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Holding a Mitacs Accelerate Indev and NSERC PGS-M concurrently?


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Hey Guys;

I currently hold an NSERC PGS-M; however, a colleague of mine and I have been approached by a company to do a project via a Mitacs Accelerate Indev grant. I'm really not sure if both can be held concurrently, my Grad School has looked into the issue briefly with no results. FYI my area of research under NSERC and the Mitacs project are not related.


Has anyone else ever run into this issue?



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Your best resource would be looking into the NSERC Award Holder's Guide: http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Students-Etudiants/Guides-Guides/PGSCGSIndex-ESESCIndex_eng.asp Click on "Policies and Requirements" in order to get the full listing of rules and regulations behind your award. Another good resource is to talk to the Awards person at your school -- typically there is someone who is assigned specifically to deal with NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR and they would really know the rules too. You will also have to make sure that Mitacs is okay with you holding an NSERC concurrently (that is, you have to satisfy both sets of regulations simultaneously).


To answer your question with the best of my own knowledge of NSERC graduate awards, I would say that it depends. Here are two paragraphs from the Award Holder's Guide (under "Other Sources of Income")


  • NSERC expects award holders to devote the majority of their time to the expeditious completion of their degree program. As a guideline, NSERC strongly suggests that award holders limit the number of hours of employment per 12-month period to 450 hours. Universities may, however, set their own guidelines. Contact your university for further information.
  • You may not hold full-time employment during any period of time in which you hold the NSERC award.
  • Payment of the award during paid internships and co-op work terms is permitted, regardless of your registration status, provided that they are a requirement of your program of studies.
  • You may not concurrently hold another award from NSERC or from another Canadian federal granting agency (CIHR or SSHRC). You may, however, accept awards from other sources, regardless of value (e.g., foreign sources, provincial awards, private organizations or your university).


The last bullet point listed here show that NSERC is okay with you getting funded concurrently with a Mitacs grant. I think the main issue that might come up is how much time this company expects you and your colleague to spend on their work. You should keep in mind that the 450 hours of work per year limit includes your hours on a TA ship or RA ship. But, if you are interested in this project, maybe you can give up your TA and RA ship (and the income related to it) so that you can spend more hours on the project. Note that the 450 hour limit is a NSERC limit -- your own school might have an even smaller limit. You also cannot be employed full time by the company, which makes sense, since the NSERC is supposed to be funding you so that you can focus your full time efforts on your grad program/research. 


Basically, it sounds like if this project with the company is a small side-project then it should be fine (it's as if you took on a side project) but it's not clear from your post whether or not this is actually the case. You should definitely talk to your department about this and get the details in writing once you decide on how to proceed. I'm not sure how much the Mitacs grant would be and how much you want to work on this project (maybe it can be even better for you than your MSc work) so you should consider all possibilities, including giving up and/or suspending/deferring the NSERC in favour of spending more time on this other grant, if possible and necessary.

Edited by TakeruK
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Thanks a lot for the response I really appreciate it!


This will mostly likely be a small side project. After reading your response, I've looked into my school's guidelines which state that a student is allowed to engage in extracurricular internships so long they do not exceed 450 hours/year (same as NSERC). This project would only take a few months so I should be in the clear.

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