Canada–Japan Corporate Co-innovation Program
From: National Research Council Canada
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) has identified Japan as a priority market to assist Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in co-innovation partnerships to access Japanese global value chains. In Japan, much of the innovation activity and budget resides with its world-class large corporations. As a result, NRC IRAP has developed a program to support Canadian SMEs to engage in a collaborative research and development (R&D) project with Japanese multinational corporations.
This program is designed to help Canadian SMEs adapt, validate and integrate their technologies with Japanese corporate partners. Successful applicants that can develop a co-innovative proof of concept project with Japanese partners may be eligible to receive NRC IRAP funding support to execute the project.
2. Application deadlines
- Canadian registration deadline: June 1, 2023
- Proof of concept project submission deadline: July 7, 2023
3. Sectors of focus
Although this call invites proposals related to any technological or market area, priority is being given to the following sectors:
- digital industries
- clean technologies
- advanced manufacturing
- natural resources and energy
- health and life sciences
- agriculture and food
4. Eligibility requirements
In order to participate in this initiative, applicants must form a proof of concept collaborative research and development (R&D) project that meets the following criteria:
- The project consortium must include at least:
- 1 eligible Canadian SME*, and
- 1 Japanese corporate partner
- The parties listed above must be unrelated parties (i.e. no direct, indirect, beneficial or constructive ownership interest between these parties)
- The project partners that form the consortium must agree on a plan addressing intellectual property (IP) rights and intent to commercialize
*In addition to Canadian SMEs, other Canadian organizations (research institutes, universities, large enterprises and other companies) may participate on a self‑funded basis or as subcontractors.
- The project must focus on co-development, adaptation and/or validation of an innovative product, process, or technology-based service that has:
- commercial potential and outcomes that can be realized within 2-3 years of completion of the project,
- quantifiable performance objectives, and
- a civilian (non-military) purpose.
- The project must demonstrate:
- a complementary technological contribution from each partner,
- an obvious advantage and added value resulting from the cooperation between the participants, and
- a balanced contribution between project partners and countries (i.e. no more than 70% of the effort contributed by any one partner or country).
4.3 Canadian applicant
- The Canadian SME applicant must:
- be an incorporated, profit oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada,
- have 500 or fewer full time equivalent employees,
- pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada,
- have a differentiated and protectable technology with commercial potential in global markets,
- have sufficient working capital (e.g. revenue, investment, etc.) and resources to undertake a multi-year R&D collaboration and commercialize the results, and
- be committed to significant growth through international market expansion.
- Preference may be given to SME applicants who:
- have a minimum of 10 full-time equivalent employees,
- have commercialized 1 or more products domestically or internationally, and
- have greater than $500,000 CAD in annual revenue.
4.4 Japanese eligibility requirements
The Japanese corporate partner will participate in this collaborative project on a self-funded basis. The ideal Japanese corporate partner must:
- have a broad international network and is recognized as a leader in the target sector,
- have critical pain points and/or attractive market opportunities,
- have a goal of commercializing or adopting new technologies resulting from the project,
- provide in-kind contributions (see section "5. Funding" below),
- work with Canadian SMEs to arrive at a mutually beneficially IP agreement (including having a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place),
- have a defined structure to engage with Canadian SMEs,
- have the support from senior management and operational business units (demonstrated via a Letter of Intent), and
- have a focus on collaboration and/or open innovation (the intent of the project is not company acquisition or technology procurement).
Eligible Canadian SMEs may receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible project costs up to a maximum total funding amount of $75,000 CAD over 6 to 8 months.
Through this program, the Japanese corporate partner will be participating on a self-funded basis. In addition, they must provide in-kind resources to the Canadian applicants, such as:
- access to unique facilities in real-field-conditions for innovation testing,
- use of internal services, expertise, knowledge, data-sets or equipment,
- expertise and consulting to co-develop the innovation,
- regulatory and legal guidance to ensure compliance in Japan and Internationally, and
- assistance in co-commercialization of product with relevant local business partners.
Note: Canadian SME applicants must be eligible for funding as NRC IRAP clients before they can be considered for funding through this call for proposals. For more information on NRC IRAP eligibility and becoming an NRC IRAP client, please contact NRC IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.
6. How to apply
Interested Canadian applicant must Register using the register button at the bottom of this page.
A Proof of Concept Project form will be provided to potentially eligible applicants. The application form will request additional information about the applicant, organization, technology and co‑innovation opportunities of interest.
Each Canadian applicant is encouraged to contact their NRC IRAP representative to discuss their project idea and receive guidance on preparing their submission.
For more information, contact the NRC IRAP International Office at IRAP.International.PARI@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca or Harvey Lam, NRC IRAP Japan National Program Coordinator at Harvey.Lam@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.
Canadian SME participants must be registered NRC IRAP clients. If not already an NRC IRAP client, Canadian SMEs must contact 1-877-994-4727 to determine if they might be eligible for support through NRC IRAP.
To begin the application process, interested Canadian participants must register for this opportunity by clicking the Register button.
If there is no register button visible below this line, it means the call for proposals has closed. Please contact the NRC IRAP International Office for more information.