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What is IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program) ?
Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is administrated by Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) and consequently draws on the highest caliber of scientists and technology-oriented professionals in Canada.
This program is backed to more than 8 decades ago, when NRC started to selectively encourage, promote, balance, and execute R&D across Canada.  NRC is composed of more than 20 institutes and national programs; that encompasses a broad range of disciplines and reaches into every province. It both encourages and conducts experimental research and development research, putting it on the leading edge of technology knowledge.
With NRC’s meritorious reputation, roots within both academia and industry areas, and extensive track record of excellence, IRAP is available to all Canadian companies with less than 500 employees (i.e. Small to Medium Enterprises or SMEs). Of most immediate interest to small business with a burning idea for R&D innovation, but facing a lack of funding to bring it towards commercialization is IRAP’s main assistance grant program.
In order to complement and reinforce this development assistance program, IRAP has the mandate to provide interlinked services of Technology Expertise and Advice, Networking, and Partnerships drawing on the resources of the NRC as appropriate.

How IRAP Works:
Qualified projects for IRAP are selected on a selective basis; IRAP grants can vary annually from "$10,000 to $250,000". Proposal of applicant’s company usually goes through a number of evaluation steps in order to arrive at a successful conclusion that brings a government grant.
At first, an Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) is assigned to meet and work with applicant, together with Optimal Solution Inc. as your consultants, to get an overall understanding of the proposal. Based on this, an abstract of project proposal may be invited and a small NRC technology team would then meet with you to evaluate the proposal and applicant facility for “goodness of fit” with IRAP, probe for possibilities of very similar products or processes already existing, and explore possible different directions for new project. If this stage is approved, the proposal, possibly with revisions of NRC team’s comments, then moves to review by a wider “IRAP community” group. Only when this is passed is a full application invited, at which point there are reasonable chances that it will ultimately be approved, although the level of funding and/or timeframe may still be a matter of discussion.

Small Business Assistance:
The level of funding may begin with modest lower amounts for early stages of a multi-stage project. Larger government funding can only be granted if the project and company have acceptable performance and are an excellent fit with IRAP’s mandate. IRAP grants are non-repayable; however they must be reported as income on the annual corporate tax returns. For start-ups or early-stage technology companies, this usually will not trigger any immediate cash outflow on income taxes payable because of the negative taxable income position that is typical at this stage of the firm’s life cycle. In addition, there is an interaction between IRAP grants and SR&ED tax credits that “grinds” the latter, such that the cumulative effect of IRAP plus SR&ED funding is less than simply additive. Because both programs are federally-funded, the government wishes to avoid “double-dipping”.

Comparison between “IRAP” versus “SR&ED”:
An approved project under the NRC’s IRAP requires regular reporting of progress compared to deliverables committed to in the IRAP agreement. While unanticipated problems can arise, IRAP monitors the influence of such problems on the course of the project and may make adjustments or bring the project agreement to an earlier or later conclusion.
Unlike the SR&ED program that is neutral to the ultimate success of a project so long as the SR&ED criteria are met, IRAP wants to see succeed of defined project and will work with you to achieve that. Ultimately, IRAP also wishes to see that the behind innovation would be commercialized, although their mandate does not extend to financial support of the near-commercial phase of a project. Consider the case where two given companies may be conducting very similar or even identical research or technology development. As long as the other company’s work is not in the public domain or reasonably accessible to them, and they each meet the SR&ED criteria, both companies would be entitled to SR&ED tax credits. In contrast, IRAP’s mandate does not permit funding of duplicate research efforts through government grants.

How We Can Help You with Government Grants:
Optimal Solution Inc can assist you at all stages of the IRAP proposal process: with defining your project in brainstorming sessions, researching closely competing technology, developing costs and timelines, and preparing both abbreviated and full applications.
A full application requires both a financial business plan and a technology plan. While the spark of such a forward-looking proposal must ultimately come from you and be based on your technological expertise, we act as your coach and application-writing expert. We help you focus on the critical aspects that require your input and find the time needed that, when paired with our resources, results in a tangible proposal that the NRC can consider. Sometimes, we have been assured by clients that they will take care of submitting their own application, only to have years pass and opportunities lost. Other clients acknowledge that they need a champion to bring the threads together and make it happen.