Strategic Science Fund: 2021 competition – letter of intent assessment results

Letter of intent assessment results: the following 35 applicants to the Strategic Science Fund are advancing to the full application stage. Please see below for the summaries of the proposals advancing.

Name of organizations

Proposal summaries


Actua relentlessly removes barriers and creates pathways for marginalized and underrepresented youth so they can lead Canada's inclusive innovation economy. Building on 30 years of leadership and collaborations, Actua will:

  • Diversify Canada's talent pipeline by delivering equity-focused science and technology skill development programs to 2 million girls, Indigenous, Black and other vulnerable youth in 600 communities;
  • Strengthen science culture by improving youth, family and community literacy in critical topics like health, climate, AI, manufacturing and cybersecurity;
  • Build world-class, equity-driven scientific research capacity among youth;
  • Drive knowledge exchange on equity-focused research and lead national and regional forums advancing Indigenous land-based science.

adMare BioInnovations

adMare BioInnovations, Canada's life sciences venture, is building a strong, commercially sustainable Canadian life-science ecosystem. With a demonstrated track record of building companies, ecosystems, and talent, adMare's proposal is to scale-up its reach and work even more collaboratively with research universities and institutes. To commercially advance promising Canadian technologies, driven by globally relevant research and innovation talent, adMare will create new high-value strategic partnerships among complementary Canadian organizations. These will enhance adMare's footprint in key geographies, foster collaborative innovation, and expand talent development to fully realize our national impact, and advance our vision of Canadian life sciences leading the world.


AGE-WELL and Canadian Frailty Network will leverage the expertise and infrastructure of their successful national networks to launch a new synergistic and stakeholder-driven research initiative to deliver evidence-based social, health care and AgeTech solutions to all older Canadians. To ensure that healthy aging solutions are designed for impact we propose to: 1) sustain and fortify our transdisciplinary aging research ecosystem; 2) lead the research, development and implementation of person-centred and accessible healthy aging solutions; 3) foster multi-sector partnerships, entrepreneurship and economic inclusion; 4) address aging-related societal challenges and disparities; and 5) build capacity across academic, clinical, industry and government sectors.

ArcticNet inc.

ArcticNet represents a pan-Canadian solution to supporting domestic and international knowledge needs while advancing science and developing more inclusive, Indigenous self-determined approaches to research excellence that will underpin a sustainable, vibrant, peaceful, and healthy Arctic now and into the future. The organization has been co-designed to bridge national knowledge assets to understand, prepare, and respond to a rapidly changing Arctic. The new evolution of the organization focuses on: leveraging discovery and diversity, convening and connecting, unleashing capacity, and mobilizing knowledge, by building on what works, filling gaps, and elevating our collective efforts within the Arctic science and Indigenous knowledge communities.


Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. Cancer immunotherapy is a revolutionary approach that harnesses a patient's own immune system to preferentially seek out and destroy tumour cells.

BioCanRx was created in 2015 to integrate, coordinate and achieve alignment of research investments, infrastructure, skills training, biomanufacturing and private sector partnerships to deliver novel, made-in-Canada immunotherapies to Canadian cancer patients. Our efficient ecosystem approach enables science innovators from the academic, public and private sector to capitalize on existing Canadian infrastructure and expertise to efficiently develop their technologies in Canada, benchmarked to international efforts by international leaders in drug development.

Brain Canada Foundation

Brain Canada Foundation is a national convenor, enabling and supporting excellent, innovative, paradigm-changing brain research in Canada, from basic to applied. Brain Canada will continue to focus on three core operational objectives: support and strengthen Canada's brain research community; together with sustainable partners, double the value, reach, and impact of Canada's brain research investment; and foster a robust research talent pipeline. Brain Canada supports partner-driven translational programs to yield social and economic impacts on brain health. Brain Canada will continue to promote equitable, diverse, and inclusive science, and collaborative research with Indigenous communities, in the years to come.

Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC)

The Action to Impact program will strengthen evidence-based decision-making, advance innovation skills development, and foster an inclusive science culture across Canada, through the support of the informal science learning sector by:

  • Engaging underrepresented youth and their families, including 100+ Indigenous communities, in hands-on, locally relevant, STEM and Climate Action learning activities;
  • Tackling online science misinformation;
  • Providing professional development resources to CASC members, towards inclusive and equitable workplaces;
  • Strengthening the capacity of CASC members as regional economic pillars;
  • Conducting research in informal STEM learning in the science public engagement sector.

Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet)

GlycoNet is a global leader in glycomics – the science of glycans (sugars) that are vital to biological processes. GlycoNet develops glycomics-based solutions to global challenges in health and agriculture, using a translational strategy based on six objectives:

  • Improve human and animal health with transformative glycomics technologies.
  • Expand glycomics services to Canada's academic, pharma, agricultural and biomanufacturing sectors.
  • Increase adoption of glycomics technologies with industry partnerships.
  • Create jobs through commercialization of glycomics technologies and company creation.
  • Advance Canada's biotechnology sector by training and retaining glycomics talent.
  • Strengthen Canada's leadership in glycomics.

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

CIFAR is a Canadian-based global research organization. Over our 40-year history, we have become renowned in the global research community for our accomplishments in supporting networks of high-calibre researchers and scholars in Canada and around the world to explore long-term, high-risk scientific, social, and economic issues of importance to Canada and the world.

To address the profound questions and global challenges facing science and humanity, CIFAR will accelerate our expanding impact in three areas:

  • Advancing scientific knowledge in high risk, complex areas of enquiry;
  • Supporting development of the world's future research leaders; and
  • Driving societal impact through knowledge mobilization.

Canadian Mountain Network (CMN)

Canada's first research organization centred on mountains has developed a forward-thinking, ethical and equitable way of conducting natural science that respects the knowledge and leadership of Indigenous Peoples leading to better scientific and community outcomes. Braiding knowledge systems to better understand the climate and biodiversity crisis and the balance needed between economic, environmental, cultural and social sustainability results in more equitable, relevant, and effective public policy and decision-making. Evolving to Braiding Knowledges Canada (BKC), our scope will expand to serve the diversity of landscapes and peoples across Canada advancing Reconciliation through Research.

Canadian Water Network (CWN)

CWN will establish a National Collaborative for Innovation through Water (NCIW) to address major challenges with cross-sector collaboration around water as an aligning core. NCIW will engage diverse stakeholders, leveraging Canada's leading institutions, knowledge and expertise to achieve effective evidence-informed progress in three areas: 1) resilience and net-zero through water infrastructure; 2) water as an anchor for healthy and effective working landscapes; 3) improved public health through water. Applying an equity lens, NCIW will conduct national consultations, curate and disseminate relevant knowledge for communities, and deliver improved policy actions, investment decisions and innovation opportunities.

Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet)

CANet has developed VIRTUES (Virtual, Integrated, Reliable, Transformative, User-Driven, E-health System), a Canadian-made, patient-owned, digital health platform for patients with complex cardiac conditions to co-manage their care with their healthcare providers in a holistic comprehensive care path incorporating expert guideline recommendations alongside educational materials tailored to the patients.

VIRTUES aims to reduce the direct and indirect cost of healthcare to patients and to society by 10%; improve quality of care through a 20% reduction of emergency department visits and hospitalizations; and a 30% increase in patients receiving high-quality specialty-directed care at home, in their own community.

Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI)

As the first-of-its-kind aging and brain health solution accelerator, CABHI rapidly mobilizes the development, validation, commercialization, and adoption of innovations to advance the health and well-being of Canadians; build system-level skills to translate research and innovation into impact; and realize the full potential of Canadian science to compete economically. By brokering strategic partnerships across the research and innovation ecosystems, CABHI coordinates efforts to optimize the value and reach of science-based solutions. Building on our expertise, networks, and demonstrated impact, CABHI will accelerate leading-edge innovations, create jobs and companies, and attract global investments, to strengthen Canada's science, technology, and innovation excellence.

