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Competition Guide

2015 Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program competition

 Competition Guide

Background

The Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) Program is a key element of the federal government’s Science and Technology Strategy. The program was established to create internationally recognized centres of excellence in areas of priority for the Government of Canada that deliver economic, social, health and environmental benefits to Canada.

Since the program’s inception in 2007, the centres have generated value for Canada by matching clusters of research expertise with the business community; sharing knowledge, expertise and resources; and bringing new innovations to the market faster. The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Steering Committee is pleased to invite applications for the establishment of new centres of Excellence.

The NCE Steering Committee, a tri-agency committee that oversees the program, is composed of the Deputy Minister of Industry Canada, the Deputy Minister of Health Canada, the Presidents of the three granting agencies (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)), with the President of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) as an observer. The Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB) will assess the economic impact and opportunities for benefits to Canada of each centre’s application, as well as providing advice and funding recommendations to the NCE Steering Committee. Applications will also undergo international peer review before the PSAB review.

Day-to-day administration of the CECR program is provided by the NCE Secretariat. Prospective applicants should refer to the CECR program guide on the NCE website at www.nce-rce.gc.ca for detailed information about the CECR program.

 

Competition 2015 for New Centres – Summary

The 2015 CECR competition is seeking to fund new centres that can build on Canada’s Research and Development (R&D) landscape by enabling the commercialization of research by matching clusters of academic research expertise with the needs of business, health practitioners and other end users.  The emphasis of the CECR program is on commercialization, including new technologies, and goods and services. Centres seeking funding must be able to demonstrate a robust business plan and a feasible plan for sustainability.

Applicants competing for CECR funding will undergo a rigorous review to assess how the centre will build on Canada’s R&D landscape through the viability of the business and sustainability plans. The business plan must clearly demonstrate a gradual reduction in the centre’s reliance on CECR funds as part of its sustainability plan. Applicants must demonstrate the potential for realizing economic impact, benefits to Canada (including social, health and environmental benefits), and the ability to become self-sustaining in a reasonable period of time. 

Sustainability of the centre means that the centre will be able to continue its core activities beyond the CECR funding. The centres can achieve sustainability by using a range of models, such as partnerships, memberships, other governments’ support, and other revenues generated by a diversified portfolio products and services. Centres are expected to become self-sufficient by establishing a strong business model and partnerships.

 

Program Overview

Program Goals

The goal of the CECR program is to create internationally recognized centres of commercialization and research expertise in priority areas to deliver economic, social, health and environmental benefits to Canada. 

Sustainability of the centres remains a key element of the CECR program.  The CECR program expects centres supported through this program will become financially sustainable beyond the CECR funding. The centres can achieve sustainability by using a range of models, such as partnerships, memberships, other government support, and other revenues generated by a diversified portfolio of products and services.

Competition Objectives

The 2015 competition is seeking to fund new centres of excellence that have a robust business model, which includes strong commercialization (including new technologies, goods and services), and sustainability plans. Only proposals that meet the threshold of excellence will be funded.

In addition, this competition is seeking to support the operation of research and commercialization centres that bring together people, services, and research infrastructure to position Canada at the forefront of breakthrough innovations.  Centres applying to the 2015 CECR competition must demonstrate how the proposed centre will address priorities of the Government of Canada, including:

  • Environmental science and technologies;
  • Natural resources and energy;
  • Health and related life sciences and technologies;
  • Information and communications technologies; and
  • Management, business or finance.

Expected Results

The Program is expected to maximize the benefits of government investment in R&D and encourage the private sector to increase its investment in science and technology.

Centres should be world-class and able to demonstrate their progress towards

  • Branding Canada as the host of internationally recognized centres of excellence that will yield economic, social, health or environmental benefits to Canada;
  • Drawing on existing research and commercialization strengths, infrastructure, networks and funding capacity to enhance their impact;
  • Attracting, retaining and providing training to highly qualified personnel (including internationally recognized business leaders);
  • Opening up new opportunities for Canadian researchers and firms to access world-class equipment, facilities and networks;
  • Creating, growing and retaining companies in Canada that are able to capture new markets with breakthrough innovations;
  • Accelerating the commercialization of leading edge technologies, goods or services in priority areas where Canada can significantly enhance its competitive advantage;
  • Attracting investment (including foreign direct and venture capital investment); and
  • Strengthening domestic collaboration and ensure that benefits spill over to a wide array of firms, organizations, sectors and regions of the country.

Eligible Recipient Organizations

Organizations eligible to receive funds are not-for-profit corporations created by universities, colleges, not-for-profit research organizations, firms, and other interested non-government parties.

Competition Parameters 

The 2015 competition seeks to support centres that demonstrate the capabilities to achieve financial sustainability over a reasonable time period through the presentation of a viable business model. The financial projections presented must be allocated such that the CECR funding declines over the period of the grant. The focus of the review will be on the credibility of the requested budget as well as the appropriateness of the proposed timeframe to achieve sustainability.

The centres will be reviewed based on the full lifecycle and total funding needed to achieve sustainability.  A maximum of $15 million will be provided over a 5-year timeframe. Centres that submit applications in excess of 5 years will be subject to an international panel mid-cycle review prior to being awarded the remaining funding.

Centres applying for CECR funding must provide a realistic plan to achieve sustainability along with a credible budget over the proposed timeframe. Sustainability of the centre means that the centre will be able to continue its core activities beyond the CECR funding. The centres can achieve sustainability by using a range of models, such as partnerships, memberships, other government support, and other revenues generated by a diversified portfolio products and services. Centres are expected to become self-sufficient by establishing a strong business model and partnerships.

