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College and Community Innovation Program - Innovation Enhancement Grants

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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
Fourteenth Competition Fifteenth
Competition
Sixteenth Competition
Letter of Intent (Build IE Grants only) May 26, 2016 May 25, 2017 May 25, 2018
Invitation to
Submit an Application (Build IE Grants only)
Early August 2016 Early August 2017 Early August 2018
Applications for
Entry-Level, Build and Extend IE
Grants
Applications
October 27, 2016 October 26, 2017 October 26, 2018
Decision on  Application Early February 2017 Early February 2018 Early February 2019
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.

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 five-year IE Grants have 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.

Colleges are limited to one five-year IE Grant per applied research area. Colleges can apply for more than one five-year IE Grant; however, it must be clearly demonstrated that the application falls within a new applied research area. Applications that overlap with a previously awarded IE Grant will be rejected. NSERC considers the applied research disciplines, as well as the targeted industry sectors, when assessing potential overlap. Overlap within an applied research discipline or a targeted industry sector will result in rejection of the IE Grant application.

Example 1: The applied research areas of oil refinery, environmental land remediation of former oil sites, and oil site worker safety, would all be considered overlapping (although in distinct applied research disciplines), since they are targeted toward a common industry sector.

Example 2: The applied research areas of polymers and coatings, biomaterials, and concrete, would all be considered overlapping (although targeting distinct industry sectors), since they fall under the Materials Science applied research discipline.

NSERC will make the final decision on the eligibility of IE Grant applications when there is potential applied research overlap with previous IE Grants.

At the conclusion of their five-year 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. Colleges can further advance and maintain their applied research activities by applying for multi-year funding through an Extend IE Grant, an Applied Research and Development Grant, a College-University Idea to Innovation Grant, a Technology Access Centre Grant, or an Industrial Research Chair for Colleges Grant.

Note: Colleges can apply for a Build IE Grant in the same applied research area as a previously awarded Entry-Level IE grant.

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 activities supported must be incremental to those already planned by the college and the college must demonstrate this incrementality in its application. 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 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 five-year 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 support collaboration with a range of companies. To ensure companies are involved in the grant, 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 will have 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; and
  • 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. Letters of support must be provided to NSERC to reflect additional partners that have joined the project (not applicable for the Entry-Level IE Grant).

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); and
    • 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); and
  • 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; and
  • the requested funds.

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; and
  • 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; and
  • a list of five possible external reviewers to be suggested by the college from different sectors.

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.

To ensure that the IE Grant objectives are met, LOIs and applications will be assessed using the IE Grants selection criteria outlined below.

Potential to Contribute to Local or Regional Innovation

  • The extent to which the proposal addresses the needs of the local community or region and the potential to have a significant and sustainable impact on local or regional innovation.
  • The effectiveness of the plan for transferring knowledge and technology to local or regional companies.
  • The involvement of various partners in the community, specifically companies (especially SMEs) and other relevant stakeholders from the public sector and non-governmental organizations, as well as prospects for increasing commitments as the work progresses.
  • The track record of the college in contributing to local or regional innovation and the potential to enhance its capacity to work with local or regional businesses.
  • The quality and incrementality of the training and the need for these enhanced skills in the local community or region.

Excellence of the Proposal

  • Focus and clarity of the specific objectives of the proposal.
  • Quality and feasibility of the work plan.
  • Merit of the applied research activities and their potential to achieve the objectives.
  • 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 context of the strategic plan of the college.
  • The quality and appropriateness of the administration and management of the initiative.
  • The extent to which the proposal supports the college’s strategic plan.

Need for, and Use of, Resources

  • The demonstrated need for increased capacity for applied research in the area of the proposal at the college and for supporting technology transfer.
  • The total resources available for this initiative from the college, the private sector and other sources such as public sector and non-governmental organizations.
  • The overall budget and the justification of the individual budget items.
  • The likelihood for this investment to result in sustainable capacity at the college allowing for continued collaboration with local companies in the area of the proposal.

Announcement of the Competition Results for Applications

Applicants will be advised of the results of the competition by the dates indicated in the table, and funding will commence shortly after. A confidential evaluation report including the comments of the external reviewers 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 costs), as well as for overhead and administration costs (up to 20% of the total grant). 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.

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 year is dependent on satisfactory progress, demonstrated by:

  • the launch of at least three projects with partners;
  • appropriate use of grant funds; and
  • a demonstrated need for funds.

Build Innovation Enhancement Grant

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

Extend Innovation Enhancement Grant

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

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 installments of the grant depends on satisfactory progress and ongoing business partner participation. 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 will 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; and
  • disclosing all sources of funding at the end of a project.