Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

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Evaluation process

To ensure that only the best applications are funded and all applications for NCE funding are treated fairly, the NCE uses a multi-stage peer review system. Peer review is an assessment of proposals or contributions by impartial experts in related fields.

A typical competition consists of the following stages:

  1. Notice of Intent (NOI) submission*
  2. Letter of Intent (LOI) submission
  3. Review by a permanent committee, which recommends to the NCE Management Committee which LOIs to invite to submit a full application
  4. Review of recommendations and approval by the NCE Management Committee
  5. Full application submission
  6. Review by an expert panel*, which provides a detailed evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the application based on each selection criterion
  7. Review by a permanent committee, which recommends to the NCE Management Committee and NCE Steering Committee which applications to fund
  8. Review of recommendations by the NCE Management Committee, which forwards the recommendations to the NCE Steering Committee
  9. Review of recommendations and approval by the NCE Steering Committee

* Some competitions may not include this stage.

LOIs and full applications are reviewed by one of two permanent committees: the Standing Selection Committee for the NCE program (and its initiatives) and the Private Sector Advisory Board for the CECR and BL-NCE programs.

The NCE Management Committee approves which LOIs are invited to submit a full application and approves Full Application Preparation funds. It also makes recommendations to the NCE Steering Committee on which full applications to fund.

Expert panels consist of independent subject-matter experts. They are appointed by the NCE Secretariat for each competition (typically one per full application). Their reports are shared with the appropriate permanent committee, which makes recommendations on which applications to fund.

The NCE Steering Committee makes the final funding decisions for full applications based on the recommendations of the permanent committee and the NCE Management Committee. The decisions reached by the NCE Steering Committee are final. There is no appeal process.

Reports prepared by the expert panel and the permanent committee are made available to applicants after the competition concludes.