Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
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FAQ

Scope

1. Does the NCE-KM initiative fund any research?
Research support must be provided through other sources of funding. The NCE-KM initiative is intended to further the application and mobilization of world-class research.

2. What are the target areas for the NCE-KM initiative?
Applications for NCE-KM funding must address critical issues of scientific, intellectual, social, economic and/or cultural significance in areas of strategic importance for Canada. NCE–KM networks are expected to involve the significant and meaningful participation of individuals from all relevant sectors and disciplines to fully address the multi-faceted challenges and to fully implement multidimensional solutions.

3. Is there room to be flexible in terms of altering or changing the program as it evolves between the LOI and the full application?
Yes, it is possible to change some elements between the LOI and the full application, but the comments from the NCE Standing Selection Committee should be addressed and any other changes should be highlighted and justified.

4. Do KM Networks have to cover more than one tri-council mandate?
It is not mandatory for NCE-KM networks to cover more than one council's mandate. However, they must involve the significant and meaningful participation of individuals from all relevant sectors and disciplines to fully address the multi-faceted challenges and to fully implement multidimensional solutions, which may mean more than one granting councils mandate.

5. How should proposed networks position themselves in comparison to similar initiatives in Canada or abroad?
The added value of the proposed network must be clear, especially where there is a potential for perceived overlap between the proposed network and existing networks or initiatives in Canada or abroad, including those that are currently receiving, or have previously received, funding through the NCE suite of programs. Applicants should explain how the network will complement or build on the activities and achievements of the other initiatives.

Eligibility

6. How is applicant eligibility determined?
The Academic co-applicant is eligible if he/she is a researcher who is eligible to apply for funding under the policies and guidelines of at least one of the three federal granting agencies partnering in the program (see eligibility criteria for CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC).

7. Who can be a co-applicant?
The non-academic co-applicant is a knowledge user from any non-academic organization that can apply the knowledge. The inclusion of a non-academic co-applicant is mandatory and ensures the meaningful involvement of the partner in all aspects of the network.

8. Must the NCE-KM network be incorporated as a not-for-profit organization?
Proposed networks do not need to be incorporated at the time of application. At the LOI stage, the NCE Secretariat will accept applications from eligible applicants on behalf of the network to be incorporated. The application needs to clearly describe the planned governance structure of the proposed network and how that structure meets the incorporation requirement. All networks that are successful in the competition must provide proof of incorporation under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act before receiving NCE funds.

9. Can an individual be involved in more than one network, or in more than one project within the same network?
An individual may be involved in more than one project within the same NCE-KM network and may also be involved in projects in multiple networks. There are several examples of this among existing NCEs. Obviously, the individual must have the time to contribute adequately to the various projects.

10. Can an incorporated company started by a university researcher be involved in a network?
Many factors contribute to the eligibility of researcher-owned companies. Eligibility is often decided on a case-by-case basis by the network's Board of Directors, using the network's conflict of interest policy(ies) and the guidelines of the three granting agencies as resources. The network's Board of Directors, or its conflict of interest sub-committee, is charged with the responsibility of managing conflict of interest and determining and implementing the appropriate course of action. The goal is to avoid situations where there is a conflict of interest, or a perception of conflict of interest, without discouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of researchers.

Budget

11. How many NCE-KM networks will be funded as a result of the 2019 NCE-KM competition?
It is anticipated that three new networks will be funded for a first cycle of four years.

12. What is the budget for this competition?
The total budget for this competition is currently set at $4.8M over 4 years ($1.2M/year). Funding for successful networks will begin in 2018-19.

13. Is there a minimum or maximum funding level for a proposed network?
There is no minimum budget for any application in this competition. An NCE-KM network can be funded to up to $400,000 per year for four years, provided that annual progress reports are deemed acceptable by the NCE Monitoring and Steering Committees. The budget request must be appropriate for the scope and scale of activities proposed and the projected deliverables.

14. Are networks renewable for additional terms?
Network funding is available for a four-year term, with a possibility of a three-year renewal term. The progress of each network will be assessed annually, and may result in continued funding, conditional funding, or the phasing out of a network before the end of the award term.

15. Will funds be available for applicants with successful LOIs to assist them in preparing their Full Applications?
An applicant who is successful in reaching the Full Application stage of the competition may request a Full Application Preparation (FAP) funding of up to $15,000. FAP is used for application-related expenses such as communications and workshops as well as for secretarial, clerical and co-ordination services and any travel costs associated with meeting the members of the NCE Selection Committee. To request FAP funding, successful LOI applicants must submit a one-page letter outlining their required budget, including a brief rationale of proposed expenses.

16. Are financial contributions required from the NCE-KM network's stakeholders?
There is no requirement for financial contributions to the NCE-KM network. However, in examining the application for NCE-KM funding, the NCE Selection Committee will be looking for a critical mass of commitment to the knowledge mobilization being proposed. This could take the form of financial and/or in-kind contributions.

17. Is there a maximum or minimum cash contribution from external partners that is expected?
There is no expected maximum or minimum cash contributions from external partners. At the LOI stage of the competition, it is not expected that applicants be able to list all anticipated sources of funding.

