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College and Community Innovation Program – Applied Research and Development Grants

Effective December 1, 2017, there will be changes to the program requirements for matching contributions from partner organizations.

  • For ARD applications requesting up to $75,000 per year, the eligible company partner(s) must contribute at least half of the grant amount in cash and/or in-kind—of which at least half (i.e., 25% of the requested grant amount) must be in cash. For example, if the college requests $75,000 annually, the annual total company contributions must be at least $37,500, of which a minimum of $18,750 must be in cash.
  • For ARD applications requesting between $75,000 and $150,000 per year, the eligible company partner(s) must contribute at least the equivalent of the amount requested in CCI support, in cash and/or in kind—of which at least 40% must be in cash. For example, if the college requests $150,000 annually, the annual total company contributions must be at least $150,000, of which a minimum of $60,000 must be in cash.

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Duration Up to three years
Application Deadline No deadline
How to Apply See below
Application Forms
  • F103CV (form-fillable) – CCI Personal Data Form and instructions
  • Form 103 – Application for the CCI Program
  • Form 183A – Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships
To complete Form 103CV or to view its instructions, select the link above.
To view instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.
To create or access on-line applications, select On-line System Login.
For More Information

Consult the Contact List

Important Information

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program is 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 of Canada (SSHRC). All applications must be submitted to NSERC. Applied Research and Development (ARD) Grants can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and/or health. Grants are given by NSERC, with the exception of funded proposals exclusively in the social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences, which will be given by SSHRC or CIHR, as appropriate.


The Applied Research and Development (ARD) Grants are intended to provide companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian colleges and to train students in essential technical skills required by companies. The mutually beneficial collaborations are expected to result in economic benefits to the company and/or Canada.


ARD Grants support well-defined applied research and development projects undertaken by college researchers with their private-sector partners. Direct project costs are shared by the company partner(s) and the CCI Program. Projects may range from one year to three years in duration.

ARD projects can be at any point in the research and development (R&D) spectrum that is consistent with the college's applied research, training and technology transfer mandate. All proposals require evidence of strong partnerships with firms, detailed planning and sound budget justification, and must clearly spell out the underlying assumptions, intended approaches, milestones and deliverables.

Projects that provide routine analysis, routine training, professional practice or consulting services, or routine use of college equipment; or collect data without interpreting underlying mechanisms are not eligible. Similarly, proposals that involve the set-up and operational management of an institute, a formal or informal group of researchers, or that are principally associated with the acquisition and maintenance of equipment in support of applied research will not be accepted.

Company Participation

The Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships should be consulted to determine the eligibility of the participating company partner(s).

The company partner(s) must participate in the project and contribute to the direct costs of the applied research and development project. The expected company contributions vary with the grant size:

For grants up to $75,000 per year: The eligible company partner(s) must actively participate and contribute at least half of the amount requested in CCI support, in cash and/or in-kind—of which at least half, i.e., 25% of the requested grant amount, must be in cash. For example, if the application requests $75,000 per year, the company contribution must be at least $37,500 per year, of which a minimum of $18,750 must be in cash.

For grants between $75,000 and $150,000 per year: The eligible company partner(s)’s contribution(s) must be at least equal to the amount requested in CCI support, in cash and/or in kind—of which at least 40% must be in cash.

Note: To be eligible, a company partner must operate from a Canadian base and must be able to fully exploit the results of the applied research so that it will lead either to significant economic benefit to the company or Canada. A sufficient maturity or capability must be demonstrated by at least one of the contributing company partners.

The CCI Program will recognize only those in-kind contributions that are fully documented and considered essential to carry out the work outlined in the proposal. For a full discussion of the eligibility and value of in-kind contributions, refer to the Guidelines on Eligibility and Value of In-Kind Contributions section of the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs.

Cash contributed by the partner before the proposal is submitted may be used to start the project, but company funds spent more than three months prior to the date of application submission will not be recognized. ARD Grant funds cannot be applied to expenses incurred before a project was approved.

Intellectual Property

NSERC makes no claim to the ownership of any intellectual property (IP) generated from the research it funds. As a general principle, NSERC recommends that college develop and sign an agreement with each company partner on the ownership and disposition of IP arising from ARD-funded applied research before initiating any ARD activities. Any agreements made regarding the ownership of the IP resulting from ARD-funded research must take into account the ARD objective of creating partnerships. This implies a sharing of eventual benefits between the partners commensurate with their respective contributions.

