Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Applied Research and Technology Partnership grants (ARTPs)

Overview
Duration 2 years
Funding
  • Option 1: $150k to $450K per year, max 1 per college
  • Option 2: $450K to $1M per year, no participation limit
Application deadlines
  • Competition 1: September 23, 2021
  • Competition 2: December 15, 2021
How to apply See the ARTP application instructions for more details.

Applications must be submitted through the Convergence Portal.
Contact For more information, email colleges@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.


Context and objectives

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) program is launching this 2-year funding opportunity (in the form of a grant) to help businesses seize new opportunities by applying innovative research and technologies or developing them into useful new products and services. These grants will also help to train students in leading-edge skills essential for the future competitiveness of companies.

Through this opportunity, colleges will undertake a set of applied research projects of varying sizes and durations targeted at providing innovative solutions to business challenges. The grant application should identify the strengths and available resources at the college(s) to address one or more research themes of critical interest to the college’s (or colleges’) regional and national business partners.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and is aligned with the objectives of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan.

In the context of this funding opportunity, applicants are encouraged to increase the inclusion and advancement of underrepresented groups as one way to enhance excellence in research and training. EDI considerations should be integrated into the rationale of the composition of research teams and into the training, mentorship, and professional development opportunities for students and other trainees, with an aim to remove barriers for the recruitment and full participation of individuals from underrepresented groups, including but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.

For additional information on how to integrate EDI considerations into the rationale of the research team composition and training plans, see EDI considerations in your ARTP application.

For more detailed information on EDI, refer to the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research and the Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application.

Eligibility

Canadian colleges that have been declared or that become eligible to administer College and Community Innovation (CCI) program grants by the end of the 2021–2022 fiscal year are eligible to apply to this funding opportunity.

Application requirements

Colleges can apply both individually (Option 1) and as part of a grouping of multiple colleges (Option 2).

For Option 1, a single college will provide a plan to undertake a set of research projects involving one or a set of business partners for a two-year grant ranging from $150K to $450K. Each college can receive a maximum of one such grant (Option 1). The grant level requested by the college is expected to be commensurate with the college’s record in delivering innovative business solutions and its potential for quick economic impact. Colleges must demonstrate the feasibility of their proposed plan, the availability and competencies of research personnel related to the proposed research themes, and the availability of research equipment and facilities required to address the themes presented. Grants will be awarded at a level that reflects the college’s capability to have the intended impacts and the anticipated quality.

For Option 2, a group of colleges (minimum three) will provide a plan, submitted and led by one college, to undertake a set of research projects targeting national or sectoral challenges and involving a group of business partners for a two-year grant ranging from $450K to $1M. Colleges are encouraged to secure complementary sources of funding from other federal and provincial organizations that would add value and accelerate the application of research results. Option 2 applications will require participation from a minimum of three colleges, as well as businesses from multiple communities. Partners must include implementers and end users of the technology. As in Option 1, colleges must demonstrate their capability to deliver at their requested funding level. There is no limit to the number of Option 2 applications that can be submitted by a college* or the number of times a college can participate as a collaborator (and thus avoid duplication of efforts through multiple applications). This option is expected to incentivize partnerships across disciplines.

*Nonetheless, the maximum amount of CCI program funding a recipient college may receive still applies.

Partner eligibility and contributions

Business partners are subject to the eligibility requirements specified in the Guidelines for organizations participating in research partnerships. An initial set of potential business partners must be identified for the start of the grant, however, it is expected that other business partners will join over the course of the grant term to respond to evolving needs. 

NSERC recognizes the significant financial constraints that companies may be currently facing, therefore partner cash contributions are not required at the time of application. All organizations must participate meaningfully in the project(s) and demonstrate their level of involvement and capacity to utilize the research results.

Evaluation criteria

Relevance and impact

  • Relevance of the proposal’s themes and effectiveness of the plan to address the needs of business partners in the context of their region or at a national level
  • Appropriateness of selected business partners and their capability to implement and/or use the project(s) results, leading to impact within their organization and near-term economic benefits
  • Quality of the plan to effectively integrate additional business partners over the course of the grant term to respond to evolving needs
  • Option 2: Quality and appropriateness of the rationale for the national or sectoral challenge focus and the collaborating colleges

Ability of the college

  • Availability of expertise and equipment to respond to partner(s) needs
  • Track record and accomplishments of the college(s) in applied research relevant to the proposed research themes
  • Identification of at least one concrete practice that will be implemented to ensure that EDI is being intentionally and proactively considered during the identification, selection, recruitment, and/or integration of research personnel into the research team
  • Option 2: Complementarity of the participating colleges’ research strengths

Quality of the proposal

  • Clarity and feasibility of the research plan to undertake a set of projects, and of the plan to mobilize the necessary resources on timelines appropriate to this funding opportunity
  • Active participation of the business partner(s)
  • Option 2: Quality of the plan for the effective management and coordination of a large-scale, complex, multi-institutional project

Training

  • Appropriateness of the training plan for students* and other trainees; this includes opportunities for enriched training experiences to develop relevant research skills, as well as professional skills such as leadership, communication, collaboration (across institutions for Option 2) and entrepreneurship
  • Identification of a minimum of one concrete practice that will be implemented to promote the participation of a diverse group of students and other trainees, including those from under-represented groups, as well as to promote an equitable, inclusive and accessible training environment

*Student involvement is mandatory, and the proposed training must be appropriate to their level of knowledge and experience.  

Specific rules for the use of grant funds

This program will use the 2017 College and Community Innovation program tri-agency financial administration guide as its general guideline for the acceptable use of grant funds until March 31, 2022. On April 1, 2022 the CCI program will transition to the 2019 Tri-agency guide on financial administration; however, colleges may optionally begin using the 2019 Tri-agency guide on financial administration as of April 1, 2021.

Exceptions to the Use of grant funds section of the 2017 College and Community Innovation program tri-agency financial administration guide and the 2019 Tri-agency guide on financial administration are listed below:

  • Overhead and administration costs equivalent to 20% of the annual grant amount (included automatically)
  • Course load reduction costs to cover the salary of a replacement faculty hired to backfill a faculty member’s involvement in an applied research project, and expenditures associated with recruitment-related activities
  • Salaries and non-discretionary benefits for non-faculty researchers, part-time faculty, technical and professional staff carrying out applied research, research administrators, business development and technology and/or knowledge transfer personnel
  • Salaries associated with project management activities leading to the optimal use of project resources to meet the research objectives in a timely and budget-efficient manner
  • Equipment, operating, supplies and consultant fees up to 20% of project costs

Reporting

A final report will be requested within one month following the completion of the grant term. Colleges will be expected to report on key performance indicators, such as the number of projects and partners, the partner cash and in-kind contributions, the number of participating students, and the nature of their training activities.