Genomics R&D Initiative (GRDI)

General information

Name of Initiative Genomics R&D Initiative ( GRDI )
Lead department National Research Council Canada ( NRC )
Federal partner organizations Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Health Canada (HC), National Research Council Canada (NRC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) received a onetime allocation in 1999-2000.
Start date of the initiative April 1999, renewed in 2002-03, 2005-06, 2011-12, and 2014-15.

Ongoing funding starting in April 2019.

End date of the initiative Ongoing
Description of the initiative The Genomics R&D Initiative (GRDI) supports genomics research inside federal government laboratories. It focuses on mandates and priorities of participating departments and agencies. Research supported by the GRDI covers areas such as health care, food safety and global food security, sound management of natural resources, a sustainable and competitive agriculture sector, and environmental protection, with collaboration with university and private sectors. Three independent evaluations (2006, 2011, and 2016) have confirmed that the GRDI has successfully delivered on its stated objectives. Additional information may be found on the GRDI web site.
Governance structures

An interdepartmental Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Coordinating Committee (CC) has been established to oversee collective management and coordination of the federal GRDI. It is chaired by the lead agency (NRC) with membership at the ADM-level from each of the organizations receiving funding and guest representatives from Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and Genome Canada. It is responsible for the overall strategic direction for the GRDI and approval of investment priorities. It ensures that effective priority setting mechanisms are established within departments and agencies, and that government objectives and priorities are addressed. The Committee also ensures that common management principles are implemented and collaborations between organizations are pursued wherever relevant and possible. It typically meets three times a year at the call of the Chair, more often when warranted by specific needs for decision-making.

An Interdepartmental Working Group (WG) supports the work of the committee. It is chaired by the lead agency (NRC) with membership at the Director level from all participating departments/agencies, and ISED. The mandate of the WG is to provide recommendations and strategic advice to the ADM CC regarding strategic priority setting and overall management of the GRDI. The WG is responsible for providing direction to GRDI program activities related to operational delivery, implementation planning and investment priority setting. The WG also supports evaluation and reporting requirements related to the Initiative. It meets about every two months, more often when warranted by specific needs for recommendations and advice, as well as to develop and approve the GRDI Annual Performance Report.

A Coordination Function, housed at the NRC, provides GRDI-wide program coordination, communication, networking and outreach support. This includes support to the ADM CC and the GRDI WG, transparent and effective communication to departments of the planning cycle, process requirements, financial administration and other project management requirements, and support for interdepartmental shared project planning and implementation. This function is also responsible for conducting studies and analyses to serve as input to determination of GRDI-wide research priorities, and providing management and administration support, as well as support for performance management, reporting, evaluation, and communications.

Total federal funding allocated from start to end date (dollars) 393,300,000 to March 2019. Then 19,900,000 ongoing.
Total federal planned spending to date (dollars) 393,300,000 to March 2019. 19,900,000 for 2019-20.
Total federal actual spending to date (dollars) 372,014,090 (from 2017-18 DRR)
Date of last renewal of the initiative February 2019
Total federal funding allocated at the last renewal and source of funding (dollars) 19,900,000/year ongoing from the Fiscal Framework
Additional federal funding received after the last renewal (dollars) N/A
Total planned spending since the last renewal $19,900,000/year
Total actual spending since the last renewal 0
Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation 2022-23
Planning highlights

Fiscal year 2019-20 is the first year of GRDI ongoing funding. The Initiative seeks to: 1) address shared priorities through horizontal integration and effective collaborations around interdepartmental projects; and 2) support the priorities, policies and mandates of government through concerted high calibre genomics research in areas where federal laboratories have distinct roles and competencies. The development of interdepartmental projects, while continuing to invest in mandated research, proved to be an effective mechanism to ensure continued relevance and impact of the GRDI for Canadians. The overall risk related to the funding and delivery of the GRDI program was evaluated during the planning stages of the 2019 funding renewal, and was found to be low.

Contact information Roman Szumski
Vice-President, Life Sciences
National Research Council Canada

GRDI Planning information

Name of initiative Total federal funding allocated since the last renewal (dollars) 2019-20 Planned spending (dollars) Initiative shared outcomes Performance indicators Targets Date to achieve target

Genomics R&D Initiative



Federal science departments and agencies are positioned as strong genomics research contributors

GRDI publication Average Relative Citation (ARC) scores

On par or better than other genomics researchers in Canada

Data is collected through evaluations in accordance with the NRC's approved Five-year Departmental Evaluation Plan

Research results are made available and used to inform government regulatory, policy, and/or resource management decisions

Percentage of identified end users who report having used the research for decision -making

Evidence of GRDI research impacts on risk assessment, regulatory, policy, and resource management decisions (federal, provincial, municipal)




N/A (qualitative/ descriptive): positive impact based on qualitative case study analysis

Data is collected through evaluations in accordance with the NRC's approved Five-year Departmental Evaluation Plan

Research results are made available and used by stakeholders to support innovation in Canada

Percentage of identified stakeholders who report having used the research to support innovation

Evidence of GRDI research impacts on the adoption in Canada of innovative tools and processes




N/A (qualitative/descriptive): positive impact based on qualitative case study analysis

Data is collected through evaluations in accordance with the NRC's approved Five-year Departmental Evaluation Plan

GRDI Shared Priorities

Lead Federal Organization Initiative activities 2019-20
Planned spending (dollars)
Expected results
Performance indicators
2019-20 Targets Date to achieve target
NRC (Secretariat)

Collaborative genomics R&D and supporting activities


Concerted interdepartmental research along shared priorities and common goals to address issues that are beyond the mandates of single departments

Percentage of GRDI shared priority projects managed using interdepartmental governance structures

Percentage of resources allocated to interdepartmental collaborations

Percentage of projects delivering on their objectives as planned




March 2020

March 2020

March 2020