Research and Development Funding for Business Innovation

Research and development activities support innovation and enable Canadian companies to achieve competitive advantages over other domestic and international firms. These types of activities are not just for research-focused companies and large businesses with substantial R&D budgets, but also for smaller companies that seek an edge over products and services that currently dominate the market. Innovation is a mindset that businesses must adopt to remain a viable choice to customers; without research and development, there will eventually be solutions available to your client base that are more appealing than your offerings. Fortunately, Canadian government funding is available to offset R&D costs and help companies stretch their research budgets.

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Use the following image links to access information on research and development projects, including Canadian government funding programs and resources to support your innovation strategies.

Research & Development Funding for Canadian BusinessesResearch & Development Resources for Canadian Businesses

Browse Research and Development Funding Programs

Research grants, loans, and other incentives support innovative businesses across the country. Use the following categories to reveal funding for your upcoming project.


Government Funding Program Description Region(s) Supported
Accelerating Innovations Into Care Accelerating Innovations Into Care supports the testing and validation of health technologies through collaborations of Alberta SMEs and public health providers.

  • Provides up to 50% project expenses to a maximum $150,000 contribution
Accessible Technology Program The Accessible Technology Program supports development and testing of assistive technologies. It seeks to improve digital/knowledge economy participation among persons with disabilities for a more inclusive, diverse workforce.

  • Provides businesses up to 50% project expenses to a maximum $4 million per project/year
Agricultural Clean Technology Program (ACT) The Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program support research, development and adoption of clean technologies through investments in, and promotion of precision agriculture and agri-based bioproducts.

  • Provides up to 50-75% to a maximum of $5M per project
AgriInnovate AgriInnovate supports commercialization and/or adoption of innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services.

  • Provides repayable funding of up to 50% project expenses to a maximum $10 million
AgriScience AgriScience supports research and development projects that benefit the agricultural and agri-food sector, either independently or as part of an innovation cluster.

  • Provides up to 50% for businesses; up to 70% for non-profits to a maximum $5M
Alberta Media Fund The Alberta Media Fund supports organizations and individuals developing screen-based media, books and magazines, and sound recordings.

  • Provides four streams of media grants offering between 18-50% of project expenses
Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program The Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program (AOP) supports collaborative research and development projects that accelerate the commercialization of technology and/or productivity improvements of businesses.

  • Provides up to 50% of project costs to a maximum grant of $200k-$500k per collaboration
Ontario, Alberta
Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) WinterTech Development Program The AVIN WinterTech Development Program supports projects related to the development, validation, testing, demonstration, and prototyping of mobility technologies and services designed to meet the unique demands of winter weather conditions

  • Provides up to one-third of eligible project costs to a maximum of $500,000.
AV R&D Partnership Fund: Technology Demonstrations The AV Research and Development Partnership Fund supports technology developers working with partners (typically other SMEs, large enterprises, post-secondary institutions, and non-profits) to develop, prototype, and validate autonomous vehicle technologies.

  • Provides up to 33% of eligible project costs to a maximum $1 million in grant funding
Canada Media Fund: Experimental Stream The Canada Media Fund Experimental Stream supports the conceptualization, prototyping, production and promotion of innovative, interactive content.

  • Provides up to 50-75% of project costs to maximum $1.5M, dependent on project type
Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) The Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) supports collaborative research and development projects that lead to commercialization of new products, services, or processes.

  • Provides up to 50% of expenses to a maximum of $600,000 grant for the Canadian firm
Commercialization Support for Business Program (CSBP) The Commercialization Support for Business Program (CSBP) supports product development, commercialization, and export market development.

  • Provides up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $30,000 to $250,000 per project; lifetime maximum $250,000
Customer Demonstration Program The Customer Demonstration Program supports technology demonstrations between two or more Ontario-based businesses, including a ‘market disruptor’ and a ‘receptor’ who can purchase/adopt the technology.

  • Provides up to 50% coverage of eligible expenses to a maximum $50,000
ENCQOR 5G SME Technology Development Program (5G SDP) The ENCQOR 5G SME Technology Development Program (5G SDP) supports collaborative 5G technology development projects with government funding to further develop, integrate, test, or validate pre-commercial 5G technologies.

  • Provides up to $50k-$500k depending on the Challenge Statement
Health Technologies Fund The Health Technologies Fund supports development of leading, market-ready healthcare technologies that are made in Ontario.

  • Provides up to 50% of project costs; maximum $500,000 for Pre-Market Evaluations, and $1,000,000 for the Early Adoption projects
IESO Conservation Fund The IESO Conservation Fund supports conservation and demand management programs, practices and technologies that reduce electricity consumption in Ontario.

