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Collaborative Research and Development Grants
(including DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants)

Duration Up to five years
Application Deadline Any time
How to Apply See below
Application Forms
  • Form 100 Personal Data Form
  • Form 101 Application for a Grant
  • Form 183A Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs (including letters of support)
To create or access an application, select On-line System Login. To view instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.
For more information Consult the Contact List


The Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants are intended to give companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge, expertise, and educational resources available at Canadian postsecondary institutions and to train students in essential technical skills required by industry. The mutually beneficial collaborations are expected to result in industrial and/or economic benefits to Canada.


CRD Grants support well-defined projects undertaken by university researchers and their private-sector partners. Direct project costs are shared by the industrial partner(s) and NSERC. Projects may range from one year to five years in duration, but most awards are for two or three years.

If the university researcher’s partners include a private-sector partner and the Department of National Defence (DND), apply for a DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant (a targeted CRD Grant).

CRD projects can be at any point in the research and development (R&D) spectrum in the domains of the natural sciences and engineering that is consistent with the university’s research, training, and technology transfer mandate. Information on the eligibility of research topics under NSERC’s mandate is available in the guidelines about This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency. Eligible collaborations include focused projects with specific short- to medium-term objectives, as well as discrete phases in a program of longer-range research. All proposals require evidence of detailed planning and sound budget justification, and must clearly spell out the underlying assumptions, intended approaches, milestones, and deliverables. Certain expenditures related to project management are now eligible as a direct cost of research up to a maximum of 10% of the total direct costs (see the Guidelines for Research Partnerships Programs Project Management Expenses).

Projects that focus on the application of existing technology, provide routine analysis, collect data without interpreting underlying mechanisms, or provide professional practice or consulting services (contract research) are not eligible. Similarly, proposals that involve the set-up and operational management of an institute, a formal or informal group of researchers, or that are principally associated with the acquisition and maintenance of scientific equipment will not be considered.

Industrial Participation

Each project must be supported by at least one eligible industrial partner that must:

  • collaborate at all stages of the research project (i.e., help develop the proposal and, as the project unfolds, interact regularly with the academic researchers, students and other research personnel and provide input on the project);
  • demonstrate a clear intention and the capacity to exploit the research results within Canada; and
  • contribute to the direct project costs. The industrial partners must collectively provide contributions in an amount equal to, or greater than, the amount requested from NSERC. The industrial cash must be at least half of the NSERC request, with the balance provided as in-kind contributions to the project by the industrial partner(s). NSERC will recognize only those in-kind contributions that are fully documented and considered essential to carry out the work. For a full discussion of the eligibility and value of in-kind contributions, refer to the Guidelines on Eligibility and Value of In-Kind Contributions section of the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs.

The Partner Eligibility Guidelines section of the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs should be consulted to determine the eligibility of the industrial partner to participate.

Industrial cash contributed before the proposal is submitted may be used to start the project, but NSERC will not leverage industrial in-kind contributions received or funds spent more than three months prior to the date of submission. NSERC funds cannot be applied to expenses incurred before a project was approved.

NSERC's Policy on Intellectual Property (IP) supports the premise that every effort should be made to exploit the results of NSERC-funded research in Canada, for the benefit of Canadians. For most projects, a copy of the final and signed research agreement—compliant with NSERC’s IP Policy between the industrial partner(s) and the university covering, at a minimum, the entire duration of the grant—must be provided to NSERC within six months from the date of the conditional offer.

Application Procedures

Proposals can be submitted at any time, using a Personal Data Form (Form 100), an Application for a Grant (Form 101), and an Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs (Form 183A). Full instructions for professors and their industrial sponsor(s) to complete the forms and the on-line submission are found on NSERC's On-line Services page. All proposals undergo peer review. Large or complex proposals (requesting $200,000 or more per year from NSERC) are reviewed by a site visit committee. An additional review by the Advisory Committee on University-Industry Grants (ACUIG) will take place after the site visit is completed and after the site visit committee has made a recommendation. The ACUIG normally meets four times a year—in March, June, September, and December. Regardless of the amount requested, NSERC reserves the right to conduct an in-depth review of any proposal through a site visit, a virtual site visit and/or a referral to the ACUIG.

Decisions on funding CRD Grants are usually made within three months of receiving a complete application; however, large or complex applications may take up to six months for processing.