Given the purpose of the projects and the fact that they are company-driven, the college must have the right to use the new knowledge or technology in future teaching and research; and faculty and students must have the right to describe the project on their curriculum vitae. Effective April 1, 2018, NSERC will no longer review research agreements for ARD projects, although the projects still must conform to the IP requirements of the CCI program.


Canadian colleges that have been declared eligible to administer grants according to the eligibility requirements for colleges of at least one of the three federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR and/or SSHRC) may submit an application. If the proposed research and knowledge/technology transfer activities lie entirely within the mandate of a single agency (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC), the college must be declared eligible to receive funding from that granting agency.

  • The college must offer programs in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences and in line with the applied research areas proposed.
  • The college's faculty members involved in ARD Grants must be engaged in applied research in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences.
  • The college must provide the space, facilities and services to enable its natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences faculty members to conduct applied research.

Eligible Expenses

ARD Grant funds must be used for direct costs of research; however, some limited funds may be used for operating and equipment costs (up to 20% of the total expenditures), as well as for overhead and administration costs (a further 20% of the total award). Certain expenditures related to project management are eligible as a direct cost of research up to a maximum of 10% of the total direct costs. The college must provide for any additional indirect or overhead costs.

For further information on use of grant funds consult the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

Application Procedures

Proposals can be submitted at any time, using the Application for a College and Community Innovation Grant (Form 103), and the Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs (Form 183A). Instructions for applicants and their company sponsor(s) to complete the forms and the on-line submission are found on NSERC's On-line Services page.

Decisions on funding ARD Grants are anticipated to be made (after receiving a complete application) within three to five months.

Selection Criteria

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Technical merit: The project must be scientifically sound, technically feasible and promise either to apply knowledge in an innovative manner and/or to lead to new knowledge. The project plan must be appropriate, sufficiently detailed and reasonable. For complex proposals, the proposal must demonstrate adequate college support for the project by detailing the specific commitments of the college regarding the provision of financial support, equipment and/or access to facilities.
  • Applied research competence: The research team must have all the expertise required to address the defined objectives competently and to complete the project successfully. For example, the project lead is expected to have conducted a comparable-scale research project with partners in the past. Academic expertise may be complemented with the know-how residing in the partnering company.
  • Potential for innovation impact: The proposal must identify how the work will lead to improved products, processes, policies, procedures or service delivery that benefits the company partner(s) and demonstrate that exploitation of the project results will benefit the Canadian economy within a reasonable time frame. Timelines for realizing innovation impact should be included in the application.
  • Private-sector support: Consistent with the risks and rewards involved, and the size of the request to NSERC for funding, the company partner must contribute an appropriate amount from its own resources to the project and be in a position to exploit successful research results.
  • Contribution to the training of highly qualified personnel: The proposal must include a student training component and should indicate how the knowledge and experience gained by students, research assistants or others, including company personnel, are relevant to developing practical applications of knowledge or to strengthening the private-sector and college innovation and applied research base. The proposal should explain how the number of students trained in the project is appropriate.
  • Benefit to Canada: As well as the economic benefit to Canada described under the potential for innovation impact criterion above, the proposal should outline any additional economic, social and environmental benefits that could be realized in Canada.


The reporting requirements vary with the project duration:

  • For projects up to 12 months duration, grantees must send to NSERC a final report and Form 301, Grant in Aid of Research – Statements of accounts. The company partner(s) will be asked to submit comments on the project's success directly to NSERC.
  • For projects longer than one year, an annual statement of account (Form 301) is required, and companies are required to confirm their continued participation in the project, and indicate their level of satisfaction with the progress to date. Where the company satisfaction with the project's progress is not clear, NSERC will request a progress report and appoint a technical liaison officer to assist in monitoring progress.

Final reports providing the impacts of the research and development are required for all projects. In cases where the partner is a large consortium of private-sector companies, and/or when a formal administrative structure exists within the consortia, one company or the consortium administrator may provide this report on behalf of the group if appropriate.

Based on the results obtained or problems encountered, grantees may propose amendments to the project objectives, milestones or budget. Grantees proposing to change the allocation of project resources by more than 20% per budget line-item require prior approval by NSERC and must provide NSERC with a revised budget, a rationale for the proposed change and documentation from the partners supporting the proposed change(s).

For projects of duration longer than one year, the amounts of second and subsequent instalments are contingent on a demonstrated need for NSERC funds. The next instalment will not be released until the company partner(s) has made its previous year's contribution(s), re-confirmed its commitment to contribute in the next year and commented on the project's progress.

Grantees or companies that have failed to provide the requested feedback on projects may be declared ineligible to apply for or sponsor new proposals.