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Government of Canada invests in research and development collaborations in diverse areas from manufacturing to agriculture

New grants program provides opportunities for innovative partnerships between university researchers and the private, public and not-for-profit sectors

News release Professors Students

February 3, 2021

Ottawa, Ontario — As the Government of Canada continues to fight COVID-19, it also remains committed to supporting science and research more generally across disciplines. By making investments in innovative research and collaborations now, the government is helping to support the discoveries and new applications that will benefit Canadians in the future.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced close to $118 million in funding for 414 projects across the country through Alliance grants, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) new research partnership program. Alliance grants encourage greater collaboration in research and development by supporting projects between university researchers and partner organizations from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors.

These research projects are led by collaborative teams with different perspectives and skills. They will generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canadians. Areas of research range from manufacturing and aerospace to energy, the environment and agriculture.

For example, funding awarded to Professor William Quinton at Wilfrid Laurier University helped develop a research project in the Northwest Territories involving four universities, three territorial government departments, and a regional First Nations government and educational council. These research partners are all working together to improve understanding of permafrost and the ability to predict and mitigate the impacts of permafrost thaw on their shared water resources. This research alliance will co-produce new knowledge, science-based predictive tools and user-driven mitigation and adaptation strategies needed by northern communities and governments to manage and minimize the impacts of unprecedented permafrost thaw. This will help ensure the development and application of environmental management approaches needed for conditions of widespread permafrost thaw, and will help generate positive outcomes for environmental and community health.


“Our Government remains committed to supporting Canada’s researchers as part of our vision for science. With the Alliance grants program, our government is helping to bring together the full range of Canada’s expertise across sectors and enabling the development of new opportunities that will help turn promising research into real benefits for Canadians.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Congratulations to all Alliance grant recipients. The overwhelming response has shown that Alliance’s responsive and flexible design is just what researchers and their partners are looking for. The ability to build unique collaborations with a broader range of partners is allowing these teams to better address key challenges that are a priority for Canada.”
- Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC

"The Northwest Territories is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth and as a result the southern margin of permafrost is experiencing unprecedented rates of thaw and landcover change. This Alliance grant has allowed Indigenous communities, educators, government agencies and researchers to collaborate on improving the understanding of and ability to predict and adapt to permafrost thaw."  
 - Professor William Quinton, Wilfrid Laurier University

Quick facts

  • Alliance grants are awarded throughout the year. Today’s announcement includes funding since the program was launched in April 2019 through December 31, 2020.
  • In August 2020, NSERC provided an additional $15.7 million in support through the Alliance grants for 317 projects to stimulate collaborations between university academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research and technical challenges.

Associated links

Follow NSERC on Twitter: @NSERC_CRSNG
For Canadian science news, follow @CDNScience on social media: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA


Christine Seguin
Media and Public Affairs Officer

John Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

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