Funding Snapshot

  • Non-repayable reimbursements
  • Focused on supporting the use of automation and robotics in the agricultural sector
  • Ongoing program with multiple funding calls per year

Fund Description

The Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN) is non-profit funded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), and offers programs with the intention of supporting agri-food innovation through funding for the creation of technology development addressing major challenges in the sector. The fund focuses on funding innovation regarding automation and robotics, data-driven decision-making, and smart farms, and offers the Smart Farms Program, an annual Open Competition, and other funding calls addressing specific gaps in technology.

Funding Details

CAAIN provides funding towards projects that test new agricultural technologies, demonstrate applications of agricultural technologies to local producers, and educate/train a skilled workforce able to use and maintain agricultural technologies. Project recipients may receive up to 40% of eligible project costs in non-repayable cost-sharing, to a maximum of $3 million. The fund will not match in-kind contributions.

Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditures covered under CAAIN include activities that support industrial research or late-stage technology demonstration. Eligible expenditures include the following when incurred during eligible project activities:

  • Direct labour costs including a portion of gross wages or salaries
  • Subcontractor and consultant costs for work performed by an external third party
  • Direct materials and supplies costs, including hardware
  • Equipment costs
  • IP and other direct costs
  • Travel and outreach costs
  • Overhead costs, including:
    • Indirect material and supplies, e.g., administration and management expenses
    • Indirect labour and project administration fees, e.g., general office wages, benefits
    • Indirect building costs, e.g., utilities, operation, maintenance, and property taxes
    • Indirect equipment costs, e.g., office equipment
    • Other indirect costs such as daily commutes, software licenses, and insurance

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for CAAIN, the following conditions must be met:

  • Team must consist of at least two companies incorporated in Canada with fewer than 500 employees
  • At least two companies on the project team with fewer than 500 employees must commit financial contributions to the project
  • Project partners must be academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, of companies legally allowed to do business in Canada
  • Project must provide public benefits (including economic, employment-related, social, environmental)
  • Project must run a maximum of three years in length
  • Technology must not have been tested in an operational environment/applied in its final form

Program Run

CAAIN was established in 2019 and offers multiple funding calls per year with varying deadlines.