The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is a Canadian government funding program designed to accelerate the research and development projects of Canadian innovators. Businesses who are developing and implementing process improvements are the primary targets to receive research grants through IRAP, however, large-scale technology adoption projects that lead to new capabilities are also considered.
IRAP is administered and managed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). NRC-IRAP grants are funded through the Government of Canada; this means that applicants from across the country can apply to receive funding support. If performing a technology-driven research and development project in Canada, IRAP grants should always be considered during the planning process.
Need help evaluating the following funding options? Compare Types of NRC-IRAP Funding.
NRC-IRAP Grants for Research and Development: Funding Streams
Under the umbrella of IRAP funding programs available, there are three research grants that are most commonly used by businesses. These include:
IRAP ARP (Accelerated Review Process) Research Grants
IRAP ARP grants focus on solving an internal technical challenge with a focus on adopting technology and processing enhancements. These projects are often focused on early-stage research or development activities, and the exploration of new technology-based market opportunities. Activities include assessment and development of technologies to improve internal processes, feasibility studies and assessments for new services/product ventures, and prototype engineering activities.
- Funding Contribution: Maximum $50k research and development grant (supporting up to 80% of direct labour and 50% sub-contractor costs).
- Eligibility: 1-500 people on payroll and incorporated for at least 2 years.
- Timeline: Additional funding is released April 1 of each year. Applicants must complete projects within one year (spanning April 1 to March 31), applications should be completed in Q1.
IRAP Mid-Size Projects Technology Development Grants
Alternately, IRAP Mid-Size Projects must focus on overcoming technical uncertainties and risks through the development and commercialization of innovative products. These are often projects focused on the development of new products that fills a current market void. Activities include process or product development, commercialization, or customization for particular customers.
- Funding Contribution: Up to $10 million in technology development grants (supporting up to 65-80% of labour costs for employees directly involved in the project).
- Eligibility: 1-500 on payroll, incorporated for at least 2 years, and committed to internal R&D activities.
- Timeline: Additional funding is released April 1 of each year; applications should be completed in Q1. Project completion timelines are negotiable, however most projects in this stream are completed within 36 months.
IRAP YEP (Youth Employment Program) Hiring Grants
IRAP YEP funding is uniquely designed to help businesses hire youth researchers and overcome technical challenges. The program seeks to encourage the hiring and training of youth (ages 15-30) who can provide technical abilities not currently accessible to the company. Canadian college and university graduates with a technical/STEM background should be the focus of candidates.
- Funding Contribution: Up to $30,000/graduate for a 12-month work placement. May apply for up to two candidates, candidates must not be an employee at the time of application submission.
- Eligibility: Incorporated and financially stable with 1-500 employees. Must have candidate selected, but not hired, at the time of application.
- Timeline: Additional funding is released April 1 of each year. Applications should be completed in Q1.
IRAP vs. SR&ED – What Program is Right for You?
Top IRAP Innovation Funding Success Stories:
Innovative Canadian companies continuously access IRAP grants to offset research and development costs. Some successfully funded projects include:
- Chatham-Kent Manufacturer Grows with Canadian Government Funding Wins
- IRAP Funding Success: Rianta Solutions Receives up to $440,000
- Moncton Manufacturer Receives up to $668,657 in IRAP Research Grants
Top IRAP Research and Development Funding Resources:
Aside from insight into the specific program streams, above, business innovators may wish to review the following IRAP resources:
- Compare Accelerated Review Process vs. Mid-Size Project Funding
- IRAP vs. SR&ED: An R&D Funding Comparison and Analysis
- What are Technology Readiness Levels (TRL)?
- IRAP Awards Martello Technologies $2M in Digital Transformation Funding
- How to Embrace USMCA with Canadian Government Funding
- NRC-IRAP Funding Supports Automotive Technology with $349,000 Grant
- IRAP and SR&ED: Innovation Requirements for Research Funding
- $4.4M in Canadian Government Funding Supports Bioscience Technology