Government of Canada invests in research collaborations to generate game-changing discoveries

News release

More than $44 million provided for projects tackling challenges and developing innovative solutions across all sectors of the economy

November 2, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Research Council Canada

Now more than ever, the importance of supporting science and research is clear. As the Government of Canada focusses on responding to COVID-19, it is also continuing to make investments in science and research that will help tackle challenges in other areas, from environmental sustainability to health care to advanced manufacturing.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced $44.5 million in funding for 201 projects that support research collaborations between academia, industry, and Canada’s federal scientists. These investments also support non-profit recipients in Canada and internationally to collaborate with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) through its Ideation Fund initiatives, challenge programs and the Supercluster support programs.

Funded projects aim to generate game-changing discoveries and technological breakthroughs in a wide range of social and technology challenges facing Canadians, including: expanding broadband Internet service in rural and remote areas; developing clean and sustainable sources of energy; developing precision-engineered cell and gene therapies for chronic diseases and rare genetic disorders; addressing ocean priorities while encouraging the development of a sustainable ocean economy; developing smart manufacturing in ground and aerospace equipment; developing high-quality plant protein crops; and using AI and digital technology to support these and other priorities for Canada.

Today’s funding includes:

  • over $730,000 through the High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program to support 11 projects as part of a consortium of 16 organizations working on research and development for optical satellite communications to improve telecommunication networks in rural and remote regions across Canada.
  • $3 million towards a platform equipment investment by the University of Toronto through the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program to help accelerate the discovery of materials for clean fuels.
  • $2.4 million through the Disruptive Technology Solutions for Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge program for Concordia University to scale up its genome foundry with a range of new technologies. The goal is to ultimately accelerate the engineering of cells for regenerative medicine and immunotherapy applications
  • $2.6 million to help the University of Waterloo purchase equipment to develop and characterize metal additive manufacturing powders and parts. This investment will help the University of Waterloo and the NRC identify innovative solutions to improve the quality and reduce the costs of feedstock materials used for additive manufacturing, which will result in producing better products for Canadians.


“Our Government is proud to support the work of our dynamic science sector by investing in research collaborations between federal scientists, academia and industry. Together, we are tackling major modern challenges — from developing new materials for clean energy to developing therapies for chronic diseases – and creating a sustainable, healthier, and technology-enabled future for all Canadians.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The National Research Council of Canada plays a central role as an expert and enabler in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. Our programs bring together the best innovative minds from across the country to make key advances in disruptive technology that benefit the everyday lives of Canadians.”

– Dr. Roger Scott-Douglas, PhD, Acting President, National Research Council of Canada

Quick facts

  • As part of the Budget 2018 announcement for reimagining the NRC, the Government of Canada has provided $36 million per year ongoing for NRC researchers and their innovative partners to encourage, test, and validate transformative research ideas, and for collaborative R&D with the potential for game-changing scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs

  • Since 2018, the NRC has agreements in place for collaboration as part of 5 Challenge programs and 5 programs supporting the federal Superclusters’ objectives

  • The NRC programs and initiatives are expected to support the training of nearly 600 highly qualified personnel

Associated links


John Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Media Relations
National Research Council
Telephone: 613-991-1431
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TTY: 613-949-3042


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