IMPORTANT NOTICE: Effective April 1, 2015, the opportunities previously available through the Interaction Grants, Regional Opportunities Fund and Partnership Workshops Grants are now available as Connect Grants.
Connect Grants provide targeted financial support to encourage post-secondary researchers at universities and/or colleges to connect with industry and other knowledge end-user communities in order to form new partnerships. Connect Grant recipients can be individuals at either an NSERC-eligible institution or a not-for-profit, non-government organization (including an industry association).
Eligible applicants can apply for three levels of Connect Grant funding:
||up to $5,000 for travel costs related to the development of new academic-industry partnerships in natural sciences or engineering research.
||up to $10,000 for non-recurring, regionally oriented activities or events aimed at developing or promoting new academic-industry partnerships in natural sciences or engineering research, as well as student-industry training opportunities.
||up to $25,000 for non-recurring, nationally oriented research planning workshops aimed at building substantial new collaborations in natural sciences or engineering research between post-secondary researchers and partners in industry, government, not-for profit or other knowledge end-user groups.
All the activities (including travel, events, and workshops) must take place within Canada.
Level 1 Connect Grants provide up to $5,000 for travel, accommodation and meeting costs for NSERC-eligible academic researchers at universities or colleges to undertake outreach aimed at forming new partnerships in natural sciences or engineering research with Canadian companies. As the objective is a new partnership, there must be no existing or past relationship between, on the one hand, the applicant or any researcher listed on the application and, on the other hand, the company or companies targeted.
Examples of an existing or past relationship between the company and academic researcher include:
- a previous research collaboration between the researcher and the company or any of its divisions;
- researcher’s current or past involvement in the company;
- joint participation in a research network;
- researcher’s existing association with the company or its principals (including if they serve as professors, adjunct professors or other colleague in the same university department);
- past or current supervision of a graduate student who is supported by an industrial scholarship or internship with the proposed partner;
- other evidence that a Connect Grant is not needed to foster a new research collaboration.
Note: In the case of a college-led application, there can be no existing or past relationship between the college and the company.
Please consult your NSERC regional office for further information.
- Funding approved for these applications must be used within three months following the award start date, and is intended to support expenses associated with travel to attend meetings to allow academic researchers to establish contact with one or more companies.
- This funding enables researchers and their industrial partners to identify and develop potential collaborative research project ideas.
- Applicants must clearly spell out the objectives of the intended meeting(s) and explain how the targeted partners are relevant to the applicant’s expertise, the likelihood and the potential nature of the envisioned future research collaboration, and anticipated future applications to NSERC.
- A detailed expense budget is required.
- Travel expenses for University-Industry Liaison Office staff or college administrators may be eligible to help facilitate the partnership development process if justified in the application.
Level 2 Connect Grants provide up to $10,000 to organize:
- non-recurring, regionally oriented research planning and networking activities or events aimed at developing new academic-industry partnerships;
- promotional activities or tools aimed at encouraging new academic-industry partnerships; or
- activities, events or promotional tools aimed at increasing student-industry training opportunities in natural sciences or engineering research.
Typical funding requests range from $1,000 to $5,000.
- These applications can be submitted by researchers or administrators at NSERC-eligible universities or colleges, as well as staff at not-for-profit, non-government organizations (including industry or producer associations).
- Applications from private sector firms or government departments or agencies will not be accepted.
- Applications to support recurring events or activities will not be accepted unless it can be demonstrated that the proposed activity is substantially novel or holds significant potential to foster new research partnerships between academia and industry or enhance student-industry research training opportunities.
- Applicants must clearly outline the objectives of the intended activities and explain the potential nature of the envisioned future research collaboration or outcomes; as well as the anticipated future applications to NSERC.
- A detailed expense budget is required.
Potential applicants for these events and activities must discuss their proposed activity with NSERC Regional Office Staff prior to applying.
Level 3 Connect Grants provide up to $25,000 to organize non-recurring, national-scope research planning workshops aimed at building substantial, new collaborations in natural sciences or engineering research between post-secondary researchers and partners in industry, government, not-for-profit and other knowledge end-user groups.
- These applications can be submitted by researchers or administrators at NSERC-eligible universities or colleges.
- Applications from other organizations, private sector firms or government departments or agencies for national workshops will not be accepted.
- These workshops will normally be organized and championed by at least one academic and one non-academic leader.
- Workshop participation must include academic researchers and members of non-academic end-user organizations (e.g., industry, government, not-for profit organizations, etc.).
- Workshops may include up to two foreign academic participants who can provide examples of best practices in the field and help build collaborations among Canadian organizations.
- Workshop discussions must aim to strengthen interchanges between the academic and non-academic participants, and focus on forward-looking collaborations rather than review past accomplishments.
- Applications are required to demonstrate how the proposed workshop will address topics such as:
- research priorities and knowledge gaps from the perspectives of industry, government and post-secondary institutions;
- current research capacity and future needs;
- highly qualified personnel training and skills needs;
- knowledge/technology transfer potential;
- funding challenges and opportunities;
- existing and potential new collaborations; and,
- next steps for proceeding toward collaborative activities.
