Update: The National Research Council (NRC) now offers project-based funding through a single Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Please visit the NRC-IRAP Research Project Contributions page for more information.
Small businesses regularly perform R&D activities to improve profitability and develop new capabilities. This process of research and development almost always results in new findings to benefit the company; however, it can be difficult to afford the extra time and cost. This is a major barrier for most businesses and prevents smaller organizations from performing research at all. The Government of Canada has realized this barrier to completing R&D, and created the IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) research funding program.
IRAP ARP is a research grant dedicated to offsetting a portion of internal labour or contractors required to complete exploratory R&D projects. Typically, NRC IRAP funding will cover up to 50% of contractor fees and up to 80% of internal labour costs to a maximum $50,000 in Canadian government grants. ARP projects usually tend to focus on technology or feasibility assessments and prototyping activities.
Projects funded through IRAP ARP tend to only focus on early-stage research, however, its common to follow-up a successful ARP project with product development/commercialization funding through IRAP Mid-Size projects.
IRAP Funding for Accelerated Review Process (ARP) Projects
The IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) research grant provides Canadian employers with up to $50,000 in funding to further understand technical challenges and formulate plans to overcome them. ARP is one component of the National Research Council’s (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
Up to 80% of internal labour costs and up to 50% of third-party contractor fees are provided through IRAP ARP. Generally, the maximum amount awarded for ARP projects is $50,000.
To be considered for funding, all projects must be completed within the Government of Canada’s fiscal year (April 1 – March 31). Ideally, IRAP projects should be planned and the process started in winter-spring of each year; this helps to ensure projects can be started early in the government’s fiscal year.
IRAP ARP Research Project Eligibility
The IRAP ARP funding program places a keen interest on technology assessment/feasibility projects. This could be considered ‘phase 1’ of a larger technology development or commercialization plan. Typical projects include:
- Business process mapping;
- IP assessments, planning, and strategy assistance;
- New market/ technology feasibility studies;
- Product prototyping and development; and
- Development of supply chain strategies.
Business Eligibility for IRAP ARP Canadian Research Funding
By design, a wide variety of Canadian businesses may apply for IRAP grants. This includes most businesses who:
- Are for-profit and growth-oriented;
- Have been incorporated in Canada for at least two years;
- Maintain 1-500 full-time Canadian employees; and
- Maintain a desire to grow profits and company success through technology-driven products/processes.
How to Apply for IRAP ARP Research and Development Funding
The IRAP funding application process can be confusing to navigate; however, support systems exist to help guide companies through the process. Generally, businesses are most successful with IRAP applications if they follow the following steps:
- Contact IRAP via their phone hotline (1-877-994-4727) to express program interest. At this point, businesses will be assigned an IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) to work with.
- Meet with your ITA to discuss current technical challenges, innovation priorities, and projects considered for IRAP funding. Following this session, IRAP will provide funding application forms to fill out.
- Complete the application forms, submit, and provide progress reports as required. As a condition on the release of funding, all businesses must provide project updates.
Contact Mentor Works if you have any additional questions or would like to learn more about additional government funding programs for research and development.