18. How will in-kind contributions be considered and what are the limitations on in-kind contributions?
Refer to Appendix F (Calculation of In-Kind Contributions) of the NCE Program Guide for details: http://www.nce-rce.gc.ca/ReportsPublications-RapportsPublications/NCE-RCE/ProgramGuide-GuideProgramme_eng.asp

19. What sorts of activities can be funded with cash contributions from partners? Are there limits or do they differ from the eligible expense guidelines?
The NCE-KM initiative is not a cash-matching program, as such there is no requirement for any cash or in-kind contributions. However, it is expected that requested NCE funds will be supplemented to some degree by cash and/or in-kind contributions from partners. For the cash contributions from partners to be considered by the NCE, they must be for eligible expenses, as per the guidelines.

20. Are in-direct costs are eligible (i.e. can the University charge overhead)?
No, they are not. However, certain expenditures are automatically included in the calculations for the Research Support Fund, which provides for indirect costs to universities. For additional details, see Appendix I of the NCE Program Guide.

Network Management/Participants

21. What is the expected time commitment of the Network co-Directors?
There is no defined time commitment for the Networkco- Director. The application must demonstrate to the NCE Standing Selection Committee (and ultimately the NCE Steering Committee) that the director would be committing adequate time to achieve the stated goals.

22. Should individuals who will be involved in the management of the network be identified in the Letter of Intent?
Although it may be helpful, it is not required to identify specific individuals at the LOI stage of the competition. The expectation is for a description of the planned management structure for the proposed network. A one-page organizational chart must be provided.

23. What kind of international collaboration is expected?
One of the objectives of the NCE program, from which stems the NCE-KM competition, is to create national and international partnerships that bring together key individuals and organizations that will generate and implement multifaceted solutions to complex Canadian challenges. Another objective is to increase Canada's international visibility and reputation by attracting world-class collaborations and developing partnerships with international counterparts, where appropriate. Applicants should take these objectives into consideration when developing their proposal. Networks are encouraged to expand their reach internationally, as appropriate, where synergies with other stakeholders can amplify the impact of the network in Canada and abroad.

Host

24. Can an NCE-KM network have two host institutions at once?
No.

25. If the Network Host is not a university, what is required?
Typically, an NCE is hosted by a Canadian university or post-secondary institution with a mandate for research, or their affiliated institutions (including hospitals, research institutes and other not-for-profit organizations). However, a network could also be hosted by a private sector consortium, defined as a grouping consisting mainly of for-profit companies to form a not-for-profit entity that has defined goals and objectives as well as governance, financial and accounting structures that are completely distinct from those of its component companies and meet the requirements of the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions. If a private sector consortium is proposed as the host, it must be able to demonstrate that it has in place the proper policies, procedures and financial controls to administer funding to academic institutions.

26. What is the role of the host institution?
The host institution is a signatory on the NCE funding agreement. The host must ensure that the network administrative centre has suitable accommodation, as well as access to appropriate computer, communications and financial administration systems. The host is responsible for the release of funds to participating institutions and the administrative centre in accordance with decisions of the network's Board of Directors. Typically, a host representative sits on the network's Board of Directors. The host will also be responsible for taking care of the network's documents (files, financial statements, etc.) when the network ceases operations.

27. Are institutions currently holding NCE-KM funding disadvantaged in this competition?
No.

Review Process

28. Who makes the final funding decision?
The NCE Steering Committee makes the final decision, based on the recommendations of the Standing Selection Committee. Decisions of the Steering Committee are final. There is no appeal process.

29. When will the NCE-KM Full Application deadline be?
September 4, 2018.

Other

30. Should there be referencing and do these references fall outside the page limit?
References may be used, if appropriate and are to be included within the page limits.

31. We will not be ready for this competition. Do you know when will the next competition be launched?
At this time, we do not have a date for the next KM competition, although it is cyclical. You can keep an eye on our web page for future announcements. You can also sign up for an email alert for all NCE competitions on our Website.

32. Can signatures from the Applicant and Host Institution be digital or should they be original?
The LOI and the Full Application Form are set up to automatically insert an image file of a signature for the Scientific Director and the President of the Host Institution. This allows you to use jpegs or other electronic signature formats. Please be sure to "right click", download and save the Application Form before you begin to fill it out. If you simply "click" on the document, it will open in your internet browser. Some browsers will not allow you to fill in the information and save it properly for the next steps.

33. What should the letters of support indicate?
Letters of support from partners/stakeholders must:

  • come from a senior executive with influence over a budget;
  • indicate the level, duration and nature (cash and/or in-kind ) of anticipated support for the proposed network;
  • describe potential involvement and added-value of the proposed network to the stakeholder's current and future activities;
  • indicate current and past associations with individuals participating in the proposed network's activities;
  • not be template formatted by the applicant; and
  • be dated and signed no earlier than December 2017.

34. Is there a maximum number of support letters at the LOI stage?
Only five letters of support may be submitted in the LOI stage of the competition. These letters should come from the five primary non-academic partners/stakeholders.

35. What level of detail is required in the Full Application?
The level of detail will be clearly spelled out in the instructions for both the LOI and Full Application. Successful networks are expected to "hit the ground running" very soon after receiving their notification of award. Therefore, very clear and detailed plans in the proposal are required in order to facilitate the initiation of these activities.

36. What is required to show how our initial knowledge mobilization themes/projects were selected?
An overall strategic planning process to identify the challenges to be addressed by the network should be described. It must show how the research community and partners/stakeholders were engaged in this process.