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College and Community Innovation Program - Innovation Enhancement Grants

Starting with the 2018 Innovation Enhancement (IE) competition, half of the budget for newly awarded IE-Build grants will be reserved for those colleges who have not yet held any IE-Build or a Technology Access Centre (TAC) awards. Should there be insufficient meritorious submissions in this category, these funds will be available to fund applications from colleges who have already held an IE-Build or a TAC.


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Overview
Duration Two years: Entry-Level IE Grants
Five years: Build IE Grants
Three years: Extend IE Grants
How to Apply Letter of Intent Application
 
  • Form 186 – Letter of Intent to Apply for a College and Community Innovation Program - Build Innovation Enhancement Grant
  • F103CV (form-fillable) – CCI Personal Data Form and instructions
  • Form 103 – Application for the CCI Program
  • Form 183A – Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs
  To complete the Form 103CV or to view its instructions, select the links above.

To create or access an application, select On-line System Login. To view forms and instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.
Important
Deadlines
Sixteenth
Competition
Seventeenth
Competition
Eighteenth
Competition
Letter of Intent (Build IE Grants only) May 24, 2018 June 4, 2019 May 21, 2020
Invitation to
Submit an Application (Build IE Grants only)
August 2018 August 2019 August 2020
Applications for
Entry-Level, Build and Extend IE
Grants
Applications
October 25, 2018 November 1, 2019 October 22, 2020
Decision on  Application February 2019 February 2020 February 2021
For More
Information
Consult the Contact List

Federal Granting Agencies/Canada Foundation for Innovation Joint Initiative for Colleges

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is pleased to participate in the Innovation Enhancement (IE) Grants component of the granting agencies’ College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program in order to foster partnerships between colleges and the private sector that will lead to business innovation at the local, regional and national levels.

This joint initiative allows colleges to apply for a comprehensive funding package supporting both research costs and research infrastructure (through the CFI’s new College-Industry Innovation Fund: Stream 2). A Call for Proposals for the CFI College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) is available on the This link will take you to another Web site CFI website.

All information submitted to the joint initiative by researchers, company and college employees, community members, reviewers and other individuals will be used to review applications and to administer and monitor awards. The three participating agencies—NSERC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—and the CFI share the submitted information among themselves as required to manage the CCI–IE Grants. By signing and submitting their CCI-IE and CIIF applications to CFI and NSERC, researchers agree to this use and disclosure of their personal information.

Important information

The CCI Program is managed by NSERC in collaboration with CIHR and SSHRC. The IE Grants can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and/or health. All applications must be submitted to NSERC. Grants are funded by NSERC, with the exception of proposals exclusively in the social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences, which will be funded by SSHRC or CIHR, as appropriate.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering community and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are key priorities in our current strategic plan, NSERC 2020, and are highlighted in the strategic goal of “Building a Diversified and Competitive Research Base”.

Objective

The objective of the IE Grants is to increase innovation at the community and/or regional level by enabling Canadian colleges to increase their capacity to work with local companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The grants support the growth of applied research capacity, leading to increased business collaborations that facilitate commercialization, as well as technology transfer, adaptation and adoption of new technologies.

Description

IE Grants stimulate applied research that brings together necessary expertise from diverse fields such as natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities, and/or health sciences to address business-driven challenges and opportunities. IE Grants provide funding to colleges on a competitive basis to support the growth of their applied research capacity leading to collaborative applied research and technology transfer activities with and to the benefit of companies—SMEs in particular. They thus increase company engagements and contributions throughout the term of the grant. These grants will focus on an area where the college has recognized expertise and that meets local or regional needs and where there is the potential to increase the economic development of the community.

The Build IE Grants are highly competitive. Applications in an IE competition will be compared on their relative potential to build applied research capacity at the college. Proposals which leverage substantial existing capacity may not be funded in favour of proposals with less capacity but more potential for impact.

The five-year Build IE Grant (or its predecessor the Five-Year IE Grant) can be renewed once for an additional three years (through the Extend IE Grants) in the same applied research area. To be eligible for the Extend IE Grant, the original five-year IE Grant must have been completed in good standing, or, for active IE Grants, have received its fifth-year grant instalment. As well, in either case, the Extend IE Grant must meet the minimum company commitment requirements. For details on minimum company commitment levels, please see Funding Level and Duration.

