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Full Application Instructions

Industrial R&D Internship Program (IRDI) - 2008

 Full Application Instructions

The IRDI Program


The goal of the IRDI Program is to introduce graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to practical business problems and provide them with the opportunity to apply their scientific and technical expertise to address the needs of participating businesses, as well as to create a vehicle that will facilitate increased private investment in R&D.

Expected Results and Outcomes

To compete and win through the application of new technologies and innovative solutions, Canadian businesses need to increase S&T investments and hire more talented science and technology graduates. The IRDI Program aims at creating additional opportunities for skilled graduates by linking them with businesses that can make use of their talents. The overall result of this program will be an increase in S&T activities of businesses with a corresponding increase in S&T jobs for trained graduates. Specific outcomes of this program include:

Immediate Outcomes (during award period)

  • New S&T solutions developed for business needs.
  • Private sector exposure to S&T benefits.
  • Strengthened linkages between business and universities.
  • Increased private sector investment in S&T.
  • New positions for S&T graduates.
  • S&T graduates exposed to real world business problems.

Intermediate/Long Term Outcomes

  • Increased number of graduates with research, user-sector skills and know-how.
  • Enhanced use of S&T graduates by the private sector.
  • Longer term S&T position created by business, i. e. more job opportunities in Canada for S&T graduates.
  • Change in business culture that will lead to increased and sustainable business S&T activities and long term university-private sector collaborations.

Eligible Recipients


Eligible Recipient Organizations

Organizations eligible to receive funds to administer an IRDI Initiative are not-for-profit organizations, including:

  • Existing Networks of Centres of Excellence.
  • Fourth-pillar organizations (that provide a facilitating and catalytic role among the three traditional pillars in our economy: industry and business, universities and colleges, and government).
  • Consortia of firms, universities and/or colleges.

As a condition of eligibility, organizations applying for IRDI funds shall have an established Board of Directors responsible for the approval of its annual financial reports and audits. Recipient organizations will also be required to sign an agreement that will outline a set of financial controls that they agree to adhere to.

Federal government departments or agencies are not eligible to apply.

An application for an IRDI award may be submitted by a group of more than one organization. Such organizational collaboration is encouraged. In such cases, a lead organization will have to be appointed to be the key contact to deliver the program and for NCE reporting purposes.

Eligible Internship Recipients

Eligible interns will be graduate students and post-doctoral fellows enrolled in a Canadian institution which is eligible to receive and manage funds under the guidelines of the granting agencies (including the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Roles and Responsibilities in the Management of Federal Grants and Awards), in any area of research provided that their skills are sought by the participating firm to support innovation by the firm.


The successful recipient organization will be provided with a grant to implement their IRDI Initiative.

The eligible expenses are as follows.

Stipends to Interns

The total value of the internship stipend must be a minimum of $10K for a period of 4 to 6 months (no less than four months). The federal contribution can not exceed 50 per cent of the total eligible cost of these activities.

Administration Costs

Eligible expenses include the following operating costs, where these are attributable to the specific initiatives undertaken under the IRDI grant:

  • General administration and project management costs incurred by the recipient organization, including costs associated with student selection committees.
  • Salary of business development officers to promote internship opportunities to potential students, partner organizations and academic supervisors.
  • Travel and accommodation costs for interns.

Eligible administrative costs may not exceed 25 per cent of the total amount of the IRDI grant held by the recipient organization. This percentage reflects the fact that recipient organizations will be managing many small awards, each one requiring significant field work by business development officers to attract industry and develop internship opportunities. The federal contribution may be up to 100 per cent of the total eligible administrative costs.

Competition Process


Competition Budget and Size of Grants

A total of $8,640,000 over two years is available for this competition ($4.26M for 2008-2009 & $4.38M for 2009-2010). The value of funds provided to each recipient organization will depend on the nature of the proposed initiative.

It is expected that a total of about 1,200 internships will be able to be supported from this two year budget.

Dates Milestone
December 7, 2007 Competition Announced
January 14, 2008 Intent to Apply Deadline
February 15, 2008 Application Deadline
March 2008 Interdisciplinary Panel Review
March 2008 Decision by the NCE Steering Committee
April-May 2008 Funding Announcement and release of funds

N.B. Availability of funds is subject to annual parliamentary appropriations.

Program Criteria

To ensure that the program objectives are met, proposals will be assessed against the two overarching selection criteria outlined below.

1. Benefits to Canada

  • Likelihood for greater and more productive involvement of graduates in research and innovation conducted by the private sector.
  • The extent to which there will be increased number of graduates with both research and business skills and know how.
  • The potential for strengthened collaboration between university and industry, beyond the term of the internship.

2. Strength of the Business Plan

  • Track record of the recipient organization in delivering similar program(s).
  • Strong, existing university-industry collaborative research programs and broad, established partnerships (between the organization managing the internships and the industry/business partner).
  • Strong delivery model (good process for the management of the program, and skilled business development officers identified).
  • Ability to attract funding partners.
  • A process to ensure that industry receptors are engaged.
  • A well articulated selection process of individual internships.
  • Description of a good match-making process to catalyze the relationship between the industry and students, including a recruitment strategy, both for industrial receptors and interns.
  • A governance structure that is accountable for the progress and monitoring of the program.
  • Clear and attainable objectives and milestones.
  • Cost effective management of the internship initiative.
  • Capacity to deliver a minimum 100 internships per year.
  • A mechanism to ensure that students will be able complete their degree requirements.