Clear Seas Centre For Responsible Marine Shipping (Clear Seas)

Clear Seas will mobilize science and technology innovators to enhance the safety, sustainability, and inclusivity of Canada's maritime transportation system. Marine shipping is key to Canada's economic growth, but it poses significant risk to the environment. With funding by the Strategic Science Fund, Clear Seas will use its proven network of academic, industry, and Indigenous partners to commission, mobilize, and enhance research for a safer, sustainable marine shipping industry. This unique focus on public engagement, industry-focused research, knowledge mobilization and Indigenous-led initiatives will deliver results not provided by existing government initiatives or university research projects.

Composites Knowledge Network (CKN)

Canada excels in advanced manufacturing, and over 750 Canadian companies work with composites. However, composites manufacturing is costly and complex, and Canada's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face significant obstacles. In the last 10 years, we have worked with over 220 SMEs using a structured approach to knowledge mobilization, in collaboration with Canadian universities, NRC, and internationally. A core capability is an online, digital resource providing structured, easily accessible multimedia practical guidance tied to the underlying science. We will expand our capabilities, increasing the services offered and the number of manufacturers we reach, in all economic regions of the country.

Council of Canadian Academies (CCA)

The CCA proposes to enhance its current capacity to deliver multidisciplinary evidence to inform complex policy decisions for the Government of Canada. Along with increasing the number of assessments in response to evolving requirements and emerging priorities, the CCA will consider diverse evidence, including local and Indigenous knowledge, and support uptake of assessment findings with strategic stakeholder engagement. Through focused and purposeful new collaborations, the CCA will deepen its commitment to the collective value of evidence for policy, providing a responsive source of independent knowledge to be shared, used, and built on to advance Canadian priorities.

Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECO Canada)

The project is designed to expedite the transition of Canadian small and medium businesses to net-zero carbon emissions. Focused on businesses operating in high emission sectors, the project aims to support future competitiveness of these business sectors and help them move towards a low carbon economy. ECO Canada, in partnership with Carleton University's Innovation Hub, Manitoba Environmental Industry Association (MEIA), and University of Toronto Mississauga, will work with the select SMEs to support Canada's net zero goals, labor market, and help thrive in a low carbon economy by:

  • researching cleantech solutions
  • framework for integrating clean technologies
  • capacity building for emissions reductions
  • supporting international partnerships on GHG reductions.

Genome Canada

Genomics is driving a bio-revolution – Canada needs a strategic organization to coordinate the ecosystem for impact. Genome Canada will advance five objectives under the SSF. Building from the Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy, we will help deliver a national vision and action plan, mobilizing across sectors and borders. We will lead efforts to ensure national capabilities in data, infrastructure and talent. We will deliver research and innovation initiatives addressing major health, climate and food challenges. We will redress historic inequities and advance an inclusive genomics agenda. We will accelerate commercialization and uptake in high growth sectors, diversifying partnerships and user engagement.

GreenCentre Canada

GreenCentre Canada's mission is to help cleantech companies in the chemistry and materials sector transform their innovations into sustainable commercial products and processes by addressing their technical challenges.

The RISE Program will accelerate the time to market of technologies being developed by 50 Canadian cleantech SMEs and position them for business growth.

GreenCentre will leverage the skills and experience of its team and fully equipped laboratory to execute technical projects that are tailored to meet each company's unique needs. Supporting these cleantech SMEs will create and maintain Canadian jobs, unlock investment, and aid the transition to a Net-Zero economy.

Health Data Research Network Canada (HDRN Canada)

The aim of this proposal from Health Data Research Network Canada is to coordinate and support the use of real world data (RWD). This will enable better and more efficient generation of real world evidence, resulting in better health-related decision-making and health outcomes.

The proposal has four objectives:

  • Creating a portal for data access for multi-regional real world evidence studies.
  • Establishing a funded service for responding to high-priority real world evidence questions.
  • Significantly expanding data partnerships and sources of RWD.
  • Expanding capabilities for receipt of real-time RWD and preparation of analysis-ready datasets.

