NRC Response to COVID-19

When COVID‑19 disrupted the world in early 2020, the NRC pivoted to support the massive government‑wide response — and help protect the health and safety of Canadians. The support that the NRC was called on to provide falls into three categories — healthcare, business, and innovation — and includes both NRC‑supported government efforts and NRC‑led initiatives.

  • Total New Funding: 792.7M

NRC‑Supported Government Response


Medical countermeasure (MCM) 1 – Royalmount Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Certification

Enables compliance with GM standards for emergency vaccine production - $15M 2020‑2021

MCM 2– Royalmount Expansion

Allows critical upgrades needed for production of vaccine candidate batches for clinical trials and fill and finish for vaccines – [REDACTED]

Royalmount Biomanufacturing Facility

Funds a new biomanufacturing facility to develop capacity to produce vaccines domestically and support global vaccine access - $126 M 2020‑2022 [REDACTED]


MCM 3 - IRAP Support for Vaccines and Therapeutics

Support for businesses that are in the early stages of COVID‑19 vaccine and therapeutic development – [REDACTED]

IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) I

Assists innovative, early‑stage SMEs that are strategic to Canada's economy and unable to access other support - $250M 2020‑2021

IRAP Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) II

Extends IAP I support for innovative SMEs that are strategic to Canada's economy and unable to access other support - $155.2M 2020‑2021

IRAP Youth Employment Program (YEP)

Part of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), helps young people gain skills, work experience and abilities - $15M 2020‑2021


MCM 1 - Pandemic Response Challenge Program

Brings together the best Canadian and international researchers to fast‑track R&D aimed at specific COVID‑19 challenges - $15M 2020‑2021

MCM 1 - IRAP / Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

Funds challenges to accelerate development of COVID‑19 diagnostic tools and personal protective equipment - $15M 2020‑2021

MCM 3 – IRAP / Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

Funding additional challenges to enable research that focuses on the users needs and responds to essential policy priorities – [REDACTED]

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Career Kickstarter

Enhances Canada's support for students, grads, post‑docs affected by COVID‑19 by providing STEM opportunities at the NRC – [REDACTED]

NRC‑led Initiatives


Additional noteworthy efforts within the NRC:

  • Delivered 9 pallets of its own PPE (sterile nitrile gloves, N95 masks, and sterile coveralls) for use by frontline health workers in NRC communities across Canada.
  • Supporting PHAC on quality assurance of N95 masks from suppliers, and Health Canada on evaluating sterilized or new N95 masks, as well as COVID test swabs.
  • Working with two partners developing COVID‑19 vaccine candidates: VBI Vaccines Inc. and VIDO.
  • Working with numerous other healthcare firms on potential vaccines, vaccine support materials, and therapeutics to treat COVID‑19.
  • Supporting Industry, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and Health Canada on domestic vaccine production capacity.


Additional noteworthy efforts within the NRC:

  • Supporting requests for technical advice and providing short‑term support to companies, ranging from manufacturing ventilators to testing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Providing $1M in funding support through IRAP to VBI Vaccines Inc. for production technology transfer and scale‑up.


Additional noteworthy efforts within the NRC:

  • Launched projects at IRAP focused on short‑ and medium‑term responses to COVID‑19 and aligned with priority areas (PPE, sanitization, diagnostics, etc.).
  • Shared filtration testing protocols with Canadian research institutes.
  • Supporting external partners and clients with established expert teams within NRC in thematic areas (sterilization, PPE testing, diagnostics and testing, manufacturing, etc.) to provide efficient, effective communication and assistance.