Engage Grants are designed to give innovative companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian universities and colleges (see the List of Eligible Institutions). These grants are intended to foster the development of new research partnerships by supporting short-term research and development projects aimed at addressing a company-specific problem; that is, a problem related to the company’s core competencies or activities. The simplified application and decision processes enable university and college researchers to quickly undertake new research collaborations that extend academic expertise to these problems. The mutually beneficial projects are expected to result in economic benefits to the company and to Canada and build impactful longer term collaborations between the applicant and the company.


As previously stated by the agency, researchers are limited to receive a maximum of one Engage Grant* award per NSERC fiscal year  (* Engage Plus awards do not count).


  • The applicant must be an NSERC-eligible researcher and must have been granted an individual or small team (principal investigator and up to two co-applicants) peer-reviewed grant from NSERC within the past six years.
  • Applicants who have received a rating of “Strong” or higher for the criterion “Excellence of the Researcher” in their most recent Discovery Grant competition within the past six years are considered to have met the requirement for peer-reviewed research support.
  • Researchers with a principal appointment in a health-oriented university faculty (e.g., medicine, pharmacology, dentistry) are eligible for an Engage Grant only if they have been awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant within the past six years.

For researchers intending to submit an application for Engage Grant funding by way of the special ‘VIP1-Engage’ joint-funding opportunity that NSERC offers in collaboration with the Ontario Centres of Excellence, please consult with your local OCE business development specialist on the OCE submission deadline and note that it will be earlier than the NSERC deadline for Engage-only applications.

In general, a company partner must operate from a Canadian base and demonstrate clear intentions and capacity to further develop and apply any technology within Canada so that it will lead to significant economic benefit. Pre-revenue companies may be considered, provided that they meet the requirements outlined in this section. Companies must have a corporate objective to grow through the development, in Canada, of innovative, technology-driven, new or improved products, services or processes. The company’s letter of support must demonstrate that it has detailed plans for realizing this objective. Holding companies and companies that are not able to further develop the technology in-house are not eligible. A company partner must:

  • have a minimum of two full-time employees; and
  • be in operation for a minimum of two years.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the NSERC Ontario Regional Office  for a discussion.

Funding Available

Funding up to $25,000 for up to six months is available. Decisions on funding Engage Grants are usually made within approximately six weeks. Projects are expected to start within a few weeks from the date of the award letter. Grant funds are normally available within 30 days of an award decision. Terms and Conditions of Award detailing the responsibilities of participants in the collaboration and regulations concerning the grant will be provided at that time.

Any expenses related to the project incurred before the notice of award decision has been issued will not be covered by the grant. Due to the short-term nature of this grant and its orientation towards solving a company-specific problem with limited funds, resources should be used exclusively on the resolution of the problem and must be used in accordance with the directives listed in the Use of Grant Funds section of the Tri-Agency Financial Administrative Guide or the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

Full Details


Internal Review Please contact your Research Facilitator.
cuResearch Approval Form Prior to submission of application to sponsor
Full Application Due No deadline

Submitting Your Application

  • Applications will be submitted via cuResearch, through which Departmental and Associate Dean’s approval must be provided to complete the online application process.
  • More information on cuResearch can be found here.

Internal Contacts

If you would like assistance with proposal development and/or a substantive review of your proposal, please contact the appropriate Research Facilitator.