Global Innovation Clusters

Global Innovation Clusters represent a new government funding format and initiative funded by the Canadian Federal Government. The purpose of the Global Innovation Clusters is to advance the competitiveness of the Canadian companies in 5 key global sectors: manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital technology and ocean technology. Government grant writing experts in Fair Grant Writing collected the most popular questions our clients ask us about the Global Innovation Clusters and answered them here. Please note that you can check your eligibility for the Global Innovation Clusters by filling out the eligibility check form.

What is a definition of Global Innovation Clusters?

Global Innovation Clusters are the organization funded by the Canadian Federal Government to spur collaboration of the for-profit companies to achieve significant advancements in the development and application of manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital and ocean technology.

Why do Global Innovation Clusters exist?

The Global Innovation Clusters aim to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada’s businesses, drive more innovation and investment in advanced manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital and ocean technologies in Canada, generate new commercial opportunities for Canadian companies in global markets, and grow more large-scale world-leading Canadian enterprises.

What Global Innovation Clusters exist in Canada?

Digital Technology Supercluster (British Columbia)

The Digital Technology Supercluster will use bigger, better datasets and cutting-edge applications of augmented reality, cloud computing and machine learning to improve service delivery in the natural resources, precision health and manufacturing sectors. Employing digital technologies will save time and money and improve the health and lives of Canadians.

Protein Industries Supercluster (Prairies)

The Protein Industries Supercluster will use plant genomics and novel processing technology to increase the value of key Canadian crops, such as canola, wheat and pulses that are coveted in high-growth foreign markets, such as China and India, as well as to satisfy growing markets in North America and Europe for plant-based meat alternatives and new food products. Building on Canada’s worldwide reputation as a leader in agricultural production, this supercluster will make Canada a leading source for plant proteins and, ultimately, feed the world.

Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster (Ontario) – Ngen

The Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster will build up next-generation manufacturing capabilities, incorporating technologies like advanced robotics and 3D printing. By focusing on training and technology adoption, this supercluster will help make the words “Made in Canada” synonymous with “innovative” and “value-added.”

AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (Quebec) – Scale.AI

The AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI) will bring the retail, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, and information and communications technology sectors together to build intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics. This supercluster will help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses scale up and help ensure Canada is a globally competitive export leader.

Ocean Supercluster (Atlantic Canada)

The Ocean Supercluster will harness emerging technologies to strengthen Canada’s ocean industries—industries like marine renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, defence, shipbuilding, and transportation. This supercluster will ensure Canada’s future prosperity as a source of jobs and solutions to global challenges, such as how to meet the energy demands of the 21st century.

What projects are eligible for Global Innovation Clusters?

Projects must be delivered in Canada and the cost incurred in Canada.

  • High Potential Technology Development: Developing and scaling manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital and ocean technology solutions that will give Canadian businesses a distinct competitive advantage.
  • Technology Adoption: Game-changing technologies applied in transforming existing operations.
  • Technology Diffusion: Developing new capabilities in manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital and ocean technologies based on the application of advanced technologies.
  • Ecosystem Development: Development of new training programs, tools, testbeds that fill in gaps in Canada’s infrastructure in support of advanced manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital and ocean technologies.

Who can apply?

For-profit organizations, or not-for-profit organizations that facilitate and fund research and development, and whose funding is received primarily from private-sector organizations.

The Global Innovation Clusters (Innovations Supercluster Initiative – ISI) is collaborative and the application must involve at least three or four industry partners in project consortia.

Must our business be located or registered in the province where the Cluster is located?

No. Clusters are open to the business located anywhere in Canada regardless of the location of the selected supercluster.

How can I find the partners for my Global Innovation Clusters project?

The best way to find the partners for your supercluster funding application is to contact a relevant Canadian Clusters and pitch your project to the staff.

What are the examples of eligible partners?

Suppliers of resources or materials, 3rd party engineering firms, providers or complementary capabilities. This article has a good example of who the partners in the Canadian Cluster-funded project may be

In this case, the applicant is a manufacturer. The partners are the providers of manufacturing infrastructure, tools, knowledge and expertise, and the supplier of materials.

What costs are eligible under the rules of Global Innovation Clusters programs?

Administration and Operating Costs

  • Salaries for Entity staff (this does not include salary costs for Board Members);
  • Communication and marketing costs;
  • Travel costs in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive;
  • Networking costs related to the administration of the funded Entity, such as membership recruitment activities and Members’ meetings; and
  • Operating costs (e.g., maintenance and operations, materials and supplies, liability insurance for Members of the Board of Directors, accounting and legal fees, incorporation costs, etc.).

Project Costs

  • A portion of gross wage, salaries or contracts incurred which can be specifically identified and measured as having been performed or to be performed on carrying out the eligible activities
  • Equipment, facility and supplies, including purchase, rental, operation and maintenance costs, and user fees
  • Room or facility rental for projects
  • Materials
  • Capital expenditures
  • Travel costs

Do We Qualify for Global Innovation Clusters?

What is the minimum project budget to apply for Global Innovation Clusters?

The total estimated cost of projects should be between $1 million and $20 million, although projects above and below that range will be considered if they demonstrate transformative potential or benefits to Canada.

How much money does the Cluster provide?

Eligible expenses are reimbursed at a maximum rate of 44.4%.

Can I stack Global Innovation Clusters funding with other government grants, loans and tax credits?

Yes. Projects may receive complementary funding from other government agencies. However, the Canadian Supercluster Grant Funding cannot be used to reimburse costs already covered by funding from other government sources. The total amount of government funding cannot exceed 100% of eligible project costs.

When (how soon) will our project get the money?

The primary applicant will receive the money after the claims to the Global Innovation Cluster are submitted. The reimbursement will be made on a quarterly basis following the submission of a claim form. The copies of invoices exceeding $500 and other documentation as required must be attached to the claim to support the amounts claimed.

It is the responsibility of the primary applicant to distribute the money to the partners.

Is there a fee to apply for Global Innovation Clusters?

The applicants will be required to pay a one-time, non-refundable project administration fee to the Cluster equal to 2.5% of the total cost of the project following its approval. The applicants may choose to work with a professional grant writing firm. However, the fees payable to the grant writing firm are not eligible to claim for the Supercluster project.

What does my project need to have to succeed in Global Innovation Clusters?

The project must be:

  • Transformative: Position Canada as a global leader in advanced manufacturing, protein, artificial intelligence, digital and ocean technology
  • Applied: Involve later stage technology readiness with the potential to generate significant commercial benefits.
  • Collaborative: Involve the participation of industry partners, co-investors, academic and research institutions.
  • Enduring: Leave a legacy in skills development, tools, testbeds, intellectual property, business knowledge for Canada’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem.

Will the Global Innovation Clusters take control of the intellectual property?

No. The applicants are encouraged to have a consortium agreement in place defining roles, responsibilities, and intellectual property sharing arrangements.

How to Apply?

We recommend you to check eligibility for the supercluster funding and secure the agreements with the partners (co-applicants). When you are ready, here is how you can apply:

Digital Technology Supercluster: Become a member and contact the staff to get the direction how to proceed

Protein Supercluster: Start with submitting Project Eligibility Form

NGen Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (Ngen): Become a member and contact the staff to get the direction how to proceed

Artificial Intelligence Supercluster (Scale AI): Become a member and contact the staff to get the direction how to proceed

Ocean Technology Supercluster: Become a member and contact the staff to get the direction how to proceed

Check Eligibility for Global Innovation Clusters Now