Research Announcements


posted 13 July 2011

Industrial Regional Benefits Program - Lockheed Martin Corporation

The UofM has been in contact with Lockheed Martin Corporation with respect to their Industrial Regional Benefits Program. This is a program that partners with Universities in Canada and can result in substantial investment in certain areas of research (for example, their plan is to invest some $5-10 billion in Canada over the next 10 years.)

The liaison officer for this program is planning to meet with us here at the University in mid-September. In order for him to prepare for this meeting, he would like a short description of the research conducted by you and/or in your research centre or group. Would you kindly draft this short description and send it by email to Peter Graham (pgraham@cs.umanitoba.ca) and to John Alho (john_alho@umanitoba.ca) (Government Relations Office) by not later than July 31


posted 11 May 2011

MESSAGE FROM NSERC

The results of the 2011 competition for NSERC’s Discovery Grants (DG) Program have been released to university administrators who, in turn, are advising applicants.

For a second year, the competition saw the successful use of the conference model that was recommended in the Grant Selection Committee Structure Review Advisory Committee report published in 2008. The model consists of 12 Evaluation Groups (EGs) whose members form into sections based on the match between their expertise and the specific topics of a set of applications. As needed, members from different groups joined different sections to review topics that cross the traditional boundaries between disciplines. The conference model also provides the flexibility needed to react to the emergence of new research areas.

We also continued to use the two-stage review system, which allows for an effective assessment of the overall quality of proposals, while removing the influence of the previous grant on the outcome of the new application.

The two-step approach worked as follows:  

  • In the first step, EGs assessed all applications on the three merit criteria (excellence of the researcher, merit of the proposal, and contributions to the training of highly qualified people) using a six-point scale. The six ratings used by the EGs were: Exceptional, Outstanding, Very Strong, Strong, Moderate and Insufficient. The Discovery Grants Merit Indicators for the ratings used by the EGs are available in Chapter 6 of the Peer Review Manual. These ratings led to the grouping of applications into categories (“bins”) of comparable overall quality. Each application was also rated according to whether the costs of the proposed work (i.e., the “Relative cost of research”) were “normal for the discipline” or higher or lower than the norm. For most applications, the cost of research was deemed to be normal.
  • In the second step, the Executive Committee of the EG assigned a funding level to each bin, making adjustments for the relative cost of research as needed.

Please note that applications receiving a rating of Insufficient in any criterion will not be funded. In addition to merit funding the minimum rating for the criterion of Excellence of Researcher is Strong for established researchers, and Moderate for Early Career Researchers.

We have taken note of the feedback following last year’s competition. We no longer allow having both funded and unfunded established researchers who meet the above conditions, in the last funded quality bin within a given Evaluation Group (EG). We have sought advice from our EGs on the resulting trade-off between the number of funded applicants and the average grant size. One of the EGs (Chemistry) recommended a higher quality cut-off and a reduced number of grants to protect the purchasing power for the most highly rated applicants.

For the 2011 DG competition, the EGs reviewed 3,482 individual and team applications. The results, by category of applicants, are as follows:

  • The percentage of early career researchers receiving a first grant is 54 percent, surpassing NSERC’s target of 50 percent. The average grant is $22,481.
  • The success rate for established researchers renewing a grant is 74 percent. The average grant is $35,045.
  • The success rate for established researchers who did not hold a grant in 2010 is 33 percent, with an average grant of $28,082.

NSERC will be mailing the individual award letters within the next few days.

The ratings determined for your application will be indicated in the Message to the Applicant that will be mailed to you shortly. In cases where a Moderate or Insufficient rating was indicated for any of the selection criteria, the EG will have provided comments to accompany the rating. The external referee reports received for your application will also be included. NSERC will post the competition statistics on its Web site.

Sincerely,

Isabelle Blain
Vice-President
Research Grants and Scholarships
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Crocus
Photo courtesy of Dr. Tom Booth,
Biological Sciences