Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

Receive up to 50% of Expenses in Government Funding.

The Strategic Innovation Fund is a Canadian government funding program uniquely targeted at Canada’s industrial and technology sectors. It offers financial contributions (both repayable and non-repayable) valued at up to 50% of project costs with the purpose of promoting investment into the types of activities that drive sustained productivity and economic benefits. The amount and type of financial support offered by SIF is allocated on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the funding application review committee.

There are five streams of funding provided through SIF; applicants should align projects to address one of the following areas: (1) Research, Development, and Commercialization, (2) Business Growth and Expansion, (3) Investment Attraction and Retention, (4) Collaborative Technology Development and Demonstration, and (5) National Ecosystems.

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Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

Amount of Funding

The Strategic Innovation Fund program offers financial contributions (both repayable and non-repayable) valued up to 50% of project costs. The program focuses on projects requesting at least $10 million in contributions. This means a minimum project size of $20 million.

Amount of Funding from the Canadian Government

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

Eligible Applicants

Applicant Eligibility Criteria

Although the Strategic Innovation Fund’s eligibility criteria is fairly open to all businesses, potential applicants should keep in mind that this is an extremely competitive program. While your company may be eligible for funding, it must also demonstrate high growth potential and the ability to drive innovation, in addition to the following considerations:

SIF Business Eligibility: Streams 1-3
  • Eligible: Small, medium, and large businesses incorporated pursuant to the laws of Canada, who propose to do business in Canada and execute their project within the country.
  • Ineligible: Non-incorporated businesses (i.e. startups and early-stage companies).
SIF Organization Eligibility: Stream 4
  • Eligible: Consortiums including Canadian post-secondary institutions, research institutes, for-profit businesses, and non-profit organizations.
  • Ineligible: Single entities; this stream focuses on collaborative projects with a group of partners.
SIF Organization Eligibility: Stream 5
  • Eligible: Lead applicant must be a Canadian business or non-profit. Lead applicants must develop an innovation network with businesses, non-profits, industry associations, academia.
  • Ineligible: Academia cannot be the lead applicant but can support for-profit/non-profit led projects
Eligible Applicants for Canadian Government Funding

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

Eligible Activities

The Strategic Innovation Fund offers five streams of project funding, including Canadian government funding for:

1. Research, Development, and Commercialization

This stream offers funding for the research, development, and market commercialization of innovative technologies. All activities performed must focus on progressing the innovation’s development, which may have a current technology readiness level (TRL) of 1-9. Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Researching and testing the market potential of an early concept or finding;
  • Adapting research for commercial applications with the potential for market disruption;
  • Improving processes (by using new technology) to reduce the environmental footprint of production; and
  • Improving current products/processes by implementing new technologies that enhance competitive capabilities.
2. Business Growth and Expansion

Stream two of the Strategic Innovation Fund provides innovation funding for the expansion and material improvement of existing industrial or technological facilities. Activities should be aimed at increasing productivity and efficiencies, ultimately leading to higher competitiveness. At this stage, businesses should have well-developed products and processes and be performing activities within a TRL of 8-9. Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Increasing production capacity to meet a demonstrated market demand; and
  • Improving manufacturing efficiency through improvements to plant, equipment, or processes.
3. Investment Attraction and Retention

The third stream of SIF offers support for new investments in Canadian industrial or technological facilities. The main objective is to support large-scale investments that may have not otherwise been made in Canada, and will be used to support the continued development of Canada’s most innovative businesses. Companies must achieve a TRL of 2 or higher to apply; projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Establishing a new production facility which did not previously exist in Canada;
  • Receiving a research and development mandate which is being established for the first time, or was previously held outside Canada; and
  • Obtaining a production mandate for products being produced for the first time, or previously produced outside Canada.
4. Collaborative Technology Development and Demonstration

The fourth Strategic Innovation Fund stream supports collaborative research, including activities related to the discovery or demonstration of new knowledge. In partnership with academic institutions and non-profits, the stream will provide funding for new technology-driven products, processes or services at a technology readiness level of 1-7. Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing and demonstrating pre-commercial technologies; and
  • Advancing new technologies into product-specific applications.
5. National Ecosystems

The Strategic Innovation Fund’s National Ecosystems stream supports collaborative research activities led by a for-profit business or non-profit organization in partnership with many other businesses, non-profits, and academic institutions. While all technologies (TRL 1-9) may be considered for funding, this stream is ideally situated to support later-stage projects that have a focus on commercialization. Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing and demonstrating pre-commercial technologies; and
  • Advancing new technologies into product-specific applications.
Expense Eligibility Criteria

For each stream of the Strategic Innovation Fund, eligible costs include the following non-recurring expenses:

  • Direct labour costs;
  • Direct materials and equipment;
  • Land and buildings;
  • Project overhead (limits apply);
  • Subcontractors and consultants; and
  • Other direct costs.
Eligible Expenses for Canadian Government Funding

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

Program Deadline

There is no application deadline for Streams 1, 2, 3, and 5. Businesses must complete a two-stage application process, however, applications may be submitted year-round.

Stream 4 operates on a competitive basis where SOIs are accepted following a call-for-proposals.

Program Deadline for Canadian Government Funding
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