Canada is an important partner for Germany. A science and technology cooperation treaty was agreed as early as 1971. The Canadian government and public pay close attention to German research and innovation policy. Canada’s science funding is currently focused e.g. on supporting Canadian companies in global markets.

Parliament Hill in Ottawa

© Johanna Füllmann / DLR

Funding opportunities in Canada

The call "Richtlinie zur Förderung von Antragstellungen im Rahmen des EU-Rahmenprogramms für Forschung und Innovation Horizont 2020 mit Partnern aus Nord- und Südamerika" (German Text only) will be open until 21 December 2018.

In individual cases, areas which are of strategic interest to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) can receive financial support for exploratory and networking measures.

Measures for the exploration of subject areas of particular interest to the BMBF and for networking in these areas

In coordination with the International Bureau, in individual cases, bilateral workshops and other events that are of strategic interest to the BMBF can be financed. These must be geared towards bringing together partners in research areas relating to specialist programmes of the BMBF and of the European Framework Programme for Research (see Priorities of the cooperation). Normally, support is provided as a grant for the travel costs of German project participants to Canada. In exceptional cases, material expenses are paid (incurred as part of preparing for and holding a workshop). Initiatives for promoting Germany as a study and research location are also gaining in importance.

The conception and preparation of such workshops will take place in coordination with the BMBF. Hence, before applying, please contact the specialist contact at the IB, Dr. Barbara Hellebrandt.


On 27 and 28 February 2018 the Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 Partnering Workshop will take place at the Embassy of Canada to Germany in Berlin. The goal of this initiative is to establish applied R&D collaborations and co-develop Industry 4.0 technology solutions between Canadian and German companies, supported by academic and research center partners, leading to future commercial opportunities in Canada and Germany.

Political context

Germany is one of the few countries with which Canada concluded an intergovernmental agreement regarding scientific and technological collaboration early on. The agreement came into force on 30 June 1971 and has led to a dynamic bilateral collaboration in science and technology. In 2011, the 40th anniversary of the agreement provided the opportunity to further intensify the cooperation as part of a joint anniversary year Bilateral meetings on the scientific and technological (S&T) cooperation take place approx. every two years between the federal governments of Germany and Canada. The priorities and research areas of the cooperation are agreed at these meetings.

In addition, a Cultural Convention has been in place with Canada since 1975. In 2002, the BMBF, acting on behalf of the Federal Government, signed a joint declaration with Canada to establish an exchange programme for young workers. Moreover, an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between Canada and the EU was finalised in 1996.

Alongside this contractual framework, it should be highlighted that Canada has made substantial R&D investments in universities, research institutions and industry in the last decade. This has resulted in significant potential for collaboration.

Priorities of the cooperation

Over the course of the collaboration, the key areas of cooperation have been adapted to the national priorities of both countries, and currently focus essentially on the following areas:

Highlights of the bilateral cooperation

The agreement signed in 2011 joined together the Canadian funding programme CREATE (Collaborative Research and Training Experience) and the DFG International Graduate College Programme. Since then, the cooperation, whose aim is to help young scientists, has developed excellently. The DFG currently funds 42 international graduate colleges, seven of which are provided in collaboration with a Canadian partner. This makes Canada currently the most successful partner country in this important programme in the world.

Background information on the research landscape in Canada

Responsibilities for research, science and education are split between the Federal Government and the ten provinces / three territories. The education system as a whole, including the universities, is managed by the governments of the provinces. Individual provinces also have independent research ministries, whose aims are particularly to strengthen local knowledge and commerce. Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are of special scientific and technological importance.

Canada does not have a federal research ministry. Instead, the different specialised ministries and their subordinated institutions, the so-called “Science Based Departments and Agencies” (SBDAs), are responsible for the research department. The following ministries are particularly important here, all of which also have their own research institutes: Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Health Canada. Comprehensive research policy is managed by the ministry of industry, whereas international research and technology cooperation is assigned to the “Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development” (DFATD). The ministry “Industry Canada” also plays an important role as it is responsible for science strategy and science organisations. “Industry Canada” is also the location of the Minister of State Science and Technology.

The Canadian government receives advice from the “Science, Technology and Innovation Council” (STIC) regarding science and innovation policy. The STIC has one chairman and 17 members and is assigned to the ministry “Industry Canada”.

The Council of Canadian Academies was founded in 2005 as a committee, which compiles independent studies on important topics relevant to science and offers politicians advice in these areas. The members of the Council of Canadian Academies are The Royal Society of Canada (RSC), The Canadian Academy of Engineering and The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

In Canada, universities are the responsibility of the Canadian provinces and territories, which also have independent ministries for education, research and innovation at this level. The individual ministries of the provinces and territories responsible for education have joined together in the Council of Ministers of Education (CME), which represents matters pertaining to Canadian education externally.

As early as 1911, the universities and colleges founded the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to represent them. In 2015, AUCC was renamed Universities Canada (UC). By now, this comprises 97 public and not-for-profit private universities and colleges, which offer degrees at university level. The goal of UC is to represent the interests of university education and research.

Outside the universities, research structures have also been set up at the level of some provinces and the provinces have separate research institutions.

Federal administration passes transfer payments to the universities, which e.g. benefit the universities by providing specialised strategic research and funding programmes. The programme Canada Research Chairs makes it possible for new professors to be appointed at the universities. A significant proportion of new infrastructure at the universities is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Cooperation in the context of the EU

The Canadian government and the European Commission discuss the context of the cooperation between Canada and the EU approx. every 18 months in the Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC). The priorities of the cooperation are in the research areas marine and polar research, aviation and space travel, agriculture and nutrition, health as well as information and communication technologies.

In 2011, Canada submitted an application to be included in EUREKA as an associate member. The association agreement was signed at the ministerial conference in Budapest on 22 June 2012. Canada was re-associated in June 2015.

The project “European Research Area - Canada for Science, Technology and Innovation Partnership” (ERA-Can+) is a bilateral partnership project between the EU and Canada (ERA-Can+). The aim of the project, which is supported by the EU Commission, is to support and develop cooperation in academia, technology and innovation. ERA-Can+ focuses on an intensified political dialogue, exchange on key research topics and provision of information on funding opportunities in the EU and Canada. The project combines seven leading research, innovation and political institutions from Canada and Europe, including the International Bureau.

On 24 May 2013, the EU, Canada and the USA signed the Galway Statement on cooperation in the Atlantic Ocean. The agreement specifies e.g. that two working groups (marine and Arctic working group) are to be set up, which develop a joint research agenda and are to more strongly bundle the activities of the three cooperation partners.

The role of the International Bureau

The bilateral cooperation between the governments and the research and development institutions in Germany are supported by the International Bureau (IB). The International Bureau is involved in preparing funding announcements and supports ongoing research projects scientifically and administratively. In addition, the IB assists its principals with holding scientific workshop, information events and talks in an international context.

The science and research cooperation with Canada visibly received new impulses in the 2011/12 anniversary year celebrating 40 years of the German-Canadian S&T agreement. The International Bureau supports the BMBF in consolidating existing, and developing new, initiatives. These were also the focus of the most recent German-Canadian committee meeting on the science and technology cooperation, which took place in Berlin in November 2013.

The International Bureau is a partner in the EU project ERA-Can+ to foster the science, technology and innovation cooperation between the EU and Canada.