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Results at a Glance: Evaluation of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) Contribution to the Canada Foundation for Innovation

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Program context

  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is a not-for-profit corporation, which strives to build Canada's capacity to undertake world-class research and technology development. The CFI makes financial contributions (in general, up to 40% of the infrastructure cost) through several Funds to Canada's universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations to increase their capability to carry out high quality research.
  • As of March 31, 2019, the CFI has funded more than 11,314 research infrastructure projects at over 160 eligible institutions across Canada, awarding over $8.0 billion and attracting $11.4 billion in matching funds from partners since CFI inception in 1997.
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) directly funds the CFI through Contribution Agreements. The CFI signed an agreement with the Government of Canada that will transition the CFI to permanent ongoing funding of up to $462 million per year in 2023-24 and onward.

Evaluation approach

This evaluation examined the continued relevance, performance and efficiency of the CFI in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Results. It focused on the period from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2019, utilizing several lines of evidence:

What the evaluation found

Recommendations

  1. College-Industry Innovation Fund Access: ISED's Science and Research Sector should work with the CFI to identify and examine areas for improvement in the program design and administration of the College-Industry Innovation Fund, including opportunities to improve access (e.g., review eligibility criteria and approval processes) to better meet the needs of colleges and their private sector partners.
  2. Eligible Research Infrastructure: ISED's Science and Research Sector should collaborate with the CFI to review the scope/criteria for eligible research infrastructure costs, particularly activities associated with the development of databases which can be a significant component in many research fields, including social sciences and humanities.
  3. Program Design and Delivery: ISED's Science and Research Sector should work with the CFI to examine opportunities to improve program application and review processes.
  4. Support for Operation and Maintenance Costs: ISED's Science and Research Sector should work with the CFI to explore opportunities to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Infrastructure Operating Fund, including the timely draw down of available funding.
  5. Collaboration: ISED's Science and Research Sector should work with the CFI to examine opportunities to improve collaboration and coordination with stakeholders.
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