Do Innovation Enhancement Grants fit with your college’s need?

Build IE Grants are intended to support colleges in establishing novel and innovative applied research capacities and expertise in industry sectors active in their region, particularly in areas not yet supported by Build IE or TAC grants. They are meant as an introductory support to launch a new applied research direction, and not as long-term support for an applied research area.

Entry Level IE Grants are available to those colleges who have not previously been awarded an IE, Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC), or TAC Grant. See Eligibility Info below. Colleges who have not yet been awarded these grant types are encouraged to seek out an Entry-Level IE grant to begin their applied research program. Colleges can apply for a Build IE Grant in the same applied research area as a previously awarded Entry-Level IE grant.

Colleges with a previously awarded Build IE Grant (or its predecessor the Five-Year IE Grant) may include one additional page in their LOI application for each previously awarded five year IE grant. In this page, colleges are requested to demonstrate that the new proposal, in comparison to the previous grant, focuses on different applied research disciplines, technical expertise and facilities; and supports a different and significant industry sector.

Colleges with a well-established expertise in an applied research area who have already received support from a five year IE Grant in a similar applied research discipline or have collaborated with a similar industry sector are encouraged to consider applying for an Extend IE Grant.

It is expected that colleges with mature applied research programs who already serve the industrial sectors of their region will generally not be appropriate for Build IE funding. At the conclusion of their Build IE Grant, colleges should have increased their applied research capacities and developed the necessary strong partnerships with their regional company partners to sustain parts of their applied research activities through other granting opportunities such as the Extend IE Grants, TAC Grants, or ARD Grants.

Funding Level and Duration

Entry-Level Innovation Enhancement Grant

Funding Years 1 and 2: Funding of up to $100,000 per year. No minimum company commitment.

Build and Extend Innovation Enhancement Grants

The NSERC funding levels and minimum required contributions by eligible companies are described below for new and renewal applications.

Build IE Grants

  NSERC Funding Limit Minimum Eligible Company Commitment Confirmed Minimum Eligible Company Commitment at the Time of the Application
Year 1  $400,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $100,000, of which at least $25,000 must be in cash Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $300,000, of which at least $75,000 must be in cash over the five years of the grant
Year 2 $400,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $200,000, of which at least $50,000 must be in cash
Year 3 $400,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $300,000, of which at least $75,000 must be in cash
Year 4 $400,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $400,000, of which at least $100,000 must be in cash
Year 5 $400,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $400,000, of which at least $100,000 must be in cash

Extend IE Grants



  NSERC Funding Limit Minimum Eligible Company Commitment Confirmed Minimum Eligible Company Commitment at the Time of the Application
Year 1  $300,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $300,000, of which at least $150,000 must be in cash Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $600,000, of which at least $300,000 must be in cash over the three years of the grant
Year 2 $300,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $300,000, of which at least $150,000 must be in cash
Year 3 $300,000 Cash and/or in-kind contributions totalling a minimum of $300,000, of which at least $150,000 must be in cash

 

Each grant will be administered by an eligible college and will be composed of a portfolio of fixed applied research projects and technology and knowledge transfer/outreach activities. Funds will go to individuals and/or teams of faculty members, working with their students on specified collaborative projects with business. The grants are intended to be flexible and to accommodate a variety of activities and address the needs of a range of colleges (from small to large, rural to urban, etc.). All proposals must include a plan to involve faculty and students enrolled in programs at the college and indicate how they will work with the local companies and, possibly, other relevant partners.

Eligibility

Canadian colleges that have been declared eligible to administer grants according to the eligibility requirements for colleges of at least one of the three federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR and/or SSHRC) may submit a grant application.

If the proposed research and knowledge/technology transfer activities lie entirely within the mandate of one agency (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC), the college must be declared eligible to receive funding from that granting agency.

  • The college must offer programs in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences and in line with the applied research areas proposed.
  • The college’s faculty members involved in the IE Grants must be engaged in applied research in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences.
  • The college must provide the space, facilities and services to enable its natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences faculty members to conduct applied research.

