College and Community Innovation program partnership guidelines

The College and Community Innovation (CCI) program offers funding opportunities that support partnerships in applied research across the spectrum of natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities and health sciences. Partner organizations may be from the private, public and/or not-for-profit sectors. The specific objectives of a CCI funding opportunity may help determine the most appropriate type of partner(s).

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Role of partner organizations

Partner organizations must play an active role in the project and make contributions through at least one of the following roles*:

  • Active participation in the project’s applied research activities
  • Utilization of the project’s applied research results to help achieve its desired outcomes
  • Active participation in translating or mobilizing knowledge to ensure that the applied research results generate possible economic, social, environmental and/or health benefits for Canada and Canadians

Some funding opportunities require colleges to identify at least one partner organization at the time of the application, and may further require that at least one partner organization be recognized for cost-sharing. Conversely, some funding opportunities do not require colleges to identify partners or partner contributions (cash and in-kind) at the time of the application. During the term of the grant, it is nevertheless expected that the college undertake applied research projects with partner organizations that provide contributions (cash and/or in-kind) commensurate with the requirements of the funding opportunity. Therefore, it is recommended that the current partnership guidelines be considered in the strategic planning of the activities that are supported by any CCI grant.

The contributions provided by the partner organization(s) in collaboration with a college must be documented in order to assess the level and nature of the partner involvement and the importance of its contribution to the success of the project. In reviewing your application for a grant, NSERC will assess the relevance and potential impact of each partner organization and their proposed contributions. Partner contributions (including cash and/or in-kind) will also be tracked through reporting mechanisms, as determined by the funding opportunity.

* Note: Active participation in the project and in-kind contributions are not required from funding organizations (e.g., other provincial or federal funding agencies) providing financial support to the project.


Partner contributions

Cash contributions

Partners recognized for cost-sharing with NSERC must make cash contributions commensurate with the cost-sharing requirements of the CCI funding opportunity. To be recognized for cost-sharing, a partner organization must be listed as a type of organization whose cash contributions can be recognized (see Table 1: Cost-sharing recognition for partners in the CCI program).

Cash contributed by the partner before the proposal is submitted may be used to start the project, but partner funds spent more than three months prior to the application submission date will not be recognized for cost-sharing. In contrast, CCI grant funds cannot be applied to expenses incurred before a project was approved.

Notes:

  • Unless permitted under the specific funding opportunity, grant funds may not flow back to a partner organization.
  • Partner cash contributions that have already been leveraged by another federal public source cannot be used as a partner contribution for cost-sharing.
Table 1: Cost-sharing recognition for partners in the CCI programFootnote 1
Private sector

Can

Cash contributions can be recognized
(if cost-sharing requirements are met)

Cannot

Cash contributions cannot be recognized

  • Canadian private companies (only if business operations are within Canada)
  • Multinationals (only if there are business operations in Canada)
  • Foreign companies (only if they are partnering with a Canadian organization recognized for cost-sharing)
  • Companies with fewer than two full-time employees
  • Holding companies
  • Venture capital/angel investors
Canadian public sector

Can

Cash contributions can be recognized
(if cost-sharing requirements are met)

Cannot

Cash contributions cannot be recognized

  • Crown corporations
  • Federal government departments
  • Indigenous organizations
  • Municipalities and local or regional governments established by or under provincial or territorial statute
  • Provincial/territorial government departments
  • Public utilities
  • Foreign governments
  • Funding organizations (whose primary mission is to fund R&D)
  • Organizations eligible to receive and administer funds from CIHR, NSERC, and/or SSHRC (includes colleges, CCTTs, CEGEPs, polytechnics, universities, etc.)
  • Organizations whose primary mission is to perform R&D (for example, NRC, CRCC, CSA, Polar Knowledge Canada)

 

 

Canadian not-for-profit

Can

Cash contributions can be recognized
(if cost-sharing requirements are met)

Cannot

Cash contributions cannot be recognized

  • Community organizations
  • Hospitals and medical/clinical institutes (only when they are not eligible to receive Tri-Agency funding, and when their cash contributions towards the research activities are not from other government funding)
  • Industrial associations
  • Libraries, museums and archives (only when the primary mission is to maintain collections [e.g., historical, scientific, artistic or cultural] for the public good)
  • Producer groups
  • Registered charities (only if there is a mandate to carry out and apply the research)
  • Zoos and aquariums (only when the primary mission is to maintain collections [e.g., historical, scientific, artistic or cultural] for the public good)
  • Consortia with the majority of their funding originating from government sources
  • Foreign not-for-profit organizations
  • Incubators and accelerators
  • Individuals
  • Philanthropic organizations
  • Organizations eligible to receive and administer funds from CIHR, NSERC, and/or SSHRC (includes colleges, CCTTs, CEGEPS, polytechnics, universities, etc.)
  • Organizations whose primary mission is to fund R&D and are funded or controlled primarily by government (see “Funding organizations” under “Canadian public sector”)

In-kind contributions

In-kind contributions are important to the success of the project even though they are not taken into account in the cost-sharing calculations with NSERC. All partner organizations participating in the project must play an active role and make in-kind contributions through their involvement. In-kind contributions considered essential to the research could take the form of cash-equivalent goods or services that represent an incremental expense the partner organization would not normally incur and that would have to be purchased by project funds if not donated. In-kind contributions may also include the time of the partner organization’s staff with expertise relevant to the project who will be providing direction and participating in the project. In some cases, the partner organization may provide access to special resources or data. For more details, please see Table 2: Categories of in-kind contributions below.

Table 2: Categories of in-kind contributions
Category Description

Salaries of scientific and technical staff

Actual salary cost (including benefits)

Donation of equipment and software

Equipment:

  • Used
    • fair-market value
    • company book value
    • price for internal transfers
  • New
    • selling price to most favoured customer (if stock item)
    • cost of manufacture (if one-of-a-kind)
  • Loaned
    • rental equivalent based on depreciation
    • rental equivalent to highest-volume rate

Software:

  • Cost of training and support (at the university/college site) for software by industrial partner personnel
  • Price to most favoured customer for one licence per software package
  • Cost of equivalent commercial product (if donated software is not commercially available)

Donation of material

Unit cost of production (commercial products)

Selling price to most favoured customer

Price for internal transfers

Cost of production of prototypes and samples

Data

Field work logistics

Internal rates for logistical support, food and lodging for college/university personnel working on field work

Provision of services

Analytical and other services: Internal rates or incremental cost of providing service

Use of organization's facilities

Internal rates for logistical support, food and lodging for research team members working on partner’s premises

Internal rates for use of specialized equipment and/or databanks by research team members, or use of process or production lines

Internal rates for value of lost production resulting from downtime

Salaries of managerial and administrative staff

Actual salary cost (including benefits)

Other

Incremental costs of access to unique databases

Patents and licences (licences acquired from third parties for use by the university/college)

Faculty remuneration (payment to the university/college for release time from teaching duties)

Travel costs to meet with university/college personnel


Partner responsibilities

Application

If applicable, the authorized contact for the partner organization will be invited by the applicant via the Convergence Portal to complete the Partner contact information, Partner organization information, Partner contributions and Supporting documents sections. Private sector organizations with fewer than five full-time employees must complete the Partner organization supplemental information questionnaire and include it in the Supporting documents section. NSERC may require other potential partner organizations to complete this questionnaire to determine whether the partner organization can be recognized for cost-sharing.

Reporting

Subject to the requirements of a CCI grant, partners may be required to submit a final report.

Compliance

All partner organizations, including foreign and multinational companies, are responsible for complying with NSERC policies and procedures, and with other Canadian laws, regulations, standards or policies that apply to the collaborative applied research activities outlined in the proposal. In rare cases, restrictions such as Canadian economic sanctions may apply to partnerships with foreign companies.

Conflict of interest

Partner organizations must be independent from the academic institutions of the applicant, co-applicant(s) and any other members of the research team. A partner organization is not independent if the applicant, co-applicant or other member of the research team

  • has an ownership position in the partner organization
  • is employed by the partner organization in any role, whether salaried or not
  • is a member of a governing board of the partner organization
  • is related (i.e., connected by any personal relationship including marriage, common law partnership or adoption) to a person who controls, or who is a member of a governing board that controls, the partner organization

A researcher’s own company is not normally able to participate as a partner organization in a project in which the researcher is the applicant, co-applicant or other participant with financial authority on the grant. However, such a researcher-owned partner organization may be able to participate if these individuals and the academic institution can be demonstrated to be sufficiently independent from the partner organization’s management and operations, and if they and their relatives (if applicable) do not have a combined controlling interest in the partner organization (i.e., combined or sole ownership must be less than 30%). The specific situation should be discussed with NSERC before applying.


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