How to apply for CanExport Innovation program funding?
To apply, you need to meet these four criteria:
- You are an innovator from one of the following Canadian organization types based in Canada:
- Small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
- Academic institutions; and
- Non-government research centres.
- You have decision-making authority over the technology.
- You have confirmed interest from a potential foreign collaborator – they know who you are, they know what your technology is AND they want to meet with you.
- You will be in a position to launch your technology into the global marketplace within the next 1-5 years.
If you meet the criteria, ask for the newest application package by sending an email to CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca. Submissions completed on expired forms from previous years will not be accepted.
- 1. CanExport Innovation Overview
- 2. Key Program Elements
- 2.1. CanExport Innovation Funding
- 2.2. Eligible Applicants
- 2.3. Outline of a CanExport Innovation Project
- 2.4. Eligible Activities
- 2.5. Ineligible Activities
- 2.6. Eligible Foreign Partners
- 2.7. Ineligible Foreign Partners
- 2.8. Eligible Expenses
- 2.9. Ineligible Expenses
- 2.10. Canadian Government Stacking Limits
- 3. How To Apply
- 4. Governing Legislative Policies
- 5. Application Review Process
- 6. Status Updates and Final Reporting
1. CanExport Innovation Overview
CanExport Innovation is a Grants and Contributions program that offers funding to support Canadian organizations’ efforts to establish new research and development (R&D) collaboration opportunities with foreign partners. The purpose of the R&D collaboration with the foreign partner must be to conduct research and development to advance the commercialization of the organization’s technology, with the anticipation to launch the technology in the market within 5 years.
CanExport Innovation may provide funding up until the point at which the R&D collaboration is formalized. R&D collaboration is considered formalized following the signing of a contractual agreement, or once the Canadian and foreign entities begin engaging in the R&D activities. All activities subsequent to the formalization of the R&D collaboration, including the R&D work, are ineligible for CanExport Innovation funding.
Project objectives that are not related to research and development including but not limited to projects focused on sales, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing are ineligible for funding.
CanExport Innovation applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks in advance of the first travel date in order to guarantee that sufficient time is available to process the application. Activities that begin less than 8 weeks after submission date will not be reviewed and will be withdrawn from consideration immediately. The remainder of the application, independent of the withdrawn activities, must meet standard program criteria.
It is important to note that not all activities will be supported in all markets. Canada has sanctions and related measures in place against a number of countries, as well as sanctions against specific individuals and entities. The CanExport Innovation program may also decline funding for reasons of national interest.
2. Key Program Elements
2.1. CanExport Innovation Funding
CanExport Innovation funds up to 75% of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 for any approved CanExport Innovation Project.
The program operates as both a grant and contribution funding program. Eligibility for a grant or contribution will be assessed as part of the Formal Review phase of the Application Review Process.
2.2. Eligible Applicants
Eligible CanExport Innovation applicants are Innovator(s) from one of the following Canadian organization types based in Canada:
- Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs);
- Academic institutions; and
- Non-government research centres.
CanExport Innovation applicants must also meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be registered in Canada;
- Own or co-own the intellectual property (IP) or the technology that will be commercialized;
- Demonstrate adequate managerial capabilities to execute the proposed activities and meet CanExport Innovation Recipient requirements;
- Have sufficient financial resources generated from private sources to cover their share of proposed activities;
- Not be funded entirely by Canadian government organizations (federal, provincial, territorial, municipal or Crown corporations);
- Have an identified Foreign Partner to pursue the Contractual Agreement;
- Be one of the parties performing the R&D work resulting from the Contractual Agreement(s);
- Demonstrate clear benefit to the Canadian economy should the proposed project be successful; and
- Applicants who have previously been approved and completed a CanExport Innovation project must not have any outstanding documents still remaining to be submitted to the program. All reporting requirements for previous projects must be fulfilled in order to be considered for current CanExport Innovation funding.
