Applied Research and Development grants


Colleges can use ARD grants to fund direct costs of research as well as some indirect costs up to a total of $150,000 per year, not including the contribution from partner organization(s).

For details on the use of grant funds, see the Tri-agency guide on financial administration. This program has exceptions to Part 2 of the guide, Use of grant funds:

  • Overhead and administration costs equivalent to 20 percent of the annual grant amount are included automatically. Overhead expenditures eligible under the Research Support Fund are eligible under ARD grants.
  • ARD grants can cover the salary of a replacement college faculty member hired to backfill a college faculty member's involvement in an applied research project, and 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.
  • Salaries are also covered for project management activities leading to the optimal use of project resources to meet the research objectives.
  • Equipment, operating, supplies and consulting fees can be covered up to 20 per cent of project costs.

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 grants 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 application and request additional support through Mitacs Accelerate internships as a component of training. 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)

    In partnership with OCI's Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) this opportunity will support post-secondary 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 must be a small- or medium-sized enterprise.

  • Alberta Innovates Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE)

    In partnership, NSERC ARD grants and Alberta Innovates' Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) program will support post-secondary (universities or colleges respectively) R&D collaborations that utilize emerging technologies to assist Alberta SMEs developing technology with the highest potential for regional economic development and commercialization in Alberta. Applicants with an approved NSERC ARD grant that meet Alberta Innovates' CASBE program criteria could submit an application to the Alberta Innovates CASBE program to match the NSERC award up to $150,000 per year for up to two years, regardless of the original project length approved by NSERC.

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

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