Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) are partnering to launch a call for research proposals on quantum technologies. The call builds on complementary interests and research expertise in this area in the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada.


This call will advance the development and application of quantum technologies. The potential benefits are multifaceted. Innovation in quantum technologies would allow Canada and the UK to access cross-cutting technologies and to function securely in a global ecosystem where the safe exchange and protection of data is paramount.

It also aims to bring together dynamic consortia that will foster collaboration between established researchers and the next generation of young scientists in partnership with the private sector and/or government.

This will help break down silos among disciplines and promote gender balance, diversity and inclusion.

The research in these collaborations will provide demonstrable evidence of the impacts of quantum technologies for the economy and society.

The specific areas that can be investigated under this call are:

  • quantum secure communications
  • quantum computing and simulation
  • quantum sensing and imaging

Proposals must provide evidence of how academic researchers, industry and/or government partners will be engaged and work together to develop and apply quantum technologies.

How to apply

A common Expression of Interest (EOI), written in English (as this is a call jointly run with the UK), must be submitted to NSERC in Canada by June 8, 2020 and will be shared with Innovate UK in the UK.

The two funding agencies will respond jointly to Expressions of Interest by June 12, 2020.

Based on the assessment of your Expression of Interest, you may be invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals must be submitted to each of the funding agencies between June 15 and July 29, 2020, using the application process for each funding agency.


To be eligible for project funding, consortia must include:

In Canada

  • One Canadian university researcher, or a team of Canadian university researchers, who is eligible to receive NSERC funds
  • At least one private partner organisation that is eligible for NSERC Alliance grants and whose cash contributions will be recognised for cost-sharing
  • Optional: Other partner organisations who play an important role in your research project whether or not their cash contributions are recognised for cost sharing

In the UK

  • At least one eligible industrial partner
  • One eligible UK university or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • Optional: A government department or agency as an additional partner

To lead a project, an organisation must be a UK-registered business of any size and must collaborate with one or more UK businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

Funding Costs

The call will provide up to C$4,000,000 in funding over three years, with a maximum of C$400,000 per project, from NSERC. It will also provide up to £2,000,000 in funding over three years, with a maximum of £300,000 per project, from Innovate UK.

Projects funded under this call must have a duration between 1 and 3 years. For the Canadian portion of the project, proposals must incorporate training of highly qualified personnel such as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Canadian applicants are only eligible to receive funding from NSERC and other Canadian sources (government and/or industry) and UK applicants are only eligible to receive funding from Innovate UK.

Funding will be provided to each project lead/principal investigator (and eligible consortium partners in the UK) by the respective national funding body subject to national rules and budgetary availability.

The collaboration should ensure an adequate balance and significance for all project partners, with no more than 75% of the project budget contributed by any one organisation or country.