Program introduction

Led by industry, CARIC’s Exploring Technology Program projects explore the potential of emerging technologies to generate new application ideas or validate technology components through applied research projects.

The mandatory research in these projects is carried out primarily at universities, colleges and research centres. Exploring Technology Program projects typically take three years and focus on technology that, at the beginning of the project, have a technology readiness level (TRL) from 1 to 4.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Exploring Technology Program, a project must meet the following criteria:

  • At least two Canadian companies involved in the project (both companies must be CARIC members)
  • At least two universities and/or colleges involved in the project (these organizations must be CARIC members)
  • Research centres can also participate as a third research partner (these organizations must be CARIC members)


The funding recipients are universities, colleges and/or research centres.

Examples of eligible expenses:

  • Salary of necessary staff for the research project (students, postdoctoral fellows, technical or professional assistance)
  • Laboratory equipment and supplies, including the services of third-party providers (vital to the project)
  • Equipment (the total cost of equipment may not exceed $1,000,000 and may not represent more than 20% of the total eligible project cost)
  • Equipment or facility rental
  • Dissemination costs (publication costs and other activities)

Funding allocation

  • Together, industry partners must make a minimum direct contribution of 25% and a minimum indirect contribution (in-kind) of 25% (of the total project costs).
  • Total public funding is typically supplied by CARIC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and other programs, if applicable.


Project development in five stages

Stage 1: Project idea proposal

Who can make a proposal?

  • Industry experts
  • Researchers (universities, colleges and/or research centres), with letter of support from a company


Anyone with a project idea is invited to submit it to the CARIC community during workshops and Research Forums held frequently (see our upcoming events).

The presentation is compelling: in less than 10 minutes, champions of ideas present a brief description of the project and its objectives and the potential expertise and partners they require (CARIC provides a template for standardizing presentations). Subsequently, participants interested in certain ideas can discuss them with the proposers of the ideas and register as “interested” participants.

Project ideas can be submitted on the sidelines of the events. To this end, champions of ideas can contact the director of their region. However, they do not benefit from the exposure available to research partners at forums and workshops.

Stage 2: Team member selection

After our forums and/or workshops, an area for each idea is created on the Aero-Collaboration Portal. Registering for the portal is free and open to everyone.
Experts and researchers who have shown interest in participating in a project during our forums and/or workshops will be automatically registered for the area dedicated to the project idea. Accordingly, they will receive every announcement about the project. To be officially considered for the project team, interested parties must fill out a “Expression of Interest” form and submit it online in the project area.

Next, expressions of interest are assessed by the industry leaders of the projects, who select the team members: industry partners, research partners and an academic leader.

Stage 3: Application preparation

At this point, the team begins to prepare its funding application. The application must include the following two documents:

  • A project brief for CARIC’s Scientific Committee
  • A proposal for a Collaborative Research and Development Grant (CRD) or, as applicable, an Applied Research and Development Grant (ARD) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

The academic leader, supported by the industry leader and project partners, prepares the application in close collaboration with a project manager from CARIC.

Stage 4: Application assessment process

CARIC assessment

To receive funding from CARIC, the project must be approved by CARIC’s Scientific Committee of CARIC.

Who submits the application?
The project’s academic leader must submit the project brief and budget.

The Scientific Committee meets four times a year.

The CARIC Scientific Committee’s deliberation confirmation timeframe
Within two weeks of the Scientific Committee meeting

NSERC submission and assessment
Upon approval of the project by CARIC’s Scientific Committee, the team has two months to submit the application with NSERC.

Assessment by other agencies (such as Mitacs), if they co-fund the project

Stage 5: Signing of the intellectual property agreement

CARIC prepares an intellectual property (IP) agreement and ensures that it’s signed by every project partner within two months of receiving NSERC’s Grant Offer Letter.
The guiding principles behind the agreement are as follows:

  • CARIC claims no rights to the IP.
  • Background intellectual property identified in each project agreement, including software, belongs to its original owner. Any background IP for the developed property will be governed by the specific provisions set out in each project agreement.
  • Developed intellectual property will be assigned to project partners whose researchers have made an actual contribution to its creation (in proportion to the percentage of their innovative contributions), as specified in the “Disclosure of the Invention” submitted by the inventors. Background IP remains the property of its original owner.
  • The project’s industry partners receive an exclusive worldwide royalty-free licence for any aerospace-related intellectual property. IP developed by a university, college and/or research centre may lead to profit-sharing or compensation if such provisions are specified in the project agreement’s terms and conditions.
  • Subject to the confidentiality provisions in the project agreement, partner copyrights are guaranteed and may be used for academic research and teaching proposes.

Still have any questions about the Exploring Technology Program? Do not hesitate to contact our team!

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