Parameters for the use of CECR funds

Centres are expected to leverage funding from multiple sources to meet the CECR matching requirements.  

Cash and in-kind matching contributions must come from non-federal sources. CECR grant funds used for eligible commercialization costs must be matched over the duration of the grant agreement by a ratio of 1:1. Every CECR grant dollar spent on eligible commercialization costs must be matched by one dollar of non-federal cash and in-kind. CECR grant funds for other eligible costs must be matched over the duration of the grant agreement by a ratio of 3:1. Every three CECR grant dollars spent on other eligible costs must be matched by one dollar of non-federal matching contribution.  A balance of cash and in-kind contributions should be sought to support the centre’s long-term sustainability plan. 

Eligible Expenses

  • Operating Costs: maintenance and operation of the centre; materials and supplies; liability insurance for members of the Board of Directors and centre administrators; legal fees and other related incorporation costs;
  • Salary Costs: salaries for management, technical and professional staff employed to provide support to users or to maintain and operate the centre;
  • Knowledge Mobilization Costs: expenses relating to communications activities, networking, promotion of the centre, knowledge dissemination and engagement of stakeholders to put available knowledge into active service; and
  • Commercialization Costs: expenses related to commercialization activities (e.g. intellectual property protection, market studies, business plan development, counselling and mentoring, technology evaluation, development, and investments).

Where a project involves capital equipment expenditures that are vital to the success of a commercialization project, the cost of that equipment will be considered an eligible expense, provided: 1) the eligible recipient is not eligible for other federal programming that supports capital expenditures such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and 2) the equipment cost for which coverage is requested does not exceed $1 million and is at most 20% of the total eligible commercialization expenses.

For a more detailed list of eligible expenses, see Appendix D of the CECR program guide.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications to the 2015 competition for new centres must be aligned with the three evaluation criteria of the CECR program. In addition, the applications must provide a detailed view of the anticipated commercial outputs they will generate, along with a robust business plan and sustainability model. The evaluation criteria are as follows:

I. Benefits to Canada

  • The extent to which the centre’s research and commercialization activities address issues of high priority for Canada;
  • The likelihood that the centre will create sufficient scale and focus to brand Canada as the host of an internationally recognized centre of excellence in its area of priority; and
  • Evidence that the centre will help to accelerate the commercialization of leading-edge technologies, goods or services in priority areas where Canada can significantly advance its competitive advantage.

II. Track Record and Potential of the Applicants

  • The achievements of the applicants and their ability to contribute to the centre’s research and commercialization objectives;
  • The ability of the applicants to attract investment sufficient to meet the program’s matching requirements and to encourage investment in partner firms; and
  • The ability of the applicants to support partners, firms and researchers with advice, analysis, training and business services to advance their commercialization objectives.

III. Business Plan

  • Excellence, focus and coherence of the research and development and commercialization program;
  • The effectiveness of the plan to manage, protect and exploit intellectual property resulting from centre-funded innovation;
  • A credible demonstration of how this investment will result in the creation of a self-sustaining, productive centre of excellence;
  • The quality of the proposed organizational structure with appropriate representation on the Board of Directors and management team to achieve its objectives; and
  • Evidence that the applicants have in place an accountability framework likely to result in effective leadership, sound financial planning and decision-making.

 

Competition Timeline

Dates Milestone
April, 2013 Competition Announced
June 14, 2013 Notice of Intent (NOI) (4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time)
June 21, 2013 Webinar for preparation of Letter of Intent
August 23, 2013 Letter of Intent (LOI) (4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time)
September 2013 Review of the LOI by PSAB and the NCE Steering Committee
December 2013 Invitations to full application
March 14, 2014 Full application deadline (4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time)
April, 2014 Expert panel review
May 2014 Review by the PSAB
May 2014 Decision by the NCE Steering Committee
Fall 2014 Announcement of CECR 2015 competition results
September 2014 Funding agreements and amendments circulated for signatures
Fall 2014 Funding starts

Centres must submit a notification of intent, letter of intent, and a full application, which is to include a business and financial plan.

The notification of intent is mandatory and is reviewed by the NCE Secretariat for eligibility, fit to the program and to provide the NCE Secretariat with the scope of the proposed centre.  Additionally, the NOI allows the NCE Secretariat:

  • To verify the alignment of the proposed CECR with the program criteria, as well as the eligibility of the applicants;
  • To identify the specific expertise requirements for the peer review; and
  • To tailor the information webinar to the scope of the applicants, as well as highlight relevant topics for discussion and provides the contact information of the lead applicant, who will be invited to the information webinar.

Centres found to be eligible to receive funding from the CECR program are invited to submit letters of intent. The LOI stage follows and provides more depth of what is being proposed; it must describe how the centre would further the goal of the CECR program, and provide a strong outline of the business model proposed.  The PSAB will assess the LOIs against the program selection criteria and recommend a short-list of selected applicants to the NCE Steering Committee to be invited to submit a full application.

Applicants invited to submit a full application may request Full Application Preparation (FAP) funding to assist them in preparing a full application. The 2015 Competition will offer up to $15,000 in FAP funding. To access the FAP funding the applicant must provide an outline of the expenses requiring FAP funds. Typically, FAPs are used to organize stakeholder meetings, develop the application and for applicants to travel to the Expert Panel visit.