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

The importance of healthy dietary patterns in improving population health and reducing cardiovascular disease is clear. The Canadian Food Environments Dashboard and Knowledge Hub will synthesize and translate key research and data regarding food environments to people living in Canada from diverse audiences. The project will develop a comprehensive online dashboard to collate and diffuse data and information, coupled with a knowledge hub to facilitate resource sharing and knowledge exchange among the Canadian scientific community. This project will contribute to broader efforts to establish healthier Canadian food environments supporting healthy and sustainable dietary patterns and reducing rates of non-communicable disease.

India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS)

Established in 2013, IC-IMPACTS has demonstrated that integrating Canadian and Indian researchers, companies, and communities to address socioeconomic challenges is effective in stimulating high-impact, application-oriented research that meets the sustainable economic and community development needs of both countries. Partnerships with communities have led to transformative changes in those communities, and IC-IMPACTS' technologies are being scaled up and commercialized. IC-IMPACTS proposes to develop and demonstrate technologies in areas of: (i) Water and Cleantech, (ii) Health and Biosciences, (iii) Infrastructure and Advanced Manufacturing, and (iv) Agri-tech and Food Security.

Indigenous Works Organization Inc.

Luminary is a network of over 150 partners, including post-secondary academic and research institutions, business schools, Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses, and NGOs, committed to designing an Indigenous research and innovation agenda.

Luminary will enable researchers to develop mutually respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples; promote capacity-building; as well as develop research networks and partnerships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and federal granting agencies and the broader research community.

Luminary will provide Indigenous-led expertise and capacity-building to advance Indigenous innovation for economic transformation, employment and well-being.

Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC)

The IQC is situated at the strategic intersection of education, research and commercialization. As a recognized leader in quantum information science and technology, IQC strives to deliver on its objectives to increase awareness and knowledge of quantum, support commercialization, attract talent and expand opportunities for students.

To attain these objectives and support Canada's global quantum leadership, IQC's approach includes a variety of activities such as supporting theoretical and experimental research; providing state-of-the-art quantum research infrastructure; offering award-winning scientific programming and educational outreach. Focused on bringing the benefits of quantum to Canadians, IQC also provides pre-commercialization support.

Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN)

The best opportunities for reducing the social, emotional, and financial costs of neurodevelopmental disabilities come in childhood, when the capacity to impact brain function is highest. KBHN proposes to pursue three integrated and complementary objectives: improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families; accelerate the uptake of research innovations into practice; and strengthen Canada's research ecosystem. Together, KBHN's interdisciplinary research network and multi-sectoral partners will translate scientific discoveries into evidence-informed, nationally accessible practices, products, and policy changes that will strengthen Canada's healthcare system and public health supports for children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Let's Talk Science (LTS)

LTS develops future talent by offering programming that engages Early Years to Grade 12 youth and educators in life/health/physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM). SSF funding will enable increased reach, ensuring programming is available across Canada in English and French at no cost. LTS will diversify STEM by engaging youth from under-represented demographics. LTS will also support knowledge translation of the Science, Technology & Innovation (ST&I) ecosystem by coordinating a partner and volunteer network, building a science culture. LTS' national structure and collaborative delivery network offers a unique balance enabling national programming that is locally responsive.

Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR)

MEOPAR's reimagined organization under the Strategic Science Fund will advance Canada's scientific capacity to observe, predict and respond to marine environmental and technological changes, and enhance the resilience of ocean-connected communities and industries in the face of climate change. MEOPAR will support a coordinated approach to mobilization of national expertise, knowledge and infrastructure in support of Canada's sustainable blue economy and national adaptation strategy, the development of a new, diverse generation of ocean researchers and professionals, and the closing of gaps in Canada's ST&I landscape.


Mitacs plays a pivotal role in the Canadian innovation ecosystem through partnerships between post-secondary institutions, industry, not-for-profit, and community organizations. These partnerships enable work-integrated learning opportunities for students, who are the next generation of the Canadian talent pipeline.

Through the SSF, Mitacs will act as a multiplier with innovation partners and combine federal funding with provincial, territorial, post-secondary and private sector investment to achieve these objectives: (1) enhance delivery of work-integrated internships in priority sectors; (2) attract and retain global talent and (3) continue to reduce barriers and ensure equitable access to the innovation economy to Canadians of all backgrounds.

Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA)

This project enables researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to study aspects of foods that drive consumer choice in Canada which in combination with knowledge mobilization (KM) activities can support evidence-informed policies and practices. The main objectives are to: 1) develop a curated open-source database to monitor Canadian food supply for key drivers of consumer choice: nutritional quality, price and environmental impacts; 2) engage and support other researchers, food associations and policy makers through curated sharing and KM of research products; and 3) provide integrated KM to advance relevant government priorities through an open access learning platform.


Adapting to climate change implies that all sectors of society must question their activities' vulnerability and the responses to be provided as they face future climate.

In order to strengthen the capacity of Canadians to adapt, Ouranos is proposing to support adaptation research through three initiatives:

  • Develop research projects on adaptation solutions to face the impacts of climate change;
  • Initiate a pan-Canadian network of adaptation researchers and practitioners to better share results and lessons learned;
  • Implement, in Canada, the project office of the World Climate Research Program aimed at ensuring that international research programs have concrete benefits for citizens.

Ovarian Cancer Canada (OvCAN)

Five Canadian women die every day from ovarian cancer, while long-term outcomes have not improved in 50 years. Ovarian Cancer Canada champions the health and wellbeing of women with or at risk for ovarian cancer while advancing research to save lives. Our national program, OvCAN, is advancing new ovarian cancer treatments. Beyond OvCAN will build on our strong momentum and expand our focus to improve outcomes along the ovarian cancer continuum, across Canada. We will fund and conduct innovative, high-quality, made-in-Canada scientific research on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, while prioritizing the patient voice and principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI)

PI is a leading independent scientific research, training, and outreach organization. Supported by strong public and private partnerships, PI aims to create a brighter, more prosperous future for Canada through the following objectives and activities: pursuing ambitious research aimed at achieving breakthroughs that will ultimately transform science and technology; serving as Canada's premier hub for fundamental physics while engaging the worldwide research community and raising Canada's scientific profile globally; attracting and training the next generation of scientific leaders for research and industry; increasing scientific literacy and critical STEM skills; and advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Praxis Spinal Cord Institute

Praxis Spinal Cord Institute is a not-for-profit organization leading global collaboration in spinal cord injury (SCI) research, innovation and care. Praxis improves the lives of people with SCI by supporting healthcare innovation and best practice from ideation through to implementation.

SSF-funded activities at Praxis will significantly contribute to the Government of Canada priorities by engaging underrepresented Canadians in the economy; advancing scientific knowledge through data collection, knowledge transfer and mobilization; improving healthcare delivery and outcomes; and supporting innovation and business development. Praxis has forged powerful multidisciplinary networks across a continuum of SCI care to advance health outcomes for Canadians.

RESEAU Centre for Mobilizing Innovation

Complex challenges confronting Indigenous communities (water-health, climate change, social/economic inequity) engender a divisive environment for economies and people. Corporations have a narrow understanding of diverse challenges, while innovation bandwidth is consumed by urban markets. Global crises are forcing businesses to exit rural markets that demand resource-intensive customization and operation support. This will have profound implications for achieving UNSDGs by 2030. Leveraging the epistemic advantage of Indigenous experiences, fuelled by deep learning tools, we propose creating a new engine for innovation that increases SME capacity to implement customized solutions, transforming the rural and Indigenous ecosystem into a magnet for innovative companies.

Stem Cell Network (SCN)

Stem Cell Network is Canada's national research and training network dedicated to stem cells and regenerative medicine (RM). We fund innovative research and clinical translation, provide training for the next generation and foster knowledge mobilization.

Vision: power life-saving therapies and technologies through RM research for the benefit of all.


  • Advance research from innovation to clinical translation
  • Expand clinical trials for chronic and rare diseases, injury and illness
  • Accelerate sector growth through training of skilled talent
  • Power innovations by enabling Canadian biotechs to deliver technologies to the clinic and marketplace
  • Drive knowledge transfer of research from bench to bedside