The Federal Government has just launched an exciting, new program titled the Strategic Innovation Fund. This $1.26 billion-dollar investment is designed to strengthen and support economic strategies and attract investments that promote job creation. This fund consolidates preexisting innovation programs situated across different industries, including the Strategic Aerospace and Defense Initiative, the Technology Demonstration Program, the Automotive Innovation Fund and the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program.
The Strategic Innovation Fund supports research and development that will accelerate technology transfer and commercialization of innovative products, processes and services. It also supports manufacturing and processing to facilitate the growth and expansion of firms in Canada. It includes industrial and technological facility improvements as well as the establishment of new facilities.
Four streams support distinct projects, each with their own objectives. The Government has already granted Ford Canada over $200 million dollars in support, split evenly between the Provincial and Federal Governments. Technology is a major key-word for this fund; all four streams include a Technology Readiness Level Scale. This scale begins at Level 1, which involves applied research and development (e.g. paper studies), and concludes at Level 9, where the actual product and/or process is proven successful.
The following is a summarized version of the streams:
- Stream 1: Focuses on research, development and the commercialization of new products, processes and services.
- Stream 2: Helps facilitate growth and expansion of high-potential firms in Canada including manufacturers and producers. This encompasses projects that help increase manufacturing capacity, production efficiency and processes.
- Stream 3: Focuses on attracting large scale investments and reinvestment in Canada. This would include a Canadian company establishing a new production facility in Canada, producing a product in Canada that was once outsourced, or research and development that did not previously exist here.
- Stream 4: Encourages public-private collaborations in developing and demonstrating new research and technologies. It supports advanced industrial research, and development and technology demonstrations through collaboration between academia, non-profit organizations and private sector. Projects in this stream must support research activities related to knowledge discovery.
A final interesting feature of this program is that it provides funding in the form of grants as well as repayable loans. In terms of the funding dollars, up to 50% of eligible costs could be covered. Could your company benefit from the Strategic Innovation Fund?