Ontario Invests in Research and Innovation

Ontario Invests in Research and Innovation

Province supports development of homegrown ideas, products and technologies

June 29, 2021

Colleges and Universities

TORONTO – The Ontario government is providing over $70.4 million to help advance ‘Ontario made’ research and innovation at Ontario’s colleges, universities, research institutes and research hospitals. The funding is being delivered through the Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Awards programs and will support the development of homegrown ideas, products and technologies.

“Ensuring Ontario’s researchers have access to state-of-the-art technology, talent and equipment has never been more important than it is now as we support our world class research institutes, research hospitals and postsecondary institutions across the province,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “This funding helps to ensure researchers have the necessary supports in place to make discoveries that advance knowledge, inspire advances in technology, drive our economic competitiveness, and create a better future for the people of Ontario.”

The funding will support 176 research projects across the province and will be used to cover the costs of research operations and infrastructure, including building, renovating and equipping research facilities with the latest technology.

Examples of research projects include:

  • The Water and Ice Research Lab at Carleton University is receiving $109,999 in funding to use state-of-the-art autonomous aircraft and underwater vehicles to explore remote and inaccessible environments in order to improve land-use management, conservation and protection in Ontario.
  • Lambton College’s Canadian Extrusion Research Lab is receiving $417,533 in funding to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) develop and optimize green, smart and recycling materials and technologies. The Canadian Extrusion Research Lab will position Ontario as a provincial and national hub for material development projects.
  • The University Health Network is receiving $246,923 to conduct research to better understand heart disease and how it is affected by diabetes. Researchers will also test new regenerative medicine techniques to try to repair damaged hearts using stem cells and engineered blood vessels.
  • The University of Toronto is receiving $3,280,998 to improve autonomous driving car technology in winter weather, in partnership with General Motors, LGE, Applanix and Algolux.

As announced in Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy – 2021 Ontario Budget, the government is investing over $500 million over the next 10 years to support additional high‐value research undertaken across Ontario’s universities, colleges, research institutes and research hospitals.

“Driving research excellence and innovation is crucial as Ontario continues to defeat COVID-19 and lay the groundwork for a robust and long-term economic recovery,” said Minister Dunlop. “Our government will continue to support ground-breaking research to advance new discoveries and innovation, while fostering a skilled labour force and promoting new business opportunities across the province.”

Quick Facts

  • Research projects were selected through a rigorous and competitive peer review process.
  • The Ontario Research Fund – Small Infrastructure Fund provides research institutions with funding to support infrastructure needs, such as acquiring research equipment. The government is supporting 102 research projects with an investment of $20,550,890.
  • Ontario Research Fund – College-Industry Innovation Fund helps cover the costs of building, renovating and equipping research facilities to promote partnerships between colleges and industry. The government is supporting five research projects with an investment of $3,702,188.
  • Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence helps cover the cost of research operations including supplies and researcher salaries. The government is supporting 15 research projects with an investment of $37,573,286.
  • Ontario Research Fund – Genomic Applications Partnership Program aims to advance genomics research and development. The government is supporting one research project with an investment of $1,155,043.
  • Early Researcher Awards provide funding to new researchers working at publicly funded Ontario research institutions to build a research team. The government is supporting 53 researchers with an investment of $7,420,000.
  • Last year, the government released an Intellectual Property Action Plan, an important step in strengthening Ontario’s intellectual property position by driving the province’s long-term economic competitiveness and helping the research sector commercialize their “Ontario made” innovations, ideas and products.


“College research programs are uniquely positioned to support industry and drive economic development in our communities and Ontario, and I’m grateful the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has recognized these essential collaborations with the Ontario Research Fund – College Industry Innovation Fund. We look forward to establishing the unique Canadian Extrusion Research Laboratory to better support start-ups, SMEs, and large corporations from across Canada.”

– Judith Morris
President and CEO, Lambton College

“Ontario university research has and continues to play a vital role in supporting the province through the pandemic, and will become even more important as we help communities rebuild. Funding for the Ontario Research Fund and Early Researcher Awards programs is critical, as university researchers continue to partner with hospitals, industry and colleges to develop Ontario made solutions and help drive Ontario’s post-pandemic economic recovery.”

– Steve Orsini
President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities

“The Ontario Hospital Association thanks the Government of Ontario for its continued investment in the Ontario Research Fund, which supports discovery, system efficiency, and quality improvement. The best health care starts with the best research, and Ontario research hospitals are engines of discovery with global impact. As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most significant health care challenges in a generation, the need to fundamentally strengthen the health research sector in Ontario has never been greater.”

– Anthony Dale
President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association

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