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Idea to Innovation (I2I) Grant

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

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Deadline Date:

09/13/19 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 support the transfer of technology originating from IHEs. This program seeks to support research and development projects demonstrating 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 research and development projects with recognized technology transfer potential. This is achieved 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. For partner eligibility definitions see:

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.

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.)

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160240

Estimated Size of Grant:

Market Assessment:
- Maximum Amount Requested: $15,000
- NSERC will co-support up to three-quarters of the costs of the project contracted out to a consultant, with the institution providing the balance in cash (a person employed part-time or full-time at an ILO or its equivalent cannot act as an external consultant on an I2I Market Assessment project).

Phase I:
- Maximum Amount Requested: $125,000
- NSERC will assume 100 percent of the direct costs of research for Phase I projects.

Phase Ib
- Maximum Amount Requested: $60,000

Phase IIa:
- Maximum Amount Requested: $125,000
- NSERC can support up to two-thirds of the costs of the project with the early-stage investment entity providing the balance in cash.

Phase IIb:
- Maximum Amount Requested: $350,000
- NSERC may fund up to half the cost of the project, with the company providing the other half through a combination of cash and in-kind contributions.
- Certain expenditures related to project management are now eligible as a direct cost of research in Phase IIb projects, up to a maximum of 10 percent of the total direct costs.

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

Term of Contract:

Duration (non-renewable):
- Market Assessment: Up to 12 months
- Phase I: Up to 12 months
- Phase Ib: Up to 6 months
- Phase IIa: 6 to 18 months
- Phase IIb: Up to 24 months

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.

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.

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 7, 2019
-April 1, 2019
-June 25, 2019
-September 23, 2019

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.

On-line Services:

Instructions for Completing an Application – Form 101:

PDF Forms and Instructions:


Contact Information:

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

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