CanExport Innovation Applicants who have previously been approved for funding will also be assessed based on past performance in respect to outcomes achieved; timeliness of communication with CanExport Innovation; and compliance with CanExport Innovation requirements on requests for status updates and report submissions.
NOTE: If a CanExport Innovation application is approved, the Department will enter into a Grant or Contribution Agreement with the eligible Canadian organization that employs the Innovator. As such, the funds awarded will be issued to the Canadian organization’s corporate financial account only.
2.3. Outline of a CanExport Innovation Project
CanExport Innovation projects can take the shape of a number of different forms with activities occurring over multiples trips:
- One or more trips to meet with one foreign partner in one foreign market to pursue a partnership to work on a joint R&D collaboration.
- One or more trips to meet with multiple foreign partners in one foreign market to pursue partnerships to work on one or more joint R&D collaboration.
- One or more trips to meet with multiple foreign partners in multiple foreign markets to pursue partnerships to work on one or more joint R&D collaboration.
Projects are limited to a maximum of three trips per each partner.
2.4. Eligible Activities
CanExport Innovation is offered on an ongoing basis. However, all proposed activities within one application must take place within the same fiscal year. Eligible activities include activities directly related to the establishment of R&D collaboration with the identified foreign partner(s) for the purpose of co-development, adaptation and/or validation of a Canadian technology. For illustrative purposes, these activities could include:
- Travel to meet with a foreign partner abroad or in Canada to negotiate and/or formalize an R&D collaboration and/or contractual agreement.
- Travel to meet with the foreign partner on the margins of an event or conference only if a reason is provided to justify why the meeting with the foreign partner cannot be held anywhere else or at any other time.
NOTE: A maximum of one event or conference can be requested per an application.
- Travel to meet with foreign investors for the purpose of gaining investment funds to support the R&D of the technology.
- The development of legal documentation necessary to formalize a contractual agreement with the Foreign Partner for R&D collaboration.
This is not a comprehensive list of eligible activities. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your proposed project, please contact the CanExport Innovation team by sending an e-mail to: CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca
2.5. Ineligible Activities
- Activities that do not contribute directly to the establishment of a new R&D collaboration with a foreign partner;
- Pursuing collaborations that are not focused on R&D, including but not limited to activities targeting sales, distribution, client acquisition, manufacturing, market research and promotion;
- Activities subsequent to the formalization of the R&D collaboration, including the R&D work;
- General attendance to a conference without confirmed meetings with a targeted foreign partner;
- Activities related to the development of technologies that are at the basic research or feasibility stage;
- Licensing or transfer of technology solely for sales purposes (revenue generation);
- Exploratory missions to identify potential foreign partners to collaborate with;
- Broad activities that do not include specific timelines;
- Broad activities with numerous foreign partners that do not demonstrate targeted and strategic engagement;
- Receiving and/or paying for services from or to a foreign organization;
- Activities related to the commercialization of a technology for Non-Peaceful Use;
- Past activities that have already been completed;
- Activities related to lobbying, domestic policy development and influence;
- Participation in accelerator or incubator programs;
- Sabbatical leave;
- Student exchange programs;
- Speaking engagements;
- General outreach;
- Activities related to establishing capital assets.
2.6. Eligible Foreign Partners
Eligible foreign partners are organizations based outside of Canada that do not represent any of the organization types listed in Section 2.7.
In order to streamline the application process, applicants pursuing more than one foreign partner for different R&D collaborations can do so in one CanExport Innovation application form. Applicants pursuing opportunities with multiple foreign partners must provide sufficient evidence that they have the capacity to take on the project.
2.7. Ineligible Foreign Partners
- Consulting Firms
- Service Providers
- Accelerators and incubators
- Government Trade Promotion Offices
2.8. Eligible Expenses
For activities requiring travel, the program determines the eligibility of travel expenses based on the following criteria:
- Travel duration: Reasonable travel duration is determined based on the scope and complexity of the R&D collaboration. In general, a maximum of four days travel is supported. Exceptions may be approved with sufficient justification. For destinations that involve long overnight flights or which exceed five time zones, the travelers may arrive one full day prior to meetings.