Entry-Level Innovation Enhancement Grant

  • Colleges can only be awarded one Entry-Level IE grant.
  • Colleges who have received an Innovation Enhancement, Technology Access Centre, or Industrial Research Chair for Colleges Grant will not be eligible for an Entry-Level IE Grant.
  • If a college obtains a Build IE Grant while holding an Entry-Level IE Grant, no further annual Entry-Level IE Grant funds will be released.
  • Colleges are not eligible to submit an Entry-Level IE Grant proposal to the same competition to which they are submitting an application for a Build IE Grant.

Participation of Business and Other Organizations

Business

Companies must participate in the IE Grant and must be engaged at the application stage, as well as throughout the grant period. Colleges have to demonstrate that they have leveraged the minimum required cash and in-kind support for the IE proposal from business partners who could benefit from the activities (see Funding Level and Duration). Cash contributions from companies are not required for the Entry-Level IE Grants. However, for the Build IE Grants, there is a requirement for progressively increasing company cash and in-kind contributions as the college builds its applied research capacity over the course of the grant. At the LOI and application stages, NSERC will require letters of support from companies.

The purpose of the IE Grant is to build capacity in response to the needs of local companies. Proposals may be anchored by a single (large) company, but must include other company partners to demonstrate that the grant is effectively building the capacity needed to significantly benefit a broader group of companies within the industry sector. Company participation will be monitored closely throughout the grant and before releasing annual instalments. Past and future contributions (in-kind and cash) from eligible companies involved in the IE Grant are required to be reported on an annual basis to NSERC. To be considered eligible by NSERC, private sector contributions must:

  • relate directly to the activities proposed by the college;
  • be for a collaborative applied research project and not a contract for services rendered;
  • be cash contributed by the private sector partner paid to the college (deposited in a grant account) for the purposes of the grant activities.

Progress reports for the Build (18 and 30 month) and Extend (18 month) IE Grants will be requested. The progress reports must include information on budget expenses, partner contributions, and associated Forms 183A. NSERC requests that F183A be provided when additional partners have joined the project.

Other Organizations

The active participation and contributions (cash and in-kind) from governments (provincial, municipal, federal) and other organizations are encouraged as they strengthen the application by broadening the impact of the applied research activities on the local or regional community. Please note that cash and in-kind contributions from such public-sector sources will strengthen the proposal but will not count towards the minimum company contribution levels (see Funding Level and Duration).

To demonstrate the importance of the economic area identified in the IE Grant application, colleges will be encouraged to submit, as part of the application, letter(s) of support confirming the need for more applied research and technology transfer activities from local or regional business associations, chambers of commerce and/or provincial and federal government offices.

Application and Review Procedures

Entry-Level Innovation Enhancement Grant

There is a one-stage evaluation process for Entry-Level IE Grants. Proposals are peer-reviewed through a competitive process against the established IE Grant selection criteria.

The Entry-Level IE Grant application must include:

  • an application for a CCI-IE Grant (Form 103), pages 1 to 3;
  • a description of the proposed initiative (up to five pages, not including literature references, plus one additional page for literature references) focusing on one thematic element of the college’s applied research capabilities or plans describing:
    • the applied research to be carried out (describing at least 3 projects to be undertaken with company partners);
    • the involvement of company, faculty, students and other relevant partners;
  • a College Personal Data Form (Form 103CV) from the applicant and key personnel involved in the project (up to five including the applicant);
  • a budget justification (one page only);
  • a letter of support from at least one potential partner (maximum of three letters);
  • a letter of support from the college president.

Note: Colleges that submit a letter of intent for a Build IE Grant and that are not invited to submit a full application may, however, submit an Entry-Level Grant application in the fall competition if they are eligible.

Build and Extend Innovation Enhancement Grants

There is a two-stage evaluation process for the Build IE Grants. Both stages are peer-reviewed through a competitive process using the selection criteria defined below.

Stage I: Letters of Intent (for Build IE Grants only)

Colleges must submit LOIs that describe:

  • a plan for increasing the applied research capacity of the college in the area of the proposal and for facilitating its transfer to business;
  • the applied research to be carried out;
  • the involvement of companies, faculty, students and other relevant partners;
  • the fit of the proposal to the needs of local companies and the college’s strategic plan;
  • the key personnel involved in the project;
  • the gaps in applied research capacity that need to be filled, the expected outcomes and benefits to local companies;
  • if applicable, a one page description of the novelty of the targeted applied research area for each previously awarded five year IE Grant.

