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Multi-Partner Research Initiative call for proposal

The application period for the current MPRI call for proposals closed on January 22, 2023.


Under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, the Multi-Partner Research Initiative (MPRI) is a five year $30.3 million program that aims to advance Canada’s scientific knowledge and science-based decision making for oil spill response that minimizes the environmental impacts of spills in marine (offshore and near-shore), and onshore freshwater environments.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) will provide funding to support collaborative research networks that:

  • increase knowledge about the impacts of oil spills on organisms;
  • develop new technologies and techniques for clean-up; 
  • support science-based decisions that will minimize impacts to the environment and enhance habitat recovery;
  • provide opportunities for participation and training of the next generation of oil spill scientists and responders (e.g., students and young professionals);
  • involve oil spill responders and decision-makers to ensure practical applicability of research;
  • include activities for program synthesis and information transfer; and
  • involve active Indigenous participation, where applicable.

Priority areas for the current call for proposals

NRCan is currently seeking submission of proposals for integrated, multi-disciplinary, multi-partner research networks to investigate one or more of the following themes and priority topics.

Detailed descriptions for each of these topics are available in the Application Guidelines document. See the How to apply section to obtain your copy.

Theme 1: Fate, behaviour and transport of oil in the environment

  • Assessment of natural attenuation potential and the development of bioremediation strategies in Arctic and freshwater environments, including the conduct of controlled field studies and spill-of-opportunity studies.  
  • Development of experimental processes to investigate the formation and stability of oil emulsions under real-world conditions, and the influence of emulsified oil to the effectiveness of various spill response options.
  • Fate, behaviour and transport of oil, including diluted bitumen, spilled in freshwater or estuarine waters, including modelling, formation and ecological significance of oil-particle aggregates. 
  • Studies on factors that influence oil droplet size, plume behaviour and slick formation following surface and subsurface releases in freshwater and marine environments.
  • Modelling of oil spill behaviour following from accidental subsurface pipeline releases and deepwater blowouts (including responses to subsea dispersant injection). 

Theme 2: Alternative response measures

  • Assessment of environmental persistence and impacts (biological effects) associated with burn residues and development of remedial strategies.
  • Development and evaluation of current and next generation spill treating agents, including dispersants for application in freshwater and shoreline washing agents for marine and freshwater environments (including recommendations to support the development of guidelines for their use in freshwater, estuarine and marine waters).

Theme 3: Oil detection and monitoring

  • Advancing unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles for oil spill response monitoring.
  • Evaluation and application of in situ oil sensors.
  • Improvement of the Special Monitoring of Applied Response Technologies (SMART) protocol.
  • Detection, quantification and remediation of sunken oil.

Theme 4: Biological effects of oil

  • Development of predictive models for oil spill response options based on the integration of existing data on oil fate, behaviour and toxicity for oil spill preparedness, response operations and damage assessments.
  • Refinement of whole of ecosystem models to predict oil fate, behaviour, transport, and effects (including effects of response options) for support of Net Environmental Benefit Analysis.
  • Research that investigates the long-term ecological effects of oil spills in marine and freshwaters at the population and community levels.

Theme 5: Physical recovery of oil

  • Advancing oil adsorbant/absorbant, and solidifier technologies.
  • Advances in boom and skimmer deployments (in open water and rivers).
  • Development and evaluation of next generation of decanting technologies for on-site oil water separation and disposal.

Theme 6: Planning and decision-making

  • Data accessibility and mobilization tools (including Artificial Intelligence applications) to advance precision and accuracy of predictive models and decision making by oil spill responders.

Eligibility criteria

The Department will consider single-year and multi-year proposals (maximum 4 fiscal years beginning April 1, 2023).

Eligible applicants

Eligible recipients are valid legal entities incorporated or registered in Canada and abroad including:

  1. For-profit organizations
  2. Not-for-profit organizations
  3. Post-secondary academic institutions
  4. Indigenous organizations and/or groups (based in Canada)
  5. Other levels of government in Canada (including provinces, territories, municipalities)
  6. Canadian and foreign research organizations

The networks must have Canadian research participation.

For-profit organizations can only be funded for early-stage research and pre-commercial testing but not for the development of already commercial technologies and/or commercialization.

Eligible costs

Payments to eligible recipients may be used to offset reasonable costs of projects under contribution agreements, including eligible costs for:

  1. Salaries and Benefits
  2. Professional and technical services such as, but not limited to, research, consulting, engineering, trades, and laboratory services;
  3. Travel expenses, including transportation, accommodation, and meals;
  4. Publication, printing, and other media services;
  5. Registration costs for attendance to workshops, conferences, meetings, symposia;
  6. Training costs;
  7. Fees to access equipment and vessels;
  8. Rental and maintenance of facilities and equipment;
  9. Laboratory and scientific supplies;
  10. Overhead expenditures provided they are directly related and essential to the conduct of the project, up to 15% of eligible expenditures, include:
    1. Administrative support provided directly to the project by the eligible recipients employee(s), valued on the same basis as professional staff time;
    2. Heat, hydro and office operating costs (e.g. faxes, telephone).
    3. GST, PST or HST, net of any tax rebate to which the Recipient is entitled.
  11. Additional costs eligible only to Indigenous organizations or organizations working directly with Indigenous peoples include honoraria, ceremonial items, gifts and/or feasts.

Support to eligible applicants

Projects must be completed on or before March 31, 2027.

The total NRCan contribution for:

  1. For-profit recipients shall not exceed 50% of the same eligible costs per project
  2. All other recipients shall not exceed 75% of the same eligible costs per project
  3. Indigenous organizations or groups may be up to 100% of eligible costs per project

The maximum contribution to a recipient will not exceed $2,000,000 per year.

Stacking provisions

The maximum level of total Canadian government funding (i.e., federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal) for a project will not exceed the percentages of eligible expenditures as defined below. 

To ensure the stacking provisions are respected, proponents will be required to disclose all sources of project funding, including those from other federal, provincial/territorial and municipal programs (including implicit subsidies, rebates, forgivable loans, etc.).

  • Stacking limit for for-profit organizations shall not exceed 85% of eligible costs per project;
  • Stacking limit for all other organizations may be up to 100% of eligible costs per project.

How to apply

Eligible recipients interested in being considered for financial support are required to:

  1. Request an application package, please email us at
  2. Indicate which priority area you are applying using the application forms provided
  3. Submit your completed application to on or before the application deadline.

Application deadline

For the current funding round, the deadline for submitting a project proposal is January 22, 2023, at 11:59 PST.

Application feedback

Due to the anticipated high volume of applications, we will not be providing detailed feedback on individual project proposals. All project decisions for proposals are final. It is the responsibility of the Lead Applicant to ensure that the application is complete and that we have a clear and accurate understanding of the project.

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