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ARCHIVED – College and Community Innovation Program – Connect Grants


This information has been archived. Visit the new College and Community Innovation program page for current information.

Archived content

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada web standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

The CCI Program will no longer be accepting Connect grant applications. Changes to the CCI Program are currently under development and will be communicated to the college community in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

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Value Level 1:
Up to $5,000
Level 2: Typically: up to $5,000
Exceptionally: up to $25,000
Application deadline No deadline
Application procedures See below. All documents must be uploaded to the NSERC Connect Grants Secure Upload Site.
Application forms
For more information Contact the NSERC regional office in your area before applying for a Connect Grant.

Important information

Consult the Connect Grant – Application Checklist and the following sections of this guide:

Connect Grants are supported by funding from the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program, managed by NSERC in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). As a result, proposed projects can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities or health. All applications must be submitted to NSERC. Grants are provided by NSERC, with the exception of grants exclusively in social sciences and humanities or in health sciences, which will be provided by SSHRC or CIHR, as appropriate. For further information on use of grant funds, consult the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-agency Financial Administration Guide. For other relevant information, read the:

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering community and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing equity, diversity and inclusion in the research enterprise are key priorities in our current strategic plan, NSERC 2020, and are highlighted in the strategic goal of “Building a Diversified and Competitive Research Base”.


Connect Grants provide financial support for the Canadian research community to undertake activities that will help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. All activities must have outcomes related to the CCI Program and/or plans for future applications to NSERC.

Note: Activities that aim to foster a science and engineering culture in Canada are supported through PromoScience. For more information, please visit the PromoScience website or email the program contact directly at

Connect Grant applications can be submitted by researchers or administrators at eligible colleges. 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.

Eligible applicants can apply for two levels of Connect Grant funding:

Level 1 For domestic travel costs to develop new college-industry partnerships.
Level 2  For activities aimed at developing or promoting new college–industry partnerships aligned with the objectives of the CCI Program.

All activities — including travel, events and workshops — must take place within Canada.

Connect Grant applicants should strive for diversity and inclusion when developing activities.


Level 1 Connect Grants provide up to $5,000 for travel, accommodation, meals and meeting costs within Canada to academic researchers and research administrators at eligible colleges for outreach aimed at forming new partnerships with Canadian companies. This funding enables researchers and their potential collaborators to identify and develop collaborative research partnerships.

Funding approved for these applications must be used within three months following the award start date. Individuals are limited to two Level 1 Connect Grants per fiscal year.

Level 2 Connect Grants provide support for activities that will position NSERC as an enabler of research and development in Canada, contribute to the objectives of the CCI Program and create value for Canada, including:

  • research planning and networking activities to develop new college–industry partnerships;
  • activities or promotional tools to encourage new partnerships supported by CCI Program grants.

Typical funding requests range from $1,000 to $5,000. For exceptional activities, requests of up to $25,000 may be considered. Funds must be used up to 12 months following the award start date. Potential applicants must discuss their proposed activities with NSERC Regional Office staff before applying.

Application procedures

For both Level 1 and 2 applications: requests of $5,000 or less must be submitted at least four weeks before the activity. Requests exceeding $5,000 must be submitted at least 12 weeks before the proposed activity in order to ensure that there is sufficient time to finalize details and issue invitations following NSERC’s decision. Potential Level 2 applicants must discuss their proposed activities with NSERC Regional Office staff before applying.

A Connect Grant Application Checklist provides a synopsis of all elements that must be addressed by the proposal. This list is provided for the convenience of applicants and should not be submitted with the application.
Once completed, the following application documents (in PDF format) must be uploaded to NSERC’s This link will take you to another Web site Secure Upload Site:

  • A Connect Grant Application Form (Form 401): Applicants are advised to use the headings provided under Review procedures and selection criteria to format their proposal.
  • Applications must be endorsed by an authorized representative of the eligible institution.
  • A College and Community Innovation Program Personal Data Form (Form 103CV)
  • Supplementary information for Level 2 Connect applications:
    • if applicable, a draft agenda;
    • if available, a tentative list of invited participants.

