High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program

Delivered by the NRC's Advanced Electronics and Photonics Research Centre, the High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program is developing disruptive technologies and technologies that improve the cost and performance of delivering secure, affordable and high-speed internet services in rural and remote communities across Canada.

Going beyond the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's universal service objective of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload with unlimited data, the vision of this Challenge program is "1 Gb/s everywhere".

High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program (Transcript)

About the program

Areas of focus

The High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program works with stakeholders to develop technologies enabling the implementation of next-generation, and next-after-next-generation high-speed telecommunication networks. Through collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders, the program will develop disruptive solutions in:

Open funding calls

Grant and contribution funding for collaborators is available through the NRC's Collaborative Science Technology and Innovation Program (CSTIP) for eligible collaborators who offer complementary expertise. Priority will be given to projects with the greatest potential to deliver innovation and new approaches that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Funding recipients must be either an academic researcher, research organization, or a small to medium-sized enterprise (less than 500 employees) working in partnership with an NRC researcher.
    • If you would like to be matched with NRC scientists, please indicate this in your Expression of Interest submission.
  • Project costs must fall under eligible cost categories, including:
    • salaries for high quality personnel working on the project activities
    • research support costs:
      • direct costs incurred in the implementation phase of the project which may include consumable materials and supplies
    • travel costs for project participation
  • Projects that address a specific need for HTSN:
    • Optical satellite communications (satcom) research priorities, including:
      • high capacity reliable downlinks for remote regions
      • hybrid RF-optical link solutions
      • advanced optical satcom system architecture
      • free space optical channel modeling

      Collaborative projects in this theme are generally administered through the Optical SatCom Consortium.

    • Photonics for fibre and fixed wireless access research priorities, including:
      • radio-over-fibre
      • coherent optical networks using quantum dot lasers
      • photonic integration
      • avalanche photo-diodes
      • short-wavelength infrared detectors-imaging
      • silicon photonics
      • printed conformable antennas for wireless communications
    • Quantum communications research priorities for tackling the theoretical and experimental challenges of free space, space-based or fibre quantum communication demonstrations, including:
      • high-rate quantum light sources
      • quantum frequency conversion devices
      • quantum memories and quantum repeaters
      • improving quantum channels through novel protocols and enhanced detection
  • Projects must be sufficiently mature. The basic parameters of the concept must have already been explored and sufficient testing should have been done to assess the potential of the innovation for its intended purpose. This represents at least technology readiness level 4.
  • Funding is generally for projects up to 2 years in duration with maximum funding of $100,000 CAD per year.
  • Project teams must clearly demonstrate their commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and gender-based analysis plus in their research applications. This includes the composition of their project teams, research methods, analysis and knowledge-mobilization plans.

To apply for funding, you must first express your interest. Promising project ideas will be reviewed and may be invited to complete CSTIP application documents for evaluation by a peer-review committee.

Express your interest


  • The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are looking to develop several research collaborations focusing on defence and security applications, specifically: quantum sensing and sensors, quantum communications, and quantum computing, simulations and algorithms through their IDEaS program.

Program team

The NRC's High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program is made up of a highly-skilled and multi-disciplinary team possessing a broad range of expertise in photonics, business and advisory services, and program management.

  • Lynne Genik, Program Director
  • Dr. Sylvain Raymond, Deputy Director and Optical Satellite Communications Lead
  • Dr. Boris Lamontagne, Photonics for Fibre and Fixed Wireless Access Lead
  • Dr. Aimee Gunther, Quantum Communications Lead
  • Dr. Marina Gertsvolf, Network Metrology and Timing Lead
  • Dr. Rebecca Trueman, Challenge Officer

Contact us

If you are interested in collaborating with us, making investments in this area, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Lynne Genik
Program Director, High-throughput and Secure Networks Challenge program
Telephone: 343-550-4174
Email: NRC.HTSN-RHDS.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Related links

Stay connected

Follow the National Research Council of Canada on social media.

Twitter: @nrc_cnrc on Twitter
Instagram: @nrc_cnrc on Instagram
Search for: #NRCChallengeRuralConnect

Feature projects