  • Provides up to 50-100% of eligible project costs to a maximum $250k-$1M, depending on the proposed project
Industry Commercialization Associates Program  The Industry Commercialization Associates Program supports hiring an associate to perform technical commercialization activities.

  • Contributions vary depending on the role hired for; ranges from $52,500 to $105,000 annually
Industry R&D Associates Program The Industry R&D Associates Program supports hiring an associate to perform technical research and development activities.

  • Contributions vary depending on the role hired for; ranges from $52,500 to $67,500 annually
Innovation for Defence and Security Program (IDEaS) The Innovation for Defence and Security Program seeks pre-commercial military and defence technologies that  address current challenges faced by Canada’s Armed Forces.

  • Provides up to $1.2M for initial R&D. Fully-developed solutions may also access up to $20M for procurement
Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) Innovative Solutions Canada supports businesses researching and developing novel products and services that solve federal government departmental challenges.

  • Provides up to $1,150,000 in grants through a multi-phased, graduated approach; can also lead to federal procurement contracts
Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Fund The Interactive Digital Media Fund supports development of high-quality interactive digital media products such as software and games.

  • Provides up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum of $50,000 to $250,000
Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Program The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Program exists to address a critical need for capital investment in new forest industry technologies that innovate and bring new jobs to the ever-growing and expanding Canadian forest industry.

  • Provides up to 50% to a maximum of $500,000 per project through the Studies Projects Stream
Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – National Research Council (NRC) The NRC-IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) stream supports innovative activities that solve an internal innovation challenge, such as software implementation, productivity improvements, and production design or marketing projects.

  • Provides up to 60-80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor expenses
MITACS Accelerate Mitacs Accelerate pairs businesses with Masters, PhD and PDF interns to overcome innovation challenges.

  • Up to 50% of expenses to a maximum $7,500 per 4-6 month internship unit; can access multiple interns
MITACS Accelerate PhD Fellowship The Mitacs Accelerate PhD Fellowship connects industry leaders with PhD fellows who spend approximately 50% of their time at the business’ site to work on R&D projects.

  • Provides up to $90,000 in grant funding over 3 years; company contributions of $36k are required
MITACS Elevate Mitacs Elevate supports innovation-driven partnerships with PhD fellows to solve critical industry issues.

  • Researchers receive $55,000/year for 2 years; includes a $25,000 Mitacs grant + $30,000 company contribution
NGen Manufacturing Program The NGen Manufacturing Program supports collaborative technology development and application projects that help Canadian manufacturing companies compete globally.

  • Offsets up to 44.4% of eligible project expenses; contributions range from $444,400 to $8,880,000
NOHFC Applied Research & Technology Development Projects NOHFC’s Applied Research & Technology Development Projects program supports companies moving an innovative product or service through the late-stage development and commercialization process.

  • Provides up to 50% of eligible projects costs to a maximum $250,000 in research grants
Northern Ontario
NOHFC Opportunity Assessment Projects NOHFC’s Opportunity Assessment Projects program supports companies identifying new technology opportunities and determining project feasibility.

  • Provides up to 75% of project costs to a maximum $15,000
Northern Ontario
NOHFC Pilot Demonstration & Commercialization Projects NOHFC’s Pilot Demonstration & Commercialization Projects program supports late-stage development and pre-commercialization activities, either alone or in partnership with academia.

  • Provides up to 50% of projects costs to a maximum $500,000
Northern Ontario
NSERC Alliance The NSERC Alliance program supports longer-term (1 to 5 year) university-industry R&D projects that use advanced/innovative research and development techniques to address a company-specific problem.

  • University research fees are offset by up to 50-66% to a maximum $1 million/project/year
NSERC Engage NSERC’s College and Community Innovation Program – Engage Grants supports short-term (up to 6-month) college-industry R&D projects that use applied research and development techniques to address a company-specific problem.

  • College research fees are offset by up to up to $25,000
Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF) The Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund supports research and innovation projects that identify better ways to help people prepare for, return to, or keep employment and become productive participants in the labour force.

  • Up to $250K in non-repayable funding to support research activities of Ontario’s labour market.
Product Demonstration Program The Product Demonstration Program supports commercialization activities required to bring innovative technology to market.

  • Provides up to 50% of project expenses to a maximum grant of $300,000
Protein Industries Canada The Protein Industries Canada program supports collaborative R&D projects that expand Canada’s plant-based protein sector.

