Call for GEM Grant Proposals (Canadian Academic Institutions)

The Call is now closed.

The Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) Program produces modern regional scale geological maps, data sets, and knowledge for Canada’s North. The program is committed to enabling the use of this publically available geoscience knowledge to enhance northern knowledge capacity and to inform northern decision-making. The second phase of the program has an available budget to fund grant agreements with Canadian academic collaborators to complement existing GEM research. The program is looking to support innovative proposals to help develop long-term Canadian geoscience capacity and to address pressing resource industry needs in the North.

GEM knowledge and data is publically available on the GEOSCAN database.

The program is currently seeking proposals of less than $250K for projects to be completed by September 30th, 2019.  Please note that, over the life of the GEM-2 program, the cumulative amount payable per recipient should not exceed $250K.

The application form is available upon request by emailing Proposals must be sent using the application form and only the proposals using the appropriate template will be considered in the evaluation.

Proposals must be received by March 17th, 2017 and submitted to

For more information:


The objectives of the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Call for Proposals are to:

Collect, acquire and analyse data by using and developing innovative multidisciplinary regional geo-mapping methods, as it applies to energy and minerals exploration.

Produce high quality innovative science products and ideas and develop geological models and regional geoscience frameworks.


Six priority research areas have been identified in northern Canada based on geoscience knowledge gaps and the underlying regional geological structure (see Figure 1)

Figure 1: GEM Priority Research Areas

Figure 1: GEM Priority Research Areas
Text version

Figure 1: GEM Priority Research Areas

The figure shows the extent of the research regions for the GEM-2 program; i.e. Cordillera, Western Arctic, Mackenzie, Rae, Baffin and Hudson-Ungava. These regions cover portions of Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon, but also include the northern part of some provinces.


Proposed research must advance modern geological understanding in at least one region of interest, by contributing to the following priority themes:

  • Metallogeny of northern Canada
  • Glacial history and drift prospecting of northern Canada
  • Evolution of Canada’s northern sedimentary basins
  • Thermochronology and low temperature thermal history of northern Canada
  • Tectonothermal evolution of northern Canada
  • Characterization of seabed features in Canada’s northern petroleum basins
  • Crustal architecture of northern Canada

Key scientific questions for each research area are outlined below.


  1. Where are the major suture zones, what do they represent tectonically, and what is the resulting provinciality of mineral potential in the newly subdivided terranes?
  2. What are the lithospheric and crustal scale controls on gold and base metal fertility?
  3. How did Cordilleran tectonic evolution influence the formation of its mineral deposits?

Western Arctic

  1. What is the stratigraphic and structural history of the margins of the Arctic Ocean?
  2. What is the structural and stratigraphic architecture of the Canada Basin and how does it compare to the onshore margins?
  3. How did the opening of the Arctic Ocean control deposition of source rocks, depth and timing of burial, and timing of uplift across the region?
  4. Are pre-Cretaceous petroleum systems present or preserved in the onshore from the Mackenzie Delta to the Sverdrup Basin?
  5. What was the role of the High Arctic Large Igneous Province in petroleum maturation and preservation and did it lead to iron-oxide copper-gold, Pb-Zn or Ni-Cu-PGE mineral potential?


  1. What controlled deposition of source rocks, depth and timing of burial, and timing of uplift across the region, and their impact on petroleum systems?
  2. Does petroleum generation pre-date the formation of Late Cretaceous-Tertiary structural traps in the Mackenzie Corridor region?
  3. Are there tectonic linkages between mineralizing events in the Selwyn Basin and faulting and fluid events on the Mackenzie Platform that would impact exploration for lead and zinc?
  4. Is there potential for carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn deposits under the thick glacial overburden between Hay River and Kakisa Lake/Fort Providence?
  5. Are there knowledge gaps in ice flow patterns that would impact drift prospecting in the northern Cordillera?
  6. What specific aspects of the Quaternary glacial and depositional history are required to address petroleum potential and mineral exploration and development in the Mackenzie Corridor?
  7. What important gaps remain regarding the regional glacial depositional and dispersal framework for the southern Mackenzie Corridor that are impeding mineral exploration (e.g. Pb-Zn)?
  8. What are the specific gaps to be addressed regarding the controls on fluid conduits, past and present to support exploration?


  1. What is the orogenic architecture of the Rae Province, and how does it determine the distribution of mineral resources?
  2. What is the nature, distribution and significance of 2.6 Ga events in the Rae Province?
  3. How does the glacial history of the Keewatin sector of the Laurentide ice sheet inform mineral exploration in the Rae Province? Specifically, will understanding of the location and migration history of the ice divide and the effect on till composition of sand derived from Mesoproterozoic basins improve exploration outcomes in the region?
  4. What is the nature, history and mineral potential of the Thelon orogenic zone and does it extend through the Arctic archipelago into NW Greenland?


