Request for project proposals related to Indigenous language technology


The submission period for new project proposals has now ended. Decisions will be sent to applicants by May 20, 2019.

Expression of interest period: Expressions of interest must be received by April 30, 2019.

Evaluation and decision period: Proposals will be evaluated by the NRC project team and the Indigenous Advisory Committee on the basis of the criteria described below. Decisions will be sent to applicants by May 20, 2019.

Funding period: Begins on June 1, 2019 and ends on March 31, 2020.

Examples of projects we will consider: Refining existing technologies for Indigenous languages in Canada, developing new ones, collecting data to support these technologies, and assisting communities in the development of language learning methodologies and assistive technologies. See the list of examples below.

Required for consideration: Each successful proposal will show potential for a positive impact in the short or long term on the use by communities of at least one Indigenous language spoken in Canada. This request for project possibilities is not designed for projects of a purely theoretical nature – there must be a practical aspect. See the complete list of criteria below.

Amount available: Most successful proposals will receive funding in the range $100,000 to $300,000 CAD though proposals of exceptional merit requesting funding outside this range may be considered.

Before you begin: We encourage you to read the criteria listed below carefully. If you are interested and have questions about the process, please get in touch with us before you submit your expression of interest. We will be happy to answer your questions.


Priority will be given to:

  • projects carried out by Indigenous organizations, and to Indigenous-led or governed projects
  • projects with the potential for high impact on the stabilization, revitalization and reclamation of at least one Indigenous language in Canada
  • projects focusing on development of wide-reaching, replicable and/or scalable language technologies
  • applicants who can demonstrate that they are ready and able to launch the project quickly if/when their proposal is accepted (due to the short time scale)

Ideally, projects funded under this request will show potential for beneficial long-term effects after the funding period has ended: i.e., these projects should aim at strategic capacity-building. Thus, additional weight will be given to proposals that include a plan for training community members in language-related technologies. Greater merit will also be awarded to proposals that suggest how the funding requested could help support community activities in this area even after the end of the project. For instance, if a proposal requests funding for equipment to carry out the project, it will be worth clarifying in the proposal how the equipment in question will be useful for future language-related activities.

Proposals may include the planned hiring and payment of non-residents (e.g., language speakers or other community experts who are not Canadian citizens) on the condition that the proposal itself is aimed at benefiting an Indigenous language with some speakers residing in Canada. A typical situation where this might arise is for language communities that span the Canada-US border: it would be unfair to deprive a project of valuable expertise just because some of the language experts happen to be placed outside Canada by a boundary determined by history.

We encourage collaborative proposals and aggregated proposals: proposals submitted by more than one language community, provided that they share a common goal.

Examples of proposals that could be funded

The list that follows is intended to suggest possible themes for proposals. However, it is not intended to discourage other themes applicants may come up with – innovative proposals that satisfy the criteria above but that don't resemble anything on the list are welcome!

  • Digitization of existing non-digital language materials; development of archives and archival processes
  • Strategic and purposeful recordings of spoken language (e.g., recordings of interviews with Elders in an Indigenous language) – applicants to explain how these complement or fill a need outside of existing recordings
  • Adaptation of existing learning materials for additional/new technological platforms (e.g., porting online courses to mobile devices)
  • Development or extension of online resources, such as websites, that foster functional language learning
  • Development of online, technology-assisted language surveys
  • Development of videos and streaming podcasts that will assist the stabilization, revitalization, and reclamation of Indigenous languages
  • Research aimed at developing technologies that will assist the stabilization, revitalization and reclamation.

The ILTP web page describes several technologies that the NRC and its partners are already working on and gives an overview of the project as a whole.

Contact us

Should you have questions about the expression of interest process or the Indigenous languages technology project, please contact:

Roland Kuhn
Principal Research Officer
Project Lead, Indigenous Languages Technology Project

Heather Souter
Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Committee
Indigenous Languages Technology Project

Glenn Morrison
Recording Secretary of the Indigenous Advisory Committee
Indigenous Languages Technology Project

Related links