Explore frequently asked questions and answers
At DIGITAL, we are building a future where Canadian organizations are global industry leaders and where Canadians benefit from the prosperity and growth that comes from creating novel technology products and services that are meaningful across the country and around the world. We invest in digital innovation focused on advancing towards a net zero society, building a healthier Canada and creating the digitally skilled workforce Canada needs to win in the digital world.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, we are one of five Global Innovation Clusters across Canada, funded by the Government of Canada via the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED).
Since our start in 2018, we have supported 95 projects with a total investment value of $390M. These projects have convened over 500 partners comprised of the best in business, academia, and government to solve some of industry and society’s biggest challenges – better and faster than any single organization could do on its own.
Read our Core Values here.
DIGITAL’s community network is made up of 1000+ organizations from across Canada. Learn more about our Members here.
Membership is open to any organization that is based in Canada (either headquartered or have a Canadian subsidiary). As an industry-led initiative, most of our membership is comprised of private sector organizations, focused on building a world-class R&D operation and intent on continuing to invest in product and technology development programs as they grow. Post-secondary institutions, government agencies and non-profit organizations may become Members but are not eligible to receive co-investment funding. Learn more about becoming a Member here.
There are two types of membership: Associate and Member. Organizations typically start as an Associate and may upgrade to a Member upon invitation from DIGITAL, usually in concert with being part of a successfully selected project. Both Associates and Members have access to the DIGITAL community via the Community Portal as well as invitations to webinars and community events. Join as an Associate here.
Having partnerships with researchers and academia support the goal of commercializing research outcomes and is a requirement as part of your project consortium. It is important to note that academic institutions are not eligible for co-investment as DIGITAL can only fund industry participants in projects. If you are part of an academic institution, you can get involved by identifying opportunities for your existing industry sponsors as well as finding potential consortium partners. Connect with your Vice President (Research or Academic) office who acts as the prime point of contact for your institution.
International companies who have a Canadian operation may join DIGITAL. We co-invest in research and development, commercialization readiness and early customer adoption of new technology solutions that aim to solve market-validated problems and that have the potential to scale Canadian companies in target markets within Canada and abroad.
Our current Areas of Interest are:
- Natural Resources
- Commercializing AI
- Talent + Capacity
We emphasize a collaborative approach to innovation where groups of complementary organizations work together to build stronger, more powerful solutions to big problems. Read our Call for Project Proposals to learn more about these areas.
DIGITAL focuses on industry-led projects involving digital innovations that could radically improve Canadian economic prosperity, competitiveness and productivity. We aim to co-invest in projects that (a) support the resiliency and sustainability of health care systems and advance health care in ways that support health living, is easy to access and delivers positive outcomes, (b) advance environmental health and strengthen Canada’s natural resources sectors to succeed in a prosperous, low carbon economy, and (c) capture the economic potential of made-in-Canada AI technology solutions. . All our projects have the potential to deliver significant benefits to the local, regional and national economy. Proposed projects are expected to have solid alignment with our Areas of Interest and the right mix of organizational capabilities to meet our program objectives of innovation, commercialization and benefits to Canada.
Periodically, DIGITAL invites project concept submissions through a Competition Cycle that includes a Call for Proposals. The terms of these Calls for Proposals are set out in the Program Guides.
Submissions are evaluated and selected on a competitive basis, thereby ensuring that investments are applied to the projects with the greatest potential.. The total amount of co-investment available from DIGITAL will vary based on the Program and is subject to availability of funds.
All types of organizations, including those located outside of Canada, are encouraged to participate in project consortia. Projects must be industry-led and include a minimum of three organizations (excluding DIGITAL) that must participate and contribute in a meaningful way with each organization expected to have clear roles and responsibilities, deliverables and financial commitments, which could also be conducting research or evaluations, providing services or bringing experience in certain markets. All participating organizations must be Members or Associates at the time of application submission. For more information, read our Program Guides.
Criteria and weighting used to evaluate project submissions are found in our Program Guides.
There is no maximum project size. The maximum amount of DIGITAL’s co-investment in a specific project will be determined when the project is selected. Funds available from DIGITAL are limited and DIGITAL’s co-investment is subject to availability of funds. For more information, read our Program Guides.
Projects typically range in duration from 12 months to 36 months. Project completion deadlines are found in our Program Guides.
Eligible project costs for DIGITAL co-investment are those that are incremental, reasonable and directly relate to project execution and achievement of the project objectives. DIGITAL provides co-investment only to eligible Members in good standing. International organizations (offshore companies and research organizations without a registered business presence in Canada) may also participate but any project activity undertaken by these organizations are not eligible for DIGITAL co-investment, unless otherwise pre-approved as a foreign cost for an eligible Member. For more information on Co-investments, please refer to our Co-investment Guidelines.
Co-investments amounts vary per Program based on the scope of the project, the period of performance, and the nature of the work. We anticipate most of our investments will range between $500,000 and $10 million. Larger investments will be judiciously made into projects that demonstrate significant ecosystem benefit, technological impact, ambition, and careful management and mitigation of associated risks.
We operate a reimbursement model. Partners undertake activities, report progress on milestones and include invoices when reporting for DIGITAL review and acceptance at the end of any given milestone. Each milestone report should specify reimbursement by organization.
Successful consortia will proceed to sign a Master Project Agreement (MPA) within 60 days of DIGITAL’s selection decision. Each consortium partner is expected to confirm they have reviewed the MPA template and identify any specific areas of concern in their project proposal submission. DIGITAL may withdraw its investment commitment if the MPA is not signed by the established deadline.
Yes. Total Canadian government assistance for all projects, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal, must not exceed 100% of Eligible Costs. Other government funding that is expected or received by an eligible Member for eligible project expenses (except for Scientific & Experimental Development credits) must be disclosed to DIGITAL and included in the project budget, financial reporting and/or related claim submissions. DIGITAL reserves the right to adjust its co-investment rate, the amount eligible for co-investment and/or maximum co-investment funds from DIGITAL to meet investment matching requirements.
DIGITAL is committed to help Canadian organizations strengthen their IP portfolios and have robust IP strategies to support their commercial endeavors. IP generally includes all inventions, whether or not patented or patentable; all commercial and technical information, whether or not constituting trade secrets; and all copyrightable works, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies and trademarks (including distinguishing guises), whether or not registered or registrable.
As consortia develop their IP plan, it is critical they have a shared understanding of: market opportunity and respective roles and benefits for each participating organization in the initial and ongoing development and in the commercialization of the technology solution.
Governance related to Intellectual Property for each project is set out in the Master Project Agreement (MPA) entered into between collaborating organizations. For each project, there will be an IP framework that clearly outlines ownership and usage rights for both any pre-existing IP (“Background IP”), third-party or open-source IP that a participating organization will be using and/or allowing others to use during the project, and the new IP expected to be created as part of the project (“Foreground IP”) and how it will be protected. A key role of DIGITAL, in terms of project and membership governance, is to uphold the spirit of collaboration ensuring that there is sharing/diffusion of IP to convey commercial benefits for participating organizations. For more information on Intellectual Property and Data Management, visit our IP Management page.
DIGITAL takes no interest or rights to any Foreground IP arising from the project or the Background IP of any project participant. Note that DIGITAL will only co-invest on improvements made to Canadian-owned Background IP and the Foreground IP, arising through DIGITAL’s co-investment must be owned by a project partner that is a registered Canadian entity with substantial operations in Canada.