R&D Project Hiring Grants – Internship Component: How to Qualify

Small Business Grants

On behalf of the Government of Ontario, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is now accepting applications for the R&D Project Hiring Grants program to connect employers with post-secondary students and recent graduates. OCE was allocated $10 million in government grant funding as a key component of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy. The program enables the partnership between students and recent graduates, their academic institutions, and companies who seek research talent. The far-reaching benefits for all parties include:

  • Students are able to get their start in a real-world working environment, developing experience and connecting with established companies.
  • Companies are able to gain access to tomorrow’s problem solvers, employing highly skilled talent and expertise. With access to the latest research and cutting edge technology, companies will gain innovative solutions to industry challenges and increase brand reach.
  • Academic institutions can establish relationships with industry leading companies and participate in innovative research challenges.

The R&D Project Hiring Grants program is comprised of two main streams, including an Internship Component for students and recent graduates, and the Fellowship Component for post-graduate students and PhD fellows. This article will focus on the the program’s Internship Component.

R&D Project Hiring Grants: Internship Component Overview

Ontario’s R&D Project Hiring Grants program offers undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates (up to three years) of post-secondary programs the opportunity to contribute to industry-driven projects. These 4-month internships are valued at $20,000, covered partly by small business grants, and are open to students of all disciplines, including non-STEM fields (science, technical, engineering, and mathematics). As a part of the program interns are required to spend a portion of their time on-site or in the field with an industry partner.

Small Business Funding Flow for Hiring

Each four-month internship unit is valued at $20,000, with a $10,000 Ontario government funding contribution from OCE and a $10,000 contribution from the industry partner ($5,000 cash and $5,000 in-kind).

OCE Small Business Grants for Hiring Eligibility


Graduates who are current PhD and Masters students, or recent Masters graduates (within 3 years of graduation) are eligible only for company-based internships. PhD students are eligible to hold up to six internship units under this program. In addition, prospective interns must not be past employees of the company or be enrolled in a co-op program.

Industry Partner

Industry partners must be prepared to meet cash and in-kind contributions, must be a for-profit with operations in Ontario, and must use the results of the government small business funding program to improve the economic, environmental, or social benefit of Ontario.


All projects must involve an R&D component which align with the intern’s past experience and educational background. Applicants and partners must be within good financial standing prior to the starting of the project and be prepared to report to OCE.

Decision Making Criteria & Process

Applications will be judged on the following three criteria:

  • Project Description: Overall objectives of the project and relevance to the partner organization.
  • Project Plan: Specific project objectives, methodologies, timelines and milestones.
  • Intern Qualifications and Experience: Description of the benefits to the intern and interaction with the partner organization.

Internship applications will be subject to an internal review which assesses the completeness and financial compliance, the applicant, and other parties involved in the program. All parties will receive OCE’s non-negotiable funding agreement which must be electronically signed prior to the receipt of funding.

Apply for TIP Canadian Government Grant Funding

Mentor Works is the Canadian government funding expert and will be happy to assist you with writing the application to receive OCE funds. If you have any questions about this program or other hiring grants, please contact us to learn how our services can save you time and effort when finding government funding.

If you are interested in applying for the program, contact the OCE Business Development Manager in your area for an application.

Find Other Small Business Grants

In addition to the R&D Project Hiring Grants program, there are several Canadian and Ontario government grants which businesses can utilize to support their hiring and training activities. If you’re looking to hire new graduates, many funding programs are available.

Want to know the funding available for a particular position? Use Mentor Works’ Wage Subsidy Identifier tool to learn how much you could save. Want to leverage as much funding as you can? Learn from the small business funding experts on how you can stack funding programs to save even more. Feel free to contact Mentor Works at any time, or follow us on Twitter for regular updates from our blog and other funding event reminders.

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