Build IE Grant applicants who intend to apply to the NSERC/CFI Joint Initiative should add a paragraph that includes a brief description of the applied research and technology development infrastructure (e.g., equipment, renovations, etc.) for which funding is being requested and the projected amount requested from CFI in the budget justification section of the IE LOI. The IE LOI form must be submitted directly to NSERC. LOIs must:

  • be prepared according to the detailed instructions provided for the IE Grants;
  • be accompanied by a letter from the president of the college (one page only), outlining the institutional support for the application and the relation to the college’s strategic plan;
  • include two letters (one page only for each letter) from local companies, outlining their support of the need for applied research in the area of the application and describing how the initiative will benefit them and contribute to local and/or regional innovation.

LOIs will be evaluated based on the selection criteria listed below by the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Review Committee, consisting of members who understand the role of colleges in economic development and their link with SMEs, and who have experience in the private sector and with innovation activities at the community level. This committee will recommend to NSERC the colleges to be invited to submit applications.

Applicants will be advised of the results of the LOI competition by the dates indicated in the table above. A confidential evaluation report, including the comments of the multidisciplinary CCI Review Committee, will be made available to each applicant. Based on the review, successful applicants will be invited by NSERC to submit an application.

Stage II: Application (for Build IE LOIs invited to Stage II and Extend IE Grants)

Applications must include:

  • a description of the proposed initiative, including information on the involvement of students, faculty and local businesses, and other relevant organizations;
  • a work plan for the duration of the proposed initiative including performance measures;
  • a summary of the college’s overall strategy and research strategy;
  • a College Personal Data Form (Form 103CV) from the applicant and key personnel involved in the project (up to five including the applicant);
  • a budget detailing the planned use of the funds;
  • a letter from the president of the college confirming the institutional support for the application and the relation to the college’s strategic plan;
  • letters of support from all supporting organizations providing cash or in-kind contributions (no page limit);
  • letters of support from local companies and other relevant stakeholders not providing cash or in-kind contributions  (up to 10 letters; no page limit);
  • an “Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs” (Form 183A) for each company making a cash and/or in-kind contributions to the projects;
  • a list of five possible external reviewers to be suggested by the college from different sectors (e.g. academia, industry, government). These suggested reviewers must not be in a Conflict of Interest.

Note: Those invited to submit an application to the NSERC-CFI Joint Initiative should complete an abbreviated CFI application form on CFI’s website to request funding for This link will take you to another Web site infrastructure.

The onus is on the applicant to provide sufficient information to enable the external reviewers and/or the CCI Review Committee to evaluate the relationship with other sources of support (held or applied for). The consequence of not providing adequate information is that the CCI Review Committee may recommend reduced or no funding.

All applications undergo peer review. Each Build and Extend IE Grant application will be reviewed by external reviewers. The evaluation of the external reviewers will be taken under consideration by the multidisciplinary CCI Review Committee. This committee will provide advice and comments on each application and will recommend to NSERC the colleges to receive grants.

Selection Criteria

LOIs and applications are expected to explain the context of the environment in which the college operates, including its available resources and opportunities, and the commitment of the college to undertake this initiative. Contributions to local innovation will be of primary importance. Applications in an IE competition will be compared on their relative potential to build applied research capacity at their college.

Applications are evaluated on the following criteria. In order to be considered for funding, LOIs and applications must receive a passing grade for each of the criteria:

Novel Applied Research Area

  • The extent to which the proposed initiative launches a novel applied research direction for the college.*
  • The potential of the initiative to support a previously unserved industry sector.*
  • The track record of the college in contributing to local or regional innovation

*Does not apply to Extend IE grants.

Potential to Contribute to Local or Regional Innovation

  • The extent to which the proposal addresses the unmet needs of the local community or region.
  • The potential to substantially enhance the college’s capacity to collaborate with local or regional businesses, contributing to significant and sustainable impacts on local and/or regional innovation.
  • The effectiveness of the plan for transferring knowledge and technology to local or regional companies.
  • The total resources available for this initiative, and the involvement of various partners in the community, specifically from private sector companies (especially SMEs), other relevant stakeholders from the public sector and non-governmental organizations, and the college. The prospects for increasing commitments and contributions as the work progresses.
  • The quality and volume of student training, and the need for these enhanced skills in the local community or region.