 

Review and Decision Process

Full applications will be evaluated using the three program evaluation criteria described above. The Secretariat may also consult with provincial officials to identify provincial priorities and to secure their views on the project proposal(s) from their province.

The review of full applications will focus on the centre’s business plan outlining its path to sustainability. Applicants will be assessed on the strength of their business plan, the likelihood of economic impact, and benefits to Canada (including social, health and environmental benefits) it will deliver.  In addition, centres funded under the CECR program must demonstrate the ability to become self-sustaining in a reasonable period of time through a gradual reduction in their reliance on CECR funds over time.

Applications from centres will undergo review by expert panels established by the NCE Secretariat. These panels will be comprised of domestic and international experts, who will evaluate the centres’ applications, meet with applicants, and produce in-depth written assessments of the application. The expert panel report, along with a copy of the applicant’s presentation, will then be forwarded to the PSAB.

The PSAB will review all applications, including expert panel reports, to develop recommendations to be presented to the NCE Steering Committee. 
 
Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the CECRs, funding for a given centre may come from more than one granting agency, and so the NCE Secretariat will be the primary point of interaction for all project applicants throughout the life of their projects. Funding disbursements will be managed by the NCE Secretariat and disbursed to the recipient(s) against a funding agreement under the legal authority(ies) of the relevant granting agency(ies) (CIHR, NSERC, and/or SSHRC).

The NCE Steering Committee will make the final decision regarding the amount and duration of funding for centres, based on the recommendations of the PSAB. The decisions reached by NCE Steering are final. There is no appeal process.

 

Comments to Applicants and Announcements

The confidential evaluation report from the expert panel and the PSAB for each full proposal will be made available to each group of applicants after the final approval of the results of the competition.

The names and affiliations of the members of the Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB) are listed on the NCE website.  Results of the competition will be posted on the NCE website at www.nce-rce.gc.ca after the 2015 Competition announcements (see Competition Timeline, above). 

 

Application Requirements and Submission

 To be eligible for funding in the 2015 CECR competition for new centres, centres must submit a notification of intent, letter of intent and a full application. Late submissions of any of these documents will not be accepted.
Application Contents:

Notification of Intent (Deadline June 14, 2013)

  1. NOI form

Letter of Intent (Deadline: August 23, 2013)

  1. Letter from the intended host organization to support the centre’s application;
  2. LOI form;
  3. Information to help assess the track record and potential of the applicants;
  4. Business Plan;
  5. Financial Plan Overview;
  6. List of Letters of Support; and
  7. Letters of Support.

Centres must provide a list of potential expert panel members who are not in conflict of interest for the review of their application.  Please see Appendix A for the CECR Conflict of Interest Guidelines.  Each expert panel will be comprised of five to seven experts in business, management, knowledge and technology transfer, commercialization, applied science and/or public policy.

Full Application (Deadline: March 14, 2014) -  Invited applicants only

  1. Statement from the Chair of the centre’s Board of Directors with a commitment to the centre and its proposed vision and mandate;
  2. Full application form;
  3. A business plan;
  4. A financial plan; 
  5. Performance indicators, targets and milestones;
  6. Appendices
    1. List of letters of support
    2. Letters of support
    3. Biographies
    4. Alphabetical list of key individuals

Submission Procedures

Application documents must be submitted via the This link will take you to another Web site NCE Secure Submission Site. One original hard copy of the full application is also required, postmarked by the submission deadline.

The notification of intent should be submitted as a single Portable Document Format (PDF) document. The PDF document cannot exceed 10 MB. The deadline for submission of the notification of intent (NOI) via the This link will take you to another Web site NCE Secure Submission Site is 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on June 14, 2013.

The letter of intent should be submitted as a single Portable Document Format (PDF) document that combines all of the required sections The PDF document cannot exceed 49 MB. The deadline for submission of the letter of intent (LOI) via the This link will take you to another Web site NCE Secure Submission Site is 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on August 23, 2013.

The full application should be submitted as a single PDF document that combines all of the required sections.  The total file size cannot exceed 49 MB. The deadline for submission of the full application via This link will take you to another Web site NCE Secure Submission Site is 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on March 14, 2014.

The NCE Secretariat will send an email to the centre’s director to confirm receipt of the notification of intent, letter of intent and the full application within a week after the submission. If confirmation is not received within a week of the submission deadline, please contact the NCE Secretariat:
Tel.: 613-995-6010
E-mail: info@nce-rce.gc.ca

Presentation Standards

  • Page size: 8½ x 11 inches
  • Margins: no less than ¾ of an inch on all sides.
  • Font: Times New Roman (no smaller than 12 pts) or Arial (no smaller than 11 pts). If measured in characters per inch (cpi), it must be no more than 10 cpi. Condensed type is not acceptable.
  • Header: include the title of the centre at the top of every page.
  • All pages must be consecutively numbered.

Graphs and illustrations may be included, but will count as part of the set page limits. Either single or double column presentation of text, graphs or illustrations is acceptable. Any pages exceeding the limits given below will be removed from the submission.

 

Instructions for preparing an application

To be eligible for funding in the 2015 CECR competition for new centres, centres must submit a notification of intent, letter of intent and a full application. Late submissions of any of these documents will not be accepted.

