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College and Community Innovation Program

Important Information

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program is managed by NSERC in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

There are seven types of grants in the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program:

The information below applies to all CCI program grant types unless explicitly otherwise stated.


The objective of the CCI Program is to increase innovation at the community and/or regional level by enabling Canadian colleges to increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It supports applied research and collaborations that facilitate commercialization, as well as technology transfer, adaptation and adoption of new technologies.

Anticipated Impact of the Program

Over the long term, the CCI Program will increase the economic development of the community and create new quality jobs based on know-how and technological innovation. This will be achieved by increasing the capacity of the colleges to transform the results of research and development (R&D) into economic activities easier and faster.

The impact of the program will be demonstrated by:

  • increased awareness by local companies of the capacity of the colleges to assist with applied research projects;
  • involvement of the colleges with key companies and other relevant stakeholders in the community;
  • increased involvement of faculty in applied research;
  • increased applied research capacity at colleges;
  • college students acquiring applied research knowledge and experience, and exposure to business work environments;
  • new technologies and processes adopted by local companies and other organizations;
  • increased applied research collaborations between colleges, local companies and other organizations;
  • increased R&D investment by local companies and other organizations;
  • increased productivity and competitiveness of local companies and other organizations;
  • enhanced reputation of colleges as applied research partners for local companies and other organizations; and
  • other specific impacts identified by the college.


The CCI Program supports applied research and technology transfer in the four Canadian priority areas of research:

  • environmental science and technologies;
  • natural resources and energy;
  • health and related life sciences and technologies;
  • information and communications technologies;
  • as well as in other areas of research that will advance the principles and goals of the Government of Canada’s science and technology (S&T) strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage.

The Applicant

College and Community Innovation Program grants are institutional grants. As such, it is expected that the applicant will be a senior manager in the administration of the college. Submission of the college’s application must be authorized by the president of the institution or their representative.

Applicants must comply with the CCI Program’s requirements related to the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information.

College Participation

The college is responsible for:

  • providing space and some support to faculty professors, as well as technical and other staff;
  • applied research and technology transfer activities;
  • providing accounting and financial reporting for NSERC funds and non-NSERC contributions; and
  • reporting on the grant progress.

At the application stage, the college will need to demonstrate existing applied research capacity and potential to strengthen it.

In-Kind Contributions

In-kind contributions must be valued according to NSERC’s Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs. NSERC may reserve the rights to terminate or suspend a grant should companies no longer be involved in the initiative.

Overhead and Administration

As funding received through the CCI Program is not eligible for the Indirect Costs program, colleges may request funds for overhead and administration costs attributable to the specific initiative, but not for general overhead and administration costs of the college as a whole. Unless otherwise specified, the maximum allowable percentage for overhead and administrative costs will not exceed 20 percent of the total grant awarded to a recipient college.

Unless otherwise specified, overhead and administrative expenses are limited to costs attributable to specific CCI projects/activities and include:

  • institutional support for the completion of grant applications/research proposals;
  • acquisition, maintenance and/or the upgrade of information systems to track grant applications, certifications and awards;
  • acquisition of library holdings;
  • upgrades to research equipment;
  • upgrades to research facilities and equipment to meet regulatory requirements;
  • financial and other administrative services;
  • training for faculty and other research personnel in animal care, ethics review, handling radiation and biohazards, and environmental assessments; and
  • technical support for animal care.

Intellectual Property

NSERC makes no claim to ownership of any intellectual property (IP) generated from the research it funds.

The NSERC policy on intellectual property does not apply to the College and Community Innovation Program. The intellectual property treatment for the College and Community Innovation Program is described below.

As a general principle, for the Innovation Enhancement Grants and Applied Research and Development Grants (Levels 2 and 3), colleges need to develop and sign an agreement with each private-sector partner on the ownership and disposition of IP arising from the funded applied research before initiating any activities. Any agreements made regarding the ownership of the IP resulting from the CCI-funded research must take into account the objective of creating partnerships. This implies a sharing of eventual benefits between the partners commensurate with their respective contributions, as well as the sharing of the costs to protect the IP.

For Technology Access Centre Grants, agreements signed with clients should address intellectual property.

Given the objectives of the CCI Program, and the fact that the projects conducted with CCI funding are company-driven, the college must have the right to use the new knowledge or technology in future teaching and research, and faculty and students must have the right to describe the project on their curriculum vitae.

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