NSERC Alliance Mission – Critical Minerals Research – Application

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources


Academic Unit: Inquire within unit

Memorial Deadline: Thursday 2nd, November 2023

External Deadline: Thursday 9th, November 2023


RIS will be offering support with application development for this opportunity. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Jennifer Stevens (v5js@mun.ca) or Dr. Amanda Crompton (ajcrompt@mun.ca) early during the development process to discuss the services available to them.

Please note: Applicants must complete the LOI to be eligible for submission of the application. 

Budget 2023 highlighted Canada’s prime position to be a global supplier of choice for critical minerals that are central to major global industries such as clean technology, auto manufacturing, health care, aerospace and the digital economy.

To increase the supply of responsibly sourced critical minerals and support the development of domestic and global value chains for the green and digital economy, Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy was released in December 2022 with the intent of continuing to provide foundational support to Canada’s mining sector to take advantage of existing and emerging opportunities.

Among the 31 minerals that Canada considers critical, Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy identified six minerals which were initially prioritized for their distinct potential to spur Canadian economic growth and their necessity as inputs for priority supply chains. These six minerals are lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper and rare earth elements (Canada’s Critical Mineral Strategy – Annex B). Furthermore, nine other priority minerals, namely vanadium, gallium, titanium, scandium, magnesium, tellurium, zinc, niobium and germanium, also present significant prospects for the future. This funding opportunity targets research projects that will support the growth of Canadian expertise at every point along the value chain of those fifteen prioritized critical minerals – from exploration to recycling.

Alliance Missions grants are intended to provide support for research activities that will

  • advance Canadian knowledge, models, processes, tools and technologies to optimize efficiency, minimize environmental impacts, and/or support data-driven decisions along domestic critical mineral value chains, from exploration to recycling (e.g., geological and economic modelling of critical mineral deposits, flowsheets, life-cycle analyses, etc.); and/or
  • develop efficient options to advance a domestic circular economy with less reliance on primary mineral resources through mine reclamation and/or critical mineral recycling or reprocessing (e.g., mining and industrial waste, end-of-life products, etc.); and/or
  • support the development of best practices in technology, innovation and collaborative ventures (e.g., best practices to advance vertical integration across the sector, etc.).

Growing Canadian expertise at every point along the critical mineral value chain – from exploration to mining to manufacturing to recycling – will contribute to growing the Canadian economy, fighting climate change at home and around the world, and improving the resiliency of Canada’s supply chain and that of its allies to future disruptions.

Partnerships are strongly encouraged across academia, government, private-sector organizations and not-for-profit organizations to develop new tools, methods and models, and to facilitate the uptake of new knowledge to support sustainable and responsible development of Canada’s critical minerals sector. The participation of at least one partner organization that is recognized for cost-sharing is required.

NSERC is committed to supporting research that respectfully involves and engages with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, and their wisdom, cultures, experiences or traditional Indigenous knowledge, as expressed in their dynamic forms, past and present, regardless of their locale. For more guidance, refer to the College and Community Innovation program’s guide for research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities.

Grant support ranges from $100,000 to $500,000 per year, for a duration of three years. NSERC will provide support for 100% of the eligible costs of research. Although partner organizations do not need to provide cash contributions to participate, they must actively play a role in the project and support it through in-kind contributions. A broad range of in-kind contributions could be made toward a project; refer to the Partner organizations web page for additional information.

Developing and implementing policies or directly applying your research results may depend on scientific understanding beyond the natural sciences and engineering (NSE). Alliance Missions grants support collaborations with academic researchers in fields other than the NSE. Research costs for these collaborations can represent up to 30% of project costs.

Deadline for application:

LOI –  September 7, 2023, 8:00 p.m. (ET).

Full Application – November 9, 2023, 8:00 p.m. (ET).

For more details please visit NSERC’s website here.

Funding Sources

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: July 21, 2023