Review procedures and selection criteria

Applications are reviewed internally by NSERC and are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Need for support: Proposals must clearly describe the proposed activity and its objectives, the issues to be addressed (i.e., research priorities and knowledge gaps, current research capacity and future needs, training of highly qualified personnel and skills needed, etc.), and the need for support. Support from other sources is a major asset and should be outlined in the application.
  • Alignment with CCI program objectives: Proposals must clearly demonstrate how the activity will advance the goals of the CCI Program. Note that activities that aim to foster a science and engineering culture in Canada are supported through PromoScience.
  • Outcomes and next steps: The proposal should discuss anticipated outcomes and plans for next steps from the activity as well as plans for future applications to the CCI Program; this should include the name of the specific grants. The outcomes should also address the knowledge/technology transfer potential.
  • Benefits to the CCI Program: Proposals must outline any visibility or promotional opportunity offered to the CCI Program as well as opportunities for NSERC to participate in the activity.
  • Future benefits to Canada: The proposal should outline potential economic, social, and/or health benefits that will be realized in Canada as a result of the activity.
  • Appropriateness of the participants: If known, proposals should list the proposed participants and their organization and/or a breakdown of participant groups (i.e., academia, government, industry). Proposals must
    • demonstrate participants’ expertise, experience and resources to undertake the proposed activity;
    • examine the industry participants’ alignment with the CCI Program objectives and eligibility for future collaborations when considering potential partners;
    • provide detailed justification for up to two international academic speakers if their travel expenses are included in the budget.
  • Budget: The budget request must be justified, appropriate to the proposal, and presented in a detailed and comprehensive manner. Please refer to the Eligible expenses section and Use of Grant Funds guidelines to determine eligible expenditures. See the Connect Grant – Application Checklist for additional information on completing the budget section. Additional document(s) may be included to provide supplemental budget details.
  • Activity held in conjunction with another professional event (if applicable): Clearly demonstrate how the activity and its associated costs will be distinct from the other event.

Additional criteria may be considered, depending on the nature of the activity.

Industrial participation

For activities that aim to build research partnerships with an industrial partner, the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships should be consulted to determine the company’s eligibility. In general, a company partner must operate from a Canadian base and demonstrate clear intentions and capacity to further develop and apply any technology within Canada. Start-up companies may be considered, provided that they meet the requirements below. Holding companies and companies that are unable to further develop the technology in-house are not eligible. To be eligible, a company partner must:

  • have a minimum of two full-time employees and
  • be in operation for a minimum of two years.

Companies must demonstrate the ability to exploit a research project’s results. In this context, the resources, capabilities and experience of the company and its staff are relevant. Holding companies and companies that are unable to further develop the technology in-house are not eligible.

Eligible expenses

Funds are to be used to support approved activities and cannot be used for equipment or other direct costs of research. Connect Grants are intended to support activities not possible in other CCI program grants. Requests to the CCI Program may require leverage from other sources to support the overall activity. More detail concerning eligible expenses is available from the NSERC Regional Office. Changes to the post-award budget must be pre-approved by NSERC.

Level 1 Connect Grants

Funds must be used exclusively for travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) of the participants from Canadian colleges and cannot be used for equipment or the direct costs of research. The following limitations apply to this grant:

  • Local travel (under 200 kilometres per round trip) is not eligible;
  • Number of visits to the same company is generally limited to two;
  • Overnight stays, if required, are generally limited to one for each day of meetings;

Level 2 Connect Grants

Eligible expenses include those listed above under “Level 1 Connect Grants” as well as:

  • costs for use of meeting rooms;
  • costs for use of audio-visual equipment;
  • teleconferencing costs;
  • catering/hospitality costs;
  • communication costs: printing of workshop handbooks and other related material, posters, preparation of meeting reports, etc.;
  • preparation of promotional tools aimed at highlighting partnerships supported by CCI Program grants through media such as videos;
  • support for up to two international academic speakers who provide unique and key perspectives critical to achieving the overall workshop objectives; such requests must be clearly justified.

Other costs may be covered. Please consult your NSERC regional office for further information about exceptional or unique expenses.

Ineligible expenses

Connect Grants will not cover the following expenses:

  • international travel for applicants;
  • travel and accommodation costs of non-academic participants;
  • costs of attending a scientific conference or meeting that coincides with the activity;
  • costs of organizing or supporting a conference, although distinct activities held in conjunction may qualify;
  • honoraria or consulting fees paid to industry or activity participants;
  • airfare purchased with personal frequent flyers’ points programs;
  • passports for international participants;
  • catering/hospitality costs in excess of approved  Treasury Board of Canada rates;
  • salary costs for existing employees; or
  • cost of alcoholic beverages.


A report from the grantee is required at the end of the grant period. This report must include the names and affiliations of all participants and a statement of financial expenditures incurred.


NSERC Regional Offices
Contact the Regional Office in your area.