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College and Community Innovation Program College and Community Social Innovation Fund

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Value Up to $120,000 per year
Duration One to three years
Application deadline December 9, 2019
How to apply See below
Application forms
  • F103CV (form-fillable) CCI Personal Data Form and instructions
  • Form 103 – Application for the CCI Program
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 Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). All applications must be submitted to NSERC. College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grants are intended to support college social innovation research projects in partnership with local community organizations. CCSIF proposals can be multidisciplinary and may fall under the research domains of the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences. Applications exclusively in the social sciences and humanities, in health sciences, or in the natural sciences and engineering, will be funded by SSHRC, CIHR, or NSERC, as appropriate. Multidisciplinary grants containing a natural sciences and engineering research component will be funded by NSERC.

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 diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are key priorities in our current strategic plan, NSERC 2020, and are highlighted in the strategic goal to “Build a Diversified and Competitive Research Base”.


College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) grants are intended to foster social innovation by connecting the talent, facilities and capabilities of Canada’s colleges and polytechnics with the research needs of local community organizations. CCSIF proposals should facilitate collaborative social innovation research that brings together researchers, students and partners to address research challenges in social innovation, leading to solutions addressing a Canadian community need.

The CCSIF program enables colleges to increase their capacity to work with communities, with the goal of developing partnerships that foster social innovation in areas such as education, integration of vulnerable populations, and community development.

Canada’s colleges and polytechnics are well equipped to contribute to social innovation initiatives by tapping into the knowledge, experience, facilities and community connections available through their departments and programs.


CCSIF grants support well-defined and focused social innovation projects undertaken by college researchers with their partners from the public, private or not-for-profit sectors. Direct project costs are shared by the partner(s) and the funding agency. Projects may range from one to three years in duration.

Social innovation refers to the development of new ideas or the use of existing ideas to find solutions to social challenges. Social innovation involves an initiative, product, process or program that creates positive social outcomes for societies. It can result in more effective, fairer and more durable solutions to complex social problems. It aims to produce benefits for the entire society, not only for some individuals. It increases the ability of communities to act collectively. It also promotes innovative solutions to accelerate technological innovation.

All proposals require evidence of:

  • strong partnerships with partners that have the capability and willingness to implement research results within a Canadian setting;
  • detailed planning and sound budget justification;
  • student training;
  • the validity of the underlying assumptions of the proposed research, intended approaches, milestones and deliverables.

CCSIF grants, like other CCI grants, are institutional grants. Consequently, the applicant is expected to be a senior manager in the administration of the college. In addition, the college must identify a project director responsible for the intellectual direction of the research and research-related activities. The project director must be affiliated with the host institution (the college) at the time of the application and must be qualified to undertake the research independently.

Colleges can submit multiple applications in the competition, but each proposal must be led by a different project director.

Partner participation

Partner organization(s) may be Canadian or international organizations from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. Individuals from partner organizations can be part of the research team as collaborators for a CCSIF proposal and must bring their organization’s resources to the project. Not-for-profit organizations with collaborators on CCSIF grants may request a salary research allowance to cover costs of partially replacing the employee participating in the project.

Partner organization(s) are expected to participate actively in the project and contribute in a meaningful way to its success. Partner organization(s) are also expected to provide contributions (cash and/or in-kind) directly related and relevant to supporting the activities of the project.

It is expected that some of the partner organizations will have the capability and willingness to implement and exploit the results of the research to the benefit of the college’s local community and/or Canadian society.

Intellectual property

The funding agency makes no claim to the ownership of any intellectual property (IP) or copyright generated from the research it funds. Colleges should develop and sign an agreement with their partners on the ownership and disposition of IP or copyright arising from CCSIF-funded research.


