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Plastics challenge — In-situ sensing technology for monitoring microplastics in the marine environment




The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is seeking an innovative in situ (on site) sensing technology for identification and quantification of microplastics in water, which will enable the development of new techniques for monitoring microplastics in Canadian waters.

Eligible Applicants

Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • for profit
  • incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
  • 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
  • research and development activities that take place in Canada
  • 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in Canada
  • 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of work
  • 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residence

Eligible Expenses

The program will fund projects that proposed solution for monitoring microplastics in the marine environment:

  1. differentiate plastics from other polymers, or particulate organic/inorganic matters;
  2. be capable of providing plastic concentration throughout water column;
  3. facilitate concurrent measurement and geolocation;
  4. be capable of sensing microplastics in cold water environments, including ice-covered waters;
  5. be capable of sensing microplastics in water temperatures up to 30°C (86°F);
  6. be able to work with both internal (built-in) and external battery;
  7. have an scalable software for real-time monitoring and post-processing of the data;
  8. have ability to resist and operate in in water environments with salinities of up to 40 ppt; and
  9. have the ability to transfer data with ease (i.e. via telecommunications, Bluetooth).

In addition, the proposed solution should:

  1. characterize microplastic particles size, distribution and density;
  2. identify and characterize other particulate organic/inorganic matters; and
  3. have ability to resist/operate despite biofouling.

Deadline Date

  Closing date: May 26, 2020 14:00 Eastern Daylight Time


Contact Name: Government of Canada

E-mail Address:


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