- Number of participants: Only the travel costs of participants deemed as essential to formalizing the collaboration will be considered for CanExport Innovation funding. Travel expenses for individuals who are assessed as non-essential to the formalization of the R&D collaboration will not be funded.
- Costs: Funding of costs is allocated on a per person and or per date rate. Request for funding are assessed based on reasonability of estimated costs provided in the application submission. For certain expenses, reasonability of estimated costs are assessed against established CanExport Innovation guidelines. Those guidelines are detailed below in the description of each type of expenditure.
Eligible expenditures are funded on a cost-sharing basis with CanExport Innovation supporting up to a maximum of 75 percent of the eligible expense type.
Requested funding for eligible expenditures may be adjusted upon assessment based on current policies.
Eligible Expense Types:
- Economy class airfare: Only the cost of lowest return economy class airfare for the straight route is eligible. For CanExport Innovation purposes, the straight route is defined as the route between the traveler’s home location and the location of the approved activities, without any additional stops/legs/destinations for non-CanExport Innovation related purposes. For trips that include multiple activities and destinations that require additional air travel, only the cost of a multi-citylowest economy class airfare rate is eligible. A multi-city airfare rate must represent the travel route starting from the traveler’s home location to the first approved location, travel route between the approved locations, and the travel route from the last approved location back to the traveler’s home location.
For example: If a Vancouver-based Applicant is conducting a continuous trip to meet two separate partners, first stop in Tokyo and second stop in Shanghai, the Applicant must provide a quote for the cost of a multi-city lowest economy class airfare for the routes Vancouver to Tokyo, Tokyo to Shanghai and Shanghai back to Vancouver.
- Accommodations: In determining reasonable accommodation rates, as a guide the CanExport Innovation program uses the accommodation rates published on the Public Services and Procurement Canada website. Hospitality is ineligible for reimbursement and must not be included in accommodation estimates.
- Meals: CanExport Innovation allows for a daily per diem limit of CAD$100 per day to cover the cost of meals on the dates of travel to the location of the approved activity; dates of the meetings and/or site visits; and the dates of travel back to the Applicant’s home location.
- Local transportation: Reasonable local transportation in Canada and the foreign country, such as taxis, car rentals, public transportation, train in market, etc., are eligible expenses. All local transportation costs must be for the following purposes:
- To and from airports;
- To and from meetings; and,
- To and from site visits.
- Legal fees: The CanExport Innovation program may provide a maximum of $1,000 in funding (e.g. 75% of $1,333 in legal fees) towards legal services to develop instruments necessary to formalize a contractual agreement for the R&D collaboration.
- Translation and interpretation costs: The CanExport Innovation program may provide a maximum of $1,000 in funding (e.g. 75% of $1,333 in expenses) towards translation and interpretation costs.
- Registration fees: The CanExport Innovation program supports project-driven activities and is not event-driven. Only in exceptional circumstances will CanExport Innovation support registration fees for a conference. If conference attendance is approved, only the lowest cost entrance fee to participate in the event is eligible.
For registration fees to be considered eligible for consideration, Applicants must provide:
- Sufficient evidence to justify why the meeting with the foreign partner cannot be held anywhere else or at any other time;
- Evidence that cost of registration is for the lowest entrance fee rate. Booth fees are an ineligible expenditure.
- Photocopies or printed material: Photocopies or printed material includes informational materials used to inform the foreign partner of the applicant’s capacity or technology. The CanExport Innovation program may provide a maximum of $500 in funding (75% of $666 in expenses) towards photocopies or printed materials. Printing costs of material not directly related to a CanExport Innovation program funded activity are ineligible.