Canadian colleges that have been declared eligible to administer grants of at least one of the three federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR and/or SSHRC) may submit an application. If the proposed research 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 (i.e., if the college has been declared eligible by one of the granting agencies, but not the granting agency that will provide the grant, the eligibility process must be completed in a timely manner in order for the grant payment to be released).
  • The college must offer programs in the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences, in line with the applied research areas proposed.
  • The college's faculty members involved in CCSIF grants must be engaged in applied research in the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences.
  • The college must provide the space, facilities and services to enable its faculty members in humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences to conduct applied research.

Use of grant funds

CCSIF grant funds must be used for the direct costs of research, however, some limited funds may be used for operating and equipment costs (up to 20% of the total project costs), as well as for overhead and administration costs (up to 20% of the grant installment per year). The college provides for other indirect or overhead costs. During the tenure of the CCSIF grant, reallocation of more than 20% of an annual budget item to other items may be permitted, pending the funding agency’s approval of a revised budget and justification for the changes.

A list of eligible expenditures is detailed in the CCI Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

In addition, a salary research allowance can be requested for a not-for-profit organization that has an employee listed as a collaborator on the application. Salary research allowances are a contribution to a not-for-profit organization to help compensate for the time an employee will spend participating in a CCSIF-funded research project. Applicants may apply for up to 50% of the total salary costs, including benefits, of the employee, to offset some of the costs of hiring a replacement employee. The salary replacement allowance can be requested for each year of the award.

Application and review procedures

Proposals can be submitted online, using the Application for a College and Community Innovation Grant (Form 103). Instructions for applicants to complete the forms and the online submission are found on NSERC's On-line Services page.

CCSIF applications are adjudicated through a competitive process. Each CCSIF grant application is reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee that includes relevant expertise from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. The exact number and composition of the review committee membership will be determined by the number and nature of the proposals received. Committee members are required to have no conflict of interest with the applicant, partners, or any team members. They are asked to evaluate the proposal and make a funding recommendation to NSERC based on the selection criteria below.

Selection criteria

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Potential for innovation impact (40%)
    • The effectiveness of the proposal to foster social innovation to address the needs of community organizations;
    • the capability of the partner organization(s) to implement and/or use the project results leading to influence and impact within their organization(s);
    • the long-term post-project potential for the research results to lead to measurable Canadian societal benefits at the local, regional or national level;
    • the project’s potential to apply knowledge in an innovative manner and/or lead to the development of new knowledge;
    • the quality and quantity of training and mentoring to be provided to students and other highly qualified personnel, and the need for these enhanced skills in the local community or region.
  • Excellence of the proposal (30%)
    • The focus and clarity of the specific objectives of the proposal;
    • the quality and feasibility of the work plan, including the appropriateness of the research methodology and the suitability of the societal impact measurements;
    • the appropriateness of the literature review;
    • the probability that the objectives will be met within the timeline proposed;
    • the overall budget and the justification of the individual budget items;
    • the involvement of the partner(s) in the community and other relevant stakeholders in the design and conduct of the research and/or related activities;
    • the total resources available from the college, the partner organizations and other sources, and their relevance for the project;
    • the quality and appropriateness of the plans for knowledge mobilization, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community.
  • Team expertise (30%)
    • The experience and expertise of the research team to address the proposed objectives competently and to complete the project successfully;
    • the quality, quantity and significance of the past experience of the project director and the research team in working with community partners;
    • the college’s track record in contributing to local or regional social innovation and its potential to enhance its capacity to work with local community organizations.


The reporting requirements vary with the project duration:

  • For projects up to 12 months’ duration, grantees must send the CCI program staff a final report and Form 301, Grants in Aid of Research – Statement of Account, at the conclusion of the grant. For projects longer than one year, an annual statement of account (Form 301) is required.
  • For all projects, final reports providing the impacts of the research are required at the conclusion of the grant. The partner(s) may be asked to submit comments on the project's success directly to the CCI program. Grantees that have failed to provide the requested feedback on projects may be declared ineligible to apply for or sponsor new proposals.

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