Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

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2012/2013 Annual Report
Networks of Centres of Excellence programs


NCE Programs Overview

Building on Canada's engineering, health, and natural, social and biomedical science successes is more important than ever in today’s global economy. Canada’s economic competitiveness depends not only on developing new discoveries, but also on our ability to transform these discoveries into products, services, and processes that improve the quality of life of Canadians. Fostering partnerships involving the public and private sectors, within Canada and internationally, helps achieve these goals.

With the aim of mobilizing Canada’s best research and development talent to build a more advanced, healthy, competitive, and prosperous Canada, the NCE Secretariat manages four national programs: Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) (includes the NCE Knowledge Mobilization and the Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence initiatives); Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR); Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE); and Industrial Research and Development Internship (IRDI). These programs address the particular needs of each stage along the innovation continuum:

Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE)

Challenge: Solving critical issues calls for a collaborative approach and a wide range of research expertise


  • Mobilize multi-disciplinary research capacity from across Canada to accelerate the creation of new knowledge in a specific research area
  • Create large-scale, academic-led research networks
  • Engage partners from multiple academic institutions, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations
  • Train the next generation of highly qualified people
  • Work with end users to facilitate the application of knowledge
  • Increase collaboration between researchers in Canada and abroad

Program description

Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)

Challenge: Research breakthroughs and innovative ideas need timely support to achieve commercial success


  • Bridge the gap from innovation to commercialization by matching clusters of research expertise with the business community
  • Share knowledge, expertise and resources to bring new technologies, products and services to market faster
  • Offer a flexible array of models, including centres that act as investors, incubators, service providers or product development centres
  • Allow centre leadership to come from a university, college, not-for-profit organization, company or other interested non-government party

Program description

Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE)

Challenge: Solving issues critical to the needs of the private sector calls for a collaborative, network approach


  • Set up networks led by not-for-profit industry consortia
  • Respond directly to R&D challenges facing a Canadian industrial sector
  • Allow industry partners to propose network-funded research projects that will be conducted at their own facilities
  • Increase private-sector investments in Canadian research through collaborative projects
  • Create, grow and retain companies whose innovations can capture new markets
  • Accelerate the translation of research into commercial products and services

Program description

Industrial Research and Development Internship (IRDI)

Please note that no further competitions will be conducted under the Industrial Research and Development Internship (IRDI) program. Consistent with the decision announced in Budget 2015 that Mitacs will be the primary delivery agent for federally supported graduate-level industrial research and development internships, effective April 1, 2016, funding from the IRDI program was transferred to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to support the delivery of internships through the Mitacs Accelerate program, under an existing contribution agreement.