Canada UK call for projects

Call description

The UK and Canada are running a joint grant funding competition under the EUREKA framework. This will support collaborative research and development projects, which should result in a new product, industrial process or service. Projects must be innovative, involve a technological risk and target large global markets.

We welcome proposals from advanced manufacturing businesses, food and drink processers, and automation and artificial intelligence (AI) innovators, including those applying ‘AI for design’ techniques.

This EUREKA bilateral call for proposals is managed by Innovate UK and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), including the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

Applicants are advised to read the following information carefully.

Key dates and milestones

  • Launch of the call for proposals: February 11, 2019   
  • Canadian Expression of Interest deadline (Canadian requirement only): March 15, 2019
  • International Consortium Project Proposal submission deadline: May 9, 2019*
      *applications must be received in full by 17:00 BST / 12:00 EDT / 09:00 PDT
  • Notification of successful proposals: July 31, 2019
  • Executed Funding Agreements and potential project start: October 2019​


The call for proposals is organized into two themes:

  • Theme 1: Enabling technologies
  • Theme 2: Enhanced productivity

Projects under either of these themes must have applications in one of two sectors:

  • Sector 1: Food processing 
  • Sector 2: Advanced manufacturing, including clean energy materials

Themes and sectors are defined as follows: 

Themes (applicable to both sectors)

Theme 1: Enabling technologies

Enabling technology projects are focused on the development of pre-commercial technologies that address an identified need in the area of food quality and processing, or advanced manufacturing (including clean energy). The technology must incorporate the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) in addressing a performance limiting problem.

Projects can focus on:

  • AI for Design (see program description)
  • AI and supply chain / internet of things (IoT) (could include cybersecurity focus)
  • Applying AI and vision for inspection

The following examples illustrate some potential enabling technology projects:

  • Using machine learning, optimization and other techniques to assist in the design of materials, devices, or processes. Artificial intelligence techniques, such as deep reinforcement learning, deep learning, and active learning, can be combined with other optimization techniques to help human designers invent new advanced materials, synthetic living cells, quantum and photonic devices, bioreactors, aircraft wings, fuel-efficient vehicles, chemical processes and complex systems. Such automated techniques can lead to better designs in less time, faster simulations, continuous, parallel search, and the ability to overcome human design biases. Projects in this thrust would propose new AI-driven design tools or would apply such tools to create improved designs for advanced manufacturing or food production.
  • Creating trusted supply networks using sensors, distributed ledgers (DLT), and effective human-computer interfaces (HCI). In food production and manufacturing, digital technologies can improve trust by tracking the provenance, safety, and timeliness of delivery of parts and products. Projects in this thrust would explore the use of sensors, DLT, and appropriate HCI to improve trust in existing supply networks or to design new trusted supply networks.
  • Integrating automated design and automated quality assurance into advanced manufacturing. Advanced fabrication and assembly machines can be reconfigured to modify designs and can be integrated with automated design or redesign processes. In addition, visual inspection technologies can provide automated quality assurance through non-destructive testing of parts. Projects in this thrust would explore the integration into factory processes of automated design or automated visual inspection or both.

Theme 2: Enhanced productivity

Enhanced productivity projects are focused on de-risking and integrating technologies into operationally ready pre-commercial solutions that address an identified business need in the area of advanced manufacturing or food production. While solutions that include AI or ML are welcome under the enhanced productivity theme, there is no requirement or expectation that enhanced productivity projects include either AI or ML.

Sectors (applicable to both themes)

Sector 1: Food processing

  • Enhancing nutritional value of foods
  • Novel ingredient development
  • Sustainable protein development
  • Food safety solutions
  • Authenticity and traceability systems (e.g. blockchain)
  • Processes for improved shelf life and reducing food waste
  • Smart packaging
  • Improved manufacturing efficiency
  • Lean manufacturing

Sector 2: Advanced manufacturing, including clean energy materials

  • Clean energy technologies for industrial applications, including development of novel materials
  • Additive manufacturing processes, materials and machinery
  • AI, machine learning, robotics and IoT for advanced manufacturing
  • Advanced materials, composites design and manufacturing solutions
  • Biorefinery including circular economy waste solutions
  • Digital manufacturing platform and data exchange integration for Industry 4.0

Eligibility criteria

Project proposals must be prepared and submitted together in Canada and the UK according to the following eligibility criteria. 