- Shipping of equipment: The CanExport Innovation program may provide a maximum of $3,000 in funding (e.g. 75% of $4,000 in expenses) towards expenses related to shipping equipment for the purposes of technology demonstration to the foreign partner. Shipping costs of material not directly related to a CanExport Innovation program funded activity are ineligible.
- Meeting room rentals: The CanExport Innovation program provides support for reasonable meeting room costs. The program will consult with the Department’s locally engaged staff to determine reasonability of estimated costs. Applicants may provide a quote outlining the meeting cost for a location near the partner’s site as evidence of estimated costs.
- Audio/visual equipment rental: The CanExport Innovation program provides support for reasonable audio/visual equipment rental costs. Audio/visual equipment rental expenditures covered under Meeting room rentals are not eligible as separate expenses. CanExport Innovation will consult with locally engaged staff to determine reasonability of estimated costs. Applicant may provide a quote outlining the audio/visual equipment rental costs as evidence of estimated costs.
- Visas: Only expenses for single entry visas are eligible.
2.9. Ineligible Expenses
- Costs that are not justifiable and pre-approved by the CanExport Innovation program;
- Premium economy, business class, first class or any other classes above lowest economy class airfare are ineligible;
- Bonus points earned from various programs (such as Air Miles/Aeroplan/World Points or any other barter system) are not considered “incurred costs” and are not eligible for reimbursement;
- Travel costs of individuals that are not essential to the formalization of the collaboration are ineligible for funding;
- Travel costs of individuals that are not employed by the Canadian applicant organization (e.g. consultants, representatives from the foreign partner);
- Under no circumstances are alcoholic beverages considered an eligible expense for reimbursement;
- Costs related to obtaining a passport;
- Cell phone charges such as international roaming charges or data plans;
- Conference or exhibition booth rentals and/or installation;
- Technicians and consultants fees;
- Administrative costs and salaries;
- Honoraria for participants;
- Overhead costs;
- Development of website presence and web hosting;
- Items for which a refund or rebate is received (e.g. taxes); and
- Federal and /or International taxes and duties.
NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible Project costs. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your proposed Project, please contact the CanExport Innovation team by sending an e-mail to: CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca
Please include your full contact information in all of your correspondence with the Department.
2.10. Canadian Government Stacking Limits
The CanExport Innovation stacking limit for total Canadian government assistance (federal, provincial, territorial and/or municipal) for any eligible line item is 75%. Stacking limits apply to the following public sources of funding or support: grants and contributions; capital stock or equity; subsidies; rebates; loans; provisions for potential losses on loan guarantees or loans; or investment tax credits received from Canadian government (including federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal and Crown corporations).
Applicants must identify Canadian government sources of funding for each eligible expenditure. In the event that actual total Canadian government assistance exceeds the stacking limit, CanExport Innovation approved funding will be adjusted in order to comply with these limits.
3. How to Apply
The CanExport Innovation application package must be requested via email at CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca. The completed application and all supporting documents must be submitted electronically to CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca.
A complete Application submission includes:
- A completed Application Form, signed and dated;
- A completed Budget Form;
- A letter or email from each foreign partner expressing their interest in meeting and pursuing an R&D collaboration;
- Copy of the applicant’s organization registration documents; and,
- Electronic copies of airfare quotes.
Incomplete applications will not be processed.
3.1. Application Deadlines
The CanExport Innovation program accepts applications on an on-going basis. However, completed applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks in advance of the first travel date in order to guarantee that sufficient time is available to process the application. Activities that begin less than 8 weeks after submission date will not be reviewed and will be withdrawn from consideration immediately. The remainder of the application, independent of the withdrawn activities, must meet standard CanExport Innovation criteria.
In order to facilitate an eight (8) week processing time, applicants should provide immediate responses to any project-related inquiries from the program. Delay in responding to inquiries may result in additional processing time. If requests for information have been unanswered by the applicant for 30 or more days, the application will be cancelled.
