From the early stages of the global pandemic, the Canadian government has been determined to invest in strong research and development to help Canada take a lead in health and safety for preventing and managing the contagious COVID-19 virus. In late-May 2021, the Government of Canada announced that eight Canadian companies will receive a total of $8 million in funding from the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) Program to explore and advance innovative challenges related to tackling COVID-19.
“Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, we are supporting innovative Canadian companies and investing in their cutting-edge solutions to the challenges of COVID-19. These investments will improve our healthcare response while helping small and medium-sized businesses innovate, grow and contribute to our economy.”
– François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 was declared in Canada in March 2020, ISC has administered government funding through eight program challenges with direct impacts to fight COVID-19, including an open call for ISC’s testing stream for prototype ideas to stop the virus.
What are Innovation Solutions Canada (ISC) Challenges?
Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) is part of the Canadian government’s multi-year Innovation and Skills Plan that aims to set Canada up as a global leader in innovation and provide substantial economic growth. Funding for ISC challenges is typically provided through the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), although individual challenges are also often sponsored in collaboration with other organizations such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who are currently seeking businesses to take on an ISC project that will enhance the design of handcuffs to improve the safety and wellbeing of individuals while in custody.
Eligible small/medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can access up to $150k for proof-of-concept projects, and up to $2M for prototype development in ISC funding.
The ISC program’s Challenge Stream and Testing Stream help startups and SMEs research technology testing and development hurdles so that they can create in-demand products and services while improving government processes. Projects considered for support through ISC must align with one of the government’s open departmental innovation challenges.
Which Canadian COVID-19 Projects Received Funding?
With a commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Canadians while actively pursuing economic growth and contributing to the global COVID-19 response, the Government of Canada is supporting eight companies with a total of $8 million in funding for novel projects that will create strong, innovative solutions related to COVID-19.
The following are the eight Canadian projects receiving ISC funding:
$4,000,000: Nicoya Lifesciences Incorporated (Kitchener, Ontario) and Deep Biologics Incorporated (Guelph, Ontario) will each receive up to $2 million to develop rapid test kits that use saliva to diagnose individuals with COVID-19 symptoms in 20 minutes or less.
$2,000,000: Braebon Medical Corporation (Kanata, Ontario) aims to create a low-cost system to continuously measure COVID-19 patients’ temperature, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rate and transmit this information wirelessly to a base station for patient monitoring.
$1,000,000: Cole Webber Productions Incorporated (Red Deer, Alberta) aims to create a smart digital exchange platform to connect researchers and health providers with the appropriate expertise, materials, devices, and information to respond to COVID-19.
$600,000: GreenMantra Technologies Limited (Brantford, Ontario) and Terragon Environmental Technologies Incorporated (Montréal, Quebec) will each receive $300,000 to create solutions for efficient and cost‑effective recycling of disposable PPE waste.
$300,000: Precision ADM (Winnipeg, Manitoba) will propose solutions to manufacture compostable disposable surgical masks and compostable disposable respirators for healthcare workers.
$200,000: Roswell Downhole Technologies Incorporated (Calgary, Alberta) will also propose solutions to manufacture compostable disposable surgical masks and compostable disposable respirators for healthcare workers.
“Supporting these innovative Canadian solutions through the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program will help respond to COVID-19 challenges. These projects aim to strengthen Canadian capabilities, develop more environmentally sustainable products and help Canada respond to pandemics.”
– Mitch Davies, President, National Research Council Canada
Canadian Funding for Research and Development Projects
Without strong research and development opportunities, sustainable and valuable innovation would not be possible, and where there is no innovation, there is no growth and expansion to improve on a variety of solutions, products, processes, and services.
Fortunately, a wide range of Canadian government funding for research and development projects is available to offset costs and help organizations stretch their research budgets and reach their project goals. This category of funding is not only for research-focused and/or large-scale businesses with high budgets, but also for smaller companies that seek to modernize and improve their products and services.
To learn more about research and development funding available during the ongoing pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Funding Programs Page and discover which grants and/or loans could support your business with critical innovation and economic growth.