Federal government opens fifth stream of Strategic Innovation Fund

Navdeep Bains

Applications are now being accepted under the fifth stream of the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), which will focus on supporting national ecosystems. The stream aims to support large initiatives that create high-impact collaborations and partnerships in Canadian ecosystems.

The goal of the new stream is to accelerate the commercialization and scaling businesses across several sectors.

The federal government is not assigning any new funding for the fifth stream. The allocated funding will be granted to organizations that lead partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), large corporations, non-profit organizations, academia, accelerators, and incubators. The government said projects should support industrial research and technology demonstration, and should have a goal of accelerating commercialization and scaling businesses across several sectors.

“Our government is investing in national innovation ecosystems that are bringing together Canada’s best companies, researchers and incubators,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Together, we will build on our many strengths to accelerate commercialization, develop new technologies, scale up businesses and create more jobs right across the country.”

SIF was created to support business investments in Canada. The government said the Strategic Innovation Fund has contributed nearly $1.3 billion to 46 projects, leveraging an investment of $15.3 billion and helping to create nearly 56,000 jobs to date.

The fund was created in March 2017 federal budget with $1.26 million. The government added an additional $250 million to the fund in June 2018 for steel and aluminum, in response to additional tariffs imposed by the United States. It also added $800 million in the 2018 Fall Economic Update and an additional $200 million total in Budget 2019 for cleantech and innovation in food processing.

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The government has stated that the fund is not restricted to certain sectors and that it hopes that successful projects will result in the commercialization of new and improved products, processes or services, more research and development, and more highly skilled jobs.

The first stream of the SIF was dedicated to R&D projects that accelerate technology transfer, and commercialization of products, processes and services. The second stream focused on projects that facilitate the growth and expansion of firms in Canada, while the third was for projects that attract and retain large investments to Canada. The fourth stream sought to support projects that advance industrial research, development, and technology demonstration through collaboration between the private sector, academia, and non-profits.

Proposals for Stream 5 should target technology in areas where Canadian firms exist at a significant scale, where key Canadian leaders are involved, and where Canada has strategic assets that can be commercialized, the government said.

Applications to the new stream are now being accepted. There are no submission deadlines for this stream.

With files from Meagan Simpson

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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