Completing a Notification of Intent (NOI)

The NOI stage is the first of three mandatory stages in the 2015 CECR competition.  All sections of the NOI should be completed. Section A consists of general information about the centre as well as the option to request funds to assist with the preparation of a full proposal.  Section B provides an overview of the centre’s anticipated activities to be explained in the space provided, including the following:

Goal of the Proposed CECR – Briefly describe the overall goal of the proposed CECR; give an overview of the vision of the proposed CECR and its potential for financial sustainability.  Also provide an outline of how the proposed centre addresses one or more of the priority areas referenced in the competition objectives.  

Proposed Business Model – Briefly describe the proposed business model of the CECR. Explain how this model will match research clusters with the private sector and result in economic impact and benefits for Canada (including social, health and environmental benefits).

Expected Results and Outcomes - Provide an overview of how the CECR will align with the expected outcomes of the program, including the centre’s plan for achieving sustainability.  

Completing a Letter of Intent

The letter of intent provides information on the centre in relation to the goals and objectives of the CECR program.  It will be used in the screening process to determine which applicants will be invited to submit a full application.  It will be evaluated according to the three CECR program criteria.

The letter of intent must be developed in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.  The applicants must clearly indicate how the centre’s activities fill a gap in Canada’s commercialization landscape.  Private and public sector participants should be informed that their level of involvement as well as their cash and in-kind commitments will be critical to the success of the centre.

The letters of support from stakeholder organizations should indicate briefly the nature of the anticipated support and potential involvement in the centre.  Each letter of support must not exceed two pages.

The letter of intent must include the following:

Host Organization covering letter (maximum 2 pages)

A letter, signed by the proposed centre director and the president or CEO of the organization that proposes to host the centre, must be included.  This letter should outline the nature of anticipated support from the proposed host organization. Host organizations play an important role in CECR funded centres, through both direct administrative support and by participating in centre governance through ex-officio voting membership on the Board of Directors.

Letter of Intent form

Complete the CECR 2015 LOI application form available on the NCE Web site at www.nce-rce.gc.ca.

Section A: General Information

Complete and sign Section A of the CECR 2015 LOI application form www.nce-rce.gc.ca.  

Section B: Preliminary Budget Allocation

Indicate the anticipated expenditures of CECR funds for the centre.  Round all estimates to the nearest thousand dollars.  Provide preliminary estimates for each year where CECR funding is being requested. It is expected that there will be a gradual reduction in the centre’s reliance on CECR funding over time as the centre becomes more self-sustainable. See the CECR program guide for information on eligible expenditures and use of NCE funds.

Section C: Preliminary Budget Details

For each of the line items requested, give a detailed breakdown, for the years where CECR funding will be required for the centre to become sustainable.

Section D: Summary of Contributions from Stakeholders

Indicate, for the years of CECR funding, the anticipated new incremental cash support (lines B to I) and new incremental in-kind support (lines K to R) from all of the other sources.

Section E:  Incremental Contributions (Cash and In-kind) from Stakeholders

Provide details on new incremental cash and new incremental in-kind contributions for each stakeholder.

Section F: Articulation of the Centre’s Benefits to Canada

Describe a vision of what the centre proposes to achieve, including specific goals and objectives.   The vision should describe the expected end-results of the commercialization and/or research activities over and following the course of the funding period, especially with respect to the expected outcomes and impacts on the industry.

Provide an overview of the context within which the centre is positioned. Define the problem areas, the centre’s proposed commercialization and/or research activities and the incremental economic and social benefits to Canada. 

Section G: Additional Information

Provide additional information as requested in the fields provided.

Section H: Suggested Referees for Participation on the Expert Panel

Provide the names, contact information and areas of expertise for five referees who might participate in the expert panel review, bearing in mind the NCE Conflict of Interest guidelines.

Section I: Summary of the Application for Public Release

Provide a brief overview of the content of the submission in the fields provided.

I. Information to help assess the track record and potential of the applicants (Maximum 3 pages)

Background information about the lead applicants is required to assist in the assessment of their commercialization and/or research excellence. 

Provide a list or table of the names and affiliations of the proposed members of the centre’s Board of Directors.

Biographies are requested for the Centre Director and at least four other members of the Board of Directors, including the Proposed Chair (up to 200 words each).

II. Business Plan (Maximum 5 pages)

Centre commercialization and research programs must be developed in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, and must integrate industry priorities.  Give an overview of the centre’s proposed business plan, highlighting a preliminary assessment of the following elements:

  1. Strategic Plan
  2. Market Assessment
  3. Centre’s capability
  4. Managerial capability 
  5. Technological capability 
  6. Commercialization capability
  7. Sales/Communication and Marketing Capabilities and Resources
  8. Operational Plan

The strength of the business plan will be assessed on the following overarching criteria:

  • The excellence, focus and coherence of the centre’s commercialization and/or research program;
  • The extent to which the partnerships developed for the center involve various levels of government and the private sector to complement the funding available through the granting agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation;
  • The effectiveness of the plan to manage, protect and exploit intellectual property resulting from centre-funded research;
  • The likelihood for this investment to result in the creation of a sustainable, productive centre of excellence;
  • The quality of the proposed organizational structure with appropriate representation on the Board of Directors and management team; and
  • Evidence that the applicants have in place an accountability framework likely to result in effective leadership and sound financial decision-making.

III. Financial Plan Overview (Maximum 2 pages)

This section should provide a multi-year overview of the centre’s financial projections, including revenues, sources of funding, operational expenses and R&D expenses.
The forecast budget with, projected revenue and expenditures for its activities must clearly demonstrate that CECR funding declines over the funding period and should extend to the first year that the centre expects to fully displace CECR funding with other revenue to achieve sustainability. 

