AgriScience Program – Clusters: Step 2. Eligibility

Step 2. Eligibility

Check if you meet the criteria to apply.

Eligibility checklist

You must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible.

  • Types of eligible not-for-profit organizations
    • associations
    • corporations
    • cooperatives
    • Indigenous groups

Program priorities and eligible activities

On the innovation continuum, Cluster activities range from applied research and development to technology and knowledge transfer.

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Long Description — Innovation Continuum

The AgriScience Program helps you move your activities from upstream (Discovery science) to downstream (Near Market):

  1. Research (knowledge creation)
  2. Development (pre-commercialization/pre adoption/technology transfer phrase)
  3. Technology transfer (commercialization/adoption phase)

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada offers Technology readiness levels to help you find government funding. The program typically includes eligible activities from levels 4 to 7, essentially taking you from proof of concept to prototype on the Innovation Continuum.

The program consists of 3 priority areas. Research activities must align with at least one of these priority areas:

  • Climate change and environment
    • Research that addresses climate change and environmental sustainability, to help the sector contribute to the Government of Canada's 2030 and 2050 emissions targets.
    • Within a Cluster proposal, a minimum of 30% of overall Cluster costs must be towards activities that focus primarily on this priority area, of which half (50%, or 15% of overall Cluster costs) must focus primarily on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction or carbon sequestration, with the balance focusing on other environmental areas, including: soil health, water quality, air quality, biodiversity, and plastics.
    • Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit proposed activities exceeding the minimum requirements.
  • Economic growth and development
    • Supporting economic growth by creating conditions for Canadian businesses to meet evolving challenges of the interconnected domestic and global marketplace.
    • A suggestion of 30% to 50% of activities align with this priority area.
  • Sector resilience and societal challenge
    • Enhancing resiliency to anticipate, mitigate, and respond to risks, and build public trust (for example, contributing to reduction in antimicrobial resistance).
    • A suggestion of 20% of activities align with this priority area.

Cluster proposals that do not meet the minimum investment requirements for activities that focus primarily on Climate Change and Environment, including GHG emissions reduction or carbon sequestration, may be deemed as application under the Project component.

Eligible areas of research

The areas of research identified below are subject to specific AAFC guidance.

Health claims and human clinical trials

A food health claim is any label or advertising that suggests a relationship between a food or an ingredient and a person's health.

AAFC will only consider funding research projects that include human clinical trials to support disease risk reduction and therapeutic health claim for which stakeholders will seek to obtain a Health Canada pre-market approval or recognition of the validity of the health claim.

In assessing projects, AAFC (and Health Canada, where appropriate) will evaluate that the applicant has demonstrated a body of evidence that is broadly supportive of the claim and that the literature review and human clinical trial design and conduct are deemed to be methodologically robust enough to meet Health Canada standards.

Variety development

Variety development remains an eligible activity under the program where the research aligns with at least one of the three priority areas. However, AAFC will prioritize activities focused on early stage development work, which is typically characterized by the development of new traits, and involves genome development and plant breeding. Later stage work continues to be eligible but will be of lower priority.

Later stage work is typically characterized by the incremental development of traits, such as the delivery of finished varieties during a 5-year period.

Pest and disease surveillance

Activities related to pest and disease surveillance will only be considered eligible if they are required as part of a broader research activity. Regular and routine monitoring for pests and diseases are not eligible activities. You must clearly explain how any surveillance and monitoring data captured is novel and supports the desired impact of the research activity.

Indigenous knowledge and science priorities

Activities in support of Indigenous groups (First Nation, Métis or Inuit) to conduct research and share new and traditional scientific knowledge will be considered eligible. AAFC will support Indigenous knowledge systems and scientists in a wide range of research areas, including:

  • Livestock and crop management systems and techniques
  • Management of agricultural ecosystems, including permaculture, food forests and companion planting
  • Traditional harvesting of crops and livestock
  • Knowledge of cultivation and stewardship techniques locally adapted to ecosystems

Indigenous applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Indigenous Services Liaison Office at before submitting an application.

Eligible costs

All costs claimed under the program or contributed by industry and other sources for the Cluster and its activities, must fall within the program cost categories and respect all limitations.

Note: Costs you incur prior to AAFC approval or the project start date may not be reimbursed by AAFC, and you may be solely responsible for those expenditures.

Expected results

The program requires reporting on impacts, which are the desired outcomes of projects and their individual activities within each of the 3 priority areas. Performance measures and indicators both quantitative and qualitative are means of demonstrating the desired impacts of Clusters and their proposed activities.

Building on program priorities, Cluster activities are expected to produce results in addition to knowledge transfer impacts.