Strategic Network Grants Supplemental Competition in Manufacturing
NSERC is launching a special supplemental Strategic Network Grants (SNG-SC) competition this year as part of its efforts to address priority areas that were identified in the Government of Canada's Budget 2008.
The competition will be open to applications addressing industry priorities in Manufacturing. To be eligible, applications must fit the Manufacturing target area description (please see Manufacturing Target Area description).
Co-applicants from outside the natural sciences and engineering may be incorporated into proposals.
Strategic Networks that are recommended for funding after review of the full proposals may be invited to apply for additional funds to facilitate international network-to-network collaboration, opportunities for enhanced training of students and knowledge dissemination and technology transfer.
The objective of the Strategic Network Grants Program (SNG) is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and/or environment within 10 years.
It is expected that this program will:
- generate new knowledge/technology with the strong potential to strengthen Canada’s industrial base, generate wealth, create employment, and/or influence Canadian public policy;
- increase the number of highly qualified personnel in the Manufacturing area;
- foster the increased participation of Canadian-based companies and/or government organizations in academic research;
- result in the transfer of knowledge/technology and expertise to Canadian-based companies that are well positioned to apply the results for economic gain or to government organizations to strengthen public policy.
Strategic Network Grants fund large-scale, multi-disciplinary research projects in targeted research areas that require a network approach and that involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. The applicant should be an established researcher with a solid track record in collaborative research, student training and grant management, and who demonstrates the leadership and other skills necessary for managing a complex, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project.
Strategic Networks may be local, regional or national. Strategic Networks require a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $1 million annually from NSERC and are funded for up to five years. These grants are not renewable for a second term.
To be funded, a Strategic Network Grant proposal must meet the following requirements:
- The network must support the objective of the Strategic Network Grants Program and fall within the Manufacturing Target Area (please see Manufacturing Target Area description).
- The objectives and scope of the network must be well-defined and the research results achievable within a five-year time frame.
- The network must involve a minimum of five academic researchers who are eligible to receive NSERC funding, from at least three separate departments, faculties or institutions.
- The network must have the strong commitment and active involvement of Canadian-based partners from relevant sectors (industrial, government), as appropriate for the research area. These organizations must be involved in all stages of the network, from development of the proposal to exploitation of the research results for the benefit of Canada.
- The network must offer opportunities for enhanced training of highly qualified personnel that takes advantage of the multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral environment of a network.
- The network must have an appropriate management structure to direct, manage, and integrate its activities.
Collaboration Outside the Natural Sciences and Engineering
The Government of Canada has called for its granting agencies to adopt a more strategic approach and increasingly support multidisciplinary collaborative research to address complex issues and create a real advantage for Canada. The agencies have agreed to collaborate to combine the strengths of various disciplines and achieve the greatest impact.
Consequently, and in recognition that the ability to implement policy or directly apply the research results can depend on socio-economic considerations as well as scientific understanding, applicants are encouraged to collaborate with experts who work in fields other than the natural sciences and engineering, where appropriate. Academic researchers outside the natural sciences and engineering may participate in Strategic Network proposals as co-applicants if they meet NSERC’s eligibility requirements with respect to type, duration and nature of appointment. Research costs for these collaborations may comprise up to 30 per cent of the project costs and must be identified in the budget. All project expenditures will be subject to NSERC’s Use of Grant Funds guidelines.
In its efforts to increase the impact of Canadian natural sciences and engineering research within the global research community, NSERC may invite Strategic Networks that are recommended for funding after review of the full proposals to apply for up to $200K per year of additional funding for years 2 through 5 to facilitate international network-to-network collaboration, including opportunities for enhanced training of students.
A partner organization:
- is a Canadian-based company that can apply the research results in a way that generates wealth and/or employment (organizations without Canadian R&D or manufacturing operations will not be considered), or is a government organization that can apply the results in a way that strengthens public policy;
- collaborates in all stages of the research project, i.e., is involved in the development of the proposal and, as the project unfolds, interacts regularly with the academic researchers, students and other research personnel and provides input on the project; and
- validates the results of the research and/or provides guidance concerning the exploitation of the results.
The network may also include other participants such as non-governmental organizations, government research laboratories, foreign research institutions, venture capitalists, implementation sites, or potential customers, but these participants do not qualify as supporting organizations.
Given that interaction between personnel from academic institutions and other sectors contributes to knowledge sharing and the development of highly qualified personnel, NSERC encourages secondments, cross-appointments, co-supervision of students, internships, reciprocal laboratory visits and joint workshops. (For details, see the Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training [40 KB – 3 Pages].)
Manufacturing Target Area
For the 2008 supplemental competition, only preliminary applications in the area of Manufacturing will be considered. To be eligible, applications must fit the Manufacturing Target Area description as defined below.
To compete successfully in the rapidly changing global economy, Canada needs to develop new value-added products, and use flexible, lean, clean and cost-effective production processes. In light of these challenges, research in this target area will focus on either:
- Developing technologies that through advancements in manufacturing processes and material design would contribute to new and/or competitive products coming to market; or
- Increasing manufacturing productivity and flexibility, reducing energy costs and environmental impacts (operational improvements or integrated production systems for a broad range of manufacturing will be considered).