Sustainability of the centres remains a key element of the CECR program and includes many models, such as revenue streams, partner-led initiatives, and investments. Centres are expected to become self-sufficient through the establishment of a strong business plan and partnerships.

IV. List of Letters of Support included in Letter of Intent

The list of letters of support submitted with the application must provide the name and organizational affiliations of signatories. The number of letters is not restricted. Sort letters by category (academic, industrial, federal government, provincial government, municipal government, host institution, foreign and other); also indicate if the private firms are SMEs (<500 employees, or $50M in annual revenue).  The list of letters from partners and stakeholders should only include those that will be providing cash or in-kind support to the centre.

For each entry, provide the following: 

  • Name and title of Senior Executive signing the letter;
  • Organization and department;
  • Address of organization;
  • Amount of cash contribution;
  • Amount of in-kind contribution;
  • Amount of total cash & in-kind contribution.

V. Letters of Support from Stakeholders (Maximum 2 pages per letter)

An unlimited number of letters of support may be included from stakeholder organizations.   Letters of support must make explicit reference to the centre, and should:

  • Come from a senior executive;
  • Make commitments especially in terms of financial and/or in-kind support;
  • Indicate how the centre would help their organization, and
  • Indicate current and past associations with the applicant.

Sort the letters by category (academic, industrial, federal government, provincial government, municipal government, host institution, foreign and other).

Completing a Full Application - Invited applicants only

(Deadline: March 14, 2014)

The general presentation guidelines apply to the development of the CECR Business Plan. See Appendix B for a checklist to ensure a full application at the time of submission.

CECR Competition 2015 for new Centres of Excellence package must include: 

  1. Statement from the Chair of the Board with a commitment to the Centre;
  2. General Application Form
  3. A Business Plan
  4. A Financial Plan with projections showing a viable path to sustainability by the end of the funding period requested;
  5. Detailed performance indicators, targets and milestones that demonstrate the incremental value generated by the CECR investment;
  6. Appendices
    1. List of letters of support
    2. Letters of support
    3. Biographies
    4. Alphabetical list of key individuals

I. Statement from the Chair of the Board (maximum 2 pages)

A statement from the Chair of the Board that provides a commitment to the Centre and its proposed vision and mandate

II. General Application Form

Complete the CECR 2015 Full Application Form, available at: www.nce-rce.gc.ca.

Section A: General Information

Complete and sign Section A of the CECR 2015 full application form available on the NCE Web site at www.nce-rce.gc.ca.  

Section B: Preliminary Budget Allocation

Indicate the anticipated expenditures of CECR funds for the centre.  Round all estimates to the nearest thousand dollars.  Provide preliminary estimates for each year where CECR funding is being requested. It is expected that there will be a gradual reduction in the centre’s reliance on CECR funding over time as the centre becomes more self-sustainable. See the CECR program guide for information on eligible expenditures and use of NCE funds.

Section C: Preliminary Budget Details

For each of the line items requested, give a detailed breakdown, for the years where CECR funding will be required for the centre to become sustainable.

Section D: Summary of Contributions from Stakeholders

Indicate, for the years of CECR funding, the anticipated new incremental cash support (lines B to I) and new incremental in-kind support (lines K to R) from all of the other sources.

Section E:  Projected centre-generated revenue

Provide an overview of projected centre revenue

Section F: Articulation of the Centre’s Benefits to Canada

Describe a vision of what the centre proposes to achieve, including specific goals and objectives.   The vision should describe the expected end-results of the commercialization and/or research activities over and following the course of the funding period, especially with respect to the expected outcomes and impacts on the industry.

Provide an overview of the context within which the centre is positioned. Define the problem areas, the centre’s proposed commercialization and/or research activities and the incremental economic and social benefits to Canada. 

Section G: Additional Information

Provide additional information as requested in the fields provided.

Section H: Summary of the Application for Public Release

Provide a brief overview of the content of the submission in the fields provided.

III. Business Plan (maximum 25 pages)

1. Strategic Plan

The centre’s strategic plan should describe how the centre will achieve its objectives to integrate the technology and the intellectual property developed within the centre and its partner institutions. The objectives and milestones required to fully exploit the technology pipeline or service capacity of the centre should be clearly set out.

In particular, the strategy should include:

  • The centre’s plan showing how its portfolio of activities fits into its current vision and how this aligns with the original objectives of the centre’s corporate plan.
  • A robust commercialisation strategy that describes the centre’s business model, describing the requisite expertise and management capacity to achieve its objectives, the approach to partnership development and value creation, and how this will results in commercial benefits; and
  • Key commercial risks and mitigation strategies. 

2. Market Assessment

The market assessment should clearly articulate the key findings about the relevant industry sector, including the centre’s best alliances, customers, and competitors.

The assessment should include a market analysis that:

  • Defines and describes the market for its products and services;
  • Describes opportunities particularly relevant to the centre in the regional, national and international contexts;
  • Assesses the importance of its technologies within that market (To what need does the technology respond? What is the demand?);
  • Identifies key competitors and partner institutions;
  • Identifies competitive and market access issues (e.g. regulatory approvals, market positioning, competing products, corporate mandates);
  • Demonstrates that revenue projections align with current market and overall landscape in their priority area;
  • Provides a breakdown of the costs involved in core technologies development or business support activities, such as R&D; sales and marketing; administration and human resources.