To be eligible through this call, projects must contribute to the development of products, processes and/or technical services which could be commercialized within 2 to 5 years after completion of the project. Note: in the case of the enabling technologies theme, the commercialization horizon may be relaxed.

Project proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing and/or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes, or services
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run the project successfully and complete on time
  • awareness of the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure) with realistic management, mitigation, and impact minimization plans for each
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear exploitation/commercialization plan for the project and the project partners
  • considerable potential to positively impact both the UK and the Canadian economy 
  • the benefit of participants from the two countries working together
  • an adequate balance and significance for both partners 
  • alignment with the respective priority themes identified in this call for proposals and fit within the definition of Industrial Research and Experimental Development
  • clear definitions of where intellectual property can be used and how it will be shared between the participants and countries (this information needs to be included in a collaboration agreement submitted as part of the project proposal).

Projects must comply with the following requirements:

  • Applicants should ensure that funded work is discharged within the national boundary from which they are in receipt of funding unless approved by prior agreement with the respective national funding agency.
  • Organizations from other EUREKA member states may also participate provided they arrange their own funding and the project meets the eligibility participation criteria of Canadian and UK organizations.
  • Participation by all organization types (research institutes/universities/SMEs, larger companies) is welcome. 

Projects involving research and development of products, processes or technologies with military and/or non-peaceful applications are not eligible for funding. 

Consortium eligibility

In order to be eligible for funding through this call for proposals, project consortia must include, at the minimum, participants as described below. 

Theme 1: Enabling technologies

An enabling technologies project consortium must include at a minimum 4 participants:

  • 1 researcher from the National Research Council of Canada who will be undertaking project research activities through the NRC's AI for Design Program and whose research activities have been approved by the AI for Design program leader
  • 1 Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), research and technology organization (RTO), or academic research organization
  • 1 UK SME
  • 1 UK RTO

And must be led by 1 of these 4 participants.

Theme 2: Enhanced productivity 

An enhanced productivity project consortium must include at a minimum 2 participants:

  • 1 Canadian SME 
  • 1 UK SME

And must be led by 1 of these 2 participants.

Definition of participant types

Eligible participant types are defined below. The specific eligibility for each organization under Theme 1 or Theme 2 should be confirmed with your National Funding Body (Innovate UK or the NRC) as appropriate.

  • Canadian SME: Entity legally incorporated in Canada, profit-oriented, with 500 or fewer employees
  • UK SME: Entity legally incorporated in the UK with 250 or fewer employees
  • NRC researcher: Researcher at the National Research Council of Canada 
  • Academic researcher: Researcher at an accredited academic institution (e.g. university)
  • RTO: the European Association of Research and Technology Organizations (EARTO) defines research and technology organizations (RTOs) as non-profit organizations "which as their predominant activity provide research and development, technology and innovation services to enterprises, governments and other clients."

Any partner whose cooperative industrial R&D project is consistent with the aforementioned requirements can apply to the present call for proposals in accordance with the national laws, rules, regulations and procedures in effect.

Funding details

The UK and Canada will jointly select proposals according to the norms, conditions and funding limits of each National Funding Body.

Canadian participants in a supported project may share funding of up to approximately $300K over 24 months.

UK participants in a supported project may share funding of up to £200K over 24 months.

Although the type and value of individual contributions allocated to a R&D project may vary, one country cannot represent more than 75% of the total eligible project costs.

