NSERC Prizes – Synergy
Call for Nominations
Nomination deadline: April 18, 2017
The Synergy Awards for Innovation honour outstanding research and development (R&D) partnerships between a university or a college, and industry, in the natural sciences and engineering. Since 1995, the Awards have showcased the benefits of pooling university and industry resources to make the most of Canadian research excellence and Canadian industrial expertise.
In addition to the three categories for universities, the Awards include a category for colleges, to highlight the impact and lasting benefits of their applied R&D collaborations with industrial partners.
Winners of the Synergy Awards show effective use of human, technical and financial resources, leading to tangible commercial benefits with their industrial collaborators. Universities must demonstrate a sustained partnership while colleges may focus on the impact of near-term applied research.
The Synergy Awards are your opportunity to show the world what Canadian ingenuity and collaboration can accomplish.
The nominated partnership must be in the natural sciences and/or engineering and be between a Canadian university professor, or group of professors, or a Canadian college, and a Canadian-based company or companies with commercial activities in Canada, such as R&D and/or manufacturing. The Partner Eligibility Guidelines section of the Guidelines for Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships should be consulted to determine the eligibility of the industrial partner(s). In order to be eligible, the partnering organization(s) must be at arm’s length from the nominee and co-nominee(s). Refer to the Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Partner Organizations for more details.
An individual, team of individuals or a college may be nominated for the NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation and other major NSERC prizes in the same year, but can receive only one such prize in a given year. There is no limit to the number of nominations for the Synergy Awards for Innovation that a university or college can put forward in a given competition.
Nominations can be made in one of four categories:
- Small and Medium-Sized Companies—A partnership with a single company of up to 500 employees.
- Large Companies—A partnership with a single company of more than 500 employees.
- Two or More Companies—A partnership with two or more companies of any size or a consortium of companies.
For colleges (only nominations in the natural sciences and/or engineering will be considered)
- Colleges—An innovative applied R&D partnership with demonstrable impact between a college research team and one or more companies, of any size.
Up to four awards may be presented annually, one in each category.
Gender Equity and Diversity
Partnerships are expected to promote approaches that increase the inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering, as one means to foster excellence in research and training. NSERC strongly encourages nominators of Synergy Awards to consider gender equity in their nomination processes. NSERC requires the nominators to outline how they have considered gender equity in their nomination processes.
The nomination package must include:
- the Synergy Awards for Innovation Nomination Form completed and signed (electronic signature possible) by:
- the nominator, who must be a senior executive from one of the participating organizations, i.e., an executive head from the university or college (the President or Vice-President of Research, or equivalent), or a senior executive from one of the industrial partner organizations (President, Chief Executive Officer, Vice-President of Research, or equivalent); and
- an appropriate representative of all other industrial partner organizations listed on the nomination form.
- the Terms and Conditions Form for Nominees completed and signed.
- For universities, it must be signed by the nominee and each co-nominee, if applicable (academic researchers only, one form per person).
- For colleges, it must be signed by the leader of the innovation project (researcher, faculty member, administrator, as it applies).
- the Terms and Conditions Form for Nominators completed and signed.
- For industrial partner organizations, the nominator must be a senior executive of one of the industrial partner organizations (President, Chief Executive Officer, Vice-President of Research, or equivalent).
- For universities and colleges, the nominator must be an executive head of the university or college (President, Vice-President of Research, or equivalent). Note: For a college, the nominator cannot be the Grants Administrator.
- signed letters of support, on letterhead, from:
- the nominator (a senior executive of one of the industrial partner organizations or an executive head of the university or college); and
- the senior executive or executive head of all other partner organizations, including the university(ies) or colleges, listed on the Synergy Awards for Innovation Nomination Form.
- a concise company profile (no more than half a page) for each industrial partner.
- The nomination (free-form, maximum of six pages plus one page of references). See the General Presentation Guidelines and the Selection Criteria section for details.
The nominators are responsible for assembling the required documentation, which must adhere to the General Presentation Guidelines. Documents that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or at a disadvantage in comparison with those that meet the presentation standards. Only the documents requested by NSERC will be made available to the selection committee.
New for this nomination process: NSERC is striving for increased inclusion and advancement of women and other under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering. The nomination must outline how gender equity was considered in the nomination process.
Save your nomination package in a single PDF document on a USB key or a CD. Send one printed original copy and the USB key (or CD) to the address below. An acknowledgement of receipt will be sent for all nominations received.
Synergy Awards for Innovation
350 Albert Street
Quantified outcomes for each criterion will assist the committee in assessing the nominations. Use the following headings when preparing the nomination:
- Background: Describe the objective of the partnership and how the university or college and industrial partners worked together to achieve that objective.
- Partnership: Successful entries for universities will demonstrate an impactful, sustained partnership between the university and industrial collaborators rather than a one-time initiative aimed at addressing a single problem or challenge. College entries will demonstrate the benefits of the partnership with industry in terms of impact and productivity and may focus on near-term applied research. Entries should describe:
- the role of each of the partners;
- the objective of the partnership and how the partners worked together to achieve that objective, clearly illustrating superior partnership management practices that were used;
- innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship;
- knowledge and/or technology transfer between participants; and
- the contributions of both the university or college and the industrial partners (report cash and in-kind separately), as well as other sources of financial or non-financial support that contributed to the success of the partnership. (For greater clarity, these can be presented in a table format, if appropriate, and the concise company profile included in the nomination package can also help put the contributions into context).
- Effective use of resources: Successful entries will demonstrate effective and sustained use of both the university’s or college’s and industrial partners' human and technical capital, and provide evidence of:
- high-quality research in the natural sciences and engineering, which for colleges may be of a more applied nature;
- effective training of college students or university undergraduate and graduate students, as applicable, their engagement in the collaboration, and the impact the collaboration had on their training; and
- strategies that maximized the use of resources from the university or college and industry.
- Tangible benefits: Successful entries will provide evidence of tangible commercial and knowledge-based benefits to both the industrial and university or college partners, as well as additional economic, social, and/or environmental benefits to Canada. Entries must demonstrate results that include:
- rewards to the institutions, such as enhanced research, as well as teaching capabilities for universities or practical teaching capacity for colleges;
- rewards for the industry, such as new and improved processes, products, techniques, patents, or enhanced export potential;
- rewards to the industrial partner(s) such as revenues, return on investment or royalties;
- evidence, where applicable, of pre-commercial and/or commercial success, increased employment opportunities for students and graduates, and spin-off benefits to other sectors of the economy; and
- other socio-economic and/or environmental benefits to Canada.
Before you, as a nominee, can submit your documents to the nominator, you must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions Form for Nominees. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.
Before you, as a nominator, can submit your documents to NSERC, you must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions Form for Nominators. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.
By signing and submitting a support letter, the authorized officers of the industrial partner organizations certify that the organization:
The winners will be selected by a peer review selection committee on the basis of the outstanding excellence of the partnership and its suitability for each category. All decisions are final. Entry material will not be returned to the nominators. Winners will be notified by letter following the selection committee meeting and will be recognized at an event hosted or co-hosted by NSERC.