Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

College and Community Innovation program Applied Research Tools and Instruments grants

Accessibility notice: If you cannot access the following content, please contact the online services helpdesk by email at or by telephone at 1-855-275-2861. Indicate the email address and telephone number where you can be reached.

Note: This program is intended for college researchers. University researchers should apply to the Research Tools and Instruments grants program.

Application deadline There will be no competition for this grant in 2022.
How to apply See below
Application forms
  • Form 103CV (form-fillable) – CCI personal data form and instructions
  • Form 103 – Application for the CCI program
To complete form 103CV or to view its instructions, select the links above.

To create or access an application, select Online system login. To view forms and instructions, select PDF forms and instructions.
For more information Consult the contact list

Important information

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Applied Research Tools and Instruments (ARTI) grants can be across the spectrum of the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and/or health. All applications must be submitted to NSERC. Grants are given by NSERC, with the exception of funded proposals exclusively in the social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences, which will be given by SSHRC or CIHR, as appropriate.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Applicants are encouraged to consider sex, gender and diversity in the project’s research design. Diversity and gender equity should also be considered when developing the research team and considering how to promote and support a variety of forms of mentoring to ensure trainees’ equitable participation and growth. Applicants should refer to the Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application for more information.


The objective of the ARTI grants is to support the purchase of research equipment and installations to foster and enhance the capacity of colleges to undertake applied research, innovation and training in collaboration with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


ARTI grants are one-year awards that support the purchase of applied research equipment costing between $7,000 and $150,000.

The proposed equipment may be a single item or a collection of items forming a comprehensive system. A comprehensive system is one in which each tool or instrument forms part of an integrated system of operation to support the applied research program. Requests that bundle unrelated tools and instruments together will not be accepted.
If requesting more than one item, NSERC may remove expenditures associated with any item found to be inadequately justified.

NSERC will accept applications for research equipment whose total net cost is up to $250,000, provided that the applicant is able to secure funding from other sources to bring the amount requested to $150,000 or less. Funding from other sources must be clearly described in the application, in place, and confirmed at the time that the application is submitted. The use of other CCI grants is permitted, provided that the proposed equipment is aligned with the objectives of those CCI grants and prior written authorization is obtained from NSERC. Applications requesting over $150,000 that have not adequately documented the source of the additional funding will be deemed ineligible.

CCI grants can be used to pay some or all of applicable taxes, as well as some or all of the shipping and handling expenses, as long as the overall grant does not exceed $150,000. Following the grant being awarded, should the purchase price of the equipment change and the total price increase compared to the original budget, the college will be responsible for the additional costs.

ARTI grants must be used only to purchase the specific type of equipment for which the grant was awarded. Grantees who wish to purchase equipment different from that specified in the application must obtain written permission from NSERC prior to its purchase. Grantees may, however, buy a model different from that requested in the application without prior approval.

NSERC will accept applications only for equipment that has not yet been purchased. All applications are reviewed on a competitive basis.


Canadian colleges that have been declared eligible to administer grants according to the eligibility requirements for colleges of at least one of the three federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR and/or SSHRC) may submit an application.

If the proposed applied research and knowledge/technology transfer activities lie entirely within the mandate of a single agency (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC) the college must be declared eligible to receive funding from that granting agency.

  • The college must offer programs in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences and in line with the applied research area proposed
  • The college’s faculty members involved in ARTI grants must be engaged in applied research in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences
  • The college must provide the space, basic facilities (including insurance) and services to enable its natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences faculty members to fully utilize the equipment for the purposes of applied research

Application procedures

To apply, submit an Application for a College and Community Innovation grant (form 103). Please refer to the ARTI instructions for more information on how to complete and submit an ARTI grant application.

If a cash contribution towards the purchase of the equipment is provided by an organization (other than the applicant's institution), a letter is required from the organization confirming this commitment. Partner contributions (cash or in-kind) are not required for ARTI proposals, however, contributions may strengthen the proposal by demonstrating the relevance of the equipment to the partner(s) and value to the region as a whole.

Letters from supporting organizations should clearly explain the support that the organizations will provide, including their financial contribution (cash or in-kind) to the purchase and installation of the equipment as well as their anticipated involvement in applied research and innovation activities with the college using the proposed equipment. The letter(s) of support should outline how access to this equipment will help the company with their innovation needs and lead to increased competitiveness and profitability.

Selection criteria

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria and rated on a point scale for an overall score of 10 points. In order to be considered for funding, applications must receive a passing grade for each of the following criteria:

Relevance to applied research at the college (5 points)

  • A demonstrated need for the proposed equipment and evidence that it will increase the college’s capacity for applied research in the area of the proposal
  • The fit of the proposed applied research equipment with the college’s strategic plan and existing infrastructure and equipment
  • The researcher(s)’ relevant experience and demonstrated ability to fully use the proposed equipment
  • The impact on the applied research program of any delay in acquiring the proposed equipment
  • The overall budget and justification for the proposed equipment

Value to the region (3 points)

  • The potential for the proposed equipment to foster, stimulate or enable collaborations with one or more local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • The impact of the proposed equipment on current and potential projects
  • The impact of acquiring the equipment on local or regional innovation, competitiveness and productivity
  • The availability and access to similar applied research equipment within the region for the college and local businesses

Training (2 points)

  • The proposed research equipment’s importance to and impact on the training of college and partner personnel
  • The quality and extent of training

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

The CCI program will use the 2017 College and Community Innovation program tri-agency financial administration guide as its general guideline for the acceptable use of grant funds until March 31, 2022. On April 1, 2022 the CCI program will transition to the 2019 Tri-agency guide on financial administration. However, colleges that are ready may optionally begin using the 2019 Tri-agency guide on financial administration as of April 1, 2021.

Exceptions to the Use of grant funds section of the 2017 College and Community Innovation program tri-agency financial administration guide and the 2019 Tri-agency guide on financial administration are listed below.

The following expenditures are eligible:

  • Purchase or subscription, for the funded year, of new or used equipment, hardware upgrades, or software licenses including
    • taxes paid by the college
    • transportation costs, shipping and handling, extended warranty, brokerage and customs charges
    • installation
    • training fees
    • travel required for equipment commissioning or for training

The following expenditures are not eligible:

  • Salaries and benefits
  • Insurance costs for equipment and research vehicles
  • Costs of the construction, renovation or rental of laboratories or supporting facilities (construction is considered to be any infrastructure changes that would remain if the purchased equipment were to be removed) unless required to meet regulatory requirements
  • Provision(s) in the budget for unforeseen costs (contingency fees, exchange rate variances, etc.)
  • Consumables