Application and Review Procedures
NSERC must receive the preliminary application no later than February 9, 2009.
A complete preliminary application includes:
- an Application for a Grant (Form 101) (pages 1 and 2 only, including the appropriate signatures from the applicant's and key co-applicants’ universities);
- a description of the proposed Strategic Network (maximum of 10 pages) outlining the:
- name of the network (''NSERC'' should be included in the official name of the network and the name should be meaningful and descriptive of the proposed research);
- proposed research and fit with the Manufacturing Target Area (please see Manufacturing Target Area description);
- strengths and track record of the applicant in leading a large multi-institutional team of researchers;
- expertise, involvement and role of the key researchers in the network;
- extent of involvement of partners in all stages of the network;
- need for a network approach to the proposed research;
- management structure;
- plans for training of highly qualified personnel;
- benefits to Canada and the partners; and
- estimated annual budget, including funds requested from NSERC and estimated in-kind and cash (if applicable) contributions from partners;
- a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and the key co-applicants; and
- a Statement of Interest – signed letter from each partner involved.
You may prepare an Application for a Grant (Form 101) (pages 1 and 2) using the electronic submission system, but applicants must submit two copies of the completed application by mail. Preliminary applications cannot be submitted on-line.
Preliminary Application Review
Preliminary applications are reviewed by the Manufacturing Strategic Panel. Based on this review, applicants may be invited to submit full proposals.
Applicants will be contacted by the end of March 2009 and invited to submit a full application. NSERC will review requests for up to $25,000 to assist in defraying the costs of preparing a full Strategic Network proposal. This should be sent to the Program Officer assigned to the file in the form of a one-page itemized request estimating the preparation costs and the portion to be paid by NSERC and the partners.
A full application includes:
- an Application for a Grant (Form 101);
- a Personal Data Form (Form 100) for the applicant and each co-applicant; and
- an Information Required from Organizations Participating in Research Partnerships Programs (Form 183A) and a letter of support from each partner. (See Completing Form 183A for details.)
Please refer to the instructions for completing a Strategic Network application.
Full Proposal Review Procedures
Each Strategic Network proposal is reviewed by external referees and a Site Visit Committee. The Manufacturing Strategic Panel will review the applications. This panel will consider the comments from external referees and the Site Visit Committee report in making funding recommendations to NSERC. Decisions on funding Strategic Network Grants will be made within four to six months of receipt of the full application.
Strategic Network proposals are evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Merit of the Research Proposal
- Originality of the research – The network research must promise to generate new knowledge or apply existing knowledge in an innovative manner.
- Quality of the research – The network research must be scientifically sound and technically feasible. It must fall within the Manufacturing Target Area (please see Manufacturing Target Area description).
- Network work plan – The network must have a clear and coherent work plan that demonstrates a high probability of achieving the objectives within the five-year time frame.
- Quality of the applicants as researchers – The research team must have all the expertise to address the defined objectives competently and complete the network research successfully. The contributions of individuals to the research effort must be clear.
- Need for a Network Approach – The proposal must demonstrate the need for a network approach to conduct the research and achieve the objectives.
- Interactions and Partnerships
- Interactions with the partners – The partners must have the capacity to apply the results of the research and must be actively involved in all stages of the network.
- Interactions among participants – The network must have a plan in place to ensure effective interaction and information exchange among all participants.
- Knowledge/technology transfer – The network must have a strategy for knowledge and technology transfer to all stakeholders and the general public, as appropriate.
- Training (see Policy and Guidelines on the Assessment of Contributions to Research and Training [40 KB – 3 Pages])
- Training potential – The network must provide opportunities to train students and other highly qualified personnel with skills relevant to the needs of Canadian organizations. There must be a training plan that facilitates interaction of trainees with other network participants from all sectors to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary training.
- Partners – The network must encourage the active participation of the partners in training highly qualified personnel through, for example, opportunities for work terms, co-supervision of students, reciprocal laboratory visits, and joint workshops.
- Management and Budget
- Management – The applicant must have the leadership and other skills necessary to manage a complex, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project. The network must have an appropriate management structure to direct, manage, and integrate the activities of the network (Board of Directors, Scientific Advisory Committee, Network Manager). The host institution, applicant, co-applicants, and partners must be committed to the effective management of the network.
- Budget – The budget must be justified vis-à-vis the proposed research and administrative costs. The appropriateness of the overall budget, including in-kind and cash, if any, contributions from partners will be evaluated.
- Benefits to Canada and the Partners
- Benefit – The proposal must identify how the work will benefit the partners and must demonstrate that exploitation of the research results will benefit Canada within a ten-year time frame.
- Archiving of research data – To encourage the sharing and dissemination of research data and its use by others within a reasonable period of time, an agreement regarding responsibility for the maintenance and preservation of large data sets must be in place at the outset of network activities.
Grantees must submit a mid-term progress report to NSERC, which will be reviewed by members of the original Site Visit Committee and the Manufacturing Strategic Panel. Continuation of funding is contingent upon satisfactory progress. Partners are required to confirm their commitment to the network annually.
Three months after the completion of network funding, all grantees must submit a final report on the network’s achievements with respect to its objectives. Each partner in the network will be asked to evaluate it. Grantees are informed of the requirements for such reports at the appropriate time.