Government of Canada invests in applied research collaborations between colleges and local partners
More than $85 million in grants to support colleges and partner organizations to tackle R&D challenges within their communities
October 14, 2022
Ottawa, Ontario – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Colleges are at the heart of many rural and urban communities across Canada and offer a wealth of resources to local and regional partners to develop innovative, tangible solutions to challenges being faced in their own backyards. That is why the Government of Canada values the tremendous contributions that colleges make as a key innovation player in Canada, offering unique knowledge, expertise, capabilities, and equipment to their applied research collaborations.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced more than $85 million for 76 grants through the College and Community Innovation program (CCI), 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).
The CCI program is a key vehicle for funding applied research in Canada, strengthening research links and collaborations between Canadian colleges and partners from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, other colleges, and/or universities with a common goal of creating economic, social, health and environmental benefits for Canada.
The funding announced today is provided through two CCI grant types:
- More than $76 million for 50 recipients through the new Mobilize grants, providing flexible, long-term funding for college applied research programs to maximize student training and community innovation impacts.
- More than $9 million for 26 recipients through the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF), fostering community innovation by connecting talent, facilities and capabilities of Canada’s colleges with the research needs of community organizations.
These collaborations encourage colleges to help partners address research challenges that are of importance to their communities and also applicable across Canada. College students will also receive valuable training experience in essential technical skills that local businesses and community organizations seek when hiring new workers.
Examples of projects awarded across the country include:
Yukon University and the Council of Yukon First Nations are receiving a $360,000 CCSIF grant to examine the dynamics of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the Yukon. This project, conducted in partnership with Yukon First Nations and upholding principles of Indigenous Data Sovereignty and OCAP, will allow researchers to delve deeper into the attitudes and opinions of Yukon First Nations with varying experiences of vaccine uptake. The research will lead to better understanding of community factors influencing vaccine hesitancy and will contribute to the development of effective and context-specific vaccine outreach programs.
Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, receiving a $360,000 CCSIF grant for the eXtended Reality (XR) Mobile Learning Lab Partnership with Rural and Northern Communities. The project will expand the capacity of rural educators and learners to engage virtually with training environments and scenarios that might otherwise prove difficult to access. Increased access to post-secondary vocational training will allow Canadian students residing in northern and rural communities to better prepare for a range of career possibilities, both within their communities and beyond.
Collège de Rosemont, receiving a $360,000 CCSIF grant to explore how to better equip organizations in order to include the needs of vulnerable groups in decision-making processes regarding park spaces in the city of Montreal. Using a case-study approach, the project aims to investigate the relationship between forms of park governance and their impact on the appropriation of park spaces. By promoting the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in decision-making processes, park spaces will be better adapted to offer benefits related to the belonging and well-being of vulnerable populations.
College of the North Atlantic (CNA), receiving a $2,250,000 Mobilize grant to provide digital support to its growing list of partner companies from the health care, forestry, utilities, environmental monitoring, and hospitality and tourism sectors. These Newfoundland and Labrador regional sector partners will become more productive through the innovation services provided by the college. The Mobilize grant funds will allow CNA to acquire additional human expertise to enhance the college partners’ digital maturity – a vital component of business ecosystem health – resulting in more scalable, resilient, export-ready and profitable businesses.
Selkirk College, receiving a $1,000,000 Mobilize grant to advance rural resilience in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, address issues from climate action to technology and social innovation and offer a quality work-integrated learning experience for students. Mobilize grant funds will ensure that emerging themes in health, reconciliation, and inclusion continues to mature to address Selkirk’s most pressing community and industry partner innovation challenges.
Northwestern Polytechnic, receiving a $1,000,000 Mobilize grant to enhance production, resilience, and ecosystem health in northern regenerative agricultural systems. Guided by the insight of regional producer experts and practitioners across regional, Indigenous, and western scientific knowledge systems, the outcomes of this research will provide growers with knowledge to optimize regenerative practices, become world leaders in the production of regeneratively farmed goods, while conserving unique soil and land resources within Northern Canada in an era of climate change challenges.
"Colleges, polytechnics and CEGEPs play a critical role within Canada's world-class research and innovation community. Our next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs need support to help tackle projects that address social, business, health or environmental needs. With the CCI program, we are investing in projects that will have real impacts in local communities and Canada-wide."
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
"For over a decade, the CCI program has been a primary source of funding for colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics to foster research collaborations with their local partners to support their communities, strengthen their local economies, and train their students to enter the workforce. On behalf of the tri-agencies, congratulations to the first ever Mobilize recipients and this year’s recipients of the College and Community Social Innovation Fund."
- Prof. Alejandro Adem, FRSC, President, NSERC
- The CCI program has five distinct grant types to support the colleges in having strong foundations for applied research, specialized centres in areas of identified need, and research projects driven by partner and societal needs: Applied Research and Development grants; Applied Research Tools and Instruments grants; College and Community Social Innovation Fund; Mobilize grants and Technology Access Centres.
- In 2021 alone, recipients of the CCI program reported that 350 applied research projects involved more than 950 students and over 250 new products were developed for partner organizations.
- List of Mobilize grant recipients
- List of College and Community Social Innovation Fund recipients
- College and Community Innovation program
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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