Selection Criteria

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit: The project must be scientifically sound, technically feasible, and promise either to generate new knowledge or to apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner.
  • Competence of the research team: The applicant and the research team together must have all the expertise required to address the defined objectives competently and to complete the project successfully. Academic expertise may be complemented with the know-how from the industrial partner(s).
  • Training opportunities: The proposal must include a student training component. It must indicate how the knowledge and experience gained by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants or others, including company personnel, are relevant to the advancement of the field, to developing practical applications of knowledge, or to strengthening the industrial research base. The number of undergraduate and graduate students trained is expected to be commensurate with the size of the project. Students and postdoctoral fellows are expected to enhance their skills through interactions with the industrial partner(s) (e.g., participation in planning meetings, active exposure to industrial processes such as R&D, manufacturing, regulatory, intellectual property, commercialization, etc.)
  • Industrial relevance and benefits: The industrial partner(s) must contribute an appropriate amount from its own resources to the project, consistent with the risks and rewards involved, and must be in a position to exploit successful research results. The proposal must identify how the work will benefit the industrial partner(s) and demonstrate that the exploitation of the project results will benefit the Canadian economy within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Benefit to Canada: As well as the economic benefit to Canada described under the Industrial relevance and benefits criterion above, the proposal should outline any additional economic, social, and environmental benefits that could be realized in Canada within a reasonable timeframe.
  • University support: For large or complex proposals (requesting at least $200,000 per year from NSERC), the proposal must demonstrate adequate university support for the project by detailing the specific commitments of the university regarding the provision of financial support, equipment, and/or facilities.
  • Budget: The proposal must provide a detailed explanation and justification for each budget item. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess whether the resources requested and the level of the industrial cash and in kind commitments are appropriate. A significant portion of the budget must be allocated to salaries for students and postdoctoral fellows.

Report on an ongoing or past CRD grant

If the application is a continuation of research undertaken in a recently completed or nearly completed CRD project, receiving at least $100,000 per year from NSERC, an additional report (maximum three pages) detailing the results achieved is required. The continuing industrial partner(s) must clearly outline the impact of the ongoing or recently completed CRD in its letter(s) of support.

NSERC/Mitacs Joint funding opportunity

Applicants may include in their CRD grant application a request for additional support through Mitacs Accelerate internships as a component of the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP). Note that Mitacs internships cannot be the only mechanism for HQP training, and Mitacs internships must be funded through industry support separate from the support for the CRD grant. The internships may result in an increase in the overall number of students and postdoctoral fellows involved in the project, or may provide opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows to deepen their relationship with an industrial partner. Applications for a combined CRD grant–Mitacs internship are required to provide additional information relevant to the internship(s) (see Instructions for Completing an Application – Form 101). NSERC will conduct the peer review of the joint application and will communicate the results to Mitacs.


CRD projects are monitored closely. Progress reports are requested according to the size and the total duration of the award:

  • all CRD recipients are required to provide a final report;
  • CRD grants with an awarded value greater than or equal to $150,000 in the first year or on annual average are required to provide an annual progress report;
  • CRD grants with an awarded value greater than or equal to $50,000 and less than $150,000 in the first year or on an annual average are required to provide a progress report near the end of each two-year cycle:
    • near the end of year two for three- and four-year CRD awards;
    • near the end of year two and year four for five-year CRD awards;
  • at the end of year two and subsequent years, where a progress report is not required, a confirmation of the continuing collaboration with the industrial partners, receipt of the industrial partner’s contributions and the need for funds (grant account balance) will be requested from the grantee and the institution;
  • CRD grants with an award value less than $50,000 in the first year or on an annual average will not be required to provide a progress report.

On the basis of the results obtained or problems encountered, grantees may propose amendments to the project objectives, milestones or budget. Even when no progress report is required, the university and the grantee are required to inform NSERC of any change that may affect the grant.

When a progress report is required, the industrial partner(s) will be invited to provide comments on the project’s progress. When no progress report is required, the industrial partner(s) will still be invited to provide NSERC with any pertinent comments pertaining to the project and the collaboration. The next instalment will not be released until the industrial partner(s)’s current year’s contribution is made, the commitment to contribute in the next year is re-confirmed (if requested), and (if requested) an evaluation of the project’s progress is provided.

The amounts of second and subsequent instalments are contingent on a demonstrated need for NSERC funds. When a progress report is requested, grantees must provide statements of actual expenditures and anticipated future costs. When no progress report is due, NSERC will request information from the grantee and the university to ensure that there is a continuing need for funds and that leveraged industrial contributions were provided in the preceding period.

Grantees or industrial partner(s) that have failed to provide the requested feedback on projects may be declared ineligible to apply for, or sponsor, new proposals.

DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants

DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grants support projects where DND and at least one eligible industrial partner are involved in the collaboration.

