Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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About the Award

Innovation paves the road to success in the new global economy. The Synergy Awards for Innovation were launched in 1995 by NSERC to recognize partnerships in natural sciences and engineering research and development (R&D) between universities and Canadian industry. In 2014, a category for colleges was added. Since their inception, the Awards have honoured the most outstanding achievements of these collaborations in the natural sciences and engineering. By working together, award-winning companies and post-secondary institutions have proven that effective partnerships are the foundation of achievement. Their success has enriched the academic and research programs within Canadian post-secondary institutions while providing tangible benefits to Canadians.

Prizes

Universities: The winner (principal nominee) in each category will receive a $200,000 NSERC research grant. Industrial partners will each receive a $30,000 voucher valid towards the cash portion of their required contribution in a new Collaborative Research and Development Grant (CRD). Applications using the voucher must be received within three years of the Synergy Award for Innovation being awarded. The value of the voucher can be divided across multiple years of the CRD project. The intent is to offer one voucher to every eligible industrial partner however, NSERC reserves the right to limit the number of vouchers in categories where multiple partners are involved. Research grant funds paid to winners of this prize are subject to the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

Colleges: The winning institution will receive up to $100,000 for an Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grant that can be used to purchase equipment to foster and enhance the ability of the college to undertake applied research, innovation and training in collaboration with local companies. Industrial partners will each receive a $20,000 voucher valid for a cash portion of their required contribution towards any NSERC’s College and Community Innovation Program (CCI) grant. Applications using the voucher must be received within three years of the Synergy Award for Innovation being awarded. The value of the voucher can be divided across multiple years of the CCI project. The intent is to offer one voucher to every eligible industrial partner however, NSERC reserves the right to limit the number of vouchers in categories where multiple partners are involved. Research grant funds paid to winners of this prize are subject to the College and Community Innovation Program Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

The Synergy Awards for Innovation showcase innovation and the benefits of pooling resources to make the most of Canadian ingenuity. The Awards are judged on:

  • partnership;
  • effective use of resources; and
  • tangible benefits.

Award Categories

Synergy Awards are offered in four categories:

For universities:

  • Small and Medium-Sized Companies—A partnership with a single company of up to 500 employees.
  • Large Companies—A partnership with a single company of more than 500 employees.
  • Two or More Companies—A partnership with two or more companies of any size or with a consortium of companies.

For colleges (only nominations in the natural sciences and/or engineering will be considered):

  • Colleges—An innovative applied R&D partnership with demonstrable impact between a college research team and one or more companies, of any size.
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