  1. In the Baffin region, how did the geologic evolution and tectonic framework control the development of the sedimentary basins and potential petroleum systems?
  2. Can the petroleum potential of the Baffin region sedimentary basins be characterized by acquiring new onshore and offshore data, conducting analogue studies and linking to the wealth of new information from Greenland?
  3. Is the Precambrian architecture of Baffin Island controlling the distribution of mineral resources and are unrecognized mineral systems present in NW Baffin Island?
  4. Are there specific knowledge gaps in the glacial history of the Baffin region that limit exploration? For example, how do the glacial history and changing paleoglaciological conditions affect the glacial transport patterns in the Nettilling – Amadjuak lakes region, SW Baffin Island, and what is the impact for mineral exploration in this drift covered region?


  1. How have tectonic factors such as faulting, burial and exhumation influenced the architecture and geological evolution in relation to petroleum prospectivity of the Hudson Bay basin?
  2. What mechanisms have influenced the formation, evolution and hydrocarbon potential of Hudson Strait and Foxe Basin, including opening of the Labrador Sea?
  3. Do Proterozoic circum-Superior belts have mineral or hydrocarbon potential beyond the known deposits?
  4. What is the tectonic framework and mineral potential of the Core Zone, and will improved understanding of the glacial history in the Quebec-Labrador border region improve exploration outcomes?
  5. Does the brittle faulting associated with the opening of the Labrador Sea and observed in Hudson Strait impact potential mineralization in the Ungava Peninsula?
  6. How does the Precambrian geology beneath Hudson Bay inform correlations across the eastern Arctic?

Eligible Recipients

Eligible recipients are: Canadian academic institutions

Funding limit

Financial support for projects is constrained by the total amount available, the timeframe for projects and project selection criteria.

Maximum Amount Payable per Project

The maximum amount payable for a project is $250,000 CDN, with total annual payments to be discussed. Proposals should present a tentative annual budget covering the whole period of the grant.

Eligible Costs (or expenditures)

Eligible Expenditures under this Program must be directly related to the approved project and will include:

  • staff salaries and benefits;
  • travel expenditures, including meals and accommodation, based on National Joint Council Rates.  For academic institutions, travel expenditures may be in accordance with their established policies and directives;
  • office operating and maintenance expenditures that directly support the project (e.g., materials, supplies and equipment including computer software and computer support services);
  • professional, scientific and technical services;
  • transportation rentals and leases;
  • communications materials, including translation, printing and binding, promotion of workshops and publication of project reports;
  • field equipment;
  • facility rentals and meeting expenses;
  • accounting/administrative services (not to exceed 15% of total project costs); and
  • GST, PST and HST net of any tax rebate to which the proponent is entitled.

Stacking of Assistance

Prior to signing an agreement, a proponent will be required to disclose all sources of funding on individual projects, including contribution from other federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments, and industry resources.

Total contribution from all levels of government and industry cannot exceed 100% of total project costs. The federal government’s contribution will be limited to 75% of total project costs; however, for agreements involving academic institutions, federal contributions will be limited to 95% of total project costs.

Application Form

To apply for a grant from the GEM program, eligible applicants must submit a complete application form. The application form is available upon request by emailing

Submitting a Grant Proposal

Failure to provide all of the necessary information in the form will lead to the automatic rejection of the proposal and it will receive no further consideration.  Any additional documentation submitted will not be considered in the evaluation.

Applicants are required to submit their application via email at by 11:59 p.m. EST, March 17th, 2017.

NRCan recognizes that e-mail is not a secure means of communication, and NRCan cannot guarantee the security of confidential information sent via email while it is in transit.

Selection Criteria

Project Proposals will be rated based on the following criteria.

Mandatory Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated by the Program Management Committee using the following mandatory criteria:

Is the proponent an eligible recipient for a grant under this Program?

Does the requested grant fall under the maximum amount per year and/or overall maximum per agreement?

Does proposed research advance GEM Program objectives?

Is the research conducted independently of any involvement by the Government of Canada, such as direct collaboration with government?

Does the proposed project advance geological knowledge in one or more of the priority GEM research areas?

Does the proposed activity advance one of the priority themes identified in the call for proposals?

Relevance Criteria:

Proposals that meet the mandatory criteria listed above will then be reviewed and ranked by a committee of experts using the following relevance criteria.

Does the project proposal clearly describe the link of the project objectives and those of the GEM program?

Are the objectives and expected outcomes clearly stated?

Is the project proponent a research chair?

The organizational capacity of the applicant will also be assessed using the following criteria:

Does the applicant have appropriate resources, and the scientific capacity (and/or) team to carry out the proposed activities? (Please indicate in your response whether your capacity to deliver is as an individual or research group/chair/consortium).

Does the project contribute to long-term Canadian research capacity, demonstrating innovation in the development of ideas and methods?

Is the applicant financially stable, and does it possess appropriate management capacity to complete the project?

Does the proposed project lever suitable collaborations and/or partnerships (as outlined in the proposal request document)?

Proposal Review and Selection Process

A committee comprised of executive, managers and employees from the GEM program will be responsible for evaluating proposals based on the assessment criteria.

Service Standards

The Program is committing to the following service standards:

  • General program enquiries will be answered within 5 business days
  • Applicants shall receive within two business days an acknowledgment that the Program has received their application for this request for proposal.

The Program will not communicate the funding decisions to proponents before April 15th 2017.

Contact Us

Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Program (GEM)
601 Booth Street, Room 222
Ottawa ON, K1A 0E8