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About the Award

Information About the Prize Offered to Industrial Partners (University Categories)

In Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada indicated that This link will take you to another Web site Mitacs will become the single delivery agent of federal support for postdoctoral industrial R&D fellowships. As a result, NSERC will wind down the Industrial R&D Fellowships Program, with resources being redeployed to other priorities within NSERC.

Therefore, NSERC will offer an alternative to industrial partners associated with future winning Synergy nominations.

Please see the Universities section.

Innovation paves the road to success in the new global economy. The Synergy Awards for Innovation were launched in 1995 by NSERC to recognize partnerships in natural sciences and engineering research and development (R&D) between universities and Canadian industry. Since their inception, the Awards have honoured the most outstanding achievements of these collaborations in the natural sciences and engineering. By working together, award-winning companies and universities have proven that effective partnerships are the foundation of achievement. Their success has enriched the academic and research programs within Canadian universities while providing tangible benefits to Canadians.

New: In the same spirit, the Awards now include a category for colleges to highlight the impact and lasting benefits of their applied R&D collaborations with industry partners. Only nominations in the natural sciences and/or engineering will be considered.


Universities: The winner (principal nominee) in each category will receive a $200,000 NSERC research grant. Industrial partners will receive a $30,000 voucher valid towards the cash portion of their required contribution in a Collaborative Research and Development Grant (CRD). Applications using the voucher must be received within three years of the Synergy Award for Innovation being awarded. The value of the voucher can be divided across multiple years of the CRD project. The intent is to offer one voucher to every eligible industrial partner however, NSERC reserves the right to limit the number of vouchers in categories where multiple partners are involved.

Colleges: The winning institution will receive up to $100,000 for an Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant that can be used to purchase equipment to foster and enhance the ability of the college to undertake applied research, innovation and training in collaboration with local companies. The industrial partners will receive a $20,000 voucher valid for a cash portion of their required contribution towards any NSERC – College and Community Innovation Program grant. The voucher can be used throughout the three-year validity period and be shared amongst the industrial partners.

The Synergy Awards for Innovation showcase innovation and the benefits of pooling resources to make the most of Canadian ingenuity. The Awards are judged on:

  • partnership;
  • effective use of resources;
  • tangible benefits; and
  • for the Leo Derikx Award only, an innovative model.

Award Categories

Synergy Awards are offered in five categories:

For universities:

  • Small and Medium-Sized Companies—A partnership with a single company of up to 500 employees.
  • Large Companies—A partnership with a single company of more than 500 employees.
  • Two or More Companies—A partnership with two or more companies of any size or with a consortium of companies.
  • Leo Derikx Award—An established innovative model of long-standing university-industry partnership in pre-competitive R&D that has improved the general well-being of an industry.

For two decades, Leo Derikx was a driving force in building and developing university-industry partnerships in Canada. As Director General of Research Partnerships for NSERC, it was Leo Derikx who helped to create the Synergy Awards. Upon his retirement in 1999, the award for innovative models of long-standing interaction in the precompetitive stage of R&D was named in his honour.

For colleges:

  • Colleges—An innovative applied R&D partnership with demonstrable impact between a college research team and one or more companies, of any size.
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