|Value||Up to $25,000 for up to six months|
|Application Deadline||No deadline|
|How to Apply||See below|
To view forms and instructions, select PDF Forms and Instructions.
Engage Grants are designed to give companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge and expertise available at Canadian universities (see the List of Eligible Institutions). These grants are intended to foster the development of new research partnerships between an academic researcher and a company that have never collaborated before, by supporting short-term research and development projects aimed at addressing a company-specific problem in the natural sciences or engineering fields.
Please note that applicants seeking funding for travel and meeting activities to establish contact with new potential industrial partners should apply for an Interaction Grant.
Engage Grants support well-defined research projects undertaken by eligible university researchers and their industrial partners. A maximum grant of $25,000 over a period not exceeding six months will be awarded to the academic researcher to cover the direct project costs associated with the research activities needed to address the identified problem. Please refer to the guidelines for the Use of Grant Funds.
An Engage project must be aimed at solving a company-specific problem through the generation of new knowledge or the application of existing knowledge in an innovative manner. It must be focused on specific short-term objectives and address a research challenge that lies within the natural sciences and engineering fields (see Guidelines for Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency. All proposals require evidence of planning and sound budget justification and must clearly spell out the underlying assumptions, intended approaches, milestones and deliverables. The project must be scientifically sound and technically feasible. As an Engage Grant aims to develop a research relationship between one applicant and one company, the project plan must detail regular interactions between the applicant and the company representative(s).
Proposals are not eligible for an Engage Grant if they:
As the purpose of an Engage Grant is to foster the development of a new relationship between one company and one academic researcher, there can be no existing or past relationship between the person applying for funding and the company whose problem is being investigated through the project. Examples of an already established relationship between the company and academic researcher include:
Please consult your NSERC regional office for further information.
The Partner Eligibility Guidelines section of the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs should be consulted to determine the eligibility of the company to participate. 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 not able to further develop the technology in-house are not eligible. To be eligible, a company partner must:
In all cases, companies must demonstrate the ability to exploit the projects results. In this context, the resources, capabilities and experience of the company and its staff are relevant. The company is expected to collaborate with the applicant at all stages of the research project (i.e., assist in developing the proposal and, as the project unfolds, interact regularly with the principal investigator and other research personnel and provide input on the project).
At minimum, an in-kind contribution from the company reflecting its involvement in the project is required. A detailed description in keeping with the guidelines for eligibility and value of the contributions, including the maximum hourly rate for salary costs (see Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs) must be provided and must indicate how the total value of the contribution was determined. NSERC may limit the number of Engage Grants that a company is involved in at any given time if its ability to implement the project results and sustain the collaboration appears to be limited. Please consult your NSERC regional office for further information.
Due to the focus on a problem specific to the company and the short duration of this grant, any intellectual property arising from the project will belong to the company. While NSERC does not require that a research agreement be concluded between the host institution and the company, NSERC's Policy on Intellectual Property should be consulted to ensure that all parties, including any students involved, are aware of their obligations (refer also to Graduate student involvement in the Eligible Expenses section).
Proposals can be submitted at any time using an Application for a Grant form (Form 101), an Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs form (Form 183A) and a Personal Data Form (Form 100).
A letter of support from the company involved in the project must be provided outlining:
Projects are expected to start within a few weeks from the date of the award letter. Grant funds will normally be available within approximately 30 days of an award decision. Terms and Conditions of Award detailing the responsibilities of participants in the collaboration and regulations concerning the grant will be provided at that time. Any expenses related to the project that are incurred prior to the award date will not be covered by the grant. Applicants are limited to two new Engage Grants awarded in each fiscal year.
Full instructions for the applicant and the industrial sponsor on completing the forms and on the on-line submission process are found on the On-line Services page. The Application Checklist summarizes the information that needs to be addressed in a completed application. All proposals are reviewed by an evaluation committee, which meets every other week. Decisions on funding Engage Grants are usually made within four to six weeks.
Due to the short-term nature of this grant and its orientation towards solving a company specific problem with limited funds, resources should be concentrated exclusively on the resolution of the problem and should be used in accordance with the directives listed in the Use of Grant Funds. The following additional limitations apply to this grant:
Budgets that request ineligible expenses will be reduced without opportunity to redirect the funds to other expenditures.
Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:
A project report from the grantee is required within one month following the end of the grant. The company will be asked to provide comments on the project's outcome. Please note that subsequent Engage Grant applications from either of the participants will not be evaluated until outstanding project reports or company comments are provided to NSERC. NSERC may also contact the participants for further information on the impacts of the grant.
To further developments from an ongoing or recently completed Engage Grant project, or to continue the project while seeking longer-term support, applicants may apply for a subsequent Engage Plus Grant to support a project for an additional six months. As was the case with the initial Engage Grant, the intellectual property will belong to the company. The project must involve the same academic researcher and the same industrial partner and only one Engage Plus Grant can be awarded as a follow-on to an Engage Grant.
To demonstrate its commitment to furthering the project, the industrial partner must contribute cash to the direct project costs in an amount at least equal to the amount requested from NSERC. NSERC will match the cash contribution of the partner up to a maximum of $12,500. Any portion of the cash contribution that the university requests as overhead will not be matched. In-kind contributions are also required to reflect the company’s ongoing involvement in the project, but will not be matched by NSERC. The company’s cash contribution is normally required within 30 days of an award decision. Company cash contributed before the proposal is submitted may be used to start the project. Only funds available as of the date the application was received at NSERC can be leveraged. NSERC funds cannot be applied to expenses incurred before a project was approved. The limitations described in the Eligible Expenses section apply to Engage Plus Grants as well.
The application procedures are the same as described, but must also include a summary of the progress achieved within the original Engage project as well as a clear explanation of the goals of the Engage Plus Grant and their relationship with the results obtained to date. Accordingly, applications for an Engage Plus Grant will be accepted only within the final month of the Engage Grant or within the six-month period following the end of the grant. The industrial partner must provide an updated letter of support that addresses the points listed in the Application Procedures, as well as outlining assessment of progress to date, and the industrial partner’s expectations for the Engage Plus project.
Engage Plus applications will be reviewed by the Engage evaluation committee, which meets every other week. Decisions will be communicated within four to six weeks.
NSERC Regional Offices
Contact the regional office in your area.