|Duration||Up to 24 months|
|Application deadline||Until available funding is awarded; Alberta Innovates will close this program once application capacity has been met.|
|For more information||Contact the Prairies Regional Office or the Alberta Innovates Advance program manager.|
NSERC Alliance – Alberta Innovates (AI) Advance grants invest in projects that, in alignment with Alberta’s innovation and technology strategies, advance discoveries to develop emerging technologies that can generate economic, environmental, health and social benefits for Albertans and Canadians.
The priority emerging technology target areas of this program are information and communications technologies (ICT) and advanced materials and manufacturing technologies (AMM). These areas offer transformational promise for challenges across Alberta’s existing sectors and entry into wider global markets. Their development provides the foundation for job creation and economic diversification in Alberta.
Funding is available to NSERC eligible researchers at NSERC eligible Alberta-based universities to help those who have made promising discoveries conduct the research needed to advance to the development stage, which could eventually lead to commercialization. Projects must advance the readiness of technologies for future market opportunities in the priority emerging technology target areas of this program. The principal investigator must hold an active peer-reviewed grant from NSERC as primary applicant at the time of application. See the detailed description of the priority emerging technology target areas.
Individual proposals can request up to $150,000 per year and can be for up to two years in duration. A maximum of $100,000 per year will be provided by Alberta Innovates, and NSERC will match the Alberta Innovates contribution at a ratio of 50%, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year.
Project funding is intended to help bridge the gap between academic research and technology validation in technology readiness levels (TRL) 2 to 4. Projects will advance an idea by developing a technological solution for a future market opportunity. Projects could lead to technology transfer activities and commercialization following the grant period. Eligible technology development within this program can begin as early as the conceptual research stage (beginning from TRL 2), up to testing/validation of ad hoc component integration in a laboratory setting (TRL 4). Projects developing technologies at later TRL stages are not eligible for this program. Partners are not permitted in this program; projects with partners should apply to the main NSERC Alliance program or other AI/NSERC support programs.
Funding can be used to engage and train undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and technicians on projects, as well as for operational and equipment costs. Intellectual property (IP) protection, market assessment and technology transfer activities costs are not eligible expenses in this program. Project funding will support activities such as
Key goals of the NSERC Alliance – Alberta Innovates (AI) Advance grants are to improve the direction of research efforts that could lead to technology transfer and commercialization in Alberta, to develop emerging technologies with market potential and/or solutions to end-user challenges, and to develop an enhanced skill and knowledge base (highly qualified personnel [HQP]) for Alberta companies.
Technologies that successfully demonstrate a proof of concept and the potential to work in a laboratory environment in this program may be further advanced to market through other support programs, including Alberta Innovates Health and Clean Resources Sector or Entrepreneurial Investments programs or federal programs such as NSERC I2I grants. Researchers are encouraged to discuss their project with the industry liaison office (ILO) at their institution early in the project to begin interactions with industry and identify potential partners and business advisors.
NSERC Alliance – Alberta Innovates (AI) Advance grants project objectives:
Alberta Innovates will support projects aligned with the priority emerging technology target areas of this program and representing a credible Alberta-developed solution to a future market opportunity, as assessed by Alberta Innovates.
NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
For more information, see the Guide for applicants: Considering equity, diversity, and inclusion in your application.
Explaining how you have considered equity, diversity and inclusion in your training plan is mandatory. Please consult the Equity, diversity and inclusion in your training plan web page for guidance.
Partner organizations that are recognized for cost-sharing with NSERC are not permitted for proposals under this program. However, potential end-users for the technology being proposed should be identified in the proposal. Please ensure that you add Alberta Innovates as a joint funding partner to this application and provide the name and email of the Alberta Innovates Advance program manager as the contact for Alberta Innovates.
To start the application process for an NSERC Alliance – Alberta Innovates (AI) Advance grant, applicants must contact the Alberta Innovates Advance program manager to ensure that the proposed project meets the minimum requirements of alignment to Government of Alberta and Alberta Innovates priorities and the priority emerging technology target areas of this program. After receiving confirmation from Alberta Innovates that the proposed research is aligned with program requirements, the applicant must complete and submit the Post Secondary Investments & Emerging Technologies (PSIET) Intake Form on the Alberta Innovates SmartSimple Application Portal.
Intake forms are reviewed by Alberta Innovates in the order received (first-come, first-serve) to determine whether the applicant will be invited to submit a full application. If invited to apply, the applicant must complete the NSERC application (without submitting it) and generate a PDF version of it with the preview function in NSERC’s online system. The applicant must then complete the Alberta Innovates application form in the Alberta Innovates SmartSimple portal. The applicant must attach the PDF of the NSERC application as part of the Alberta Innovates application.
Alberta Innovates will complete the partner organization form once it has reviewed and assessed the details submitted through the Alberta Innovates SmartSimple portal. Once Alberta Innovates has completed the partner form, the applicant may submit the application to NSERC through NSERC’s online system.
To start the NSERC application:
The proposed cost-sharing ratio for this application is 100%.
There are four components to this NSERC Alliance – Alberta Innovates (AI) Advance grants application: proposal, applicant information, partner organization information (Alberta Innovates, in this case), and a Technology Transfer Office Review Form, completed by the technology transfer office of the applicant’s university. All four components need to be completed and submitted. Guidance on this page takes precedence over other NSERC Alliance descriptions and instructions.
Applications are evaluated using the following four equally weighted criteria. The proposal must address all of the criteria and sub-criteria to be considered for funding. Applications will continue to be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis until the annual budget is fully allocated.
Relevance and outcomes
Quality of the proposal
Project team and training opportunities
Future market opportunity
Please consult the merit indicators for further details.
All project expenditures are subject to the principles and directives governing the appropriate use of grant funds as outlined in the Tri-agency guide on financial administration. The agreement must be aligned with NSERCs Policy on intellectual property, which promotes the use and/or exploitation of knowledge and open access to results of research funded by NSERC.
You will be informed of reporting requirements and the corresponding schedule when you are notified of your award. NSERC and Alberta Innovates will strive to streamline their reporting requirements to lessen the burden on participants. Alberta Innovates requires an annual presentation to demonstrate progress.