Review and Decision Process

Proposals will undergo a review by an Interdisciplinary Expert Panel established by the Secretariat, comprised of Canadian and international experts. They will evaluate the project proposals against the program selection criteria, recommend to the Steering Committee priority proposals for approval and produce in-depth written assessments of the evaluated proposals.

Intent to Apply

An indication of an Intent to Apply will need to be submitted electronically to the NCE Secretariat. This Intent to Apply should be no longer than 1 page and should include the following:

  • Title of the IRDI Initiative
  • Name of the applicant organization
  • Total amount requested
  • Contact information
  • Number of internships considered
  • Provinces and Territories, as well as sectors, where internships are proposed
  • If a group, who are the members
  • Initial list of members

This Intent to Apply will not be used for peer review purposes. It will be used to aid with recruitment of review committee members and administrative purposes.


Recipient organizations will receive IRDI program funding to manage an internship initiative through which they will facilitate the co-funding of interns to undertake research on site with a private sector partner.

A full application must consist of:

  • Description of the IRDI Initiative proposed.
  • A business plan addressing the IRDI Program selection criteria (includes a proposed budget).
  • Letters of support and summary of contributions the applicant organizations have secured from supporting partners (20 maximum).

Guidelines for Completing an Application


General Presentation

An original unbound copy plus twenty double-sidedcopies of the complete package must be submitted. An electronic copy, on a CD, should also be sent to the NCE. Each package must be arranged in the order outlined above, with tab separators between each section. Details on these sections follow below. Any extra material will be removed.

Print must be in black ink, of letter quality (minimum standard), with no more than six lines per inch. The type size for fonts measured in points (pts). If measured in characters per inch (cpi), it must be no more than 10cpi. Condensed type is unacceptable.

Use white paper, 8 ½ x 11 inches (21.5 cm x 28 cm), with margins of ¾ of an inch (1.7 cm) (minimum) all around. Enter the name of the applicant organization, and the title of the IRDI Initiative at the top of every page, and number the pages consecutively.

Application Package


Section A: General information and Covering Letter (2 pages max.)

The full application package must include:

  • A covering letter signed by the Designated Signatory, and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the applicant organization.
  • The name of the applicant organization, along with the title of the proposed IRDI Initiative and indicate in dollars the total amount requested from the NCE program. This letter must confirm that:
    • The application to the Program to manage an IRDI Initiative is approved by the BOD and is in accordance with the applicant's goals.
    • The Board of Directors is committed to managing and monitoring all activities under this initiative.

Section B: Executive Summary (one page max.)

In this section, please give a clear overview summary of the vision of the proposed IRDI Initiative. Please include a table that clearly indicates the proposed number of interns by geographical regions and by research/industrial sector for the two fiscal years (2008-09 and 2009-10) separately.

Section C: IRDI Detailed Plan (10 pages max.)

In this section, please describe the plan of the proposed IRDI Initiative and its expected activities.

More specifically the plan should contain the following sections:

  • Track Record of the applicant organization in delivering similar program(s).
  • Description of a strong university-industry collaborative research program and broad, established partnerships between the applicant organization and the industry/business partner.
  • Description of a strong delivery model (good process for the management of the program, and skilled business development officers identified).
  • A list of clear and attainable objectives and milestones.
  • Cost effective management structure proposed for the internship program.
  • A targeted minimum number of internships to be delivered per year.
  • A plan for attracting funding partners.

Section D: Letters of Support for the Application

Provide a maximum of 20 letters of support, indicating expectations of collaboration and support from key partners and stakeholders.

Letters of support will normally:

  • Come from a senior executive
  • Indicate past associations with the proponents and key partners
  • Indicate how the IRDI Initiative will help their organization
  • how they will contribute to the proposed IRDI Initiative

Section E: Budget Justification

Provide projected budget tables and justification for the IRDI Initiative including the contributions and/or support that the partner(s) will or may commit towards the initiative.

Reporting and Evaluation

Recipients will be asked to provide annual progress reports to the NCE Steering Committee. We are committed to informing Canadians about the performance of the initiative and the results that they deliver. As such, recipients who manage an IRDI Initiative will be required to:

  • Submit a progress/statistical reporting to the NCE Secretariat with information on number of interns placed and results of satisfaction surveys of all parties involved (i.e. interns, academic supervisor, industrial supervisor).
  • Submit a final performance report, summarizing the results and value-added of the IRDI to the organization and Canada within six months after the end of the initiative's term.
  • Participate in a follow-up survey conducted to assess the longer term benefits and impact of the IRDI initiative.

Privacy Act Statement

The information you provide is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act.

The information is stored in a series of data banks described in Info Source. Details on the use of this information are provided in Appendix C of the NCE Program Guide.

Submission Procedures



The Intent to Apply must be received at the NCE Secretariat by midnight EDT on January 14, 2008. Send by email to .

Full application must be received at the NCE Secretariat by 4:30 p.m. EDT on February 15, 2008. Send 1 original unbound copy and 20 copies of the Full Application, as well as an electronic copy on a CD, by mail to the NCE Secretariat:

NCE Secretariat
16th Floor Mailroom
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 1H5

Tables, graphs and figures may be included within the page limits noted above. Any extra material will be removed.

The IRDI 2008 Competition Instructions as well as details about the IRDI Program can be obtained at

For more information, please contact the NCE Secretariat at:

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


A complete application package consists of:

  1 2 pages Covering Letter signed by the applicant organization and the Chair of Board of Directors (Section A)
  2 1 page
(+ table)
Executive Summary (Section B)
  3 10 pages IRDI Detailed Plan (Section C)
  4 2 pages per letter Letters of Support (Section D)
(maximum 20)
  5 No limit Budget Justification (Section E)