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Frequently Asked Questions including basic principles for I2I Grants and eligibility for college-based researchers.
The I2I Grants provide funding to college and university faculty members to support research and development projects with recognized technology transfer potential.
This is achieved through defined phases by providing crucial assistance in the early stages of technology validation and market connection. Four distinct funding options are proposed, which are characterized by the maturity of the technology or the involvement of an early-stage investment entity or an industrial partner see Partner Eligibility for definitions.
In any case, the combination of Phase I and Phase II will be limited to a maximum of three years' funding for any given project. Certain expenditures related to project management are now eligible as a direct cost of research in Phase IIb projects, up to a maximum of 10 percent of the total direct costs see the Guidelines for Research Partnerships Programs Project Management Expenses.
The discoveries must be disclosed by the investigators according to institution policy and the ILO or its equivalent must endorse and work on each new proposal. For all phases except the Market Assessment, the projects must describe the strategy to protect the commercial value of the technology and relate it to the commercialization strategy. Filing of patents, trademark, trade secrets and copyrights are tools that can be used to protect the commercial value of the technology; if you are using them, you need to explain how they will help you bring the technology to market.
There are many situations in which patent protection is not the ideal course of action; in those cases, a greater focus should be placed on the go-to-market strategy. All proposals must include a technology transfer plan, appropriate to the maturity of the technology, that describes how the work will proceed through the next stages in the validation process up to eventual market entry. The ILO or its equivalent assists the applicant s in evaluating and protecting the new technology, service or process; developing proposals; preparing a technology transfer approach; making business contacts; and negotiating licensing or other such arrangements with potential partners.
A portion of the award may be used to co-support some of the activities undertaken by the ILO or its equivalent. The institution must justify these technology transfer activities expenses and commit itself to bear at least half of their cost. Technology transfer expenses related to the proposed technology and incurred previously will not be considered in the cost-sharing of proposed activities. Market Assessment projects are designed to enable institutions to do a market study for a product, process or technology they plan to develop.
Understanding market potential is crucial when developing a new technology. The Market Assessment funding option is a tool to help identify industry and market issues. It can be used to better position a proposed technology in an I2I application to provide the reviewers with a better understanding of the market for a given technology or identify the appropriate NSERC program.
The market assessment should precede a Phase I proposal, if the applicant and ILO or its equivalent have not yet developed an understanding of the potential market.
In certain instances, like development of a platform technology, requests for a market assessment can be submitted as a standalone proposal at the same time as a Phase I application. The aim of the market assessment should be to address essential questions such as: What is the problem or opportunity? What is the frequency or extent of the problem or opportunity? Who is looking to solve the particular problem or take advantage of the opportunity, and are they willing to pay to solve it?
What is the proposed solution to address this identified problem or opportunity, and who will pay for the solution? Why has this problem not been solved already? What is being proposed to overcome the barriers? How is it different than existing solutions, and why will someone choose the proposed solution instead?
Applicants may wish to consider other relevant questions and can outline these in the proposal. Furthermore, it is important that the market assessment objectively establishes market size, demonstrating real market opportunity. The application should demonstrate what approach, activities and tools i. These studies should be conducted by an experienced professional such as an outside consulting firm. A tender of service from the consultant listing the scope, deliverables and other relevant elements is required.
One of the main reasons why Phase I proposals are rejected is that the technology is at too early a stage to be eligible for the I2I Grants. Phase I proposals must be based on strong scientific evidence and present the following elements:. A company may be involved as a testing bed for the technology i.
However, when a collaborating company is the intended receptor for the technology i. All Phase I proposals require a plan describing how a partnership will be established with a Canadian company that has the capacity to commercialize the research results. Although a business partner is not a prerequisite for Phase I applications, a demonstration of interest may strengthen the proposal.
It is expected that technologies implicitly or explicitly committed to a specific receptor organization or industrial partner will be submitted as Phase II applications. This may not apply if the intention is to create a spin-off company.