  • Provides up to 50% of eligible project expenses with no defined maximum contribution
Rural Economic Development Fund (RED) The Rural Economic Development Fund (RED) supports regional economic development activities of non-profits in rural southern Ontario.

  • Provides up to 30-50% of eligible expenses to a maximum of $150,000-$250,000
Southern Ontario
Supply Chains and Logistics Excellence AI (SCALE.AI) SCALE.AI provides funding for collaborative investments for projects that leverage AI to enhance existing Supply Chain procedures and improving Canada’s global competitiveness.

  • Up to 40% of eligible costs for projects that can accelerate the adoption and commercialization of AI for supply chains. 
SD Tech Fund  The SD Tech Fund subsidizes expenses related to late-stage development or pre-commercialization of clean technologies.

  • Provides up to 33% of eligible expenses to a maximum $15 million
Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) The Strategic Innovation Fund provides two streams of funding aligned to R&D, including one for Research, Development, and Commercialization projects, and another for Collaborative Technology Development and Demonstration.

  • Provides up to 50% of eligible expenses with a minimum funding request of $10 million as a combination of repayable and non-repayable contributions
Voucher Program Alberta Innovates’ Voucher Program supports technology development and building a working prototype.

  • Provides vouchers to offset $10,000 to $100,000 in products or services received to accelerate the project
Western Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) Program The Business Scale-up and Productivity program helps businesses with high growth potential adapt and commercialize innovative technologies that support productivity, grow operations, and increase exports.

  • Provides repayable contributions (no-interest loans) of up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $5 million/project and $10 million/applicant
Western Canada
Zero Plastic Waste Initiative The Zero Plastic Waste Initiative aims to effect change across the plastics lifecycle to increase waste collection, improve value recovery, and prevent and remove plastic pollution.

  • Provides up to 100% to a maximum $250,000 in non-repayable funding

Research and Development Resources for Canadian Businesses

Because research and development is so critical to the growth of Canadian companies, it’s worthwhile to understand how your organization can support a culture of innovation. Often, its helpful to observe what other companies are doing to create new products and services, then think about how you could undertake similar projects directed towards your clients or offerings. Forward-looking, proactive companies can continuously improve and offer better products/services to customers, which makes planning and execution of projects so important.

What innovative projects will your company complete? Find resources to support your upcoming research and development projects by choosing one of the following options:

Research Resources for Canadian BusinessesDevelopment Resources for Canadian Businesses Commercialization Resources for Canadian Businesses

Research Resources

Research Resources for Canadian BusinessesEarly-stage research projects form the basis of successful innovations. Research, often viewed through the lens of technology readiness levels (TRL) include concept evaluation, technology evaluation, and proof-of-concept research. At this phase of innovation, companies work with scientific research or other indicators that there is an opportunity to be exploited. Firms apply these concepts to plan how technology or another form of innovation can provide value to customers. Basic research begins as the solution becomes more defined and the company has a vision for an end-product. Explore the resources below to understand where research fits in your growth plans and develop a strategy for success:

Development Resources

Development Resources for Canadian Businesses

Technology development projects pick up after a proof-of-concept has been finalized. By technology readiness level (TRL) definition, development projects include early and late-stage prototype development, as well as piloting the innovation in a simulated environment. At this phase of innovation, companies construct working models of their technology and make improvements to it to ensure it meets or exceeds the requirements laid out at the beginning of the project. The development phase concludes upon successful piloting of the innovation in a setting where end-users would receive similar performance conditions. Explore the resources below to understand where technology development fits in your growth plans and develop a strategy for success:

Commercialization Resources

Commercialization Resources for Canadian Businesses

When it’s time to bring a product or service to market, commercialization activities begin and technology developers start actively seeking a purchaser. Project activities that typically fall within this area (as defined by technology readiness levels) include operational environment demonstrations, final testing and evaluation, and finally, successful deployment. Commercialization is all about finding someone to buy your innovation; operational environment demonstrations typically require a host organization (often a potential customer) to install the technology and complete tasks with it. This testing provides critical feedback that can be used to make final improvements on the innovation; after one or several rounds of feedback and modifications, the technology becomes ready for deployment. Explore the resources below to understand where technology commercialization fits in your growth plans and develop a strategy for success:

Discover More Funding Resources for Research and Development Projects

Ready to enhance your research and innovation capacity? Register for an upcoming Canadian government funding event to learn more about how funding works, how to navigate the government funding process, and support services to help develop a successful application. Mentor Works hosts frequent webinars and live events to help business owners and executives further learn about their funding potential. Register for a session to continue exploring research and development funding programs.

February 2021
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