What is NRC-IRAP?
The NRC (National Research Council) provides another critical funding program to support technology innovation in Canada called the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). The program focuses on assisting small and medium enterprises (SMEs: companies with fewer than 500 employees) to develop and commercialize new technology by providing financial assistance and access to innovation expertise.
Many companies make the mistake of focusing only on the financial assistance that IRAP can provide. The NRC also maintains a network of world-class research institutes, technology clusters, and innovation advisors across Canada. Make sure your firm benefits from the know-how available through this fantastic resource.
How Does IRAP Funding Work?
The NRC provides funds through two programs: the NRC-IRAP and the Youth Employment Strategy Program (IRAP-YES). Both programs provide direct funding to companies engaged in developing new technology. The eligibility criteria and benefits for these programs can be found at: NRC-IRAP and IRAP-YES.
How Does IRAP Funding Relate to the SR&ED Program?
Both the IRAP and SR&ED programs are focused on promoting technology development in Canada. Their scientific eligibility criteria share some common aspects but the programs are administered very differently. Here are some of the key differences:
- The SR&ED program does not have an annual budget cap whereas IRAP does
- IRAP requires an upfront application for development that has not yet begun, while applications for SR&ED assistance are made with your taxes after the close of your fiscal year
- IRAP benefits are typically paid in installments during your R&D project whereas SR&ED assistance is received after your year-end tax filing has been accepted by the CRA
- SR&ED benefits may be claimed by any size of organization whereas IRAP is restricted to companies with fewer than 500 employees.
In practice, SR&ED and IRAP dovetail well together to provide multiple modes of support for Canadian R&D firms. If you are receiving either SR&ED or IRAP assistance you should consider making an application to the sister program. Note, however, that funds received from IRAP will reduce your eligible expenditures for SR&ED purposes.
For further information about the NRC-IRAP and IRAP-YES programs we encourage you to contact your local NRC office.