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DRI Investments for 2023-25

On March 24, 2023, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada awarded funding of up to $228.3 million for the 2023-25 period for digital research infrastructure (DRI) initiatives that will directly benefit Canada’s researchers. 

The Alliance submitted its Multi-Year Funding Proposal (MYFP) for 2023-25 to ISED on September 30, 2022, following the development of the Canadian DRI Needs Assessments and extensive collaboration with Canada’s DRI ecosystem. The $450 million investment proposal included initiatives to upgrade critical infrastructure, as well as initiatives to improve services, access and functionality over fiscal years 2023-24 and 2024-25. 

Critical infrastructure upgrades, service continuity and support 

ISED has approved federal funding for the following initiatives, subject to the fulfillment of cost-matching requirements: 

Addresses the critical issue of Canada’s aging Advanced Research Computing (ARC) infrastructure (High Performance Computing Renewal and Community Cloud Renewal) across the National Host Sites.  

The High Performance Computing (HPC) Renewal initiative will replace computing resources (node-for-node) nearing end-of-life and capacity for storage in four National Host Sites. Each Host Site will undertake a competitive procurement process for its respective funding envelope. 

The Community Cloud Renewal initiative replaces computing resources (node-for-node) nearing end-of-life and capacity for storage at Arbutus Cloud (University of Victoria), Cedar Cloud (Simon Fraser University) and Graham Cloud (University of Waterloo). 

Additionally, ISED has directed the Alliance to develop a commercial cloud strategy and pilot proposal to complement existing community cloud solutions. 

Federal Contribution: $120,569,000 

ISED Conditions: Evidence of cost-match; updated implementation plan and project selection framework 

Upgrades to the existing power infrastructure to 5 MW with related cooling capacity at Beluga (McGill/Calcul Québec), allowing future HPC and Cloud expansions in this site. 

Federal Contribution: $8,188,392 

ISED Conditions: Evidence of cost-match; agreement with ÉTS for dedicated power support for the national platform 

Supports the deployment of encryption management software to enable the Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) and other data repositories to ingest sensitive research data and to make it discoverable and accessible (on a restricted basis) while stored securely long-term. 

Federal Contribution: $240,000 

ISED Conditions: Revised proposal focused on a policy framework for sensitive data 

Improves the useability and scope of the Data Management Plan (DMP) Assistant to support researchers with upcoming Tri-Agency requirements. 

Federal Contribution: $372,000 

ISED Conditions: Evidence of cost-match; Tri-Agency engagement on ongoing development and implementation 

Enhances discovery capabilities, continues to de-silo data found in local and regional repositories and expands partnerships with other research organizations. 

Federal Contribution: $258,000 

ISED Conditions: Evidence of cost-match; Tri-Agency engagement on ongoing development and implementation 

Expands and implements the Cybersecurity Action Plans and Program with additional staff. 

Federal Contribution: $987,600 

Supports quantum HQP research support staff and research software for researchers who are innovating on quantum devices. 

Federal Contribution: $1,012,932 

ISED Conditions: Evidence of cost-match; the establishment of a national framework to assess best practices and lessons learned for a potential future scale up 

Supports a targeted Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) initiative to increase engagement and DRI service and infrastructure uptake among under-represented groups in the research and education sector. 

Federal Contribution: $5,000,000 

ISED Condition: Approved proposal required for funds to be released 

Provides expert technical and user support to the research community, maintaining the level and quality of services as user numbers continue to grow and to provide integrated front-line support covering all DRI pillars. 

Federal Contribution: $3,469,786 

ISED Conditions: Evidence of cost-match; DRI ecosystem workforce plan 

Funding for existing DRI ecosystem operations

Up to $48 million is earmarked for the 2023-25 period to support existing operations of the DRI ecosystem and $40 million for Alliance operations, subject to workforce planning and enhanced data collection and reporting. This funding will provide for continuity of services to researchers for the next two years, support expert staff working within the DRI ecosystem across the country.  

Remaining Initiative Approvals

The following proposed initiatives did not receive federal funding in this funding cycle. The Alliance remains committed to working with partners to address the gaps identified during the DRI Needs Assessment and MYFP consultations. These initiatives will be evaluated as part of the development of the 2025-30 funding proposal. 



Connecting DRI, People and Research Outputs: Building a National PID Strategy ​  

Includes several initiatives to increase the amount and function of Persistent Identifier (PID) integrations to address lagging resources and automation. 

Networked Curation Services ​  

Supports a national data curation network to enable researchers to better fulfill their Tri-Agency requirements for data deposit while improving the value of their data. 

Towards a Sustainable Canadian Research Software Community ​  

Enables a coordinated national process for a three-stage funding call to improve long-term funding for software platforms (RSPs) and teams (RSPTs). 

Supporting and Expanding Training Capacity in the Canadian DRI Ecosystem ​  

Provides the necessary resources to create and enable a data-driven ecosystem-wide training strategy, while supporting existing training programs with the technology required to deliver a consistent accessible training experience. 

Innovation Funding Opportunity 

​​A​ funding program to redistribute funds to projects that integrate two of the three pillars (advanced research computing, research data management and research software).  

Next steps

The Alliance has been actively working on implementation plans since October 2022 in preparation for the formal decision from ISED. Implementation plans describe how the Alliance will administer each initiative by defining the program requirements, metrics, timelines, oversight, resources, risk management and communications.  

Once Contribution Agreements are finalized between the Alliance and ISED, the Alliance will engage with regional organizations and partner institutions with respect to the development of funding agreements, updated operating budgets and cost-matching requirements. The Alliance will regularly engage with ecosystem partners to collaboratively advance these important initiatives to implement Canada’s national DRI Strategy. 

More information

About the New Service Delivery Model/Funding Model

The New Service Delivery Model (NSDM) outlines the DRI services available across the three layers within the ecosystem (national, regional and local) and the roles of service sponsor and service provider for these services within each layer. The New Service Funding Model (FM) aims to develop a framework for predictable and stable funding for DRI and will include details on cost eligibility for services available across the ecosystem’s layers. The proposed NSDM and FM are currently under development and require additional work, validation and testing with our DRI community partners. We are devising a consultation process to engage further with our members and service partners.   

If you have any questions, please contact