Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
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Creating a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)

A CECR is a not-for-profit corporation created by a university, college, not-for-profit research organization, firm or other interested non-government party that matches clusters of research expertise with the business community. Each centre shares knowledge, expertise and resources to bring new technologies to market faster. These cost-shared centres stimulate new commercialization activities that were unlikely without the CECR program.


What can an applicant do before the launch of a competition?

The applicant should engage sector partners early

  • The CECR program requires a commitment from the proposed centre’s partners to match the federal investment. Strong applications have multiple partnerships, with established financial commitments to support the proposed CECR’s activities.  For funds to be counted in an application, they cannot be for an activity that exists before the CECR funding. These must be new investments, for the purpose of supporting new activities. Partner commitments will need to appear in the applicant’s letters of support.
  • When requesting a letter of support from any organization, the applicant should provide reasonable deadlines for the organization to evaluate and negotiate the request.

The applicant should consider appropriate members and structures that will ensure strong governance and management

  • The proposed governance and management structures should be sound, with a team that has the necessary strengths to deliver on the objectives of the centre. Establishing a new, independent, not-for-profit organization, rather than a branch of an existing organization, is recommended in order to ensure a clear mission and mandate.


What are common weaknesses identified by review panels?

At the Letter of Intent stage

  • The source of revenues for sustainability is not convincingly described.
  • The letter of intent would have benefitted from additional industrial support.
  • Tangible benefits to Canada were not adequately explained.
  • The performance metrics, targets and related milestones are not well defined.
  • The letters of support did not indicate firm cash and in-kind commitments for the full length of the CECR funding.
  • The business plan and financial plan were not adequately developed.

At the Full Application stage

  • The proposed centre should have had individuals with more business expertise.
  • The application lacked the involvement of the key industrial partners necessary for demonstrating market pull.
  • The application would have benefitted from a clearer IP exploitation and management strategy.
  • The board of directors should have been more representative of the sector, with the required expertise to ensure success.
  • The business plan was not sufficiently detailed.
  • The application did not adequately leverage existing academic and governmental initiatives in this sector.
  • The competitive and market analysis were not compelling.
  • Risk mitigation strategies were not well considered.
  • The strategy for managing conflicts of interest was not well presented.


Helpful resources

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