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Note: NSERC will not be accepting new applications at this time, as there will be no competition for this grant in 2016.
|Duration||Five years, renewable|
|Letter of Intent Deadline||There will be no competition for this grant in 2016.|
|Application Deadline||There will be no competition for this grant in 2016.|
|How to Apply||See below|
Letter of Intent
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|Contact||View the Contact Directory|
The College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Technology Access Centres (TAC) Grants can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and/or health. All applications must be submitted to NSERC. Grants are given by NSERC, with the exception of grants exclusively in the social sciences, humanities and/or health sciences, which will be given by SSHRC or CIHR, as appropriate.
TAC Grants are intended to enhance the ability of companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to become more productive and innovative by enabling them to readily access college expertise, technology and equipment. This access to college capabilities is intended to enhance the productivity, competitiveness and innovation of the participating SMEs.
TACs provide funding for core operations of centres established by colleges to address the applied research and innovation needs of local companies. TAC Grants are awarded for five years and are renewable.
TACs provide capabilities that serve their local companies’ applied research and innovation needs. TAC capabilities may include advice on specific company challenges, specialized technical assistance, applied research and/or development projects for companies, and/or specialized training.
TAC Grant proposals are expected to focus on regional needs. For example, centres might focus on developing a strategic technology for key business sectors in the region* addressing the applied research and innovation needs of key companies; or providing basic capabilities to strengthen a region’s innovation infrastructure. In addressing the innovation capability of SMEs, TACs are anticipated to help their clients be more innovative, productive and competitive.
TAC Grants provide up to $350,000 per year in support of the core operations of the proposed TAC. Eligible expenses include hiring the centre’s manager and administrator, as well as basic operating expenses.
For colleges and cégeps in Quebec, given the substantial network of centres that support SME innovation, proposals will be limited to a maximum of $100,000 per year and must be in support of an incremental administrative, research management or business development position (and associated expenses) for an established centre of the college.
While TAC proposals are not required to contain specified levels of private-sector contributions, the performance of the TACs will be evaluated based on their impact on company innovation. Important indicators of a TAC’s impact and success would include the number of clients served and the level of private sector client-derived revenue. Those invited to submit an application will be required to specify performance metrics and target levels for these metrics indicating the anticipated impact of the proposed centre.
Note: Colleges are limited to one TAC Grant per broad applied research area. Colleges can apply for more than one TAC Grant; however, it must be clearly demonstrated that the application falls within a new applied research area. Applications that have overlaps with previous TAC Grants will be rejected. NSERC considers the applied research disciplines, as well as the targeted industry sectors, when assessing potential overlap. Overlap within an applied research discipline or within a targeted industry sector would result in the TAC application being rejected.
Example 1: the applied research areas of oil refinery, environmental land remediation of former oil sites, and oil site worker safety, would all be considered overlapping (although in distinct applied research disciplines), since they are targeted towards a common industry sector.
Example 2: the applied research areas of polymers and coatings, biomaterials, and concrete, would all be considered overlapping (although targeting distinct industry sectors), since they fall under the Materials Science applied research discipline.
NSERC will make the final decision on the eligibility of TAC applications, taking into consideration the CCI Review Committee recommendations, when there is potential applied research overlap with previous TAC Grants.
*Region: For the purposes of this initiative, a business region is defined as a contiguous geographic area where company and centre personnel can comfortably make day trips to collaborate on innovation projects. However, TAC proposals can address an innovation support opportunity where the high value of the services to be offered provides a compelling case for serving a much broader area.
TACs are expected to work within the local/regional innovation system. As such, it is vital that TAC proposals demonstrate support from key regional organizations. This may include regional economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, business groups and key companies. Local and provincial governments may also be involved. Contributions in cash and/or in-kind towards the establishment and operation of a proposed centre signals the support and involvement of these organizations. Letters of support from such organizations demonstrate their support for, and alignment with, the proposed TAC.
As part of their business plan, the TAC proposals must include a plan for working with companies, including the anticipated approach to business development, and projections for the number of clients and annual revenues from those interactions.
