Challenge programs


Breakthroughs take teamwork

Consistent with Canada's vision for science and building on the Innovation and Skills Plan, the government is transforming and re-tooling Canadian innovation programs to drive the innovation economy. Challenge programs are a component of this transformation.


To bring about transformative, high-risk, high-reward research with the potentialfor game-changing scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs, the Government of Canada has provided $150 million over 5 years, with $30 million per year ongoing, to the NRC to fund its researchers to work with innovators from post-secondary institutions and businesses on multi-party research and development programs.

Following initial consultation with stakeholders in the private, public, post-secondary and non-profit sectors, the NRC is now developing 4 bold new Challenge programs focused on disruptive technologies that will benefit Canadians, including AI-assisted design, cell and gene therapies, faster and more secure digital networks for rural and remote communities, and the development of new materials that will be used in the production of clean and sustainable energy.

Materials for Clean Fuels

To develop new materials for clean and sustainable sources of energy.

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High-throughput and Secure Networks

To develop high-performance, affordable and secure communication for rural and remote communities.

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Disruptive Technology Solutions for Cell and Gene Therapy

To develop disruptive technology solutions for cell and gene therapies to significantly improve health outcomes.

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Artificial Intelligence for Design

A foundation of AI tools, technologies and capabilities to support the above 3 mission areas.

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The NRC is committed to bringing together the best minds available to advance knowledge, fundamental science and technology development that contribute to Canadian research excellence.

Collaborate with us

These challenge programs are being developed in consultation with collaborators and strengthened through peer review. These programs will be supported by grant and contribution funding for collaborators offering complementary expertise including academic institutions and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

As the programs begin to take shape, we will post opportunities for collaboration on the site for each program.