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ISED approves funding for digital research infrastructure (DRI) initiatives

(OTTAWA, ON) March 28, 2023 – The Digital Research Alliance of Canada (the Alliance) is pleased to announce that Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada has awarded funding of up to $228.3 million for 2023-24 and 2024-25 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 Assessment and extensive collaboration with the DRI community.

Up to $88 million is earmarked for the 2023-25 period to support existing operations of the DRI ecosystem, subject to workforce planning and enhanced data collection and reporting. This funding enables the support of highly qualified personnel who operate DRI infrastructure and provide direct support to researchers, as well as the operations of the Alliance.

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

Approved Initiative


Federal Contribution

ISED Conditions

ARC Infrastructure Renewal and Commercial Cloud Pilot

Addresses the critical issue of Canada’s aging ARC infrastructure (HPC Renewal and Community Cloud Renewal) across the National Host Sites. In addition, ISED has directed the Alliance to develop a commercial cloud strategy and pilot proposal to complement existing community cloud solutions.


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

Data Centre Upgrade

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


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

DMP Assistant Stabilization

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


Evidence of cost-match; Tri-Agency engagement on the ongoing development and implementation

Expansion of Lunaris Project

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


Evidence of cost-match; Tri-Agency engagement on the ongoing development and implementation

Cybersecurity Long-Term Action Plan (LTAP) 

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



Supporting Researchers using Quantum Computers

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


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

Funding for a more Equitable, Diverse, Inclusive and Accessible (EDIA) DRI Community

Supports a targeted EDIA initiative to increase engagement and DRI service and infrastructure uptake among under-represented groups in the research and education sector.



Approved proposal required for funds to be released

Extending User Support for 2023-2025 

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.


Evidence of cost-match, and a DRI ecosystem workforce plan

Sensitive Data Repository Project ​

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.


Revised proposal focused on a policy framework for sensitive data

“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 and enable the Alliance to tackle critical upgrades to aging infrastructure while undertaking expansion projects for data management, storage and access,” said George Ross, CEO of the Alliance.  

“We are grateful to the more than 90 experts within the DRI community who helped identify the needs of Canadian researchers and who worked with us to develop a comprehensive proposal to enable important research and discovery,” he added. “We are equally grateful for ISED’s commitment to the Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy, which ensures that Canada’s researchers have the digital tools they need to support scientific excellence.”

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 re-evaluated as part of the development of the 2025-30 funding proposal to ISED.



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 planning for the implementation of each of the proposed initiatives 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.

ISED and the Alliance are in the process of finalizing related Contribution Agreements. In the coming days, 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 convene meetings with ecosystem partners to collaboratively advance these important initiatives to implement Canada’s national DRI Strategy.

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The Digital Research Alliance of Canada (the Alliance) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that supports a researcher-focused, strategic, inclusive, and sustainable Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) ecosystem. Established in 2019, the Alliance works with partners and stakeholders across Canada to give researchers and scientists the digital tools, support, services, and infrastructure they need to conduct leading-edge research that benefits society and competes globally. The Alliance is funded by the Government of Canada through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada via the Digital Research Infrastructure Strategy. Visit