Dr. Marc Fortin, NSERC's Vice-President of Research Partnerships, made his remarks at the Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa on Nov. 8.
NSERC’s grants for collaborative R&D between university labs and non-academic organization are being revamped. The 2018 Canadian federal budget directed NSERC to combine six individual grant schemes into a single multi-scale program. An earlier draft of proposed changes released by NSERC in September indicated the agency was considering additional measures including: 1) expanding the range of eligible non-academic partners, including not-for-profit and international partners for certain funding opportunities; 2) reducing the proportion of funds it contributes to industry-sponsored research by ending cash funding matches to in-kind contributions from partners; 3) providing more opportunities to extend project funding and 4) providing one-time unleveraged collaboration grants to new researchers. The public comment period on that draft closed on Oct. 10.
The proposed changes stem from the 2017 review of federal innovation and Cleantech spending. They are expected to affect the existing Research Partnerships grants including Engage Grants (including Engage Plus Grants), Industrial Research Chairs, Connect Grants, Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks and Projects, Experience Awards, and Collaborative Research and Development Grants.
NSERC currently funds more than $1.2 billion CDN annually in university and college research. These funds are distributed in three major program suites -- Research Training & Talent (scholarships), Discovery Research (academic research) and Research Partnerships (industry collaboration research).