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Idea to Innovation (I2I) Grant

Grants to Canada IHE Faculty Members to Partner with
For-Profits for the Development of Technology Projects

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Deadline Date:

09/27/21 8:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to Canada IHE faculty members to partner with companies, researcher-owned companies, and early-stage investment groups to develop and transfer technology from colleges and universities to companies throughout the country. Funding is intended to support research and development projects that demonstrate technology transfer potential.

The objective of the Idea to Innovation (I2I) Grants is to accelerate the pre-competitive development of promising technology originating from the university and college sector and promote its transfer to a new or established Canadian company. The I2I Grants provide funding to college and university faculty members to support projects implemented through defined phases by providing crucial assistance in the early stages of technology validation and market connection.

Four distinct funding options are proposed, which are characterized by the maturity of the technology or the involvement of an early-stage investment entity or an industrial partner. 

In the Market Assessment, NSERC will share costs of an independent and professional market study with the institutions (including the industry liaison office [ILO] or its equivalent). In Phase I, the direct costs of research will be entirely supported by NSERC; in Phase II, they will be shared with a private partner. The technology development may begin with a Phase I project (Reduction-to-Practice Stage), followed by a Phase II project (Technology Enhancement) or, if the development is at a later stage, it can start directly with a Phase II project. For further details on market assessment projects, reduction-to-practice stage projects, and technology enhancement projects, see the URL for Full Text indicated below.

Eligible research and development activities include (but are not limited to):

  •  Refining and implementing designs
  •  Verifying application
  •  Conducting field studies
  •  Preparing demonstrations
  •  Building prototypes
  •  Performing beta trials

Eligible technology transfer activities include (but are not limited to):

  •  Consulting fees to develop the strategy to protect the technology’s commercial value
  •  Market investigations
  •  Consulting fees for a business plan, market survey, etc.
  •  Business mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs
  •  Sharing of patenting expenses
  •  Expenses associated with creating a partnership (such as travel, etc.)

For more information on allowable expenditures, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160240

Estimated Size of Grant:

Maximum Amount Requested from NSERC (% of project costs):

- Market Assessment: $15,000 (75%)
- Phase I: $125,000 (100%)
- Phase Ib: $60,000 (100%)
- Phase IIa: $125,000 (67%)
- Phase IIb: $350,000 (50%)

Term of Contract:


- Market assessment: Up to one year
- Phase I: Up to one year
- Phase IIa: From 6 to 18 months
- Phase IIb: Up to two years

The combination of phase I and phase II will be limited to a maximum of three years of funding for any given project.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications are submitted by a college or university researcher (or research group) and for Phase II projects, in association with an eligible partner. In the latter case, the institution and early-stage investment partner or company should have in place, prior to application, a licensing (or similar) agreement relating to the right to exploit the invention or discovery. All new proposals are expected to be developed in close collaboration with the institution's ILO or its equivalent. The ILO or its equivalent involved in the application must be identified at the beginning of the technology transfer section of the proposal.

University faculty members must hold or have a firm offer of an academic appointment at an eligible Canadian university at the time of application. For the duration of the award, they must hold such a position. For Eligibility Criteria for Faculty, see:

NSERC will evaluate the eligibility of sponsors before accepting proposals for review. The following organizations may be considered as eligible partners:

- Early-stage investment group: This term refers to either venture capital, a seed capital funding entity, angel investors, university technology transfer corporations, incubators or other similar funding or technology transfer organizations. Organizations that have received public funds as seed funding, but are functioning in a competitive environment and are required to achieve self-sufficiency within a pre-determined time period, may be considered as equivalent to industry.
- Companies: Normally, participating companies must be Canadian. Companies outside Canada may also be considered as partners provided they can demonstrate that there will be clear and direct benefits to the Canadian economy as a result of their participation. As partners, companies must demonstrate that they have, or have the potential to acquire, the capability to commercialize the technology under development.
- Researcher-owned companies: A researcher's own consulting company or sole proprietorship is not eligible to collaborate on a project in which the researcher is the applicant or co-investigator. Situations where the researcher is a part owner are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the company's stage of development will be taken into consideration in determining the eligibility. The commercial activity must conform to the institution's established policies relating to the disclosure of commercial interest and conflict of interest.

For further information on partner eligibility, see:

Staff activities are not considered an eligible expense and cannot be used to leverage NSERC funds. Technology transfer expenses related to the proposed technology and incurred previously will not be considered in the cost-sharing of proposed activities.

Pre-Application Information:

Application deadlines:
January 5, 2021
March 29, 2021
June 28, 2021
September 27, 2021

Applications must be received by 8:00 PM ET on the deadline date. If it is not received by NSERC by the deadline, it will be considered late and will be rejected. If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the application must reach NSERC by the following working day.

Decisions will be notified within 11 weeks of application receipt.

NSERC staff is willing to review draft proposals submitted sufficiently in advance of the application deadline.

The institution must justify technology transfer activities expenses and commit itself to bear at least half of their cost. NSERC may provide support up to a maximum of ten percent of the total requested amount.

For a detailed chart on application requirements by phase with maximum requested amounts, see the URL for Full Text found below.

PDF Forms and Instructions:


Instructions for Completing an Application – Form 101:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply online:

Idea to Innovation Grants (I2I)

Grants Administration

General Inquiries

350 Albert Street
16th Floor
Ottawa, ON
K1A 1H5

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;

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