State aid

Any UK business claiming funding must be eligible to receive state aid under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) at the time we confirm you will be awarded funding. It is your responsibility to make sure that your organisation is eligible to receive state aid. If you are unsure please take legal advice. For further information please see our general guidance.

Proposal submission process 

IMPORTANT: Each interested partner must contact their local funding agency before starting a project application. Applicants who do not contact their funding agency in advance of submitting their application may be ineligible for support through this call for proposals.

Stage 1: Registration

Canadian applicants must first register online in order to receive an Expression of Interest form. Please click on the Register button below to complete the online registration form with all required information.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) must be received by the mandatory Canadian Expression of Interest application form submission deadline identified in Section 2

EOIs will be reviewed to determine if your organization, project, and consortium meet Canadian eligibility guidelines for this call for proposals. Only those who are eligible will be invited to submit a full project proposal.

Lead Applicant

Each project consortium must choose one project partner to be the Lead Applicant. The Lead Applicant must register on the Innovate UK secure server. A unique login and application number will be provided to the Lead Applicant along with access to all proposal forms and templates, including:

  • Canada-UK cover sheet 
  • Project proposal appendix 
  • Call document templates: 
    • Risk register
    • Exploitation plan
    • Project plan
    • International collaboration agreement
  • Additional documents to be completed by UK applicants only: 
    • Project finance forms for every UK-based non-academic project partner
    • Je-S submission pdf output document, confirming that any UK-based academic project partners have a "with council" status

IMPORTANT: Lead Applicant registration will close one week prior to the International Consortium Project Proposal submission deadline.

Stage 2: EUREKA project form

EUREKA is the program through which this call for proposals is being delivered and Lead Applicants must download the EUREKA project form on behalf of their consortium. The EUREKA project form is the form in which the consortium will provide the main description of the project, information about the project team, and the expected benefits of the project.

The project consortium must work together to complete the EUREKA project form and all required documents as instructed by the National Funding Bodies. Should the project consortium have questions regarding applicant eligibility, call for proposal processes, or the application templates and forms, support is available from the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) in the UK and from the NRC in Canada.

EUREKA is an intergovernmental network launched in 1985 with the aim to support market-oriented R&D and innovation projects by industry, research centres, and universities across all technological sectors. It offers unparalleled international networking to over 40 economies, providing project participants access to new markets, technologies, skills, and resources. EUREKA promotes and supports market-oriented international R&D&I project generation and facilitates access to finance for companies involved in its projects. Selected projects will be submitted to EUREKA for project labelling. 

Stage 3: Submission of International Consortium Project Proposal

Prior to the International Consortium Project Proposal submission deadline identified in Section 2, all requested material must be submitted via the Innovate UK secure server using the unique login and application number provided to the Lead Applicant during registration. Applicants are responsible to verify that all documents are completed and submitted as instructed. Proposals which are missing required documents or are otherwise incomplete may be deemed ineligible for funding.

Stage 4: Evaluation and selection of projects

Innovate UK and the NRC will carry out independent evaluations of each complete International Consortium Project Proposal application in accordance with national requirements. Applicant proposals will be assessed against the business opportunity, the technical merit, the credibility of the team, and the viability of the project plan. In the UK, the evaluation panel is chaired by Innovate UK. In Canada, the Theme 1 evaluation panel is chaired by the NRC's AI for Design program officer, and the Theme 2 evaluation panel is chaired by the NRC IRAP UK national program coordinator.

A proposal is considered selected under this call for proposals if both Innovate UK and the NRC jointly decide to approve and fund it.

Innovate UK and the NRC will submit selected projects to EUREKA for labelling.

Stage 5: National funding processes

After project selection applicants may be required to submit a National Funding Proposal or other documents in order to finalize funding contribution agreements with their National Funding Bodies.

Project applicants whose projects are selected through this call for proposals will receive instructions from their National Funding Body regarding these processes. Any questions about funding agreement processes should be directed to the applicant's National Funding Body. 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.