NSERC Partnership Programs
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NSERC Partnership Programs






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NSERC Partnership Programs NSERC Partnership Programs Presentation Transcript

    • NSERC’s
    • Partnerships Programs
    • Improving Your Chances for Success
    • Barbara Muir
    • Director, Regional Development
    • Overview
    • Strategic Project Grants
    • Strategic Network Grants
    • Collaborative R&D Grants
    • What peer review is looking for
    • Showstoppers
    • Strategic Project Grants ($60.5M)
    • Aimed at targeted research that could influence Canada’s economy/society/environ within next 10 years
    • Must fall within specified target areas and topics
    • Must have involvement from an appropriate partner that can exploit the results – significant in-kind but no cash required
    • Annual competition – low success rate (20-25%)
    • 3 year projects, $150K/yr on average
    • Purchase of major equipment limited to $150K
    • Can now include project management costs up to 10%
    • Up to 30% of funds for research outside NSE
    • Check for international collaboration
    • To Increase Your Chances for Success
    • Showstoppers
    • 1. Fit to target area and topics:
    • Must be strong fit to topics/ watch out for weak fit across multiple target areas
    • 2. Partnering organization/company
    • Company is not Canadian based
    • Company has very limited internal technical capacity
    • Company cannot exploit the results – not just a user (although their presence can strengthen your application); no holding companies
    • Researcher has decision making authority within the company
    • Funds going to partner
    • To Increase Your Chances for Success
    • Best Advice: Read Program Description and Instructions carefully and follow them
    • Program is very competitive: Not good enough to be very strong in some categories and weak in others – to be successful must be very strong everywhere – criteria weighted equally; do not put anything in that would lower your chances
    • Spend time developing and detailing the engagement of an appropriate partner
    • Weaknesses often cited
    • Incremental vs novel: poorly situated in the state of the art (Task 1 cannot be literature survey); significance of research/impact not clear or exaggerated
    • Technical issues; methodology not clear
    • Work plan often weak area: not clear who does what when and how; milestones vague; poor budget justification for project and in-kind contribution; equipment requested that can be accessed by cheaper means – when done well can have an impact on other criteria
    • Team does not have necessary expertise (always include what company personnel bring to project); teams containing top experienced researcher(s) with young up and coming ones often successful mix; Form 100 not up to date; watch out for over commitment of researcher
    • Weaknesses often cited - cont’d
    • Does not include significant number of grad students; not clear why PDF/RA/technician required – who will do what; strengthened by having students spend time at company; poor training track record of applicants
    • Company is not positioned to exploit results effectively in Canada; letter of support very vague – does not validate what is in the proposal; letters of support are identical; funds going to partner
    • Benefit is not particularly significant; will have little impact if successful; benefit likely to occur outside Canada; benefit is immediate for the company – if research is felt to be incremental may indicate that CRD is a better fit
    • Strategic Network Grants ($33.7M)
    • Multi-university, multi-partner pan-national Networks (typically more than ten universities and ten partner organizations)
    • Address large-scale complex research problems
    • Must fall within Strategic target areas and their priority topics
    • Up to $1M/year for five years
    • Require a governance structure, with Board of Directors and Scientific Committee
    • Success rate is typically about 25 – 30%
    • Strategic Network Grants – Evaluation Process
    Prelim Proposals: Reviewed by Strategic Projects Selection Panel; Successful proposals limited by funding available for subsequent Networks – usually want 50% success rate in subsequent full competition June 1 st deadline Full Proposals: Evaluated by mix of external reviewers and site visit committee; final recommendation made by Strategic Panel (looks at only those proposals in their target area) or Network Committee (looks at all submissions) NSERC Program Manager assigned to provide advice and read drafts during development stage of full proposals
    • Strategic Network Grants - Changes
    • Three Categories of Submissions (accommodates possible renewals)
      • No previous funding to support proposed network (NSERC, NCE or other)
      • Network previously funded (renewal) but proposed direction and research differs significantly; at least 50% of co-applicants are new to Network; at least 50% of partners are new
      • Network previously funded (renewal) and proposed research is essentially a follow-on or incremental with no significant changes in researchers or partners; partners must contribute at least 25% of the cash ($1 for every $3 from NSERC)
    • Weaknesses - Preliminary Proposal Stage
    • Does not meet requirements for Network renewal
    • Poor fit to target area (rare) but now must fit research topics
