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Collaborative Research and Development 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 forms and 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.

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) are reviewed by a site visit committee. Those requesting $150,000 or more per year from NSERC are reviewed by a selection committee – the Advisory Committee on University-Industry Grants (ACUIG). The ACUIG normally meets four times a year: in March, June, September, and December.

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.
  • Research competence: 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).
  • Industrial relevance: 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 time frame.
  • Private-sector support: The industrial partner(s) must contribute an appropriate amount from its own resources to the project, consistent with the risks and rewards involved, and be in a position to exploit successful research results.
  • Contribution to the training of highly qualified personnel: 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, IP, commercialization, etc.).
  • Benefit to Canada: As well as the economic benefit to Canada described under the Industrial Relevance criterion above, the proposal should outline any additional economic, social, and environmental benefits that could be realized in Canada.

University commitment and infrastructure: For large or complex proposals (greater than $200,000 per year), 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.

If an application is made with the intention of continuing the research undertaken in a recently completed or almost completed CRD project, a report detailing the results and the impact achieved at the time of the application must be provided. The continuing industrial partner(s) must clearly outline the impact of the ongoing or recently completed CRD in their support letters.


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.

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