Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

NCE History

Founded in 1989 as a joint initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) has invested about $2 billion in research, commercialization and knowledge translation. As of 2017, NCE-funded networks and centres have helped train more than 48,000 highly qualified personnel, and created 147 spin-off companies and 1,332 start-up companies.

1989 The NCE’s first cycle funded 15 networks with $240 million for four years.
1993-95 Phase II of the NCE program renewed funding for 10 of the original networks and created four new ones.
1997 The NCE became a permanent program with an annual budget of $47.4 million.
2006 The NCE New Initiatives (NI) pilot and International Partnership Initiative (IPI) pilot were launched, funding five and seven new networks respectively.
2007 The NCE’s mandate was expanded by adding the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR), Business-Led networks (BL-NCE) and Industrial Research and Development Internships (IRDI) programs with a combined investment of more than $273 million. The NCE also established the Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB) to provide the NCE Steering Committee with expert advice and recommendations during the CECR and BL-NCE competitions.
2008 The first 11 CECRs were launched and the IRDI grant was awarded to Accelerate Canada.
2009 Four BL-NCEs were announced.
2010 The NCE Knowledge Mobilization (NCE-KM) initiative was launched, creating three networks.
2012 The BL-NCE program was made permanent.
2016 The IRDI program was transferred to ISED to support the delivery of internships through the Mitacs Accelerate program. The NCE also created the International Knowledge Translation Platforms (NCE-IKTP) initiative.