Earlier this year, the Canadian federal government announced that they would provide $465 million in funding to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). As the largest discovery-type research investment in Canada’s history, it shows that the current federal government is prioritizing innovative research and development activities.
NSERC uses investments such as these to create research grants. Businesses, research institutions, and post-secondary institutions may apply for this funding to perform critical research at a reduced cost. Some of the organization’s most common programs include NSERC Engage and NSERC CRD.
With the newest investment received, NSERC will be able to award approximately 4,000 research grants for business and research institutions.
NSERC Plays a Valuable Role in Supporting Canadian Research
NSERC is a key component in the Government of Canada’s plan to enhance innovation. The organization approaches research and development activities in two distinct yet important ways:
1. NSERC Supports Business Research and Development Projects
NSERC is committed to connecting academic researchers with private sector participants. This model means that research is done to find a solution for current industry problems, enabling businesses to become more competitive.
Businesses performing research to create new or enhanced products, services, or processes can access researchers and leading-edge equipment. In many cases, these resources greatly exceed the equipment or abilities businesses would normally be able to access. As opposed to hiring a technical researcher, businesses may find that hiring research interns for 4-month periods are a better, less expensive option.
2. NSERC Helps Increase the Skills and Abilities of Youth Researchers
Collaborative research projects also extend learning opportunities to post-secondary and graduate researchers. As the next generation of scientists and engineers in Canada, youth researchers gain valuable experience that will help strengthen their skills. This is an important factor that will help Canada become more innovative in the future.
Learn More About NSERC Research Grants for Business
NSERC Engage Research Grants for Canadian Business
Companies with a specific problem that could be solved through a short-term research project are ideal candidates for NSERC Engage funding. These grants provide up to $25,000 to accommodate the costs of an academic researcher for a maximum 4-6 month term.
There are no limits on the amount of Engage grants a business can hold, so if 4 researchers were needed for a project, a business could receive up to $100,000 in research grants.
NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants for Business Research
Alternately, large-scale projects may require academic researchers to perform R&D activities for a year or longer. NSERC CRD grants may provide up to $200,000 per year for up to five years of research assistance. This funding supports the costs required of hiring a team of academic researchers and their professor to oversee project deliverables.
NSERC CRD research projects often follow a successful NSERC Engage project and continue building on its innovative findings.
More Research & Development Funding for Canadian Business
If your business is performing research and development projects in Canada, be aware that there are many research grants available to reduce expenses. Several programs, such as NSERC grants, will even help your business to find and enter a partnership with research institutions. Other options include:
- Mitacs – similar to NSERC, Mitacs promotes the collaboration of businesses, universities, and the government to enhance research performed in Canada. The organization has several research grants for businesses, including Mitacs Accelerate and Mitacs Elevate which pair graduate, Master’s, and PhD students with businesses.
- Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE): OCE is another Canadian agency that seeks to pair academic researchers with industry partners. OCE offers two funding programs for businesses to leverage, including the R&D Project Hiring Grants Internship Program and the R&D Project Hiring Grants Fellowship Program. OCE’s internship stream will provide businesses with up to $10,000 per 4-month research internship that they create. Likewise, the Fellowship stream may provide businesses with up to $35,000 in funding to hire a PhD fellow for 12-months.
- Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP): IRAP does not specifically focus on the partnership of businesses and academic institutions, although it will assist businesses performing internal research projects. IRAP’s Accelerated Review Process (ARP) grants will enable businesses to receive up to 80% of internal labour fees and up to 50% of contractor labour to a maximum $50,000 grant.
Learn More About NSERC Engage Small Business Grants
To explore whether NSERC Engage is ideal for your upcoming project, please contact Mentor Works. Our team of Canadian Government Funding Planners can answer questions about this program and help optimize your application process.