Protein Industries Canada (PIC) Funding for Plant and Tech Innovation

Protein Industries Canada

Protein Industries Canada (PIC) is a non-profit organization that works with businesses to position the country as a global leader in plant-based products and co-products. Created from the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative (ISI), the Protein Industries Canada program awards government funding to projects that focus on collaborative product, process, technology, or international supply chain development.

Innovative agriculture partnerships that focus on plant protein can access up to 50% of eligible project expenses through the Protein Industries Canada program.

To access Protein Industries Canada funding, interested parties must be a member of Protein Industries Canada, partner with at least one other PIC member, and apply by an upcoming Expression of Interest (EOI) deadline. The next deadline for EOIs is June 28, 2019. This is the program’s first deadline, although there are three intakes expected per year during the four-year program.

What is Protein Industries Canada Supercluster Funding?

In 2017, Canada’s federal government awarded $950 million in funding to develop five non-profit, industry-focused “superclusters.” One of these groups is the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) supercluster, which focuses on supporting innovative projects and companies that create new opportunities in plant-based protein, especially canola and pulses (and products made from them). PIC’s membership base includes companies and industry stakeholders that have an interest in the success of plant proteins.

One benefit of being a PIC member is the ability to apply for the Protein Industries Canada program, which offsets the cost of collaborative plant protein-focused projects. Through the program, partnerships of two or more PIC members can submit a proposal for one of four applicable project categories, then complete that project at reduced cost.

Up to 50% of eligible project expenses can be offset with no fixed maximum funding amount. The more invested by a partnership, the more can potentially be received.

Applicants can propose qualified projects throughout the program’s 2019-2023 lifetime, although projects must be complete by March 31, 2023. It’s recommended that businesses become a Protein Industries Canada (PIC) member as soon as possible to partner with likeminded companies or research institutions and develop a competitive funding proposal.

Applicant Eligibility: Protein Industries Canada Agriculture Funding

To qualify for Protein Industries Canada funding, applicants must:

  • Include meaningful contributions from at least two Protein Industries Canada (PIC) members:
    • At least one is a SME with fewer than 500 employees and less than $50 million in annual gross revenues
    • At least two must contribute financially
    • It’s encouraged, but not necessary, to incorporate an academic or research institution;
  • Be Canadian companies or multi-national corporations who are legally entitled to operate in Canada with a significant Canadian business operation; and
  • Be PIC members. Membership is $500/year/organization.

Projects Eligible for Protein Industries Canada Agriculture Grants

Projects considered for Protein Industries Canada funding typically align to one of four focus areas, including:


  • Focus: Advanced breeding technologies and germplasm development.
  • Activities: Enhance processing efficiency and develop new food ingredients.
  • Results: Improvements to protein content, quality, and functionality.


  • Focus: Primary production and sustainability.
  • Activities: Using technologies related to data and predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, automation, and sensor technology.
  • Results: Increase production efficiency (including nutrient and water use, soil carbon sequestration, and enhanced photosynthesis), reduce cost, improve sustainability, and increase understanding of the effects of production practices on protein quality and quantity.


  • Focus: Increase efficiency, decrease energy consumption, or develop entirely new products from existing commodities.
  • Activities: Improving processing by enhancing current processes or developing new agri technology.
  • Results: Allow companies to scale, attract investment into the sector, and help meet the need for product consistency in both supply and quality.


  • Focus: Development of new markets in the human, livestock, aquaculture, and pet food sectors while serving these markets more effectively with improved logistics and traceability.
  • Activities: Pre-competitive research, prototyping and testing, improved trade relationships, and trade literacy.
  • Results: Connect small and medium-sized enterprises with multinational food/ingredient manufacturers and branded food companies through improved supply chains.

How to Apply for PIC Supercluster Funding

To get started with Protein Industries Canada funding, ensure your business is a member of PIC. Once a member of the supercluster, you can search a database of other members or complete a matchmaking process to identify potential project partners. Eligible partnerships should complete an online eligibility questionnaire before proceeding to the first of two application stages.

Stage one of the application process requires businesses to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) and submit it during one of the program’s intake periods. The EOI is a brief proposal that identifies the members of the consortium, their project contributions, the challenge or opportunity to be addressed, and major activities that will be undertaken.

The program’s first EOI deadline has been set for June 28, 2019.

If an EOI is approved, applicants are invited to develop a full project proposal, which is a more extensive review of the project and includes a detailed financial review of each member in the project partnership. Full proposals should be up to 40 pages in length and clearly communicate the project’s strengths and opportunities addressed.

To discuss your business’ eligibility for government funding and discover how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

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