Ontario-China Research & Innovation Fund Update

New rounds of funding proposals are being accepted by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation for the Ontario-China Research and Innovation Fund (OCRIF). The upcoming round of Ontario government funding for research and development will act as a cost-sharing program and provide up to $250,000 dollars to Canadian researchers per project. The project costs will be shared 50:50 between the two countries and research must involve collaboration between the Chinese and Canadian researching firms with the objective of commercializing a new technology or product.

Ontario Business Grants for International Collaboration

The Ministry of Economic Development is attempting to form a relationship with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. Both Ministries will supply grant funding for businesses taking part in the R&D and commercialization efforts of a product in one of the following areas:

  • Water and Water-Related Technologies
  • Neuroscience
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells
  • Stem Cells

Each R&D team will receive up to $250,000 of grant funding for business from their respective governments for a total contribution of $0.5 million from both governments per project. The researching organizations must be able to match the amount of business funding grants through the provision of in-kind contributions and/or cash contributions.

Project Eligibility for Research and Development Funding

In order to apply for the OCRIF program, applicants must locate and form a team with at least one Chinese-based research organization and at least one Ontario-based private sector organization before submitting an application. Canadian applicants must fall into one of the following categories in order to be considered eligible for Canadian business grants:

  • Ontario Post-Secondary Institution (University or College).
  • Ontario Hospital Research Institute.
  • Ontario Not-for-Profit Research Institution;
  • Or other Not-for-profit Research Institute not primarily funded by an industry.

For a project to go forward, the application for business funding grants must be reviewed and agreed upon by both Ontario and China’s Ministries. Projects proposals must include the names and credentials of the Principal Investigators (PI’s) for both research organizations. The PI’s will be responsible for the financial management and reporting of the project. Each will report their project’s costs and progress to their respective Ministry’s throughout the duration of the project. The project should not last longer than 3 years and companies will not be eligible to apply twice for the same project.


Eligible Costs for Ontario Government Grants

Eligible costs under the OCRIF program will include:

  • Direct and indirect costs of conducting the research
  • Wages, salaries, and administration fees
  • Costs of the facilities, equipment, and materials used for the research.

Some additional costs will fall under consideration for eligibility. These might include consulting fees, salaries and benefits of the research and technical staff, and fees for honoraria guest lecturers. The maximum amount expensed for facilities and equipment can only equal up to 10% of the total amount received, while the maximum portion expensed for indirect costs would be 40%.

Next Steps

Those who are interested in this program may also be interested in another Ontario business grant called the Going Global Innovation Program(GGI). This program encourages international research and development collaboration by providing Canadian grant funding for foreign business relations.  Organizations in search of a Chinese research partner may also want to look into the Canada Technology Triangle Business Mission to China, taking place in April of this year.


For more information on the Canadian Government Funding Mechanisms mentioned in today’s article, please contact Mentor Works, the Canadian Government Funding Experts. We also provide up-to-date information on popular Canadian Government grants, loans and tax credits through our blog and new E-Newsletter located on the right-hand side of this page.

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