Strategy for Partnerships
And Innovation
Engage Grants
University of Alberta
Frank Nolan
February 7, 2012
My Goals Today
1. Interaction Grants
2. Engage Grants
3. Eligibility Criteria
4. Application requirements
5. Brief discussion of the new CU-I2I grants
6. Answer your questions
Interaction Grants
…give companies that operate from a Canadian base
and researchers from Canadian universities an
opportunity to meet and identify a company-specific
problem they could solve by collaborating in a
subsequent research partnership.
• Maximum of $5,000 for 3 months
Engage Grants
…foster the development of new research
partnerships between academic researchers and
companies that have never collaborated before. The
grants support short-term R&D projects that address
a company-specific problem.
• Six-month projects - max of $25,000 from NSERC
• The partner owns the IP
Eligibility – Principal Investigator
• P.I. must be eligible to receive NSERC funding – assistant,
associate or full professor at an eligible institution. Adjuncts are
eligible only if they work at the university
• Must have received a peer-reviewed grant in the last six years in
a natural sciences or engineering (NSE) field.
• Researchers working in a health-related field must have received
an NSERC Discovery Grant in the past six years.
• Candidates are limited to two Engage Grant awards per fiscal
Eligibility – Industry Partner
• The industry partner must be a for-profit company that operates
from a Canadian base
• Start-ups must have been incorporated for at least one year
• Producer associations funded through industrial subscriptions
(not gov’t sources) may also be eligible
• The partner must demonstrate the capacity and intention to
further develop and apply the results for the benefit of the
Canadian economy
• The company must be at “arm’s-length” from the applicant – no
past or present relationship
Eligibility – Research Project
• The proposed research must be in natural sciences or
engineering fields
• It must be aimed at solving the company-specific problem
through the generation of new knowledge, or the application
of existing knowledge in an innovative manner.
• For health-related projects, check the guidelines on the website, “Selecting the Appropriate Federal
Granting Agency”
Eligibility – Research Project
Engage Grant Application
Form 101
Personal Data Form 100
Letter of Support from the company
Completed Form 183A from the company
Engage Grant Application
• The best way to ensure that your Engage Grant
application is successful is to follow the instructions
The Proposal
• Part of Form 101
• Two single-sided pages to describe the project
• Headings correspond to the selection criteria
Proposal Headings (Selection Criteria)
Overview of the company-specific problem
Research project
Research competence
Contribution to the technology transfer
Benefit to Canada
Overview of the Company-specific
• Problem must be in an NSE field
• Describe the company-specific problem to be addressed
and the extent to which the company will benefit from
scientific or technical advances, or the innovative
techniques, processes or products that will be developed
in the proposed project
Research Project
• Outline the underlying challenges, the scientific issues,
research problems or technical complexities associated
with solving the company problem
• Outline the methodology proposed to resolve the
problem and demonstrate its innovative nature. Identify
the milestones and deliverables, and provide a work plan
• Describe how the company will be involved in the
project; an in-kind contribution from the company is
required to demonstrate its engagement
Research Competence
• Explain how the knowledge and experience of the
applicant relates to the expertise needed to accomplish
the project objectives
• Explain also how the contributions of the team members
(including, if applicable, company personnel) will be
integrated into the project objectives
Contribution to the Technology Transfer
• Describe how communication between the university
research group and the company staff will occur and be
managed, and how the results will be transferred to the
• Include how often the research group and the company
will meet to discuss the project – by phone, video
conference, or in-person
Benefit to Canada
• Outline any additional economic, social and
environmental benefits that could be realized in Canada
within a reasonable time
• Proposed project expenditures must conform to the Use
of Grant Funds guidelines (part of the Tri-Agency
Financial Administration Guide)
• It is not a requirement to have grad students work on the
• Engage Grant funds cannot be used for:
– Expenses related to publications and conferences
– Travel expenses for company personnel
Budget Justification
• All budget items must be detailed and justified
• Major pieces of equipment (significant portion of the
budget) are not eligible
• Computer equipment requires additional justification if
the price is greater than $2,000 and if laptops are
• Maximum of $250 allowed for office supplies/printing
Company Contributions
• A cash contribution is not required, but an in-kind
contribution reflecting the company’s involvement in the
project is required
• All contributions must be included in the “Contributions
From Supporting Organizations” table, and must be fully
• In-kind contributions must follow the Guidelines on
Eligibility and Value of In-Kind Contributions
Company Documents
• Letter of Support from Company
– Needs to reaffirm the company problem, how the project will
solve it, and how the company expects to benefit from the results
– Needs to describe the company’s involvement in the project,
including their cash and/or in-kind contributions
• Completed Form 183A
– Confirm cash and/or in-kind contributions
– Must be completed in full
Evaluation Process
• P.I. submits application online to RGO
• RGO approves application once all internal documentation is
• RGO submits application online to NSERC
• NSERC Ottawa distributes applications to the Engage Grants
Evaluation Committee
• First Reader is local RIDO; Second Reader is a Manager from
a different Regional Office
• A decision is made by the Engage Grants Evaluation
Committee (4-6 weeks turnaround)
After the Engage Project Ends
• Company problem solved – no further research required
• Further research needed; partners would like to continue the
collaboration. Options?
– Research contract between the company and university
– Other NSERC Partnerships grants (CRD, Strategic, etc.)
– NSERC Industrial Scholarships & Fellowships
– Other agencies
The NSERC Prairies Regional Office
How we can help:
• Provide advice on eligibility of P.I. or industry partner
• Review draft applications/proposals
• Meet with researchers individually or in groups, either inperson or over the phone
• Provide advice on options for continuing a collaboration
after an Engage project ends
The NSERC Prairies Regional Office
How we can help:
Connect researchers and companies
• Example 1: A company that processes used motor oil
would like to find a researcher who could help them
address any or all of the following challenges:
• Improving efficiency of clay filtration
• Non-catalytic alternatives to desulphurisation at the microrefinery scale
• Researching the impact of different regional/industry
waste oil feedstock on refining efficiency and fuel quality
• Improving efficiency of the thermal cracking and
quenching phase
The NSERC Prairies Regional Office
How we can help:
Connect researchers and companies
• Example 2: A small power systems company is interested
in collaborative research around improving portable fuel
cells, including:
Extended environmental operating conditions
Water/heat storage
Improved operating efficiencies
Extended stack life
College-University Idea to Innovation
…develop and strengthen research links between colleges,
universities and businesses to accelerate the development of
promising technologies and promote their commercialization
into the Canadian marketplace.
• Projects focus on improving or extending existing
company technology, commercial products, processes,
and/or services
• Must include College, University, and eligible company
• Open competition; apply anytime
College-University Idea to Innovation
• Awards of up to $250,000 per year for college and university
participants and can span up to three years
• Company partner must contribute to the direct project costs with
cash, in-kind contributions or a combination of both.
• Company contributions can be matched at a max. level of
1:1 for both college and university participants
(e.g. If partner contribution is $100,000, NSERC can award up to
$100,000 for college participants and $100,000 for university participants.)
The Prairies Regional Office Team
Irene Mikawoz
Frank Nolan
Research and Innovation Development Officer
Lisa Marquardson
Research Partnerships Promotion Officer
Roxanne Balcaen
Administrative Officer
[email protected]
435 Ellice Avenue, Suite 430
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1Y6

NSERC Engage Program (February 7, 2012)