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Letter of Intent Guide

Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence (CIRCE)

 Letter of Intent Guide

The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Program is a federal initiative administered jointly through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in partnership with Industry Canada.


The 2012 CIRCE Competition is comprised of three stages: stage 1) the Notification of Intent (NOI); stage 2) the Letter of intent (LOI); and stage 3) the Full Application (FA). This guide reflects the Letter of Intent stage of the CIRCE competition. The LOI guide MUST be used in conjunction with the NCE Program Guide and the CIRCE Competition Guide.

The NCE Steering Committee invites potential applicants to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the CIRCE Competition. Note that LOIs will only be accepted from individuals who submitted a NOI. The LOI must describe the strategic area(s) that the proposed Centre will address, as well as the proposed Centre’s vision, socioeconomic context, budget and key participants.  It should also summarize how the proposed Network will address the five CIRCE Initiative Criteria as well as the CIRCE Initiative goals and objectives.

Review Criteria

To ensure that the goals and objectives of the CIRCE Initiative are met, proposals are assessed against the five CIRCE review criteria. The CIRCE will be evaluated on a yearly basis during the tenure of the grant against these same criteria. All five CIRCE review criteria are equally weighted; therefore the threshold of excellence must be achieved in each. 

Guidelines for Completing a Letter of Intent

The LOI is composed of two different elements; (1) the LOI application form (PDF form), and (2) the free-form section (10 pages maximum).

Together, the two elements of the LOI provide information on the proposed CIRCE in relation to the goals and objectives of the CIRCE Program and will be used in the screening process to determine which applicants will be invited to submit a Full Application.

The LOI should be submitted on behalf of the proposed Centre by an academic researcher (i.e., the Lead Applicant) who is eligible to receive funding from one of the three federal granting agencies, and by the proposed host institution.

The LOI must be developed in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Applicants must clearly indicate how the proposed CIRCE will facilitate knowledge exchange between Canada and India in areas of mutual strategic importance.

The Selection Committee will assess the level of integration of the appropriate stakeholders into the Centre’s plan.  Private, public and not-for-profit sector participants should be informed that their level of involvement will be critical to the success of the Centre.

Should multiple LOIs be submitted addressing the same strategic area, the Selection Committee may suggest that those applicants submit a single joint Full Application. 

LOI application form (PDF form)

The LOI application form (fillable PDF format) is available on the NCE Web site at ( 

All sections must be completed:

Section 1: Centre information

  • Title of the proposed Centre (in English and French) and Acronym
  • Host Institution
  • Name, salutation, preferred language of correspondence
  • Position, Institution/Department
  • Address, City, Province, Postal Code at the Institution
  • Phone number, Extension, Email Address
  • List of 10 keywords that best describe the proposed Centre.
  • Signatures of the Lead Applicant and the president or CEO of the host institution

Section 2: Summary for public release

  • In 300 words or less, provide an overview of the proposed Centre.

Section 3: Researchers

List the researchers committed to the Centre’s Research Program, in both  Canada and India.  Provide the researcher’s last name, first name and affiliation. Specify the role and responsibilities of each researcher in the Centre’s Program. (e.g. engineer in scale-up modeling, ethicist for policy development, etc). Finally, estimate the percentage of salaried time that the researcher will spend on the Centre’s activities.

Section 4: Partners

List the partners who will participate in the Centre’s activities, their country, sector (e.g. industry, federal government, provincial government, municipal government, non-governmental organization, non-for-profit organization, etc.) and role (e.g. facilities provider, equipment provider, scientific oversight, etc.).

Section 5: Proposed Centre’s anticipated expenditures

Provide an overview of the expenditures of NCE funds and of non-NCE funds using the categories provided over 5 years. On separate page(s), provide a budget justification, including a description of each line item. Detail the sources of non-NCE funds. Please note that a more detailed budget form will be required at the Full Application stage.

Host Institution Letter of Support (2 pages max)

The letter of support from the proposed host institution should provide an outline of the nature of the anticipated support. The Host Institution will play an important role in the CIRCE through direct support of the administrative centre and by participating in the CIRCE’s governance through ex-officio voting membership on the Board of Directors.

This letter must be signed by the Lead Applicant and the President or CEO of the institution that proposes to host the CIRCE’s administrative centre (i.e., the Host Institution). The signatures on the letter should match the signatures on Section 1 of the Application Form.

Free form (10 pages max)

Use the following sections to describe the proposed CIRCE in 10 pages or less. Any additional pages, text or material will be removed. For the detailed Evaluation Criteria please refer to the CIRCE Competition Guide.