3. Centre’s capability

The applicants must provide details demonstrating the centre’s overall capacity to achieve its goals and objectives with the resources on hand, or explain how it will otherwise engage the appropriate resources.

4. Managerial capability 

This section must show that the centre possesses, or can reasonably be expected to secure, the requisite managerial capability to achieve the stated goals and objectives of the centre. The following information, at a minimum, is required:

  • The pertinent experience and expertise (corporate and individual, technical and managerial) of the centre’s management team and the Board of Directors.
  • The roles and responsibilities of all the engaged partners, the allocation and contribution of resources among the partners, as well as the type and management of the relationship.
  • A description of the collaborations, joint ventures and partnerships with the public and private sector, including other centres, and the value of these collaborations to partners;
  • The centre management’s capability and commitment to achieve the planned outcomes (brief outline of background of management team and their time commitment to the CECR).
  • Human resource plan outlining any required changes to or development of staff competencies to achieve objectives.
  • The managerial risks and the centre’s related mitigation strategies.

5. Technological capability 

This section of the application must demonstrate that the centre possesses or can be reasonably expected to secure, the technological capability to achieve the centre’s goals and objectives. In particular, the application should identify the sources of technology disclosures available to the centre, and describe technologies in the centre’s product development pipeline.  It should also demonstrate that qualified personnel with relevant experience and background are engaged and that systematic reviews will be conducted of opportunities, progress against technology development objectives and risks.

The following information is required:

  • Details of activities of the centre activities and whether the centre is building on its previous work and successes;
  • A description of the available technical resources (e.g. personnel, facilities, equipment, partners);
  • A description of the collaborations, joint ventures or partnerships that will be established to enable the centre to successfully bolster its technical activities;
  • A description of the company’s approach to managing the centre’s technical activities with an articulation of the tools that will be used  (e.g. project team, planning, budgeting, scheduling, allocating responsibility, controlling);
  • A clear articulation that the centre’s activities are technologically feasible, and competitive;
  • A demonstration of the technology readiness, as well as the stage of development of activities within their portfolio;
  • The key technological capability and the technology feasibility risks and the centre’s mitigation strategies.

 6. Commercialization Capabilities

This section must show that it has the requisite commercialization expertise needed to achieve the commercialization and revenue outlined.  The centre should outline how it will optimize the commercialization of products or services in its portfolio.  The application must demonstrate the necessary capabilities to help clients prepare the product for the market and the market for the product through the alignment and integration of all necessary commercialization strategies.

Centres should describe their intellectual property (IP) strategy, including, where appropriate, a description of promising technology disclosures and high value IP accessible to the centre, as well as the centre’s IP expertise and management capacity, its plans for managing the IP and how it will result in commercial benefits for the centre.

The proposal should demonstrate that it has the capabilities when applicable to provide commercialization services that will help clients maximize market access opportunities.

7. Sales/Communication and Marketing Capabilities and Resources

The proposal must include the centre’s communication and marketing strategies. This plan should describe how the centre will brand itself, market its activities and how the centre will communicate with internal and external partners.

The following information is required:

  • A description of the client-base of the centre’s key technologies and activities;
  • An overview of the proposed value of the centre’s activities to partners;
  • Key messages on the impact of the centre’s activities on the firms supported by, or on firms which have partnered with, the centre.

8. Operational Plan

The centre should describe the current and future capacity of its operations and any changes in personnel or operating expenses required to achieve its new objectives. 

The centre’s business model should be clearly explained, highlighting how the centre’s activities will generate revenues and contributions from partners. The centre should demonstrate how CECR funding will be replaced by centre generated revenues and contributions from other sources overtime. The centre must clearly demonstrate a reduction in its reliance on CECR funding as part of its sustainability plan. The application should detail the key milestones and deliverables required with an overview of how the centre’s business model will lead to sustainability.

IV. Financial Plan (narrative description with financial tables)

This section must include a detailed financial plan of the centre including revenues, sources of funding, operational expenses and R&D expenses. The application must set out a multi-year budget with details of each key technology development or business activity showing that the centre possesses, or can reasonably be expected to secure, the financial resources required to achieve sustainability. The proposed budget must list all anticipated sources of funding and revenue-generating activities, the timing of that funding and revenue, and key assumptions. The text must include sufficient detail of any of the key assumptions (e.g., revenues forecasted and rate of displacement of CECR funding).

The section must clearly distinguish between negotiated and planned funding. Government funding and non-governmental funding should be well identified. The forecast budget with projected revenue and expenditures for planned activities must clearly demonstrate that CECR funding declines over the funding period and should extend to the first year that the centre expects to fully displace CECR funding with other revenue to achieve sustainability.  Long-term sustainability of the centres beyond the CECR funding remains a key element of the CECR program.  Sustainability models can include a range of models, such as partnerships, memberships, other governments support, as well as centre generated revenue. The application must clearly distinguish between negotiated and planned funding. Government funding and non-governmental funding should be well identified. The narrative section should provide a clear description of:

  • Sources of Funding/ Support
  • Operating Expenses (Administration)
  • Annual R&D spending in the first cycle and the anticipated ongoing expenses.
  • Financial Analysis of the basis of costs:  Applicants must list and explain all material/ large hypotheses used in generating the numbers such as the costs for use or purchase of equipment.
  • A forecast of projected revenues from commercialization investments. This section should clearly describe the methodology used to develop the centre’s revenue forecasts and clearly link which activities/ investments are providing returns.
  • Special conditions attached to any of the revenues and investments, such as need to repay interest-free loans by certain year, or options to IP in exchange for investment etc.
  • Special conditions attached to any of the financial contributions from public and private sector partners and any assumptions or dependencies related to acquiring funds from other sources.
  • Key financial risks and the centre’s proposed mitigation strategies.

