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Competition FAQ

Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) - 2008-2009

 Competition FAQ





Budget/Eligible Expenses

Management of CECR Funds




How many Centres will be funded in the 2009 CECR competition?

Unlike the 2008 CECR competition, there is no target grant size. Awards of varying size will be considered and assessed against the program criteria. The budget outlined in an application must be fully justified and it is expected to be commensurate with the centre's ability to yield significant benefits to Canada. Matching funding should be secured from multiple sources.

There are four priority areas, and the 2009 competition calls for emphasis on ICT and Environment. Are centres in the other areas eligible to apply?

Yes, applications from centres in any one of the four priority areas are eligible to apply and the onus is on the applicants to identify the priority area(s) that is (are) best aligned with their centre's vision. While developing their proposals, applicants are encouraged to consult the list of the eleven centres funded following the inaugural 2008 CECR Competition and to be mindful that, in the final selection of proposals, the committee will give consideration to balancing the portfolio to ensure that the S&T priority areas are adequately covered in order to maximize the impact of the CECR program. In the 2009 competition, particular emphasis is placed on funding centres specializing in ICT and Environment.

Are international collaborations or foreign partners recognized within the program?

The goal of the program is to create internationally recognized Centres of commercialization and research expertise in the four priority areas in order to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to Canadians. CECR funds cannot be used to support activities outside of Canada. However, if it makes sense for the Centre to establish links with international partners, this should be clearly explained in the LOI.


Who are eligible applicants?

Eligible applicants are new or existing not-for-profit corporations created by universities, colleges, not-for-profit research organizations, firms, and other non-government parties.

Must the Centre be incorporated at the time of application? What type of incorporation is acceptable?

Centres do not need to be incorporated at the time of application. At the LOI stage, the NCE Secretariat will accept applications from organizations on behalf of the Centre to be incorporated. The application needs to clearly describe the proposed governance structure of the proposed Centre, and how that structure meets the incorporation requirement. All Centres that are successful in the competition must provide proof of incorporation (federal or provincial), as well as proof of an established Board of Directors responsible for the approval of its annual financial reports and audits, before receiving CECR funds.


What is an eligible host organization?

The university, college, not-for-profit research organizations, firms, and other non-government party that created the Centre. A previously incorporated Centre may serve as its own host.

Can the host organization be the lead applicant on a CECR?

Only if the host organization is an eligible not-for-profit corporation (see question 1 above) or if it is submitting an application on behalf of the Centre to be incorporated (see question 6 above).

What is typically the role of the host?

Where appropriate, the host organization, serves as the administrative secretariat for the Centre. The host, ensures that the Centre has suitable accommodation, as well as access to appropriate computer, communications and financial administration systems.


Are there any guidelines or expectations as to the number of partners that should be involved in the Centre and whether

There are no guidelines on the number of partners participating. There is however an expectation that they will be the BEST possible participants (the proposal should demonstrate that). There is no expectation, or requirement, for geographic representation.

Are contributions from an applicant's company eligible as matching funds?

Contributions made to the Centre by an applicant's own consulting company or sole proprietorship do not qualify as eligible matching funds to the CECR grant. Situations where the applicant is part owner are considered on a case-by-case basis. The applicant must contact the NCE Secretariat to obtain a ruling on specific cases where clarification is required.

Budget/Eligible Expenses

Are the majority of the CECR funds to be spent on commercialization activities?

CECR funds can be spent on any eligible operations and maintenance costs at the Centre. CECR Funds may be used to cover up to 50% of total eligible commercialization costs and up to 75% of other total eligible costs, with the remainder from non-federal sources.

Can CECR funds be spent on research activities?

Although research centres may also receive CECR funds, any research activities associated with the Centre must be afforded by sources of funding other than the CECR grant.

Can equipment be funded through this initiative?

Some essential pieces of equipment can be acquired but it is expected that a larger percentage of the funds be spent on operations and maintenance activities and not on infrastructure such as equipment. Up to 20% of the total eligible expenses for commercialization costs to a maximum of $1M may be spent on equipment that is essential for commercialization, as long as it is not eligible for other federal programs such as CFI.

Are CECRs renewable for a second mandate?

The current term for a CECR is 5 years. Centres with a strong commercialization orientation are expected to be self sufficient by the end of the funding period. Research centres that do not have a well developed commercialization agenda at the start of the funding period may be eligible for subsequent support if they yield significant public benefits during the funding term and if the program is extended.

Will there be funds available for those groups with successful LOIs who are invited to submit full proposals?

No. Finalists will not be provided with financial assistance to produce a full proposal.

Management of CECR Funds

Can the host organization receive the CECR funds on behalf of the Centre?

No, the Centre's Board of Directors must have financial responsibility over the CECR Funds. For this reason, the Centre must be prepared to receive the CECR funds before March 31, 2009. Successful centres will be required to show evidence of having appropriate financial administrative processes in place to manage funds from the granting agencies. Financial management could either exist within the Centre or through services provided by the host or other partner organization that is eligible to manage funds from any one of the three granting agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR).

Do the industrial contributions, either in cash or in-kind, have to be secured at the time of the LOI?

Not necessarily at the LOI stage, but the sooner the better. By the full proposal stage, the contributions should be endorsed by firm letters of commitment.


What is required in the letters of support at the Letter of Intent stage?

The letters must make explicit reference to the proposed Centre, indicating how the Centre would help their organization and indicating current and past associations with the applicant. All letters must come from a senior executive and make commitments, especially in terms of cash or in-kind support.


Should intellectual property (IP) be addressed in the LOI?

The LOI must describe how IP issues are expected to be handled within the proposed Centre.

Who makes the final funding decision?

The NCE Steering Committee makes the final decision, based on the recommendations of a Private Sector Advisory Board (PSAB).