Engage Grants


Engage Grants are designed to give innovative companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian colleges (see the List of Eligible Institutions). These grants are intended to foster the development of new research partnerships by supporting short-term research and development projects aimed at addressing a company-specific problem.

The simplified application and decision processes enable colleges to quickly undertake new research collaborations that extend academic expertise to these problems. The mutually beneficial projects are expected to result in economic benefits to the company and to Canada and build impactful longer term collaborations between the college and the company.

Following an Engage Grant, applicants may apply for follow-on support for an additional six months of related research activity through an Engage Plus grant, in order to further developments from an ongoing or recently completed Engage Grant project, or to continue the project while seeking longer-term support (through, for example, an Applied Research and Development Grant [ARD]).



Engage Grants support well-defined research projects undertaken by eligible colleges and their industrial partners. A maximum grant of $25,000 over a period of normally six months will be awarded to support the project costs. As the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program funding is used to support Engage Grants , proposed projects can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities or health. Grants are provided by NSERC, with the exception of funded proposals exclusively in the social sciences, humanities or health sciences, which will be provided by SSHRC or CIHR, as appropriate.

The proposal must involve an eligible company that has not previously partnered with the college on applied research; that is, the college should have no existing relationship with the company. A previous research collaboration with a company or any of its divisions, a consulting contract in excess of a few days, or involvement of a member(s) of the college research team with the company is considered an existing relationship.

An Engage project must generate new knowledge or apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner in order to solve a company-specific problem. This problem must relate directly to the goods and services provided by the company, and the company must be capable of further developing the results after the project is completed. The project must be focused on a research challenge with specific short-term objectives. All proposals must provide detailed planning and sound budget justification. The proposal must also clearly spell out the underlying assumptions, intended approaches and methodologies, as well as the key milestones and deliverables.

As the projects must have a meaningful research component, proposals are not eligible for an Engage Grant if they:

  • focus on the commercialization of a university or college invention;
  • focus on the routine application of existing technology or tools to the industry partner’s operations;
  • provide routine analysis or routine use of equipment at the college;
  • collect data without interpreting underlying mechanisms;
  • seek to certify, endorse, validate or performance test an existing product, process or material (unless accompanied by significant efforts to investigate the underlying scientific or engineering question or to improve or better understand the product, process or material);
  • include excessive literature review and/or patent searches;
  • relate to the set-up and operational management of an institute or a formal or informal group of researchers;
  • aim to develop an industry standard (unless the partner is an industry association);
  • provide professional practice or consulting services; or
  • are principally associated with the acquisition or maintenance of scientific equipment.

Applications that aim to solve an industry-wide problem affecting a number of companies should be addressed by industry associations or a group of companies. These projects are likely to be more suitable for ARD grants. Please contact the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program to discuss the appropriate grant type for the project.

Last Modified: February 26, 2021