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Government of Canada Launches New Grants to Support Community-Based Research Partnerships

New funding for research collaborations between colleges, universities and businesses to accelerate innovation

Ottawa, November 17, 2011 — The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today joined Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), to launch the new College-University Idea to Innovation (CU-I2I) Grants. These new grants will support collaboration and strengthen research connections between Canadian colleges, universities and businesses to accelerate the development of promising technologies and promote their commercialization in Canada.

"The Government of Canada's investment in R&D has contributed to a stronger economy and created new jobs," said Minister Goodyear. "The new College-University Idea to Innovation Grants enhance and strengthen research links between colleges, universities and businesses to encourage the development of innovative technologies and support their commercialization into the Canadian marketplace."

"This program supports research collaboration and illustrates the importance that the government places on creating the conditions that will allow innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive in this country," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry. "Colleges and universities have strong ties to the local business community. Often these are small- and medium-sized enterprises—the companies that play such a vital role in our economy, both through the people they employ and the goods and services they produce."

The new CU-I2I Grants feature $12 million over five years in funding for successful college-university-business partnerships. Awards will be up to $250,000 per year for both college and university applicants, with business partners matching this contribution in cash and/or in kind. Awards can span up to three years. The competition is open—teams comprised of colleges, universities and businesses can apply for these grants at any time.

The CU-I2I Grants are the latest initiative added under the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program. This program encourages colleges and universities to work with local industrial partners, transferring their expertise for the benefit of the local communities. These grants help create conditions for improving or extending existing technologies or commercial projects and/or services in a way that directly benefit the bottom lines of companies in the local community.

These collaborative grants are jointly managed by NSERC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The grants have also received the support of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and Polytechnics Canada.

"College-University Idea to Innovation Grants represent a new opportunity for businesses to simultaneously tap in to the talent and expertise found on college and university campuses across Canada," said Dr. Fortier, President of NSERC. "Connecting and applying the strengths of Canada's research capacity to the needs of society and industry is an essential element of our success in the global, knowledge-based society and economy."

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

More information, about the new CU-I2I Grants is provided in the backgrounder below.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Tel.: 613-960-7728

Media Relations
Industry Canada
Tel.: 613-943-2502

Martin Leroux
Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer
NSERC
Tel.: 613-943-7618
E-mail: media@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Backgrounder

College-University Idea to Innovation Grants

College-University Idea to Innovation (CU-I2I) Grants are designed to develop and strengthen research links between colleges, universities and businesses to accelerate the development of promising technologies and promote their commercialization in the Canadian marketplace.

More specifically, these grants support college and university participation in the improvement or extension of existing company technology or commercial products, processes and/or services. Awards can be up to $250,000 per year for the college and university participants and can span up to three years. A key element of these grants is that a company partner must participate in the project and contribute to the direct project costs of the applied research and development project with cash, in-kind contributions or a combination of both.

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Technical merit;
  • Synergies from the college-university collaboration;
  • Team expertise;
  • Potential for innovation, technology transfer and commercial benefits;
  • Private-sector support;
  • Contribution to the training of highly qualified personnel; and
  • Benefit to Canada.

The competition is open—applicants can apply for the grants at any time. Recipients of the first year of funding are expected to be announced in April 2012.

CU-I2I Grants are managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Projects can be across the spectrum of the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and/or health. Grants are provided by NSERC, with the exception of funded proposals exclusively in the social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences that are funded by either SSHRC or CIHR.

For more information, read the College-University Idea to Innovation Grants section.

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