    • Strategic importance not competitive; not clear or poorly described; unsupported claims; not clear what the network will be about
    • Does not demonstrate need for network approach to solve problem – isolated rather than integrated themes
    • Network leader is relatively junior does not have the status as a leader in the field, nor the experience to lead a large complex initiative; theme leaders are not the key people
    • Training proposed is very weak
    • Looks like development work as opposed to research
    • 8. Proposed partnership looks weak – statements of interest look vague
    • Full Proposal Stage: Pay attention to all criteria
    • Significance and impact of network: competitive; contribution to state of the art and linkages to international or other complementary initiatives
    • Need for a network – multi-disciplinary/sectorial approach; sharing of personnel/equip
    • Originality, quality and coherence of proposed research/themes (sufficient detail); clear objectives; realistic milestones; integration of themes
    • Quality of team: expertise, experience, contribution to proposed research clear
    • Full Proposal Stage: Pay attention to all criteria
    5. Partners are appropriate mix for subject; involved at all stages; plan for interaction and info exchange; strategy for knowledge/tech transfer to partners and public 6. Training that takes advantage of network approach; inter-disc/across lab, involves partners (internships, workshops) 7. Management structure: various levels to direct, manage, integrate activities; process for adjustment 8. Well justified budget; appropriate contributions (cash/in-kind) from partners; effective sharing of resources 9. Benefit to partners and Canada must be clear – partners must be able to exploit the results within Canada (within 10years)
    • Collaborative Research and Development Program ($55.2M)
    • Main vehicle for Canadian firms to work with university researchers
    • Focussed projects: 1 to 5 years
    • 85% success rate – not cash limited at this time
    • Industrial partners must be actively involved and able and willing to exploit the results within Canada – their contribution eligible for SR&ED credits
    • Levers industrial partner’s cash and in-kind – as high as 2:1 on cash contribution
    • NSERC Evaluation Process
    • Application developed by partners; submitted by university researcher (online)
    • Internal review to ensure documentation complete and necessary information provided (Ottawa staff)
    • Peer review either by paper (<$200K/yr from NSERC) or site visit committee
    • Possible clarification of issues – not rebuttal
    • Funding recommendation internal or by advisory committee (>$150K/yr from NSERC)
    • Decision made by NSERC
    • Showstoppers
    • Company eligibility
    • 1. Canadian or foreign owned
      • Multinational – R&D and/or manufacturing in Canada
      • Foreign company – partnering Canadian company for exploitation in Canada
      • 2. Sufficient internal R&D/technical capacity – can they exploit/add to the results; is the model to license out the technology as is?
      • 3. Does the researcher have a decision-making role in the company?
    • Showstoppers
    Training 1. Must include graduate students or PDFs 2. Will not review proposals that only have RAs or other technical staff 3. Balance between grad students/PDFs and professional staff (RAs, Research Engineers, technicians, etc) should be about 2:1 on a head count ($ will be very different) 4. Have yet to see a justified proposal that involves only undergrads – must be research
    • Showstoppers
    • Request for NSERC funds – is the industrial cash and in-kind in line with the NSERC request?
    • No point to peer review proposal if it will have to be re-scoped
    • No money can go back to company
    • MITACS Internships can count as training but must be additional industrial $ to lever CRD
    • Peer Review Feedback: Negative Decision or Reduced Funding
    • Questionable scientific merit: poor originality, technical problems, not research
    • Poorly situated within state of the art
    • Lack of detail in proposed methodology
    • Schedule, scope too ambitious
    • Need for confirmation before proceeding with future research
    • Budget items poorly justified, too high
    • Lack of team expertise
    • Poor training opportunities
    • In-kind not essential to project, over estimated, poorly described
    • Lack of benefit to Canada
    • Letter of Support from Company
    • What does the company do (include company profile)
    • Motivation for supporting the research
    • Is there an existing relationship
    • Way in which results will be used or exploited by the company
    • Expected benefit for both the company and industry as a whole
    • Nature of support being provided (cash and in-kind)
    • In-Kind Justification: Indication of Company Involvement
    • Donation of equipment or material
    • Provision of services – characterization, prototyping, validation (if iteration included)
    • Time of technical staff: name, role, expertise, nature of their contribution to the project (tie to milestones), estimated hours, realistic hourly rate
    • May also include out of pocket expenses such as shutdown of production run to test or produce material;
    • Highlight if students spending time at company - hotel accommodation for visiting students; training courses
    • Questions?
    • Barbara Muir
    • Director Regional Development
    • Research partnerships Programs
    • NSERC
    • 613-947-4562
    • [email_address]