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The Government of Canada invests in local innovation

College-industry research partnerships will result in better aged care, Indigenous community health and advanced manufacturing

News release

November 5, 2018

November 5, 2018 – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Canada’s colleges play an important role in research and innovation across the country. That’s why we’re funding partnerships between colleges and companies to help provide local students with training opportunities and jobs, while growing local and regional economies.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced investments to support 94 forward-thinking partnerships to address challenges that affect all Canadians, locally and nationally. These projects will receive over $45 million through the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program and the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).

Today’s announcement took place at Niagara College Canada, which is receiving support for researchers that help Canada’s farmers grow healthy crops using robots, drones and other leading technologies for precision agriculture. The researchers at the college will partner with local vineyards, apple growers, grain farmers, and hazelnut producers, among others, to test their prototypes.

Across Canada, this investment will advance research and innovation for years to come and delivers on the Government of Canada’s historic commitment to science. Budget 2018 included $140 million in additional funding for the CCI program over five years and $30 million a year ongoing after that. That means that the CCI program will be funding more lab equipment, more research partnerships with businesses and entrepreneurs, and more learning and training opportunities for students.  


“On campuses across the country, colleges are pursuing exciting research opportunities and at the same time helping companies enhance their products and processes, bringing promising ideas to the marketplace. With research areas ranging from advanced manufacturing to artificial intelligence, the projects being funded today will have real-life benefits for all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“NSERC is proud of its role as a convenor and enabler of innovation-driven activities that help businesses compete and thrive through interactions with colleges and polytechnics. Today’s recipients also exemplify how researchers are effective at closely aligning their activities with regional needs to strengthen their communities.”
– Dr. Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC

“Partnerships between business and industry and colleges and polytechnics play an essential role in enabling Canada to compete successfully in the global economy. The Canada Foundation for Innovation is proud to support these excellent initiatives through the College-Industry Innovation Fund.”
- Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation

“We welcome the significant investments announced today, which recognize the important role that Canada’s colleges play in driving economic growth through research and innovation. For Niagara College, this funding will equip our Agriculture and Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre with new tools to advance our strategies in precision agriculture, it will help us assist farmers with producing healthier crops, and it will provide exciting new opportunities for our students as they work with our Research & Innovation division to provide real-world solutions for key industry sectors and gain the experience they need to succeed in the skilled workforce of tomorrow.”
- Dan Patterson, PhD, President, Niagara College

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 makes a historic investment of nearly $4 billion over five years in research and in the next generation of researchers. This is the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history.
  • CCI and CCSIF are led by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Funding support for infrastructure is also provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
  • The CCI program is one of the largest vehicles for funding applied research at colleges, polytechnics and CÉGEPs across Canada. This research helps businesses innovate, grow and train the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs. 
  • CCSIF grants foster social innovation by connecting the talent, facilities and capabilities of Canada’s colleges and polytechnics with the research needs of local community organizations.
  • Since its launch in 2009, the CCI program has invested more than $492 million in 2,900 projects at post-secondary institutions across Canada.

Associated Links


Nyree St-Denis                        
Communications Advisor                                              
Office of the Minister of Science           
Tel.: 343-291-4051                               

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada
Tel.: 343-291-1777

Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-996-2341


NSERC invests over $1.2 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries—valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform research and development and solve scale-up challenges.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

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