Phase II projects are designed to provide scientific or engineering evidence establishing the technical feasibility and market definition of the technology, process or product. The supporting organization is expected to participate actively in the planning of the project.
The proposals fall into two categories according to the partner involved as described below. NSERC can support up to two-thirds of the costs of the project with the early-stage investment entity providing the balance in cash.
Projects that achieve critical milestones may be pursued during another six- to month period with either the newly created company or an established Canadian company providing the cost-sharing arrangement for Phase IIb projects are met. As well, if the development of the technology was supported by a previous I2I phase, proof that the objectives of the earlier project were achieved must be provided, specifically:.
NSERC may fund up to half the cost of the project, with the company providing the other half through a combination of cash and in-kind contributions. The industrial partner must have, or be able to acquire by the end of the project, the technical capability to undertake any further development necessary to take the product or process to market.
The ILO or its equivalent is expected to assist the applicant s and the partner in developing proposals, identifying markets and negotiating licensing or other such arrangements. Applications are submitted by a college or university researcher or research group and, for Phase II projects, in association with an eligible partner.
In the latter case, the institution and early-stage investment partner or company should have in place, prior to application, a licensing or similar agreement relating to the right to exploit the invention or discovery. All new proposals are expected to be developed in close collaboration with the institution's ILO or its equivalent.
The ILO or its equivalent involved in the application must be identified at the beginning of the technology transfer section of the proposal.
NSERC staff is willing to review draft proposals submitted sufficiently in advance of the application deadline.
Since I2I projects are focused on the rapid realization of well-defined objectives, it is expected that all budget items are for costs directly related to achieving these objectives.
If some activities are deemed necessary, they must be justified according to the objectives. Personnel should be chosen in view of their ability to deliver on the objectives. All proposals are reviewed by a selection committee with input from external reviewers, as required.
The selection committee is composed of individuals with expertise in business areas such as academic and industrial project management, early-stage investing, marketing, and technology transfer.
Phase I and Phase II applications will be evaluated against the following criteria. Note that the selection committee will use a subset of the selection criteria, plus additional ones specifically related to market assessment, to review the Market Assessment applications.
NSERC will evaluate the eligibility of sponsors before accepting proposals for review. The following organizations may be considered as eligible partners:. This term refers to either venture capital, a seed capital funding entity, angel investors, university technology transfer corporations, incubators or other similar funding or technology transfer organizations. Organizations that have received public funds as seed funding, but are functioning in a competitive environment and are required to achieve self-sufficiency within a pre-determined time period, may be considered as equivalent to industry.
Normally, participating companies must be Canadian. Companies outside Canada may also be considered as partners provided they can demonstrate that there will be clear and direct benefits to the Canadian economy as a result of their participation.
As partners, companies must demonstrate that they have, or have the potential to acquire, the capability to commercialize the technology under development. A researcher's own consulting company or sole proprietorship is not eligible to collaborate on a project in which the researcher is the applicant or co-investigator.
Situations where the researcher is a part owner are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the company's stage of development will be taken into consideration in determining the eligibility. The commercial activity must conform to the institution's established policies relating to the disclosure of commercial interest and conflict of interest.
A report to assess the practical and financial outcomes of funded projects will be required at the end of all projects.
The report requires the input of the technology transfer office. NSERC is aware that market studies may contain proprietary and confidential information. Financial, commercial, scientific and technical information that is confidential information supplied to NSERC by a third party consultant and is treated consistently in a confidential manner by the third party can be protected.
For Phase II projects, the amount of the second installment is negotiable; consequently, the applicant s must provide an interim report as well as statements of actual expenditures and of anticipated future costs. Based on the results obtained or problems encountered, grantees may propose amendments to the project objectives, milestones or budget.
The main reasons for a rejected project are provided in the decision letter and must be adequately addressed before a project is sent again to the selection committee for evaluation. If a project is considered to be at a stage that is too early, a resubmission would not be possible unless significant technical progress has been achieved. A cover letter documenting improvements to the application will be required.
Skip to content Skip to institutional links. Institution or partner must cover the other half. Consult the Contact List.