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Competition FAQ

2010 Competition - Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)

 Competition FAQ




Budget/Eligible Expenses

Management of CECR Funds




How many centres will be funded in the 2010 competition?

This third competition is seeking to fund centres with an emphasis on commercialization, including both goods and services. In addition, this competition is seeking to fund the top proposals in as many of the four S&T priority areas as possible. Only proposals that meet the threshold of excellence shall be funded.

In the context of the CECR Program, commercialization is defined as everything a firm does that transforms knowledge and technology into new goods, processes or services to satisfy market demands.

Proposed centres must address one or more of the STIC sub-priority areas. Where do I identify the STIC sub-priority (ies) covered by my application?

In the CECR 2010 Full Application Form, Section E: Summary Data Sheet.

Are international collaborations or foreign partners recognized within the program?

Yes, although, CECR funds cannot be used to support activities outside of Canada, international collaborations and partnerships are recognized and strongly encouraged. Among other things, applicants are expected to describe in their submission how they will attract investment (including foreign direct investment and venture capital), develop relationships with major international centres and research programs and brand Canada as the host of internationally recognized centres of excellence in commercialization of research results.


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.  The NCE Secretariat will accept applications from organizations on behalf of the Centre to be incorporated.  However, the application needs to clearly describe the 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.

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

Only if the proposed host organization is an eligible not-for-profit corporation or if it is submitting an application on behalf of the Centre to be incorporated.

What is typically the role of a host?

Where appropriate, a host organization, serves as the administrative secretariat for the Centre. A 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 or not there should be representation from across the country? 

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. Details on eligible and non-eligible expenditures are provided in Appendix D of the 2010 CECR Program Guide.

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.. 

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 a 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, 2011.  Successful centres will be required to show evidence of having appropriate financial administrative processes in place to manage funds from the granting agencies. 


What is required in the letters of support at the Full Application stage?

All letters must come from a senior executive and make specific commitments, in terms of cash or in-kind support. 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. 


Are “moral support” letters accepted in this competition?

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). 

Should intellectual property (IP) be addressed in the Full Application?

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

Can the name of the centre, as submitted in the LOI stage, be changed at the Full Application stage?

The name of the centre can be changed at the Full Application stage. If funded, the official name of the centre will have to be confirmed in the Funding Agreement.

Invited applicants are asked to provide a list of 25 suggested panel members by April 14th, 2010. These individuals should not be involved in the Centre and should not have conflicts of interest with the CECR Program or with anyone on the team. How does the NCE Secretariat define “conflict of interest”?

The conflict of interest guidelines 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.

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).