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CREATE Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Industrial Stream and International Collaboration

1. Are these initiatives funded separately from the rest of the CREATE Program?
No, these initiatives are funded within the existing budget envelope.

Industrial Stream

2. Is the industrial involvement only with the Canadian industry? Can there be an international industrial collaboration?
There must be a clear benefit to Canada and the Canadian economy.

3. Should there be a formal commitment from the industry at Letter of Intent phase?
At the Letter of Intent (LOI) phase, a commitment is required to qualify for consideration under the industrial stream. A formal commitment will be required at the application phase.

4. What intellectual property policy should be followed?
The intellectual property (IP) polices of both NSERC and the university should be followed.

5. What additional information is required from the applicant at the Letter of Intent phase?
If applicants do not have a confirmed name of the industrial representative on the program committee, they should indicate the position level of this person. The intent of an identified organization to host internships should also be indicated at this phase.

6. What is the minimum length of time required for internships in industry and how long should the trainees participate?
Trainees must spend a minimum of 20% of their time at the industrial collaborator premises (for example, 2-4 months at the MSc level and 8-10 months at the PhD level over the duration of their involvement in the CREATE initiative). However, the completion of the degree should not be delayed (For MSc. trainees: two years; for PhD trainees: four or five years).

Note: All the CREATE trainees must hold at least one industrial internship.

7. How much should industry contribute (cash or in-kind)?
There is no minimum financial contribution required. In-kind contributions are acceptable.

8. What is the incentive for industry to collaborate in a CREATE initiative?
Trainees can become future employees of the collaborating company. The company is assured that the students are trained with the professional skills they require. Students could address research issues of importance to the company during the term.

9. Can a hospital be considered an industrial collaborator?
No. An industrial collaborator must be a Canadian small, medium or large enterprise.

10. How different is management training from a management program?
One of the objectives of the CREATE Program is to facilitate the acquisition of skills required by industry. Skills acquired through an MBA program may not necessarily fulfill these needs.

11. Can the same company host internships and also have a representative on the program committee?
Yes, as long as the representative does not directly benefit from the internships. The internship provides value-added training for the intern and is not just technical support for the company.

International Collaborations

12. Does a DFG partner need to have an industrial collaborator in Germany or will the Canadian partner(s) suffice?
An industrial collaborator is not mandatory for a proposed collaboration with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, the German Research Foundation).   

13. For a CREATE-IRTG initiative, is some of the funding coming from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, the German Research Foundation) and some from NSERC?
Both organizations (NSERC and DFG) will provide support/funding for its respective grantees and trainees.

14. For a CREATE-IRTG (Canada-Germany) initiative, which expenses would be covered by the Canadian group?
NSERC and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, the German Research Foundation) will provide support to the research training group in their own countries. For example, expenses such as travel and dissemination costs of the Canadian trainees would not be shared with the German partner. These groups will support researchers and highly qualified people in their own country, as well as cover the costs of accommodating trainees who visit the partner country. Each research training group also takes the responsibility for providing stipends to its trainees for the duration of their stay at the partner institution.

Program Objectives

15. How important is it to describe professional skills training within the application?
Professional skills training that complements the trainees qualifications and technical skills are required and must be described in the proposal.

16. Can CREATE initiatives be renewed?
No, renewal of a CREATE initiative is not possible. If a previous CREATE grant holder applies for a new CREATE initiative, the proposed initiative must differ significantly from the previous one. This has to be clearly explained in the new LOI.

17. How does NSERC distinguish between new and existing training opportunities?
Over the years, many training programs have been created to foster collaborative, team research across disciplines and integrate training, knowledge translation and professional skills such as communication, teamwork, project management and leadership. Some examples can be found within the Networks of Centres of Excellence and the NSERC Strategic Networks; others may have been initiated by institutions themselves or as a result of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Strategic Training Initiatives in Health Research (STIHR). The CREATE Program does not intend to replace the funding of these training opportunities; rather it will focus on initiatives that raise the standards for best practices in the mentoring and training of new researchers. They should bring qualitative added value compared to existing training opportunities or what is already achieved by funding trainees from individual or project grants, or by individual awards given directly to trainees.

18. Are proposals that include more than one university preferred over single university applications?
No, CREATE awards will be decided only on the excellence and merits of the proposal and the expected outcomes targeted to a specific group of students.

