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College and Community Innovation program College and Community Social Innovation Fund

Effective October 29, 2020, the following changes will take effect:

  • The College and Community Social Innovation Fund will now have annual competitions
  • The scope of the Fund has been broadened to explicitly encourage applications in all fields of research including the natural sciences and engineering (NSE), as well as Health
  • A maximum of five applications per college will be allowed per competition.
  • Several application page limits have been reduced (see the Instructions for completing an application – form 103)

CCI/Mitacs joint funding opportunity

NSERC and Mitacs have developed a joint application submission and review process for colleges seeking support for community innovation projects from both the College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) and This link will take you to another Web site Mitacs Accelerate. Applicants are invited to include a request for additional support through Mitacs Accelerate internships as a component of the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) in their CCSIF application, if relevant. Please read the program description below for more information.

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Value Up to $120,000 per year
Duration One to three years
Application deadline February 1, 2021
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 link above.
To view instructions, select PDF forms and instructions.
To create or access online applications, select online system login.
For more information Contact NSERC at

Important information

The College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF) is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CCSIF proposals can be multidisciplinary and may fall under the research domains of the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences. Applications exclusively in the social sciences and humanities, in health sciences, or in the natural sciences and engineering, will be funded by SSHRC, CIHR, or NSERC, as appropriate. Multidisciplinary grants containing a natural sciences and engineering research component will be funded by NSERC. All applications must be submitted to NSERC.

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.


CCSIF grants are intended to foster community innovation by connecting the talent, facilities and capabilities of Canada’s colleges and polytechnics with the research needs of local community organizations. CCSIF proposals should facilitate collaborative and innovative research that brings together researchers, students and partners to address challenges in community innovation in the social sciences, humanities, health sciences, natural sciences and engineering research fields.

The CCSIF program enables colleges to increase their capacity to work with communities, with the goal of developing partnerships that foster community innovation in areas such as the integration of vulnerable populations, community development, education and training, climate change, environmental degradation, as well as health and well-being.
Canada’s colleges and polytechnics are well equipped to contribute to community innovation initiatives by tapping into the knowledge, experience, facilities and community connections available through their departments and programs.


CCSIF grants support well-defined and focused community innovation projects undertaken by college researchers with their partners from the public, private or not-for-profit sectors. Direct project costs are shared by the partner(s) and the funding agency. Projects may range from one to three years in duration.

Community innovation refers to the development of new ideas or the use of existing ideas to find solutions to community challenges. Community innovation involves an initiative, product, process or program that creates positive social and/or health outcomes for societies. It can result in more effective, fairer and more durable solutions to complex social problems. It aims to produce benefits for the community, not only for some individuals. It increases the ability of communities to act collectively and promotes solutions to accelerate technological innovation.

All proposals require evidence of

  • (NEW) specific performance metrics and targeted goals that will be used to demonstrate the impact of the project
  • strong relationships with community partners that have the capability and willingness to implement research results within a Canadian setting
  • detailed planning and sound budget justification (partners should be involved in the planning sessions)
  • student training
  • the validity of the underlying assumptions of the proposed research, intended approaches, milestones and deliverables

CCSIF grants are institutional grants. Consequently, the applicant is expected to be a senior manager in the administration of the college. In addition, the college must identify a project director responsible for the intellectual direction of the research and research-related activities. The project director must be affiliated with the host institution (the college) at the time of the application and must be qualified to undertake the research independently.

Colleges can submit a maximum of five applications in each competition.

Partner participation

Partner organization(s) may be Canadian organizations from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. Individuals from partner organizations can be part of the research team as collaborators for a CCSIF proposal and must bring their organization’s resources to the project.

Partner organization(s) are expected to participate actively in the project and contribute in a meaningful way to its success. Partner organization(s) must provide contributions (cash and/or in-kind) directly related and relevant to supporting the activities of the project.

It is expected that the partner organizations will have the capability and willingness to implement and exploit the results of the research to the benefit of the college’s local community and/or Canadian society.


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 research and knowledge or 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 humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences, in line with the applied research areas proposed
  • The college's faculty members involved in CCSIF grants must be engaged in applied research in the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences
  • The college must provide the space, facilities and services to enable its faculty members in humanities and social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and/or health sciences to conduct applied research

CCI/Mitacs joint funding opportunity

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

Applicants who wish to include Mitacs Accelerate internships in their CCSIF application should contact their local This link will take you to another Web site Mitacs Business Development Representative to obtain the Mitacs-NSERC joint application form. The Mitacs-NSERC joint application form must be submitted with the NSERC application form 103 (see the Instructions for completing an application – form 103).