- Applications should provide a rationale for the workshop, plans for the workshop, including a tentative agenda, and expected outcomes.
- Applicants must also explain the nature of the envisioned future research collaboration, as well as the anticipated future applications to NSERC.
- A detailed expense budget is required.
- A workshop may be held in conjunction with another professional event such as a conference; however, applicants must clearly demonstrate how the workshop activities will be distinct from other conferences or meetings and directly relate to Connect objectives.
The Partner Eligibility Guidelines section of the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships should be consulted to determine the company’s eligibility. In general, a company partner must operate from a Canadian base and demonstrate clear intentions and capacity to further develop and apply any technology within Canada. Start-up companies may be considered, provided that they meet the requirements below. Holding companies and companies that are unable to further develop the technology in-house are not eligible. To be eligible, a company partner must:
- have a minimum of two full-time employees; or
- be in operation for a minimum of two years.
In all cases, companies must demonstrate the ability to exploit a research project’s results. In this context, the resources, capabilities and experience of the company and its staff are relevant.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications at least 12 weeks in advance of the proposed travel, events or workshops in order to ensure that they have sufficient time to finalize any activity and issue invitations following NSERC’s decision.
Once completed, the following application documents (in PDF format) must be uploaded to NSERC’s Secure Upload Site:
- A Connect Grant Application Form (Form 401). Applications being submitted through an NSERC-eligible institution must be endorsed by an authorized representative of the institution. Applications being submitted through a non-eligible organization must be endorsed by an authorized representative of that organization, other than the applicant;
- A Personal Data Form (Form 100 for university-led applications, Form 103CV for college-led applications) or a PDF version of the NSERC Researcher CV Type of the Canadian Common CV (CCV);
- A Terms and Conditions of Applying Form signed by the applicant; and
- For a Level 3 Connect Grant application (national-level workshops seeking more than $10,000): a letter of support for the workshop from the principal non-academic partner organization, a résumé from the non-academic applicant, and a résumé from each partner(s).
NSERC will reach a funding decision within 30 days of receipt of a complete application.
Level 1 Connect Grants (travel funding of up to $5,000) eligible expenses include:
- travel and subsistence costs (meals and accommodation) of the participants from Canadian post-secondary institutions.
Level 2 Connect Grants (regionally oriented funding of up to $10,000) eligible expenses include the above as well as:
- costs for use of meeting rooms;
- costs for use of audio-visual equipment;
- teleconferencing costs;
- catering/hospitality costs;
- communication costs (printing of workshop handbooks and other related material, posters, preparation of meeting reports, etc.); and
- preparation of promotional tools aimed at highlighting NSERC-supported partnerships and student-industry training through media such as videos.
Other costs may be covered. Please consult your NSERC regional office for further information about exceptional or unique expenses.
Level 3 Connect Grants (nationally oriented workshop funding of up to $25,000) eligible expenses include the above as well as:
- support for up to two international academic participants who provide unique and key perspectives critical to achieving the overall workshop objectives; such requests must be clearly justified.
Connect Grants will not cover the following expenses:
- travel and subsistence costs of non-academic participants at meetings or events/workshops;
- costs of attending a scientific conference or meeting that coincides with travel plans or workshops;
- honoraria or consulting fees paid to industry or workshop participants;
- reimbursement for airfare purchased with personal frequent flyers points programs;
- passports for international participants;
- catering/hospitality costs in excess of approved Treasury Board of Canada rates;
- salary costs for existing employees; or
- cost of alcoholic beverages.
Review Procedures and Selection Criteria
Applications are reviewed internally by NSERC. Applications are evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Need for the proposed travel, activity, event or workshop: Proposals must clearly describe the proposed activities, the issues to be addressed and the need for the travel, event, activity, promotional tool or workshop.
- Potential for new research partnerships and relevance to NSERC objectives: Proposals must clearly identify the potential for new research collaborations involving academics at Canadian universities or colleges and Canadian companies and/or other knowledge end-user partner organizations. Events or activities aimed at students must highlight the potential for enhancing or strengthening student-industry research training opportunities. Applications must also outline the potential for future applications to NSERC intended to result from the event or activity.
- Future benefits to Canada: The proposal should outline potential economic, social, and/or health benefits that will be realized in Canada as a result of the new collaborations.
- Appropriateness of the participants: Proposals should demonstrate relevance of academic research expertise to the proposed partners. Participants must have the expertise, experience and resources to implement the results of the Connect grant.
- Plans and budgeting: The budget request must be justified, as well as appropriate to the proposal and presented in a comprehensive manner. Please refer to Use of Grant Funds guidelines to determine eligible expenditures.
- Plans for outcomes and next steps: The proposal should discuss anticipated plans for next steps and anticipated outcomes from meetings, events, activities or workshops. Plans for future funding proposals should also be discussed.
A written report from the grantee is required at the end of the grant period which must include the names and affiliations of all participants in the meetings, activities, events or workshops and a statement of financial expenditures incurred. Near the end of the tenure of the award, a message with instructions for completing the report will be sent to participants.
NSERC Regional Offices
Contact the regional office in your area.