Networking and Partnerships

The Centre will bring together the key individuals and organizations, both in Canada and in India, needed to develop coordinated partnerships to generate social, economic, technological and/or wellness impacts in both countries.

  • Define the strategic area(s) of importance that the CIRCE proposes to address and how it will foster organization-to-organization level relationships and increase researcher-to-researcher collaborations.
  • Summarize the history of partnerships with complementary Indian organization(s). Detail how the CIRCE will help increase Canada’s international visibility as well as the quality of outreach efforts in promoting Canada’s reputation as an international leader in science and technology.
  • Demonstrate how the proposed CIRCE will focus on addressing complex challenges facing both Canadians and Indians from an international, multisectoral and multidisciplinary perspective. 

Knowledge Mobilization and Exchange

The CIRCE will generate benefits to Canada’s and India’s science and technology capabilities and practices as well as downstream economic and social benefits, such as technology, market development and public policy development through the mobilization of research knowledge.

  • Discuss how the CIRCE will engage existing end user communities, and what approaches will be taken to identify and address the knowledge needs of end user communities in both countries.
  • Describe the Centre’s intellectual property (IP) and knowledge mobilization strategy.

Management of the Network

The Centre will possess an appropriate organizational structure for the management of the business functions of a complex multidisciplinary, multi-institutional cost-effective Canada-India endeavour, including research program.

  • Identify the proposed governance and management teams (including but not limited to: the Centre, intellectual property, HQP, KME, and Communications). Define the roles and responsibilities of each key position and identify the proposed incumbent.
  • Discuss the anticipated problem(s), challenge(s) or opportunities for the CIRCE’s internal and external communication strategies in disseminating knowledge, successes and activities to network participants, end users, and the general public.
  • Describe the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Program and the value added by the Centre to mentoring, training opportunities and research exchanges already available.

Excellence of the Research Program

The CIRCE’s administrative Centre will ensure excellence in collaborative research between Canadian and Indian stakeholders through the management of collaboration models. The research program is expected to be multisectoral and multidisciplinary.

  • Provide a brief review of the current state of knowledge in the field, describing any similar research initiatives and their relationship to the CIRCE’s proposed research program.
  • Define the problem(s), challenge(s), or opportunity(ies) that the Network will address.
  • Describe the scope, focus and general objectives of the CIRCE and how the proposed research program will attain those objectives.
  • Detail the added value of the Centre’s multisectoral, multidisciplinary approach to the research program.

General Presentation

The LOI free-form section must be converted to PDF format and merged with the LOI application form (PDF format) in order for it to be submitted as a single electronic document (PDF package).

The LOI free-form section must be prepared according to the following:

  • 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). Condensed type is not acceptable.
  • Header: include the title of the Centre at the top of every page
  • All pages consecutively numbered

Graphs and illustrations may be included, but will count as part of the page limits set out above. Either single or double column presentation of text, graphs or illustrations is acceptable.  Any extra material will be removed.

Submission procedures

The deadline for submission of the LOI for the 2012 CIRCE Competition is Thursday, February 23, 2012.  LOIs must be received by 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. 

Number of Copies   

One unbound original copy and one USB stick with a PDF version of the letter of intent.  

Mailing Address

Networks of Centres of Excellence
CIRCE Competition
16th Floor, mailroom
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 1H5

The NCE Secretariat will confirm receipt within one week.


For more information, please contact the NCE Program, CIRCE Competition at:

Telephone: 613-995-6010
Fax: 613-992-7356


Each LOI must include the following components in the following order.  The maximum number of pages permitted for each is indicated below. Any additional material will be removed.  Please note that for Sections 3, 4 and Budget justification (Section 5) there is no page limit.  Contact the NCE Secretariat if additional pages in Section 3 and Section 4 are needed.

  • LOI Application Form – Section 1 – Centre information (1 page)
  • LOI Application Form – Section 2 – Summary for public release  (300 words)
  • LOI Application Form – Section 3 – Table of Researchers (unlimited)
  • LOI Application Form – Section 4 – Table of Partners (unlimited)
  • LOI Application Form – Section 5 – Anticipated Expenditures  (1 page)
  • Host Institution Letter of Support (2 pages)
  • Free Form  (10 pages)
    • Networking and Partnerships
    • Knowledge Mobilization Exchange
    • Management of the Network
    • Excellence of the Research Program
  • Budget Justification (unlimited)