60.3%
52.7% - 61.6%
50.7% - 69.8%
70.4% - 74.1%
56.2% - 72.4%
62.0%
51.5%
49.2%
72.9%
65.1%
24,229 - 27,340
46,792 - 51,146
39,399 - 46,370
-23,526 - 36,783
32,979 - 38,957
29,709 - 34,508
29,968 - 39,103
15,989 - 18,222
14,895 - 19,342
27,095 - 32,418
24,263 - 25,933
30,604
--53,921
38,439
48,093
46,517
39,067
19,164
20,177
31,805
27,844
64.2% - 70.3%
66.9% - 75.4%
75.2% - 81.4%
-65.9 - 85.6%
80.9% - 87.1%
70.6% - 91.2%
76.1% - 88.3%
69.7% - 83.7%
76% - 88.4%
78.5% - 92.7%
59.7% - 69.4%
59.5%
22,470 - 28,099
--
79.8% - 90.6%
--
29,071 - 32,582
-23,417 - 25,666
21,107 - 25,130
23,397 - 25,540
24,375 - 29,918
-33,174
28,048
25,404
26,985
23,778
70.8% - 80%
-68.9% - 75%
55.7% - 68.2%
71.9% - 85.9%
60.5% - 79.5%
-67.4%
62.3%
60.4%
69.9%
57.4%
1. Does not include Subatomic Physics. Includes Individual and Team Discovery Grants.
67.0%
61.0%
73.4%
61.7%
75.0%
67.0%
63.8%
71.0%
58.4%
2009 Discovery Grant Results – Earth
Sciences
Discovery Grants
Overall
Established Early-Career
Researchers Researchers
Number of Applications
223
191
32
Number of Awards
136
120
16
Success Rate
61.0%
62.8%
50.0%
Average Grant
$38,439
$40,889
$20,063
136%
145%
71%
$5,227,665
$4,906,665
$321,000
% of 2008 Average Grant
Total Budget
Environmental and Solid Earth Sciences Grant Selection Committees (GSC
08/09)
Discovery Grants Program, 2009 Competition
Grant Level Distribution
Average Grant: $38,439
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
00
$1
05
,0
00
0
$1
15
,
>
00
-$
11
4,
4,
-$
10
$9
5,
00
0
-$
Grant Level Range
0
00
0
00
94
,0
00
$8
5,
00
0
-$
84
,0
00
$7
5,
00
0
-$
74
,0
00
$6
5,
00
0
-$
64
,0
00
$5
5,
00
0
-$
54
,0
00
00
0
$4
5,
$3
5,
00
0
-$
44
,0
00
,0
34
-$
00
0
$2
5,
00
0
-$
24
,0
00
0%
$1
5,
Percentage of Funded Applications
45%
2009 Research Tools and Instruments
(RTI)
Grant Selection Committees
Earth Sciences
Total (all GSCs)
No. of
Applic.
$ Req.
($million)
Success
Rate
Funding
Rate
118
$7.8
24.6%
22.3%
1648
$123.0
25%
22%
The view from NSERC…
“At NSERC, we fuel the advancement of
knowledge in science and engineering and
ensure that Canadian scientists and engineers
are leaders and key players in a global knowledge
community.”
Suzanne Fortier, President, NSERC

What others say…
“Canada exists for the long term. NSERC has the inspiring purpose
of planning for that long term. It does so through its understanding
that the power of science lies in its ability to surprise, and that the
key to releasing that power is to support the best of our scientists as
they venture into the unknown. With this as its central tenet, NSERC
will enjoy the cooperation and support of the nation’s scientific
community. Long may it flourish.”
-Dr. John Polanyi, U of T

“A commitment to excellence means accepting the challenge of
continuous improvement by raising the bar. Implementing these
changes will raise the bar.”
-Peter Nicholson, President, Council of Canadian Academies

"I commend NSERC for accepting the recommendations of the
external review panels, which confirmed the extremely high value of
the Discovery Grants Program while offering direction on how to
further strengthen excellence and support Canada’s most productive
researchers.“
-Dr. James Blatz, Associate Head of Engineering – U of Manitoba
Next Steps – Discovery Grants
Conference Model
Towards the future
 For the 2010 competition, NSERC has
introduced the second major
enhancement: the new system of
Conference Review. It replaces the current
Grant Selection Committees, while
retaining their positive features.
Conference Model - Definition
 Is similar to a scientific conference, where several
sessions are occurring in parallel streams.
 The conference model has been implemented by four
Grant Selection Committees (GSCs) – four years for
one GSC – with two streams running in parallel.
 The proposed concept expands the model to three, or
four, or five streams.
 Group members meet in various combinations to
assess applications in specific research topics.
 Each stream involves six to nine members.
Conference Model - Definition (con’t)
 Group members are assigned to
various sections on the basis of the match
between members’ expertise and the
subject matter or research topic.
 Some sections may be at the interface
between two Evaluation Groups and
reviewed by an appropriate combination
of members from both Groups.
 The 28 current GSCs are replaced by 12
Groups (approximately 30 to 35 members).
Section A1-1
Research Topic A1
Section C3-2
Research Topics C5 and A5
Section C3-1
Research Topic C4
Section C2
Research Topic C3
Section C1-1
Research Topics C1 and B5
Section B4-1
Research Topics B2 and B6
Section B4-2
Research Topics B7 and C6
GROUP B
Group Chair
~35 members
4 Section Chairs
Section C1-2
Research Topic C2
Section B3-1
Research Topic B4
Section B3-2
Research Topics B1 and B5
GROUP A
Group Chair
~ 30 members
4 Section Chairs
Section B2
Research Topic B3
Section B1-1
Research Topic B1
Section A4-1
Research Topics A7 and A8
Section A4-2
Research Topics A9 and B5
Section B1-2
Research Topics B2 and A10
Section A3-1
Research Topic A5
Section A3-2
Research Topic A6
Section A2
Research Topic A3
Section A1-2
Research Topics A2 and A4
How does the Conference Model work?
GROUP C
Group Chair
~25 members
3 Section Chairs
Advantages of Conference Model
 Provides a system with increased flexibility to
ensure that applications have the best possible
review;
 Eliminates the need for consultation process
between two GSCs – such applications are
reviewed by a joint section and benefit from a
larger pool of expertise than in the current system;
 Proposals would be discussed by smaller numbers
of members
 reduction of the number of readers and, therefore,
a reduction in workload; and
 Enables "traditional" disciplines or well-defined
areas to remain together.
New Evaluation Groups












Genes, Cells and Molecules
Biological Systems and Functions
Evolution and Ecology
Chemistry
Physics
Geosciences
Computer Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Civil, Industrial and Systems Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Material and Chemical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Geosciences Research Topics
 Petrology & Mineralogy (6)
 Sedimentology &
Stratigraphy (12)
 Paleontology &
Paleobiology (6)
 Geophysics (13)
 Economic Geology (3)
 Tectonics & Structural
Geology (13)
 Geochemistry &
Geochronology (19)
 Volcanology (2)
 Planetary Sciences (3)
 Surface Processes (9)
 Paleo-environmental
Sciences (13)
 Biogeosciences (15)
 Global Geological
Processes (1)
 Atmospheric Sciences
(22)
 Hydrology (22)
 Oceanography (9)
 Soil Sciences (15)
 Geomatics & Earth
Systems Observations (20)
 Cryology (3)
 TOTAL 2010 (206 apps.)

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