A key strategic goal of the Department of National Defence (DND) and NSERC is to collaborate fully in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy.

To achieve this goal, DND and NSERC have established a jointly managed and funded DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant that aims to:

  • capitalize on the complementary R&D capacity existing in the universities and in DND in order to generate new knowledge and support the development of new technical capabilities relevant to the development and application of dual-use technologies in selected areas of interest to both DND and NSERC;
  • build strong two- and three-way linkages and create synergy between researchers in DND and universities and the private sector;
  • achieve the efficient and effective transfer of research results and technology to identified receptors in the public and the private sector; and
  • train and develop highly qualified personnel in priority areas consistent with the future human resource requirements in the public and private sectors.

Funding Available

DND and NSERC will provide funding for university-based research, research training and research-related activities carried out in collaboration with DND and Canadian-based companies. The maximum value of the research grants that will be made available is normally limited to $500,000 per project. Requests exceeding this amount will only be considered under special circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible activities are the same as those for any CRD project.

To be eligible for support, a proposal must involve a collaborative effort with at least one eligible industrial partner and at least one DND Scientific Authority; it must also include information about intellectual property agreement(s) being negotiated or in place that specifically address the disposition of intellectual property rights coming into and/or emanating from the proposed research project.

Research Priorities

The grant will support unclassified university-based research dedicated to the development of non-weapon specific technologies with dual-use applications oriented towards the objectives of DND and with broader commercial applications.

Proposals should address the following priority research areas as agreed to by DND and NSERC:

Electronics – Technologies for the secure and reliable transmission and reception of information over long distances, and for the accurate and reliable determination of position, velocity and time (possibly under interference).

Undersea Systems – Undersea sensors and response systems, including integration and persistence of undersea systems.

Information Systems – Integration of technologies for decision-making, for situational awareness, and for secure distribution of data and information among users, and, in particular, solutions for the fusion of quantitative and qualitative information from large, heterogeneous and/or unreliable datasets.

Autonomous Systems – Technologies to ensure that autonomous systems can deal with unexpected situations (changes, errors, etc.) or tasks that challenge their sensing, modeling, planning, or movement envelopes.

Air Vehicles – Technologies related to flight safety and endurance in the Earth's atmosphere, and integration of these technologies.

Naval Platforms – Technologies related to the safe, efficient and effective operation of surface ships and underwater vehicles, and their signatures.

Mobility Systems – Technologies that affect mobility and endurance of land vehicles.

Space Systems – Technologies that affect the affordable and effective use of Space for defence and security.

Surveillance Systems – Technologies that exploit the electromagnetic spectrum for reliable detection, tracking, classification and identification of objects of interest.

Human Performance Effectiveness – Technology and integration of technology to optimize human performance including, but not limited to, human-machine teaming and robotic collaboration, information fusion, human-machine interfaces, augmented reality, and wearable sensors.

Life Support Systems – Technologies concerned with human effectiveness, protection, health, safety and survival in austere operational environments.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated using the selection criteria for CRD grant applications as well as relevance to the DND and NSERC research priorities listed above.

Intellectual Property

The participants recognize that DND will normally seek rights to use or have used resulting intellectual property for defence purposes. An intellectual property agreement will be established between DND and the participants of each research project supported through this grant. Awards will be made on the condition that the parties reach an agreement on the disposition of intellectual property acceptable to DND and NSERC. DND, as a co-founder of the grant, must be a signatory to the intellectual property agreement.

Application Procedures

As a first step, applicants must contact the DND scientific authority to ensure that the proposed research activity aligns with the DND research priorities.

Research proposals must be submitted on NSERC forms. Applicants are required to meet all NSERC regulations described in its Program Guide for Professors. Proposals can be submitted at any time using Forms 100, 101 and 183A. Full instructions for professors and their industrial sponsors on how to complete the DND/NSERC Partnership Grant forms and on-line submission are found on NSERC's On-line Services page.

DND support to the project must be documented by filling the appropriate section of Form 101, and a Form 183A.

Before submitting an application, applicants and industrial partners are invited to discuss their proposals with the NSERC Manager, who can also comment on written drafts. The NSERC Manager does not assess the scientific or technical content, which will be done by peer reviewers, but can suggest changes that may strengthen the proposal. Applicants should ensure that their proposals include all the necessary information, since they may not have the opportunity to clarify their proposals during the review process.

The application can be submitted at any time throughout the year.

It is not necessary to submit an additional application to DND.


Acknowledgement of the DND and NSERC assistance is expected in any communication arising from, or referring to, the activities supported by the DND/NSERC Research Partnership Grant.