CCI-Mitacs CCSIF applications require the following information when outlining the training of highly qualified personnel:

  • The proposal must describe the role of the Mitacs interns in the research project and explain the quality of the research-based training experiences provided to the interns
  • The proposal must describe how the internship partnership organization is committed to providing supervision and mentorship to the interns
  • The proposal should explain how the number of Mitacs interns and the number of internship units is appropriate to the scope of the project

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

Application review procedures

CCSIF applications are adjudicated through a competitive process. Each CCSIF grant application is reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee that includes relevant expertise from the public, private and/or not-for-profit sectors. The exact number and composition of the review committee membership will be determined by the number and nature of the proposals received. Committee members are required to have no conflict of interest with the applicant, partners or any team members. They are asked to evaluate the proposal and make a funding recommendation to NSERC based on the selection criteria below.

Selection criteria

Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for innovation impact
    • The effectiveness of the proposal to foster innovation that addresses the needs of community organizations and partners
    • The capability of the partner organization(s) to implement and/or use the project results leading to influence and impact within their organization(s)
    • The quality and appropriateness of the plans for knowledge mobilization, including effective dissemination, exchange and engagement with stakeholders within and/or beyond the research community
    • The long-term post-project potential for the research results to lead to measurable Canadian societal benefits at the local, regional or national level
    • The project’s potential to apply knowledge in an innovative manner and/or lead to the development of new knowledge
    • The quality and quantity of training and mentoring to be provided to students and other highly qualified personnel, including considerations for equity, diversity and inclusion, and the need for these enhanced skills in the local community or region
  • Excellence of the proposal
    • The focus and clarity of the specific objectives of the proposal
    • The identification of performance metrics and targeted goals to be used to monitor progress and assess outcomes
    • The quality and feasibility of the work plan, including the appropriateness of the research methodology and the suitability of the impact measurements
    • The appropriateness of the literature review
    • The probability that the objectives will be met within the timeline proposed
    • The overall budget and the justification of the individual budget items
    • The involvement of the partner(s) in the community and other relevant stakeholders in the design and conduct of the research and/or related activities
    • The total resources available from the college, the partner organizations and other sources, and their relevance for the project
  • Team expertise
    • The experience and expertise of the research team to address the proposed objectives competently and to complete the project successfully, including the consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in the composition of the team
    • The quality, quantity and significance of the past experience of the project director and the research team in working with community partners
    • The college’s track record in contributing to community innovation, and its potential to enhance its capacity to work with local community organizations

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:

  • Overhead and administration costs up to 20% of the annual grant amount
  • Course load reduction costs to cover the salary of a replacement faculty hired to backfill a faculty member’s involvement in an applied research project and expenditures associated with recruitment related activities
  • Salaries and non-discretionary benefits for non-faculty researchers and part-time faculty
  • Salaries associated with project management activities leading to the optimal use of project resources to meet the objectives of the research in a timely and budget efficient manner
  • Equipment, operating, supplies, and consultant fees up to 20% of project costs (note: the total project costs include the total grant amounts and any cash contributions from supporting organizations over the period of the project)

In addition, a salary research allowance can be requested for a Canadian not-for-profit organization that has an employee listed as a collaborator on the application. Salary research allowances are a contribution from the college to a not-for-profit organization to help compensate for the time an employee will spend participating in a CCSIF-funded research project. Applicants may request up to 50% of the total salary costs, for the time the not-for-profit employee spends on the CCSIF research project, including benefits of the employee, to offset some of the costs of hiring a replacement employee.


The reporting requirements vary with the project duration.

  • For projects up to 12 months in duration, grantees must send the CCI program staff a final report and form 301 (Grants in aid of research – statement of account), at the conclusion of the grant. For projects longer than one year, an annual statement of account (form 301) is required.
  • For all projects, final reports providing the impacts of the research are required at the conclusion of the grant. The partner(s) may be asked to submit comments on the project's success directly to the CCI program. Grantees that have failed to provide the requested feedback on projects may be declared ineligible to apply for or sponsor new proposals.

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