Details on how to complete the Application Form can be found in the Instructions section of the Application Form.
4. Governing Legislative Policies
Successful Applicants must comply with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. Applicants must identify anyone involved with the Project that has in the past year been employed by the Government of Canada or held public office with the federal government.
Upon signing and submitting the Application, the Applicant acknowledges that information contained within is subject to the Canadian Access to Information Act and Privacy Act and agrees that the information provided may be:
- collected and used by the Department to determine eligibility for funding;
- disclosed to other government programs, departments and/or agencies;
- publicly disclosed;
- published on the Department websites.
The Application Form and Budget Form forms no obligation by the Department to provide funding now or at any point in the future and that merely meeting the Program’s requirements does not ensure or oblige the Department to fund the activities proposed in this Application.
5. Application Review Process
There are four phases within the Application Review Process:
5.1. Phase 1 – Receipt and Preliminary Assessment
To begin the CanExport Innovation application process, the applicant electronically submits a completed application package to CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca at least eight weeks prior to the commencement of the proposed project activities. The applicant will receive an automatic acknowledgement from the system informing them that the application was received. The program does not review incomplete or draft applications.
A preliminary assessment of the application will be conducted to determine whether sufficient and satisfactory information was provided. At this stage, the applicant will be informed whether further information, documentation or initial clarification is required.
In order to ensure an eight-week processing time, applicants should provide immediate responses to any related inquiries from CanExport Innovation. Delay in responding to inquiries may result in additional processing time or the application may be declined if requests for information are not provided within one month of the request.
5.2. Phase 2 – Formal Review
During the Formal Review phase, a CanExport Innovation Officer will assess all documents submitted and all exchanges with the applicant. Applications will be assessed for the quality and appropriateness of the information provided. For applicants having received previous funding from the CanExport Innovation program, applications will also be evaluated on the applicant’s the reported results. Applicants may be contacted by the CanExport Officer should further information and clarification be required at this phase.
Once the application has been fully reviewed and evaluated, the application is submitted to CanExport Innovation Management for a final decision. If the application is approved, it will move to Phase 3 of the review process. If the application is declined, the applicant will be notified by email and provided a brief explanation outlining the reason(s) why the application could not be supported.
5.3. Phase 3 – Notification for Approved Projects
Successful applicants will be notified via email when the application is approved for funding. Information regarding the next steps in the funding process will be provided to successful applicants at that time.
Eligible expenses incurred starting on the date of approval and prior to the signing of the Grant or Contribution Agreement may be considered for funding support. Any expenses incurred prior to the approval of the application are ineligible for CanExport Innovation funding.
5.4. Phase 4 – Execution of Agreement
A Grant or Contribution Agreement stating the general conditions, obligations, and responsibilities of all parties is drafted following the approval in Phase 3. Successful applicants will receive an email containing the agreement with additional instructions. It is important that successful applicants return an electronic copy of the signed agreement in a timely manner. The signing authority for the Canadian organization (as identified in the Application Form) must sign the agreement prior to the start of any CanExport Innovation activities.
6. Status Updates and Final Reporting
At the end date of each Activity outlined in the Approved Budget Form, Recipients must provide a status update for their CanExport Innovation Project. If an Activity did not take place, a reason must be provided as to why the Activity was not conducted. If the activity takes place at a later date, the Recipient must indicate if the change in date will extend the end date of the Project Timeline.
At the end date of the Project Timeline or earlier completion of the project, the Recipient must complete and submit a Final Report Form which includes:
- a comparison of expected versus actual activities and results of the Project;
- successes and failures of the project in terms of meeting its objectives;
- problems encountered, actions taken, results and lessons learned; and,
- conclusions and recommendations.
The Final Report Form must be submitted within 15 days of project completion.
NOTE: For recipients entering into a Contribution Agreement with the Department, the release of fund will be subject to interim financial and project reports. These reporting requirements will be described in the corresponding Contribution Agreement.
