Colleges and Student Leaders Call on the Government of Canada to invest in College Applied Research.

Ottawa, March 2, 2023 - Colleges and Institutes Canada and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations are united in their call for the Government of Canada to invest in college applied research in Budget 2023.

Through the College and Community Innovation Program (CCIP), administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Government of Canada supports applied research at almost 120 publicly supported colleges, institutes, CÉGEPs, and polytechnics across Canada. With 95% of Canadians living within 50 kilometres of a college, college applied research centres are Canada’s most accessible innovation hubs and play an integral role in attracting and retaining top talent in their communities. Every year, small and medium-sized businesses, community organizations, and governments turn to colleges for help in finding accelerated, practical solutions to real-world problems. Colleges provide these partner organizations, over 99% of whom are Canadian, with access to state-of-the-art technologies, scientific research, and untapped talent, while partners provide students with industry insights and hands-on learning experiences that build in-demand skills.

In 2019-2020, over 42,000 students across Canada benefited from participating in applied research projects made possible through the CCIP. These students conducted research in partnership with local employers, allowing them to demonstrate their talent and apply the skills learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios. Students were also able to develop their professional identities and networks, which, for many, led to a job within the field or with a former research partner.Even though Canada's largest post-secondary education network has proven to be an effective and rapidly growing applied research enterprise that benefits the local economy and increases student employability, colleges received just 2.39 per cent of federal investments in post-secondary research in 2020.

The House Standing Committee on Science and Research (SRSR) recently called on the Government of Canada to provide better funding for applied research in colleges, CÉGEPs, and polytechnics in Canada. Colleges and Institutes Canada and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations echo this recommendation and call on the federal government to reinvest and rebalance this investment to ensure thousands more students can contribute to the local economy and develop the industry-ready skills and connections needed for future success.

Both Colleges and Institutes Canada and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations have long recognized the need for growth in college applied research funding. As the Government of Canada considers new investments in innovation, education, and addressing Canada’s labour market needs in Budget 2023, the time is now to enhance funding for college applied research.



“College applied research helps small businesses efficiently bring new products and services to market but, equally as important, are the remarkable impacts applied research has on students. Students significantly benefit from the ability to work directly with industry partners, building desirable skills and making connections that serve them well as they transition to the labour market. More than ever, we need to invest in industry-ready talent.” 


  • Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada


“Tens of thousands of college students have proven to industry leaders the value they bring to employers through participation in college applied research. Students are eager and willing to help Canadian businesses create new products, develop new services, and enhance productivity. College students hope that the Government of Canada will stand with them in supporting local businesses and community organizations through a new investment in college applied research in Budget 2023.”


  • Mackenzy Metcalfe, Executive Director, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations


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About Colleges and Institutes Canada:

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. It advocates, builds capacity, and drives knowledge to strengthen Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. With more than 95% of Canadians living within 50 km of a member institution, and thanks to its extensive reach around the globe, CICan works to future-proof communities in Canada and abroad. We respectfully acknowledge that CICan’s offices in Ottawa are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. 


Canadian Alliance of Student Associations 

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit advocacy organisation representing students at 23 student associations across the country. Through our partnership with the Quebec Student Union/Union étudiante du Québec (UEQ), CASA represents 365,000 students across Canada. CASA advocates for accessible, affordable, innovative, and high quality post-secondary education in Canada.  For over 25 years, CASA has done so successfully through policy and research development, awareness campaigns, government relations efforts, and partnerships with other stakeholders in the education sector. 


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