Canadian colleges that have been declared eligible to administer grants according to the eligibility requirements for colleges of at least one of the three federal granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR and/or SSHRC) may submit a TAC application.
Colleges must offer programs in line with the research area proposed in the TAC application. If the proposed research and knowledge/technology transfer activities lie entirely within the mandate of a single agency (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC) the college must be declared eligible to receive funding from that granting agency. The agency may require additional information before funds can be released.
The table below describes the eligible expenses for TACs. The expenses must be related to the TAC's activities, as proposed to NSERC.
|Type of Expenditure||Eligibility of Costs|
|Administrative personnel of the centre||Eligible|
|Equipment or facility||Purchase or rental, up to 20% of the grant|
Travel required by centre and college personnel to develop business and deliver services is supported. This does not include international conferences to present research results.
|Faculty release costs||Eligible|
|Operating costs and supplies||Eligible|
Incremental costs of basic services, such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility
|Advertising, project management||Eligible|
|Insurance costs for buildings or equipment||Not Eligible|
|Costs of alcohol||Not Eligible|
Costs of hospitality and promotional material for networking and business development purposes
|Cellular phone or personal digital assistants (PDA), e.g. BlackBerry rental or purchase, including service plans, long distance or local charges||Costs for up to two devices are eligible|
For further information on use of grant funds, consult the College and Community Innovation Program Financial Administration Guide.
There is a two-stage application process (Letters of Intent followed by applications from invited applicants). Both stages are peer-reviewed against the TACs selection criteria (see below).
Applications for TACs include many aspects of a business plan for the proposed centre. Proposals for a TAC must include an environmental scan of both the regional needs and available resources. The proposed centre’s expertise should be complementary to other resources serving the specific sector targeted or region. The proposal must demonstrate the expected added value of such a centre and provide a plan for realizing this value, measureable objectives for the centre, and performance targets for those objectives.
Colleges must submit Letters of Intent (LOIs) that describe:
One printed copy of the signed application must be provided to NSERC by the application deadline.
Letters of Intent will be reviewed by the College and Community Innovation Review Committee based on the selection criteria listed below. This committee will provide advice and comments on each LOI and will then recommend to NSERC the colleges to be invited to submit an application.
Colleges invited to proceed to stage II may submit applications. Applications for Technology Access Centres consist of a completed application form (F104), letters of support from the college and supporting groups, and College Personal Data Forms (F103CV) for key personnel. In these elements the applicant should:
Colleges invited to submit applications will be able to participate in an NSERC workshop to assist them in preparing the application. If requested, NSERC will allow participation of up to two additional college representatives at the workshop at their own expense.
Applications will be reviewed by a site visit review committee. At these site visits, reviewers selected by NSERC will discuss the proposal with the application’s proponents. The recommendation of the site visit committees will be considered by the College and Community Innovation Review Committee. The Committee will provide advice and comments on each application and will recommend to NSERC the applications to receive TAC Grants.
Applications are evaluated on the following criteria:
This section applies only to existing TACs applying to renew their funding for an additional five years.
Renewal of a TAC Grant provides continued support for the activities of an established TAC in good standing. The application review will be based on an up-to-date progress report, a new detailed application for the subsequent five-year term, and demonstration that the TAC Grant objectives in the current five-year term have been met. Applications are assessed by the CCI Review Committee in the last year of each five-year term and involve a competitive process that takes into consideration the available funding (budget) for TAC Grants. Applications for renewal will be evaluated against the same selection criteria as new proposals. The CCI Review Committee will make the final funding recommendation for all renewals. Annual funding for renewed TAC Grants will be contingent on their performance. TACs that are not meeting their objectives may may have their grant terminated before the end of their five-year term.
Annual financial and progress reports will be required. Grantees will be required to report progress against the objectives and performance metrics proposed, and discuss issues, best practices and opportunities. The annual reports must be endorsed by the oversight body (i.e., Advisory Board). There will also be a mid-term evaluation to assess the progress of the TACs in meeting their objectives.