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Funding Opportunities for Sustainable and Connected Vehicles Innovation

As one of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturing regions, Canada makes significant efforts to remain on the cutting edge of innovative automotive technologies.  

Canada leverages its innovation clusters and new ideas that emerge from startups, national, and international firms in Canada to revolutionize transportation and automotive technologies. The areas of focus include quantum technologies, AI, clean technologies, and advanced manufacturing. 

Several government agencies and not-for-profits across Canada focus on advancing greener transportation technologies, while others offer incentives that aid in the growth and development of automotive innovations.  

Below are some key sponsors interested in connected, sustainable, and autonomous vehicles in Quebec and Ontario that one should keep in mind when looking for funding. Within each funding program sponsor, we will highlight the flagship program(s) and sought benefits.  

Quebec
  

Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) 

The Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation offers funding programs and partners with other sponsors to further accelerate scientific and technological advancements in Quebec. The Ministry emphasizes the importance of research and innovation and assists organizations dedicated to the promotion, development, and transfer of research and innovation.  

Call for Proposals in the Demonstration of Sustainable Transport Technologies  

This call for proposals plans to offer $6.5 million in grants over a five-year period to support SMEs within Quebec to carry out demonstration projects that showcase their land transport and sustainable mobility technologies.  

Eligible projects must develop a new product or process that has a significant advantage over existing solutions – or significantly improves current products and processes – and be undertaken in collaboration with a city or transportation company within Quebec. 

The grants offered through this program can subsidize up to 50% of project costs – up to a total contribution of $350,000 – and eligible projects may be no longer than 18 months in duration. 

Program details are currently only available in French, and the next deadline to apply is November 17th, 2021.  

This specific call for proposals is also part of the Quebec government’s larger Sustainable Mobility Policy for 2018-2030 (in French only).  

Ontario

Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) 

The Ontario provincial government has dedicated significant resources to the development of the automotive industry, specifically for innovations related to autonomous vehicles.  

Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network is dedicated to developing the economic potential of automotive and smart mobility innovations with the potential to radically change transportation methods and the related infrastructure.  

Through AVIN and the larger “Driving Prosperity” initiative, the Government of Ontario has dedicated $85 million to help Ontario SMEs develop, test, and commercialize mobility technologies for the future. This funding broadly supports research and development, talent acquisition, innovative initiatives, and more.  

AVIN directly offers several funding and support programs, but also partners with other organizations within Ontario to deliver targeted support for specific projects.  

AV Research and Development (R&D) Partnership Fund 

This program is divided into two streams and offers co-investment opportunities of up to 33.3% of project costs. Stream 1 offers up to $100,000 in total funding, while Stream 2 can offer a maximum of $1 million, as well as includes costs for hiring an intern as part of the project.  

Both streams are intended for projects developing connected and autonomous vehicles technology beyond the feasibility study stage and require the collaboration of at least one lead applicant and a partner. Ontario SMEs, Canadian or foreign corporations, municipalities, indigenous communities, not-for-profits, and post-secondary institutions are eligible applicants or partners for both streams. Publicly funded post-secondary institutions cannot act as the lead applicant for stream 2.  

AVIN Waterloo Ventures 

AVIN funds this program in partnership with Communitech and other partners. It is specifically designed to fund innovations in the fields of self-healing and high-definition maps that facilitate mobility.  

This program is intended for Ontario startups and scale-ups (500 employees or less) and offers grants of up to $50,000 to selected applicants. In addition to grant funding, the program also offers expert support and coaching to facilitate the development of a working prototype or improve the product in order to create additional market traction.  

Canada Wide
 

Sustainable Development Technologies Canada (SDTC) 

This National Canadian foundation was created by the federal government to help foster the growth of the clean technologies sector in Canada and promote environmental sustainability. Since its inception in 2001, SDTC has injected nearly $1.4 billion into 460 Canadian clean technologies companies and helped create over 16,000 jobs nationwide. 

Clean Tech Fund  

This fund provides grant financing to develop promising clean technology development and demonstration projects led by start-ups or scale-ups. The technology itself must be beyond the proof-of-concept stage, but not yet commercialized. The technology must also demonstrate a potential for GHG emissions reductions, reductions in water consumption and/or the reduction of water, soil or air contamination levels. The project must have demonstrated environmental and economic benefits for Canadians. These grants can subsidize up to $4 million or 40% of eligible project costs, with an average contribution of $3 million. 

The Clean Tech Fund’s portfolio of funded companies currently includes sectors ranging from agriculture and forestry to power generation and transportation. In the transportation sector, current accepted projects are also varied and show the wide range of the applications of new technologies to make the automotive and transportation sectors more sustainable: projects related to lithium-ion batteries, fleet management and route planning solutions, hybrid heavy vehicles and motion sensors for autonomous vehicles all qualified for the program!  

Applications for this program are accepted on a rolling basis, with five approval rounds per year. 

How R&D Partners can help   

If you have any questions about the programs we mentioned above, do not hesitate to contact Dominik Klein at [email protected], or at 1-800-500-7733 ext. 103