Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC)

A common approach to classifying research

The new Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC) provides a common approach to classifying research across institutions and governments. Having one standard to classify research will make it easier to see Canada’s overall contribution to any one field or type of research, or to any particular socioeconomic challenge.

The CRDC includes all current sectors of research in Canada and supports a wide range of needs within the research and development ecosystem. It is modelled after the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification and Frascati Model 2015 (from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), and aligns with international standards.

A collaborative effort

It was developed through a collaborative effort by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Statistics Canada.

The new classification system was added to the CFI Awards Management System beginning in August 2020.

Three ways to classify research

The CRDC classifies research in three ways:

  • Type of activity
  • Fields of research
  • Socioeconomic objectives

Type of activity

This way of classifying research refers to whether it is basic research, applied research or experimental development.

Basic research: Refers to experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.

Applied research: Refers to original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge and directed primarily toward a specific, practical aim or objective.

Experimental development: Refers to systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes.

Download Type of Activity (Excel)

Fields of research

This way of classifying research includes major classes and related subclasses of research based on disciplines, knowledge sources, objects of interest, methods, processes, and techniques used in research and development activity. This is different from socioeconomic objectives, which refer to the purpose or outcome of the research and development activity.

download fields of research (Excel)

Socioeconomic objectives

This way of classifying research refers to the intended purpose or outcome of the research and development activity. This is different from fields of research, which refer to the disciplines, knowledge sources, objects of interest, methods, processes, and techniques used in the research and development activity in order to achieve objectives.

Download socioeconomic objectives (Excel)

Regular updates

Statistics Canada plans to update the CRDC within two years of its release, and every five years after that. Minor changes could be made once a year to reflect the latest trends. The files may also be subject to change without notice to correct potential errors and to align with Statistics Canada.

Download Crdc - full list (Excel)


Questions/Comments?  CRDC-feedback [at] innovation.ca