CICan Network Updates

Main Content

Applied Research

June 2020

1. Advocacy Updates

COVID-19: The case for Applied Research

As with almost all sectors, college applied research offices/centres have been negatively affected by the economic closures. In mid-May CICan made a submission to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) with recommendations for immediate investments to maintain the capacity of college and institute applied research centres so they can support struggling SMEs and community organizations as economy begins to reopen.

CICan, Synchronex, Tech-Access Canada, and Polytechnics Canada also proffered a joint submission, with complementary proposals. The joint ask, totalling $165 million will enable applied research centres to increase their collaboration with Canadian businesses and organizations to support the economy during and after the current crisis. The first request would inject $80 million into applied research offices/centres to support engagement with SMEs and community partners and the design and coordination of projects between several stakeholders. The second investment of $85 million will support rapid-response grants for colleges and institutes as they carry out these projects.

For the medium to long-term, CICan will continue to emphasize the need for an annual ongoing investment of $40 million for SME engagement services through college applied research recommended in our Budget 2020 submission. The pandemic has underscored that this is an essential investment to ensure that during recovery, SMEs and community organizations in every corner of the country can tap into to the applied research services and facilities of colleges and institutes. This will be included in CICan’s upcoming submission to the Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) that will provide recommendations for medium to long-term investments to support recovery. The FINA submission will include recommendations to address other priorities as well, including the sustainability of the college/institute sector and infrastructure needs. CICan is working with a third-party to provide evidence-based analysis to support the FINA recommendations.

2. Events

Watch: AR Survey Webinar

On May 20, 2020, CICan held a webinar for administrators completing the 2019-20 survey. We are pleased to share a recording for those who were unable to attend. In the webinar, CICan’s Senior Research Analyst and survey architect, Shawn Anctil goes through the 2019-20 survey, highlights new questions around the impact of COVID-19, explains the thinking behind new or changed language, and answers attendee enquiries about filling in the survey.

You can view the webinar in English or French.

CICan Member Webinar Series

In response to the rapidly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19, join us for a weekly update on our advocacy efforts in Ottawa, hear from your peers how the situation is evolving in the different jurisdictions, and share your promising practices with each other.

In English, every Friday at 12:00-13:00 (EDT) and in French, every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m. (EDT).


3. Information Sharing

NSERC’s Synergy Awards for Innovation

The Synergy Awards for Innovation awards recognize academic-industry research and development (R&D) partnerships in the natural sciences and engineering. A category for colleges and polytechnics is included to highlight the impact and lasting benefits of their applied R&D collaborations with industry partners. The submission deadline for this year’s nominations is June 17, 2020. For increased inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups, the nominator must outline how diversity was considered in the nomination process.

The successful college will receive up to $100,000 for an Applied Research Tools and Instruments grant. Industry partners receive vouchers valid towards the cash portion of their contribution in a future partnerships grant.

To find out more about past winners please visit the NSERC website.

Third Annual Spotlight on Applied Research

CICan and Research Money invites you to make a submission to the third Spotlight on Applied Research. This year’s publication theme is Tackling climate change and its consequences. The deadline for submissions is September 18, 2020, with submissions selected on a first come first serve basis. To learn more or get involved, please contact Kirsten Hansen.


CFI competition: Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19

In response to the pandemic, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has launched an Exceptional Opportunities Fund (EOF) competition related to COVID-19. The competition is open to research from all disciplines. 

 Eligible institutions can submit proposals to this competition in which the CFI will invest up to $25 million. As an exception to usual competitions, the CFI will cover up to 100 percent of the eligible costs of each project.  

As of publication, CFI has suspended the call; you can subscribe to CFI updates to be informed when the call is re-launched.

CSPC 2020 Call for Panel Proposals

The Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC) 2020 call for panel proposals has been extended to June 12, 2020. 

CSPC has decided to horizontally embed the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts into existing themes, as all of them merit discussion with new considerations. Panelists are encouraged to reflect this consideration into submissions as CSPC 2020 will be a reflection of the long lasting impacts of COVID-19 and the role of science and innovation policy in public policy and economic development.

CSPC 2020 will be held virtually over five days (Nov. 16th -20th) and will feature plenaries, concurrent panel sessions and networking sessions. 

Learn more about CSPC 2020 and the Call for Proposals.  

MEOPAR expects to offer up to three Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

In 2020/21, MEOPAR expects to offer up to three Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards of $20,000. The purpose of these awards is to bring new postdoctoral fellows into the network to connect them with MEOPAR-funded researchers and HQP. Proposed research activities that would be supported by an Award must address MEOPAR’s organizational objective (To connect partners, resources and expertise to prepare for risks and take advantage of opportunities in the changing marine environment), and must be linked to one of MEOPAR’s four challenge areas: Ocean Observation; Forecasting/Projection; Coastal Resilience; and Marine Operations/Transportation. 

Application instructions and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document are available on MEOPAR’s website. 

The deadline to apply is 26 June 2020. Questions about the award may be directed to Laura Avery. 

NSERC funds 128 Applied Research projects

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, has announced funding for 128 new applied research projects that will help provide innovative solutions for local and regional business challenges through the expertise of Canadian colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics.  

This investment of over $76 million through the tri-agency College and Community Innovation Program and the College-Industry Innovation Fund from the Canada Foundation for Innovation will connect colleges with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to work together on applied research projects that will facilitate the development of new products and technologies for the benefit of their local communities and beyond. The projects will focus on priority areas such as clean energy, artificial intelligence and agriculture.  

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 Ingrid Caron at