19. Is there a requirement for the main applicant to be a more senior, experienced researcher?
No, the program is open to all researchers. The excellence of the team will be assessed by a number of factors, including its contributions to the training of highly qualified personnel as well as the complementarity of expertise and experience of the team. All applicants, co-applicants and collaborators must explain their respective roles and responsibilities within the training program and its management. In this way, teams that compensate for limited research experience of some researchers by emphasizing the strengths of other team members will maximize the chances of success. Universities should take into consideration that it will be up to their institutions to select the applications to be put forward and they should determine which better meet the selection criteria, including the excellence of the researchers.

20. Is it an advantage to apply within one of the priority areas?
While a minimum of 60% of the funding is directed to the four priority areas, up to 40% of the funding can be for non-priority areas. It is the excellence of the proposed training program, rather than its fit to a priority area, that is considered.

Eligibility

21. Do researchers need to have an NSERC grant to be eligible to apply?
No, researchers do not need to hold an NSERC grant, but the applicant must be from an NSERC-supported field at an NSERC-eligible university, and the majority of the team must be from NSE fields. Co-applicants at the interdisciplinary frontier between NSE and the areas covered under the umbrella of SSHRC and CIHR may be incorporated into proposals. NSERC eligibility criteria for applicants, co-applicants and institutions apply.

22. Are researchers from other research institutions eligible to be CREATE applicants or co-applicants?
No, the CREATE Program funds training programs and, as such, requires that the applicants and co-applicants come from an NSERC-eligible Canadian university. Participation of researchers from other research institutions as collaborators is encouraged.

23. The CREATE Program description mentions that the applicant may not be the Chair of the program committee. Could a co-applicant or direct collaborator be the Chair of the program committee?
No, the purpose of the Program Committee is to oversee the progress of the proposed CREATE initiative and advise on its future direction, and good governance principles require that the Chair of the committee not be the applicant, a co-applicant or a collaborator listed in the application.

24. Can colleges participate in the CREATE Program?
Yes, colleges may participate as collaborators, but college students are not eligible to receive stipends.

25. Can the CREATE Program be used to fund students who are medical residents?
No. For consistency with CIHR’s Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research (STIHR) program, medical residents are not eligible to participate in the CREATE Program.

Budget

26. If a certain CREATE proposal incorporates a high degree of collaboration abroad, then the travel costs may exceed the 20 percent allocated for other expenses. Is the 80 percent for students’ stipends and the 20 percent for other expenses a firm ratio?
Yes, at least 80 percent of the CREATE grant must be used for trainees’ stipends. Travel or other expenses may be supplemented from other sources such as an NSERC Discovery Grant or other NSERC grant, as well as non-NSERC funding sources.

27. Collaborators may contribute additional funds. Will NSERC restrict how these additional funds can be spent or could they be spent at the collaborator’s discretion?
NSERC does allow flexibility in the way collaborator contributions are allocated, but expects the expenditures to support the goals of the CREATE Program. This should be well explained in the proposal.

On the other hand, CREATE funding must be spent according to the information provided in the CREATE Program description and in the relevant sections of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

Program Content

28. Is it possible to combine research training with courses given by other partner institutions within the applicant team?
Yes, it is possible to combine resources in this way, which may encourage student mobility between institutions.

29. Would the inclusion of a technology transfer/commercialization type of internship be an eligible training activity?
Yes, technology transfer/commercialization training is an eligible training activity.

Stipends

30. Can students holding a scholarship from NSERC, SSHRC or CIHR participate in the CREATE Program? Can they receive a CREATE stipend?
Yes, students holding a scholarship from any one of these granting agencies should be encouraged to participate in a CREATE training program. It is permitted to supplement their scholarship with a CREATE stipend during the tenure of their other scholarships.

31. Can students receiving awards from provincial funding agencies receive stipends from CREATE?
Yes, NSERC allows students to receive simultaneously awards from provincial funding agencies and a CREATE stipend; however, students should verify that/if the provincial funding agency’s award conditions allow this combination.

32. Can international students be supported by CREATE grants?
Yes, international students and fellows may be offered stipends while visiting or enrolled at a Canadian university. The CREATE Program allows for international travel expenses, so a proposal could also include an opportunity for foreign students to visit Canadian labs as part of the training program.

33. What is the maximum period of support for visiting international exchange students or fellows?
International exchange students, not enrolled at a Canadian university for their degree, or visiting fellows may be supported for a maximum of 125 days (per year, per person).

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