On January 16, 2024, the Government of Canada published its Policy on Sensitive Technology Research and Affiliations of Concern. This new policy does not apply to the current competition of this funding opportunity. According to the policy, grant applications that involve conducting research that aims to advance a sensitive technology research area will not be funded if any of the researchers involved in activities supported by the grant are currently affiliated with, or in receipt of funding or in-kind support from, a named research organization. Please read the Tri-agency guidance on the STRAC Policy to understand how this policy may impact your future grant applications.

Alliance Quantum grants

Call for proposals: Advancing the industrial readiness of quantum sensing technologies


University researchers collaborating with at least one Canadian small- or medium-sized enterprise (for profit) and the National Research Council Canada

How much?

$100,000 to $350,000 per year for the academic team. On average, up to $350,000 per year for the small- or medium-sized enterprise(s)

How long?

1 to 3 years


Quantum science is the study, manipulation and control of systems at the atomic and subatomic level. Quantum technologies are at the leading edge of science and innovation, both in Canada and worldwide. They will support the growth and transformation of key sectors, enable new economic opportunities and help advance a range of benefits for society. Canada is a leader in quantum research, and Canadian scientists are well positioned to capitalize on these opportunities.

Following up on Budget 2021, the Government of Canada launched the National Quantum Strategy (NQS) to amplify Canada’s significant strengths in quantum research; grow its quantum-ready technologies, companies and talent; and solidify Canada’s global leadership in this area. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) supports the implementation of the NQS through funding opportunities that advance domestic multisectoral partnerships, the development of talent, and international collaborations in quantum research and innovation. The National Research Council Canada (NRC) supports the NQS through internal programs, interdepartmental projects and collaborative research Challenge Programs, including the Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors Challenge program (QSP). The QSP was initially launched through the NRC’s Collaborative Science and Technology Innovation Program (CSTIP) and received additional funding through the NQS under the Commercialization pillar.

NSERC and the NRC are partnering to launch the present Alliance Quantum grants call for proposals to strengthen Canada’s quantum research and innovation capacity in quantum sensing and advance the development and application of technologies in this domain for the benefit of Canadians. The NRC is participating through the QSP and CSTIP.

Support provided through this joint initiative will reinforce, coordinate and scale up Canada’s domestic research capabilities in quantum sensing science and technology through partnerships between university researchers, for-profit small- or medium-sized enterprises federally or provincially/territorially incorporated in Canada (referred to as Canadian SMEs), the NRC, and other organizations from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors.

Your proposal may address any challenges in quantum science or engineering, but its thrust must aim to advance the third of the NQS missions: Enable the Government of Canada and key industries to be developers and early adopters of new quantum sensing technologies.

Projects considered as part of this call for proposals should be associated with a technology readiness level (TRL) in the range 3-6, address a need in the quantum sensing ecosystem, and fall under one of the NRC’s current QSP areas of focus:

  • Quantum photonics
  • Chip-based quantum systems
  • Quantum metrology

Collaborations that synergistically couple any of these quantum sensing areas to other research topics in the natural sciences and engineering would be accepted.

Partner organizations do not need to provide cash contributions to participate, but they must actively play a role in the project and support it through in-kind contributions. A broad range of in-kind contributions could be made toward a project; refer to the Partner organizations web page for additional information.

NSERC and the NRC will provide financial support for up to three years. Through Alliance Quantum grants, NSERC will provide from $100,000 to $350,000 per year per project toward eligible direct costs of research incurred by the academic team. Through CSTIP, the NRC will provide, on average*, up to $350,000 per year per project for the non-repayable reimbursement of up to 75% of eligible expenditures incurred by the participating Canadian SME(s) to support the project. These expenditures are those associated with SME(s) involvement in the project and their in-kind contributions to support it.

This call for proposals will be supported by NSERC and the NRC through a combined envelope of up to $12 million over three years.

Alberta Innovates, through its Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) program—Stream II, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund, participate in this call for proposals through the provision of additional support toward projects; refer to the Funding your research project and How to apply web pages for additional information.

* On average means that the amount provided by the NRC in a given year can be higher than $350,000, but it will not exceed an average of $350,000 per year over the project’s duration.

Who can apply?

If you are a Canadian university researcher who is eligible to receive NSERC funds, you can apply on your own or as a team with co-applicants who are also eligible academic researchers. Grants awarded for this call will support proposals of varying scale and complexity, including projects involving one researcher to projects involving multiple researchers across several universities.

NSERC encourages the participation of early career researchers (ECRs) as applicants or co-applicants on Alliance Quantum grant applications. While applications led by ECRs will be assessed using the same evaluation criteria, the merit indicators used for the assessment include provisions for cases where the applicant’s experience in managing projects or mentoring trainees is nascent. NSERC will monitor the success rate for ECR-led proposals to ensure that it is consistent with NSERC’s aim to effectively support researchers throughout their careers. For more information on how NSERC categorizes an applicant as an ECR, refer to the Discovery Grants: applicant categories.

In addition to the NRC through the QSP, you must involve at least one Canadian SME as a partner organization in your project. You may also include other partner organizations (in the private, public or not-for-profit sector) that play an important role in your project. They may include Canadian federal departments, organizations that perform R&D, multinational companies with business operations in Canada, or anticipated end-users of the project’s targeted quantum technologies. At least one partner organization must have the ability to exploit the project’s research results.

Even though cash contributions are not required from partner organizations, you must have at least one partner organization whose cash contributions would be recognized for cost sharing, had there been any required (see Alliance grants: Role of partner organizations). The Canadian SME(s) participating in your project should normally satisfy this requirement. The NRC, as a partner organization of your project, is not recognized for cost sharing.

National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships

Since your application involves at least one partner organization from the private sector, you must complete the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships’ risk assessment form and include it as an integral part of your application.

At all times, Canadian researchers are encouraged to exercise appropriate levels of due diligence to safeguard their research. Resources to do so are provided by the Government of Canada on the Safeguarding Your Research portal.

What's next?
Partner organizations

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Application deadline
June 14, 2024

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