Financial Tables to be included are provided below:

  • Table 1 - Balance Sheet: a snap shot of the centre’s assets, liabilities and stakeholders’ equity in the Centre (if applicable).
  • Table 2 - Financial Forecasts: Providing an overview of the centre’s projected sources of funding, operational expenses.
  • Table 3 - Revenue Projections: projects the centre’s future income.  This should be risk adjusted.

V. Performance Indicators, Targets and Milestones

The centre must provide performance metrics on which the centre will evaluate its achievements and demonstrate the incremental value generated by the CECR investment.

VI. Appendices

A.1 List of letters from partners and stakeholders (per sector)

Please use the provided template to list the letters of support submitted with the application. The number of letters is not restricted SMEs are considered to be firms with under 500 employees, or $50M in annual revenue.

For each entry, provide the following: 

  • Name and title of senior executive signing the letter;
  • Organization and department;
  • Address of organization;
  • Amount of cash contribution;
  • Amount of in-kind contribution;

A.2 Letters of Support (Maximum 2 pages per letter)

Provide letters confirming the contributions for each partner listed in Appendix A2. For each stakeholder organization, the letter must make explicit reference to the centre, and should:

  • Come from a senior executive;
  • Make commitments especially in terms of financial and/or in-kind support;
  • Clearly describe the nature of in-kind support where applicable;
  • Indicate how the centre helps their organization; indicate current and past associations with the applicant.

The letters should not follow a template/form format.

The signatures of authorized officers of supporting organizations certify that the organization agrees to:

  • The content of the application and will provide the committed resources; and
  • The publication of the organization's name as a supporter of the centre.

If the centre director is also a principal of a collaborating or supporting organization, another senior official must sign on behalf of the organization.

Sort the letters by category (academic, industrial, federal government, provincial government, municipal government, host institution, foreign and other).
Note: Only letters providing support in the form of in-kind or cash contributions should be included (all other letters will be removed from the full application package). 

A.3 Biographies of centre management and members of the Board of Directors (Maximum 1 page per biography)

Biographies (up to 20) should be provided for the lead applicants (including the proposed centre director) and for members of the Board of Directors. Each biography must not to exceed one page in length.

A.4  Alphabetical List of Key Individuals

To assist the reviewers in their evaluation, provide:

  • An alphabetical list of key individuals involved in the centre (i.e., Centre Director, proposed members of the centre’s Management and Board of Directors, interim Chair of the Board).
  • For each individual, the alphabetical list must provide the following:
    • Name;
    • Organization, Department and Position;
    • Province;
    • Percentage of salaried time to be devoted to the centre, if any;
    • Role in the centre: Centre Director (CD), proposed member of the Management Committee, Board of Directors (BOD), interim Chair of the Board.
    • An asterisk if a Biography is provided.

Electronic submission of applications

All application documents must be submitted via the This link will take you to another Web site NCE Secure Submission Web Site .

Complete the required fields and select the relevant options from the respective drop down menus. The following message will appear on-screen if a document is successfully uploaded:

Thank you for using theNCE Secure Submission Site. You have successfully submitted the document below. We will contact you or the contact person indicated in the document should we require any additional information.  Document submitted:<AcronymOfProgEnglish>_<AcronymOfCompEnglish>_
<AcronymOfDocTypeEnglish>_ <AcronymOfNetworkName><NameLast> <YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS ET>

 

Instructions for meeting with an expert panel

All applicants invited to submit a full application will meet with an expert panel comprised of experts in business, management, knowledge and technology transfer, commercialization, applied science, finance and/or public policy.

The role of the expert panel is to provide the Private Sector Advisory board with a report on the strengths and weaknesses of the application.

At this meeting, up to five representatives of the proposed centre will have an opportunity to make short presentations on the centre’s:

  • Vision, Objectives and Benefits to Canada;
  • Lead applicants’ track record and potential;
  • Business plan; and
  • Financial projections and self-sustainability plan

Presentations should add value to the written application by highlighting major features, achievements and new developments rather than repeating the details of an application.

Applicants will need to leave a soft copy of their presentation, which will be forwarded along with the expert panel report to the Private Sector Advisory Board.

 

Appendix A:  Conflict of Interest Guidelines

Members who are directly or indirectly associated with the application must disclose their interest and follow guidelines adopted by the NCE Secretariat regarding conflicts of interest. Members, who stand to gain or lose financially, either in their personal capacity or by virtue of being an officer of any legal entity affected by a financial decision of the NCE must disclose their interest.

These guidelines cannot foresee all possible situations and the NCE Secretariat must rely on the judgment of the members. Indeed, it is the responsibility of members to declare any conflict of interest. Examples of conflict of interests as adapted from NSERC, and CIHR state that:

Expert Panel Members should not:

  • be from the same university as the applicant(s);
  • have been a research supervisor or graduate student of the applicant(s) within the past six (6) years;
  • be providing letters of support for the application;
  • have collaborated with the applicant(s) within the past six (6) years or have plans to collaborate in the immediate future;
  • be an employee of a non-academic organization with which the applicant has had collaboration within the past six (6) years;
  • be in any other potential conflict of interest (e.g., personal, financial).

