CICan Network Updates

Main Content

Applied Research

March 2020

1. Advocacy Updates

CICan is working with officials at NSERC, Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) to ensure they understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on applied research operations and partnerships of colleges and institutes.

The tri-agency message on COVID-19 indicates that the granting agencies recognize that research could be jeopardized or slowed down requiring increased flexibility for research grant deliverables, reporting and grant applications. The granting agencies will provide program specific information in the coming weeks.

In the short-term, our advocacy is focused on seeking more information on the flexibility that will be required for deliverables, reporting and upcoming granting applications for the College and Community Innovation Program, the College and Community Social Innovation Program and the College-Industry Innovation Fund. It is essential to emphasize the partner-driven nature of college and institute applied research, in particular with SMEs and non-profit community organizations.
As our country recovers, we also want to identify how we can best position college applied research capacity as part of the solution to stimulate the economy, in particular by supporting SMEs and supporting social and health innovation. We will need to identify measures and adjustments required to the CCIP, CCSIF and CIIF to strengthen the capacity of college applied research to respond.

The CICan National Research Advisory Committee (NRAC) has met to discuss COVID-19 response and we will hold a webinar for the full CICan Applied Research Network in early April to provide updates directly from granting agencies and discuss how we can support each other during this time. Please look for an invitation for this webinar within the next week.

2. Information Sharing

Request from Minister Bains to meet Equipment Shortages

The Government of Canada has put out a call to Canadian manufacturers to assist in meeting the need for medical supplies. The Government is now turning to university, college and polytechnic partners to ask for support in meeting Canada’s needs on this front. Specifically, the government is looking to identify innovative manufacturing solutions to address potential shortages of essential equipment. Health Canada has already approached some of institutions regarding the use of 3D printers to produce medical devices, components, or supplies such as goggles, disposable tubing sets, and ancillary ventilation components. The Minister’s office is inviting your thoughts on other innovative manufacturing solutions that could position Canada at the forefront of the world’s COVID-19 response and protect the health of Canadians across the country.

To share your ideas on innovative manufacturing solutions, you are invited to contact Amanda Woodley at

Code Life Ventilator Challenge

With potentially 70% of the population on the brink of being infected by COVID-19, our worldwide health care systems will be strained beyond their limits. Even now, there aren’t enough ventilators to save everyone who needs respiratory support, and doctors are having to make agonizing decisions about who to save. Our modern world provides the means to produce these life-saving ventilators thanks to widespread rapid manufacturing tools—3D printers, CNC machines— combined with low-cost computers (i.e. smartphones, Arduinos, etc.), but what we’re missing is a design.

The Montreal General Hospital Foundation, in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), is launching a global innovation challenge, backed by a $200,000 CAD prize, calling for teams to design a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and easy-to-maintain ventilator which could be deployed anywhere needed to save lives.

The top three designs will be available for free download to anyone who needs them, saving lives immediately. There is a few days left to enter your design; visit the Code Life Challenge website to learn more.

3. CICan Update on COVID-19

CICan Response to COVID-19

As we all watch attentively for updates from public health authorities in Canada and around the world regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, CICan continues to support our members and partners. Last week we held our first in a series of weekly webinars to update members on our efforts in Ottawa, allow members to share how the situation is evolving around the country, and approaches being adopted to address the challenges. You can visit the CICan website to remain up to date about our COVID-19 response.

4. Subscription Information

Subscribe to the CICan Applied Research Network

If you would like to be added to the CICan Applied Research Network and receive future update newsletters, or to change your contact information, please contact Fatou Diop at