Arctic and Northern Challenge program

The Arctic and Northern Challenge program aims to address pressing issues impacting the quality of life of Northern peoples. The program is committed to prioritizing Northern-led research projects that have a strong focus on Northern capacity building. By providing both research funding and scientific expertise, the program will support strong and sustainable Northern communities through applied technology and innovation.

The Arctic Circular Newsletter Now Online

The NRC's Arctic and Northern Challenge program debuts its first newsletter. Read about key developments and unique Northern-led research projects that are addressing the urgent issues affecting the quality of life of Northern peoples.

Read the newsletter

About the program

A document that highlights key information about the program, the research outcomes and information for collaborators is available in the following Indigenous languages and dialects. Please contact NRC.Arctic&Northern-Arctique& if you wish to receive the overview document in any of the languages listed.

  • Cree
  • Inuinnaqtun
  • Inuktitut
  • Inuvialuktun
  • Michif
  • Tlicho

Areas of focus

Working with Canadian and international partners from Northern communities, academia, industry, government and other interested stakeholders, research conducted under the program will examine 4 research themes and 2 cross-cutting areas, as outlined in the program plan.

Research themes


Conduct applied research and/or develop technologies to improve the adequacy, suitability and affordability of Northern homes.


Conduct applied research and/or develop technologies to improve the accessibility, comprehensiveness and appropriateness of Northern health resources.


Conduct applied research and/or develop technologies to improve the accessibility, availability and quality of Northern food resources.


Conduct applied research and/or develop technologies to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of Northern water resources.

Cross-cutting areas

Capacity building

Projects will demonstrate how they will aim to increase Northern and Indigenous R&D capacity (individual, organizational and community), to solve pressing issues confronting Northerners.

Indigenous Knowledge

Projects will show how they will braid Indigenous Knowledge with the study design, data collection, project implementation, training and/or technology advancement, with at least one Indigenous Knowledge holder involved in the project.

Arctic and Northern Challenge program consultation summaries

Feedback from Northern peoples included advice on priority research areas, program mechanics and the importance of cross-cutting themes such as Indigenous Knowledge and capacity building. 4 research themes were identified:

This information was used to develop the program plan and is provided here to help inform applications to the program. More comprehensive reports on the consultations are available upon request.

Getting involved

For collaborators

There will be ongoing future opportunities for Indigenous collaborators to get involved. Researchers from Indigenous governments and organizations as well as the academic, public and not for profit and private sectors may express their interest in collaborating by emailing us. In the meantime, follow us on social media for updates using #NRCArcticNorthernProgram.

Grant and contribution funding will be available through the NRC's National Program Office for eligible recipients collaborating on projects under the program. This may include contributions to collaborative R&D as well as equipment needed for research in fundamental areas. Consult the collaborative R&D funding page for more information.

The Canada-Inuit Nunangat-United Kingdom Arctic Research Programme (CINUK)

The program's first call with its Inuit, United Kingdom and Canadian partners, called CINUK, is complete, and 13 projects have been selected for funding. The research funded under the CINUK programme focuses on changing Arctic ecosystems and the impacts to Inuit communities and beyond.

News and events


Weaving together Indigenous expertise and Western science in Arctic clothing

Successful Canadian, Inuit and UK research teams announced for major new Arctic research programme

National Research Council of Canada launches new research program focusing on improving quality of life for Northerners

United Kingdom-Canada Inuit Nunangat and Arctic Region Research Programme will support Inuit self-determination in research

Contact us

If you are interested in collaborating, making investments in this area, attending a workshop or engagement activity, or if you have any questions, please send us an email.