Committee members are in conflict if they:

  • are from the same immediate institution or company as the applicant, and who interact with the applicant in the course of their duties at the institution or company;
  • are a close personal friend or relative of the applicant;
  • have had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicant;
  • are in a position to gain or lose financially from the outcome of the application (e.g., hold stock in the company of an industry partner or a competitor), or for some other reason feel that they cannot provide an objective review of the application.

Members are asked to inform the NCE staff of potential conflict of interests as early as possible. At the beginning of a session, the Chair reads the list of identified conflicts and asks each member in turn to declare any other relationship to a proposal (positive or negative). If the Chair believes a member should not participate in the review, that member withdraws from discussion. Difficult cases should be brought to the NCE staff who have the responsibility to rule.


Appendix B: Checklists for Application Packages

Notice of Intent (NOI):  Deadline June 14, 2013
Number of Pages Items
NOI Package NOI form
Letter of Intent (LOI):  Deadline August 23, 2013
Number of Pages Items
2 pages I. Letter from the intended host organization to support the centre’s application
LOI Form II.  LOI  Form
  • Section A – General Information
  • Section B – Preliminary budget allocation
  • Section C – Preliminary budget details
  • Section D – Summary of contributions from stakeholders
  • Section E – Incremental contributions from stakeholders
  • Section F – Benefits to Canada
  • Section G – Additional Information
  • Section H – Suggested Referees
  • Section I – Summary for public release
Maximum of 3 pages III.  Information to help assess the track record and potential of the applicants
Maximum of 5 pages IV. Business Plan
Maximum of 2 pages V. Financial Plan Overview
  VI. List of Letters of Support
Maximum 2 pages per letter VII. Letters of Support
Full Application: Deadline March 14, 2014
Number of Pages Items
Maximum of 2 pages

I. Statement from the Chair of the Board

Maximum number of characters allowed in each section

II. Full Application Form

  • Section A – General Information
  • Section B – Preliminary budget allocation
  • Section C – Preliminary budget details
  • Section D – Summary of contributions from stakeholders
  • Section E – Projected centre-generated revenue
  • Section F – Benefits to Canada
  • Section G – Additional Information
  • Section H – Summary for public release
Maximum of 25 pages

III. Business Plan 

As needed

IV. Financial Plan

As needed

V. Performance Indicators, Targets and Milestones

  1. Form provided
  2. 2 pages per letter
  3. Max 1 page / bio
  4. As needed

VI. Appendices:

  1. List of letters of support
  2. Letters of support
  3. Biographies of centre management and members of the board of director
  4. Alphabetical list of key individuals

 

Appendix C: What do the electronic or original signatures on the application mean?

For the Lead applicant

By signing and submitting my application, I (the Lead applicant):

  • certify that the information provided in my funding applications and related documents is true, complete and accurate and that I have represented myself, my research and my accomplishments in a manner consistent with the norms of the relevant field;
  • consent to the sharing between the NCE Secretariat and any academic institution to which I am, or may become, affiliated of any and all information, including personal information, in any way related to the application and to the grant/award;
  • understand the This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (including the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to the NCE Secretariat) as they pertain to grant application information;
  • attest that participants listed on the application have agreed to be included;
  • certify that I am not currently ineligible to apply for and/or hold funds from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or any other research funding organization world-wide for reasons of breach of responsible conduct of research policies such as ethics, integrity or financial management policies;
  • certify that I respect and comply with the This link will take you to another Web site Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, as required only if I am, or was in the last 12 months, a public servant in the federal government;
  • accept the terms and conditions set out in NCE Program Guide and the This link will take you to another Web site Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards between the federal granting agencies and Canadian institutions;
  • will inform the NCE Secretariat and institutional officials of changes in eligibility status;
  • agree to comply with the policies and guidelines described in the This link will take you to another Web site Requirements for Certain Types of Research, including:
    • research involving humans;
    • research requiring human pluripotent stem cells;
    • research requiring the use of animals;
    • research involving controlled information;
    • research involving biohazards;
    • research involving radioactive materials;
    • research activities having potential effects on the environment; and
    • other related policies;
  • will inform the NCE Secretariat and institutional officials of any changes in the nature of the research that may have an impact on certification or approvals on the same policies as in the previous bullet; and
  • understand that maintaining public trust in the integrity of researchers is fundamental to building a knowledge-based society. By submitting this application or by accepting funding from CIHR, NSERC and/or SSHRC, I affirm that I have read and I agree to respect all the policies of these agencies that are relevant to my research, including the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. In cases of a serious breach of agency policy, the agency may publicly disclose my name, the nature of the breach, the institution where I was employed at the time of the breach and the institution where I am currently employed. I accept this as a condition of applying for, or receiving, agency funding and I consent to such disclosure.

For academic participants:

By accepting to participate in the Centre, I (the academic participant) also agree to the above.

The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that:

  • the institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities as set out in the This link will take you to another Web site Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards with the three federal granting agencies;
  • the applicant have met, or will meet, the eligibility requirements;
  • the institution obtained written approval from other institutions involved in the application process prior to submission; and
  • the institution agrees to comply with NSERC’s, CHIR’s or SSHRC’s data protection requirements and has adequate safeguards in place to protect sensitive information entrusted to it by the NCE Secretariat for the purpose of administering applications and awards.

The signatures of authorized officers of other supporting organizations certify that the organization: