Technology Access Centre grants
When NSERC receives an LOI or a full application for a TAC grant, it first undertakes an administrative assessment to ensure the application is complete and complies with all eligibility requirements. Once the administrative assessment is satisfactorily completed, applications are assigned to a multidisciplinary review committee for the College and Community Innovation Program, which conducts a merit assessment of the application and makes a funding recommendation to NSERC. The review committee will use the following merit evaluation criteria for the LOI, full application, and renewal application.
Merit evaluation criteria
The committee will evaluate the merit of the application using the following five criteria. The proposal must address all of the criteria and sub-criteria to be considered for funding.
- The value the centre adds to the targeted sector’s/region’s innovation capacity and the potential for the centre to play a significant role in innovation for its client organizations in their region, including potential for synergies among the proposed centre, the host college(s) and other innovation support organizations in the region
- The incremental value that the TAC grant will bring to the college’s current activities in this area
- For existing centres that already receive other government or college support for the centre’s core operations, the incremental value from the TAC support must be clearly demonstrated
- Launching a new TAC: Colleges with previous NSERC funding for one or more TAC(s) must demonstrate that the establishment of a new TAC will create significant incremental value to the region’s innovation capacity—it will draw on different applied research disciplines, will require different expertise, and will support a different and significant client sector from the existing TAC(s)
- The centre’s plan to incorporate student* training as an integral component of its innovation support and research service activities, including opportunities for enriched student experiences in applied research and problem-solving skills, and in professional skills, such as leadership, communication, collaboration and entrepreneurship.
- The identification of proposed measures in the training plan to promote the participation of a diverse group of students and other trainees, including those from underrepresented groups, as well as to promote an equitable, inclusive and accessible training environment.
Organizational structure and delivery plan
- The organizational structure of the centre, including evidence of an accountability framework likely to result in effective leadership and sound financial decision-making; the degree of engagement and support from the college; and the centre's integration with the strategic plan of the college
- Focus, coherence and feasibility of the innovation support and research service delivery plan; this includes the scope of support capabilities and the approach planned for reaching and delivering innovation support to client organizations in the centre’s region
- The ability of the TAC to attract investment, the potential for client organization revenue for rendered innovation support and research services on a cost-recovery basis, and the ability to meet the performance metrics and investment targets identified
Applied research competence
- The current strength of the expertise and research infrastructure available, and the anticipated quality of expertise and support capabilities to be offered by the centre in support of client organization innovation needs
- The identification of proposed measures to ensure that equity, diversity and inclusion are being intentionally and proactively considered when recruiting, selecting and/or integrating personnel into the research team
* Note: Former college students within one year of graduation will also be considered.
NSERC’s funding decision for the LOI stage, full application stage, and the renewal application stage will take into consideration the merit evaluation criteria ratings assigned to applications by the review committee and the budget available for TAC grants. Applicants will receive a message from the review committee providing an overview of the findings of the review committee.
For both the LOIs and full and renewal applications, NSERC forms the review committee, assigns applications to the review committee members, organizes a meeting to adjudicate the applications, and approves the grants. To allow for these steps, the expected review time is three months.