Excellence of the Proposal

  • Focus, clarity, quality and feasibility of the specific objectives of the proposal and of the work plan.
  • The quality of the team and the availability of the skills to accomplish the work plan.
  • The appropriateness of the plan for involving faculty and students in the applied research program.
  • The quality and appropriateness of the administration and management of the initiative.
  • The extent to which the proposal supports the college’s strategic plan.
  • The overall budget and the justification of the individual budget items

Announcement of the Competition Results for Applications

Applicants will be advised of the results of the competition at the approximate dates indicated in the table, and funding will commence shortly after. A confidential evaluation report including the comments of the external reviewers (for Build and Extend Grants only) and the CCI Review Committee will be made available to each applicant.

Use of Grant Funds

IE Grant funds must be used for direct costs of research; however, some limited funds may be used for operating and equipment costs (up to 20% of the total project cash costs), as well as for overhead and administration costs (up to 20% of the annual grant instalment). The college provides for other indirect or overhead costs. During the tenure of the IE Grant, reallocation of more than 20% of an annual budget item to other items may be permitted pending NSERC’s approval of a revised budget and justification for the changes. Reductions to planned spending on student salaries and/or on course load reduction are generally not accepted by NSERC. NSERC may reduce future instalments to reclaim unused funds in these budget categories.

A list of eligible expenditures is detailed in the CCI Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide.

The IE Grant does not support major infrastructure requests related to the initiative. For major infrastructure requests, an alternative source of funding should be pursued, such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation. For the Build IE Grants competition, NSERC and the CFI have developed a joint application and review procedure. Applicants wishing to use this procedure should consult This link will take you to another Web site College-Industry Innovation Fund: Stream 2.

Reporting

IE Grants are closely monitored annually. The college is required to provide annual financial reports on expenditures and past and future contributions from businesses and other partners. Reporting requirements will be as follows:

Entry-Level Innovation Enhancement Grant

  • Progress report after 12 months (prior to the release of the second-year funding);

Grant funding for the second and subsequent years is dependent on satisfactory progress demonstrated by:

  • clear demonstration of ongoing partnership and progress in the research (e.g. starting new projects);
  • appropriate use of grant funds;
  • a demonstrated need for funds.

Build Innovation Enhancement Grant

  • Progress report after 18 months (prior to the release of the third-year funding);
  • Progress report after 30 months (prior to the release of the fourth-year funding).

Grant funding for the second and subsequent years is dependent on satisfactory progress demonstrated by:

  • clear demonstration of ongoing partnerships and progress in the research (e.g. starting new projects);
  • company partner contributions received in line with the original budget in the funded proposal, and also meeting the minimum requirements of the program;
  • appropriate use of grant funds;
  • a demonstrated need for funds.

Extend Innovation Enhancement Grant

  • Progress report after 18 months (prior to the release of the third-year funding).

Grant funding for the second and subsequent years is dependent on satisfactory progress, justified by:

  • clear demonstration of ongoing partnership and progress in the research (e.g. starting new projects);
  • company partner contributions received in line with the original budget in the funded proposal, and also meeting the minimum requirements of the program;
  • appropriate use of grant funds;
  • a demonstrated need for funds.

Performance will be assessed based on the degree to which the objectives of the original proposal have been achieved and a demonstration of the short-term impacts. Release of subsequent instalments of the grant depends on satisfactory progress and ongoing business partner participation in line with the funded proposal. In addition, applicants will be required to report on performance targets, as set forth in the original application, during the tenure of the IE Grant.

The company cash and in-kind contributions for the Build and Extend IE Grants will be monitored annually. If the eligible partner contributions do not meet the minimum requirements, future grant instalments may be cancelled. The Build IE Grants’ 30-month progress report may be provided to the CCI Review Committee for its evaluation. The CCI Review Committee will assess the progress made towards the grant objectives as well as the company contributions. IE Grants that do not demonstrate satisfactory performance or do not meet the minimum company contributions will not be provided with subsequent instalments.

Three months after the project’s end date IE grantees must submit a final report:

  • outlining the tangible and intangible outcomes of the funded activities;
  • disclosing all sources of funding at the end of a project.