The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is a suite of Canadian government funding programs that assist innovative Canadian businesses solve technical challenges and develop innovative technologies. IRAP grants support the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, while accelerating businesses growth and competitiveness. The organization administers Canadian business research grants to encourage exploratory R&D projects that lead to new, innovative processes and products.
IRAP programs are administered and managed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Canadian businesses, including manufacturers, can access IRAP research grants through the organization’s multiple funding streams, which include NRC-RAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP)and NRC-RAP Mid-Size Projects. Both streams provide government grants to allow businesses to leverage technical talent and reduce payroll while conducting a research and development project.
Though both funding programs share similarities, businesses must understand the different requirements for each stream when determining a project’s eligibility. Qualified businesses will be assigned to a specific stream depending on the nature of their project and its anticipated outcomes.
NRC-IRAP Research Grants for Canadian Manufacturers
The National Research Council Canada (NRC)’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)supports innovative technology development projects that allow Canadian manufacturers to grow and improve market competitiveness. For nearly 70 years, NRC-IRAP has administered research grants to help businesses address technical challenges, aid in the development and commercialization of advanced technologies, and reduce the time it takes businesses to bring innovative ideas to commercial markets.
Innovative manufacturers can access NRC-IRAP government funding programs to enhance their processes and products, adopt new technologies, and increase market competitiveness. Research grants allow businesses to solve internal technical challenges and tackle large-scale projects such as developing commercially-viable innovations that lead to new manufacturing products and capabilities.
NRC-IRAP Accelerate Review Process (ARP) vs. Mid-Size Projects
IRAP’s Accelerated Review Process (ARP) and Mid-Size Projects [Office1] programs are popular amongst Canadian manufacturers with innovative technology development projects. Both programs have been designed to support growing, commercially-proven for-profit organizations, with the desire to maximize profits through innovative technical or technology driven projects. Eligible businesses must be commercially successful for at least two years with 1-500 Canadian payroll employees, and possess internal technical expertise to carry out research activities.
Both programs share similar details, however, each stream has its own specific objectives and requirements that manufacturers must consider when determining their eligibility. When considering IRAP programs, business should ask themselves if their project solves an internal technical challenge or if project is geared towards the development of innovative technologies with a level of technical uncertainty or risk.
Canadian manufacturers can access the following NRC-IRAP Research and Development Funding streams:
IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP)
NRC’s IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) program supports innovative R&D projects that aim to solve internal technical challenges, which can lead to process and product improvements. The program allows businesses to conduct exploratory research to facilitate growth while improving market competitiveness. IRAP grants can be used to increase a project’s return-on-investment (ROI) by reducing labour expenses and accelerating project timelines.
Eligible applicants may receive up to 50-80% to offset internal labour costs and third-party Canadian consulting costs, to a maximum contribution of $50,000 in research grants.
IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) program will support the following project types:
- Assessment and development of technologies to improve internal processes;
- Feasibility studies and assessments for new services and/or product ventures; and
- Prototype engineering activities.
Projects provided funding through IRAP’s ARP program must be completed within the fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
IRAP Mid-Size Projects
IRAP Mid-Size Project research grants support the commecialization of innovative technology-driven processes and products. The program supports projects that seek to enhance or develop a new process, product, or service that will fill a market gap. Eligible businesses can leverage government funding to offset a project’s direct technical labour expenses.
Eligible applicants may receive up to 65-80% to offset project labour expenses and third-party Canadian consultanting costs to a maximum $100,000–500,000+ per year in Canadian government funding.
IRAP Mid-Size Projects program will support the following project types:
- Process or product development;
- Product commercialization; and
- Process or product improvements and/or innovative variations.
Projects provided funding through IRAP’s Mid-Size Projects program are typically completed within 36 months.
Apply for IRAP Research and Development Grants
Canadian businesses with innovative projects may be eligible to receive IRAP research grants. In order to apply to NRC’s IRAP Accelerated Review Process and/or IRAP Mid-Size Projects programs, business must take the following steps:
- Contact IRAP via their phone hotline (1-877-994-4727) to express program interest – businesses will be assigned an IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA);
- Meet with your assigned IRAP ITA to discuss the business’ innovation priorities and technical challenges;
- Present potential projects to overcome specified challenges that may be a suitable fit for funding (IRAP will provide initial application forms during this session);
- Complete and submit the application forms provided by your NRC-IRAP ITA and provide additional context and progress reports as required.
Manufacturers that are interested in learning more about Canadian research and development grants can sign up for Mentor Works’ Weekly Funding Newsletter.