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 funding contributions 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 funding contributions 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 funding contributions should always be considered during the planning process.
IRAP Research Project Funding Contributions
The core funding type provided by NRC-IRAP is in the form of financial contributions to support technical R&D projects. These projects will be evaluated by a designated IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) to assess the innovation and confirm an element of technical uncertainty and risk. If deemed suitable for funding, the IRAP ITA will invite the business owner to apply for funding to offset a portion of technical labour and subcontractor costs to assist with the development and/or commercialization of innovative products, processes, or services. These are often projects focused on the development of new products that fill a market gap. Activities include process or product development, commercialization, or customization for particular customers.
- Funding Contribution: Contributions of up to 60-80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor expenses.
- Eligibility: Innovative technical R&D projects with a level of technical uncertainty.
- Timeline: Projects to be carried out between April 1 and March 31 of every year. Single year projects must either fall between that timeline. Potential for 12+ months for larger projects.
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 funding contributions to offset research and development costs. Some successfully funded projects include:
- NRC IRAP Funding Grants $200k Towards Innovative COVID-19 Filtration Materials
- NRC-IRAP Awards $299K towards Development of COVID-19 Tests
- 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:
- Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) Extended by $155M for COVID-19 Support
- St. John’s-Based Kraken Robotics Gets $2.9M Grant from IRAP
- Top 5 Government Funding Programs for Hiring and Training
- Top 4 Canadian Government Funding for Software Development
- Alternatives to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)