College and Community Social Innovation Fund grants


CCSIF grants can be used to fund direct costs of research and some indirect costs of up to $120,000 per year, not including contributions from partner organizations.

For details on the use of grant funds, see the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

This program has exceptions to Part 2 of the guide, Use of grant funds:

  • Overhead and administration costs equivalent to 20% of the annual grant amount are automatically calculated; such costs include eligible expenditures in the Research Support Fund (e.g., grant writing, financial reporting, etc.).
  • CCSIF grants can cover the salary of replacement faculty hired to backfill a college faculty member’s involvement in an applied research project and expenditures for recruitment-related activities.
  • Salaries and non-discretionary benefits for non-faculty researchers, part-time faculty, technical and professional staff carrying out applied research, research administrators, business development and technology and/or knowledge transfer personnel are covered.
  • Salaries and stipends for university students are ineligible as student salary expenditures; university students involved in projects must be remunerated as technical or professional college staff or as consultants.
  • Salaries are covered for project management activities leading to the optimal use of project resources to meet the research objectives in a timely and budget-efficient manner.
  • Equipment, operating, supplies and consulting fees can be covered up to 20% of project costs (the total project costs include the total grant amounts and any cash contributions from partner organizations over the duration of the project).

NSERC recognizes that some not-for-profit organizations face financial difficulty in replacing staff so that a team member can participate in a CCSIF-funded research project. To help address this, a salary research allowance can be requested for a Canadian not-for-profit organization with an employee listed as a collaborator on the application. Salary research allowances cover up to 50% of the cost of temporarily replacing an employee from a not-for-profit organization who will devote their time as a collaborator on a CCSIF-funded research project. Applicants can request up to 50% of the person’s annual salary (including employee benefits) to be replaced for each year of the award.

For projects funded through the CCSIF/Canada Council for the Arts joint funding opportunity (see more details below), eligible arts organizations, groups or collectives may request salary research allowances for up to 100% of the total salary costs in the separate budget from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Researchers holding an academic position at a postsecondary institution and government employees are not eligible for salary research allowances.

Joint funding opportunities

To help larger projects or support additional students, colleges may request joint funding with other opportunities as part of their CCSIF application. The current joint funding opportunities are detailed below.

Consult the Instructions for completing a CCSIF grants application for guidance on additional requirements for these opportunities.

NSERC-Mitacs joint funding opportunity

Applicants may include in their CCSIF application a request for additional support through Mitacs Accelerate internships as a component of training highly qualified personnel (HQP). Mitacs internships require an eligible partner cash contribution and cannot be the only mechanism for student and HQP training.

Applicants who wish to include Mitacs Accelerate internships in their CCSIF application should contact their local Mitacs Business Development representative to obtain the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form. The Mitacs-NSERC joint application form must be submitted with the CCSIF application form in the Convergence Portal (see the Instructions for completing a CCSIF grants application for more information).

When outlining the HQP training of highly qualified personnel, NSERC-Mitacs CCSIF application proposals:

  • must clearly describe the role of the Mitacs interns in the research project, identify unique objectives for each intern, and explain the quality of the research-based training experiences provided to the interns
  • must describe how the internship partner organization is committed to providing supervision and mentorship to the intern(s)
  • should explain how the number of Mitacs intern(s) and internship units are appropriate to the project’s scope

NSERC will conduct the peer review of joint applications, and funding decisions will be communicated to the applicants jointly.

CCSIF/Canada Council for the Arts joint funding opportunity

This initiative provides opportunities for arts organizations, groups or collectives to collaborate with other sectors to foster community innovation that supports more effective, fair and/or durable solutions to complex social problems, such as integrating vulnerable populations, community development, social justice, decolonization, climate change, environmental degradation, and health and well-being.

Groups, organizations and/or collectives with a valid Canada Council for the Arts applicant profile participating in a CCSIF grants application may request additional funding from the Canada Council by completing a Canada Council for the Arts budget form and submitting it with the CCSIF application in the Convergence Portal (see the Instructions for completing a CCSIF grants application for more information). Each partner arts organization, group or collective may request up to $75,000 per year for up to three years to support its participation in the CCSIF research project. Funds from the Canada Council will be provided directly to the eligible partner organization and will be subject to Canada Council for the Arts funding policies.

NSERC will conduct the peer review of joint applications. Up to five CCSIF/Canada Council for the Arts applications recommended for funding will be awarded. Funding decisions will be communicated to the applicants jointly.

For questions specifically related to the Canada Council of the Arts and eligibility for Canada Council grants, please contact

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