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Canada-Italy Innovation Award 2024 - Call for proposals


The Embassy of Canada to Italy is pleased to accept applications for the 12th edition of the Canada-Italy Innovation Award. This Award provides funding to members of the Italian innovation ecosystem including start-ups, innovation experts, researchers, scientists, or creative industry professionals to develop collaborative projects with Canadian partners in areas that will drive innovative, inclusive, and sustainable socio-economic development.

Over the last decade, the award has resulted in transformational discoveries, research, and applications showcasing the significant impact of Canada-Italy cooperation.


The Canada-Italy Innovation Award aims to enable new partnerships between Canadian and Italian experts and deepen existing collaborations to deliver innovations that have impact.

Applications are open to Italian individuals who connect to Canadian counterparts that they will identify.

Initial outcomes should be delivered over the first 6 to 12 months following the completion of the project. Ideal outcomes would result in real world applications that can be incubated or scaled in evolving domains. This can include:

The use of innovative models of collaboration is strongly encouraged as is the pursuit of sustained relationships that remain lasting/active beyond the first 12 months.

Scope and priority areas

Through this Award, the Embassy of Canada to Italy aims to support the development of strong, targeted relationships between leading individuals, researchers and institutions in Italy and their counterparts in Canada.

Projects must address one or more of the thematic priorities detailed below, which are aligned with Government of Canada policy priorities:

Under each theme, a menu of preferred areas of focus is outlined.

Thematic priority 1: Research on critical minerals

Critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements are essential components in many of today's rapidly growing clean energy technologies – from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles. Demand for these minerals is high as clean energy transitions gather pace, however the extraction and processing of these minerals may, if not managed well, present challenges for the environment and local communities.

Projects funded through the Award are meant to develop and amplify new or existing networks and relationships between Canada and Italy focussed on:

  1. a) Improving critical minerals supply chain resilience.
  2. b) Investigating environmentally friendly extraction to enhance extraction efficiency, reduce waste, and minimising the ecological footprint.
  3. c) Exploring alternative sources for critical minerals such as through recycling and other secondary sources.
  4. d) Advancing techniques for recovering raw material from end of-life products and promoting a circular economy.
  5. e) Assessing the risks associated with supply chain disruptions and developing mitigation strategies.

Thematic priority 2: Governance in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its ethics

The digital landscape is rapidly evolving and generating important and necessary discussions on governance and ethics given the implications for society at large. This includes considerations related to cyber security, data privacy, algorithmic biases, and the ethical implications of AI's autonomous decision-making processes.

Projects funded through the Award are meant to develop and amplify new or existing networks and relationships between Canada and Italy focussed on:

  1. a) Enhancing data security and protecting data privacy.
  2. b) Addressing cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.
  3. c) Fostering AI algorithmic development that avoids bias and discrimination.
  4. d) Digital rights, equitable access to technology, and combating digital divides among communities.
  5. e) Preventing potential misuse of AI for unethical purposes like deepfake creation.
  6. f) Exploring ethical considerations in human-AI interactions and the impact on societal norms and values.

Thematic priority 3: Quantum technology

Quantum science presents considerable opportunities for new insights, discoveries, technological developments, and applications that can enhance lives and livelihoods.

Projects funded through the Award are meant to develop and amplify new or existing networks and relationships between Canada and Italy focussed on:

  1. a) Quantum computing and simulation: Advancing practical applications of quantum computing and/or the theory of quantum algorithms and architectures.
  2. b) Privacy and security: Real-world applications and/or theoretical work on quantum-based secure communication.
  3. c) Quantum applications in other sectors: Quantum technologies and devices for magnetometry, prospection, imaging, navigation, biomedical applications, and other cutting-edge applications.
  4. d) Fostering greater participation of and enhanced conditions for women and gender diverse people in the advanced technology and quantum science field.

Thematic priority 4: Preventing Gender Based Violence (GBV)

Violence against women and girls in all their diversity, including that which occurs in digital contexts, is prevalent in all societies and is a distinctive feature of conflict and crisis. Enabling inclusive societies and safer communities will depend in part on finding innovative ways to support women and girls to have agency over their own lives, bodies, and futures without fear.

Projects funded through the Award are meant to develop and/or amplify new or existing networks and relationships between Canada and Italy focussed on:

  1. a) Understanding the underlying factors contributing to GBV, including societal norms and inequalities and cultural attitudes towards gender roles.
  2. b) Recognizing intersectionality.
  3. c) Exploring the role of technology in perpetuating or preventing GBV.
  4. d) Fostering action against gender-based violence, including online harassment and violence.
  5. e) Contributing to the development of laws, policies, tools (including digital tools) and institutions that enable people to be supported and protected from gender-based violence, and that their rights are upheld in both physical and digital spaces.

Thematic priority 5: Life and health science

We are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration of innovation in life and health sciences, driven by the convergence and emergence of technologies, novel approaches to treatment, and social developments.

Projects funded through the Award are meant to develop and/or amplify new or existing networks and relationships between Canada and Italy focussed on:

  1. a) Supporting the promotion and uptake of innovative approaches in life and health science research and healthcare.
  2. b) Expanding access to the full suite of health services, including in rural and remote areas, through, for example, digital health tools, digital therapeutics, and remote care services.
  3. c) Modernizing the health care system with new ways of managing patient data, such as electronic health records, to allow for access by patients and information sharing between health professionals.

The Government of Canada is committed to equitable and inclusive research practices and to having policy and programs informed by (but not limited to) age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender expression and gender identity, immigrant and newcomer status, Indigenous identity, language, neurodiversity, parental status/responsibility, place of origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. For this reason, all applications should clearly explain how gender equality, diversity and inclusion considerations have been taken into account in the design of the project and/or in the composition of the project team, and how they will be promoted through the projects’ objectives and implementation.

See What is Gender-based Analysis Plus for definitions and more information on GBA+ tools.

Funding scope

Awards are to support the applicant’s travel to Canada. The value of an Award will be up to a maximum of €4,000 (EUR). Travel expenses that are eligible for reimbursement include:

Insurance is not eligible for Innovation Award funding.

Eligibility and funding criteria

The Canada-Italy Innovation Award is available to start-ups, innovation experts, researchers, scientists, and creative industries professionals, collaborating with Canadian partners. Private/public partnerships are encouraged.

Funding through the Canada-Italy Innovation Award is to support expenses incurred by the Italian awardee only for travel to Canada. Successful applicants will be required to complete a report immediately following the completion of the travel or project and must commit to providing brief updates on follow-up activities and outcomes 6 and 12 months after the completion of the project.

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Special consideration will be given to applications that demonstrate why the proposed project would particularly benefit from an international collaboration.

Applications will be reviewed by relevant experts from the Embassy of Canada to Italy.

How to apply

Applications should be prepared in English or French using the Canada-Italy Innovation Award application form and submitted according to the instructions. Viewing the PDF in your browser is not recommended. You can right-click on the link and select “Save link as…” to download it to your device and open in a PDF application (example: Adobe Reader). For more information, please contact

Disbursement of the Canada-Italy Innovation Award

The Canada-Italy Innovation Award will be provided as a reimbursement for the expenses incurred. The original expense receipts, a letter from the Canadian partner, and the final report must be returned for the payment to be issued.

Important dates

Within 2 weeks of completion the final report, the letter by the Canadian partner, and the expenditure records must be submitted.

For more information, please contact

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