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Government of Canada invests in applied research and development projects between colleges, local businesses and community organizations

Funding will help colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics work with industry and community partners to address key local challenges

News release

June 30, 2021

Ottawa, Ontario — Colleges are at the forefront of applied research and development, and their work is vital to driving innovation and delivering tangible benefits within their regions. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have shown great strength and resiliency by rapidly mobilizing their resources to conduct pandemic-related applied research, while also maintaining R&D support for local small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME). They have played a key role in sustaining their communities during these challenging times.  

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced funding of over $38 million through the 2020 College and Community Innovation (CCI) program competition and the 2021 College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) competition managed 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), as well as the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF).

This investment will provide 53 awards to colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics across the country that will allow them to partner with local companies and community organizations to provide them with unique technological or process solutions, laboratories and equipment, and highly trained students who are ready to enter the workforce. Together, colleges and partners will use their diverse knowledge and expertise to seize new opportunities by applying new research and technologies or developing them into useful new products and services.

For example, in a world where we are connected virtually more than ever before, Durham College has launched the Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation, a new virtual centre developed in response to a growing need from their SME partners to address the escalating risks and rising costs of privacy and data security. A $2 million investment through the CCI program and close to $789,000 from the CIIF will support this applied R&D collaboration to provide SMEs with customized cybersecurity tools for their protection, and will transform these companies into more cyber risk-aware organizations. This will increase consumer confidence in the digital economy, promote international standardization, and better position Canadian SMEs to compete globally. 


“We proudly support our outstanding research talent as well as our small- and medium-sized businesses, which are the engines of our economy. This will help Canada’s colleges to work collaboratively with local companies by bringing researchers, students and industry partners together to address local challenges and create jobs and growth here in Canada.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The College and Community Innovation program provides innovative solutions for local and regional challenges through the expertise of Canadian colleges. On behalf of the Tri-agency, I would like to congratulate all college recipients and their industry and community partners who provide social, economic and environmental benefits to communities of all sizes across the country.”
- Alejandro Adem, President, NSERC

“Colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics are an integral part of the research and development network. This new funding will further empower that important network and benefit not only institutions, but also business and community partners.”
- Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation

“Durham College is excited to receive these funds as part of the College and Community Innovation program and College-Industry Innovation Fund to support the newly launched Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation. Cybersecurity is a growing field, and with these R&D funds, Durham College will be better positioned to support our small- and medium-sized businesses as they strengthen their cybersecurity needs.”
- Debbie McKee Demczyk, Dean, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021 provided an additional $46.9 million over two years to the CCI program that will offer more SMEs, with priority to businesses owned by underrepresented groups that may face access barriers into Canada’s innovation ecosystem, have greater access to applied R&D support from colleges.
  • The CCI program is one of the largest vehicles for funding applied research at colleges, polytechnics and CEGEPs across Canada. Since its launch in 2008, the CCI program has invested close to $740 million in 4,400 projects at post-secondary institutions across Canada.
  • The CIIF program, led by the CFI, is designed to support substantial research infrastructure projects that will enhance the existing applied research and technology development capacity of colleges, and allow them to respond to important sector industry needs. 

Associated links

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


Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

John Power
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

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