NSERC Partnerships: Academia & the Corporate Sector

Thu. Mar. 19, 2015

Establishing Relationships: NSERC’s Interaction Grants

NSERC’s Interaction Grants fund “meet-and-greets” among academia and industry. They are the first step of establishing a relationship among Canadian researchers and Canadian companies. This grant can be applied for year-round and the maximum is $5000 for up to three months.

The intent is to serve as a travel/meeting grant bringing together the two parties so that they may identify a company-specific problem that could be solved via their collaboration. Grant outputs are expected to result in economic benefits to Canada. Applicants must explain the proposed meeting objective, company relevance to their academic area, and likelihood of future partnership.

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Incrementality: Aim to create a new relationship with a company with which the applicant has no present or past involvement.
  • Research competence: The applicant must be an NSERC-eligible academic researcher.
  • Industrial relevance: The proposal must identify one or more potential partner companies which are in a domain that is relevant to the applicant’s expertise and which could benefit by the application of that expertise to address a company-specific problem.



Building on Relationships: NSERC’s Engage Grants

NSERC’s Engage Grants, relative to Interaction Grants, can serve as Step 2. They are beneficial when the company and researcher have been in contact and a specific problem has been identified. The Engage Grant is also available to apply for year round and has a maximum of $25,000, valid for six months.


This grant permits Canadian-based companies access to the knowledge and expertise of Canadian universities. The program was established for the specific purpose of initiating new collaborations between academic researchers and companies that have not partnered before. The short-term projects must be aimed at addressing company-based issues and any intellectual property lies with the corporation. The grant should cover the direct project costs of the research activities required to address the identified problem.

At minimum, an in-kind contribution from the company reflecting its involvement in the project is required. In addition to application forms, a very specific and detailed letter from the company is needed.

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Creation of a new collaborative relationship
  • Research competence
  • Industrial relevance
  • Contribution to technology transfer
  • Benefit to Canada
 More information is available at: