Applied Research and Development grants


Colleges can use Applied Research and Development (ARD) grants to fund direct costs of research as well as some indirect costs up to a total of $150,000 per year for up to 3 years, not including the contribution from partner organization(s) whose cash contributions are recognized for cost sharing with NSERC.

The ARD grants estimator tool calculates the maximum grant amount that may be requested from NSERC based on the partner contribution amount or the minimum contribution amount needed for a specified grant size.

For details on the use of grant funds, see the Tri-agency guide on financial administration.

Specific rules for the use of ARD grant funds

This program has exceptions to Part 2 (Use of grant funds) of the guide:

  • Overhead and administration costs equivalent to 20% of the annual grant amount are included automatically; such costs include expenditures eligible under the Research Support Fund.
  • ARD grants can cover the salary of replacement faculty members hired to backfill a college faculty member's involvement in an applied research project, as well as expenditures associated with recruitment activities.
  • Salaries and non-discretionary benefits for non-faculty researchers, part-time faculty, technical and professional staff carrying out applied research, research administrators, business development and technology and/or knowledge transfer personnel are covered.
  • Stipends for college students are eligible. Salaries and stipends for university students are ineligible as student salary expenditures; university students involved in projects must be remunerated as technical or professional college staff or as consultants.
  • Salaries are covered for project management activities leading to the optimal use of project resources to meet the research objectives in a timely and budget-efficient manner.
  • Equipment, operating, supplies and consulting fees can be covered up to 20% of total project costs (the total project costs include the total grant amount and any cash contributions from partner organizations over the period of the project).

Supplements or joint funding opportunities

To help larger projects or support additional students, colleges may request joint funding with other opportunities as part of their ARD application. The current joint funding opportunities are detailed below.

Consult the Instructions for completing an ARD grant application for guidance on additional requirements for these opportunities.

  • Mitacs Accelerate internships

    This joint funding opportunity allows applicants to leverage cash contributions from partners for funding from both NSERC and Mitacs.

    To take advantage of this opportunity, applicants must complete an ARD grant application and request additional support through Mitacs Accelerate internships as a component of training. To be eligible for the joint funding opportunity, supplemental Mitacs applications must be submitted to both NSERC and Mitacs simultaneously (i.e., supplemental Mitacs applications cannot be considered retroactively). Please contact your local Mitacs business development representative for details on this joint submission process. As in all Mitacs internships, a cash contribution from an eligible partner is required. Mitacs internships cannot be the only mechanism for training in the application; trainees should also be supported by NSERC funds.

  • Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) Collaborate 2 Commercialize (C2C) program

    In partnership with OCI's C2C program, this opportunity will support postsecondary research and development (R&D) collaborations with the highest potential for regional economic development and commercialization in Ontario.

    You must be an Ontario-based college eligible to hold tri-agency funds, and the industry partner (partner organization) must be a small- or medium-sized enterprise.

  • Alberta Innovates’ Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE)

    In partnership, NSERC’s ARD grants and Alberta Innovates’ Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) program will support R&D collaborations between postsecondary institutions (universities or colleges) and industry that utilize emerging technologies to assist Alberta SMEs developing technology with the highest potential for regional economic development and commercialization in Alberta.

    Please contact the CASBE program manager to see if your project is in alignment with the Alberta Innovates’ CASBE program.

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