Academic Institution: A recognized Canadian educational institution dedicated to education and research.
Activity: A trip or a leg of a trip set in a specific city outlining the meetings with the partner(s) in the identified city, the expected outcomes and the related expenses.
Applicant: The Canadian organization that employs the innovator(s) who will participate in the CanExport Innovation activities.
Canadian Organization: A small or medium enterprise, academic institution or non-government research centre incorporated in Canada that employs the eligible CanExport Innovation participants and owns or co-owns the intellectual property of the technology being commercialized.
Contractual Agreement: A legally binding instrument between the Applicant and the Foreign Partner for the purpose of establishing an R&D collaboration that will result in the adaptation, validation or co-development of a new or improved technology-driven product, service or application up to its commercialization. The formalization of a Contractual Agreement represents the last step prior to commencing the R&D work.
The Department: Global Affairs Canada (GAC), identified as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in the Government of Canada’s Registry of Applied Titles, has overall responsibility for the CanExport Innovation Program.
Final Report Form: A report describing the overall results of all Activities approved by the Department.
Foreign Partner: A foreign organization with specific knowledge, expertise and/or technology that the Applicant is seeking to collaborate with to enhance a specific product, service, or application that will lead to anticipated commercial outcomes. A Foreign Partner must be actively contributing to the technical aspects of the R&D work.
CanExport Innovation Project: The activities, foreign partners and anticipated outcomes outlined by the applicant in the Application Form and Budget Form.
Innovator(s): An employee of a Canadian organization who will participate in the CanExport Innovation activities.
Intellectual Property Agreement: A contract defining the parameters for the protection, purchase and/or sale of intellectual property rights. It sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each organization concerning intellectual property that may be created during the term of the collaboration.
Joint Revenue Model: A commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties that otherwise retains their distinct identities.
Market: The country and/or region where the foreign partner is located.
Material Transfer Agreement: A contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research purposes.
Non-Government Research Centre: An organization founded for the purpose of conducting research that is not wholly or majority funded by the government.
Non-Peaceful Use: The application and commercialization of a technology for military purposes such as the development of arms combat support or intelligence gathering. This is not a comprehensive list.
Partnership Agreement: A contract that explicitly details the relationship between the business partners and their individual obligations and contributions to the partnership.
Project Timeline: The period starting at the earliest start date of all Activities until the latest end date of all Activities.
R&D Collaboration: Research and development project undertaken by the Applicant and the foreign partner for the purpose of adapting, validating or co-developing a new or improved technology-driven product, service or application up to its commercialization.
Recipient: A CanExport Innovation program applicant whose project was approved for funding.
Service: The provision of work from an individual or organization hired and paid for by another individual or organization. For CanExport Innovation program purposes, pursuing partnerships for the purpose of hiring and paying an organization to conduct R&D work for the Canadian organization is ineligible. Additionally, pursuing partnerships where the Canadian organization will be paid to provide work for the foreign organization is ineligible.
Signing Authority: Officer or representative vested (explicitly, implicitly, or through conduct) with the powers to commit the authorizing organization to a binding legal agreement.
Small or Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME): A for-profit company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
Technology Adaptation: Projects that typically involve a product already commercialized in at least one market which requires some technical modification to fit a new market (either foreign or the Canadian market depending on the project lead).
Technology Co-Development: Projects that typically involve the creation of a new product with significantly longer project timeframes and a much more uncertain path to commercialization.
Technology Licensing Agreement: agreement whereby an owner of a technological intellectual property allows another party to use, modify, and/or resell that property in exchange for compensation.
Technology Validation: Projects that typically involve a new product that has yet to be commercialized and requires technical and business validation from potential early adopter customers.
Trip: One or more activities conducted as part of one continuous travel itinerary starting from Canada and ending in Canada. One trip can include multiple destinations, reflected as multiple Activities.
- Date Modified: