Next Generation Network Program (NGNP) TalentEdge Internships

A. Program Overview
B. How Funding Works
C. Eligibility
D. Evaluation and Assessment
E. Project Changes and Reporting Requirements
F. How to Apply
G. FAQ
H. Downloads

A. Program Overview

About the Next Generation Network Program (NGNP)

The Next Generation Network Program (NGNP) supports the development and implementation of ultra-high-speed digital infrastructure to interconnect digital innovation hubs within Ontario, small- and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) proof-of-concept projects and access to technical and business support personnel and services.

The program is offered through a partnership between the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), working on behalf of the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

The NGNP offers unprecedented access to the CENGN testbed to ensure that Ontario SMEs, start-ups and researchers have access to industry guidance and knowledge along with a multi-vendor, open platform for validation of their technologies and services. The CENGN testbed will provide a platform for industry collaboration and connectivity in information and communications technology (ICT) and next-generation networking (NGN) development that will facilitate and accelerate innovation projects across Ontario.

The NGNP aims not only to support current and future SMEs, but to help establish the digital backbone for the innovation-driven economy that will drive future growth, create high-quality jobs and enhance Ontario’s global competitiveness.

Next Generation Network Program Talent Development Stream

Next Generation Network Program Talent Development stream has been designed to curate the next generation of highly-skilled talent to excel in the digital economy. Internships support students and recent graduates of Ontario universities and colleges working with SMEs, to develop their skills in NGN technologies. Projects will tap into world-class talent coming out of Ontario's publicly-funded post-secondary institutions and strengthen the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises to develop new products, services, and processes in the digital economy. Internships are intended to provide interns with an experiential learning opportunity and hands-on industry experience.

Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises may apply for internships through the following options:

  • Internships at SMEs: provides funding for company-based interns working directly for an SME that is working on the CENGN platform to develop NGN technologies and services
  • Internships at SMEs as part of a Demonstration Project: provides funding for company-based interns working on projects related to NGN technologies and services
  • While completing a Demonstration Project application, applicant SMEs may also request funding to hire an intern, who will support the delivery of key milestones directly linked to the proposed Demonstration project. For more information, please refer to the Demonstration program guidelines.

Definitions

Small- or Medium-Sized Enterprise ("SME"): a for-profit enterprise, with fewer than 500 total employees that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing or offering an innovative product, process or service in the area of Next Generation Networking.

Program Objectives

  • Help students and recent graduates bridge the gap between Ontario’s publicly-funded post-secondary institutions and industry by providing hands-on experience 
  • Improve companies’ competitiveness by attracting top talent and tapping into world-class R&D to strengthen capacity to develop new products, services, and processes
  • Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and emerging technologies from publicly-funded post-secondary institutions to the digital economy sector
  • Identify, attract and retain HQP with skills related to NGN technologies

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B. How Funding Works

Internships

  • Internships can be four, eight, or 12 months in duration. Each four-month internship is equal to one unit (4-month internship = 1 internship unit). The maximum number of four-month units per intern is three.
  • Each four-month internship unit is valued at $20,000
    • $10,000 from OCE and $10,000 from the applicant and/or partner(s) (at least $5,000 of the contribution from the applicant/partner(s) must be in cash)
    • lnterns must receive a minimum compensation of $15,000 per four-month internship period. Of the $20,000 value of the four-month internship, up to $5,000 (applicant/partner in-kind contribution) may be applied towards the direct cost of the project.
  • Applicants can apply for multiple interns in the same application, up to a maximum of six units per application (i.e. maximum of $60,000 in OCE contribution per application)
  • Overhead is not an eligible expense for this program.

Flow of Funds

  • OCE funds will flow directly to the applicant company.
  • Intern must have employee status at the company for the duration of the internship.
  • Upon approval of the application, OCE will release a payment equal to the OCE cash contribution amount minus a 25 per cent holdback of OCE contribution per internship unit. The holdback will be released upon project completion and receipt of the following: progress and final reports, proof of payroll for the intern (must include the intern’s name, company/institution name, payment periods and amounts e.g., intern pay stub, payroll print out, T4/T4A) and attestation from the financial officer/signing officer of the applicant organization regarding the use of funds.

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C. Eligibility

Project Eligibility

  • Projects must be in the area of NGN technologies and be using the CENGN platform
  • Projects must have an R&D component and have clearly defined activities, milestones and outcomes
  • Proposed projects must be commensurate with intern’s experience and expertise
  • The SME applicant must be an Ontario-based, for-profit company, developing or implementing NGN technologies into their products and services, and have in-house R&D capacity in Ontario
  • Internships are not intended to be “first job” placements; all internships must be based on a defined project that is executed within the time frame of the internship
  • Total applicant/partner contributions must meet the minimum matching requirements
  • Intellectual property arising from the project will be managed by the project participants. The parties are bound by the intellectual property terms of  the company where the intern is an employee for the duration of the internship. OCE does not claim or manage IP rights.
  • The company must provide a Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). More information on BN.
  • The company must use the results of the project for the economic, environmental, or social benefit of Ontario
  • Participants (applicant and partner, if applicable) must enter into an agreement with OCE and co-operate in providing project reports (please refer to OCE Project Reporting Requirements)
  • Applicants (and their partners, if applicable) must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE

Intern Eligibility

  • Undergraduate level: Undergraduate students in their final year of study or recent graduates from an undergraduate program (within three years of graduation) from a college or university in Ontario. These qualifications are required during the internship period.
  • Graduate level: Current Master's and PhD students, and recent Master's graduates within three years of graduation. These qualifications are required during the internship period.
    • Master's students and recent Master's graduates (within three years of graduation)
    • Current PhD and Master's students must be registered at an accredited Ontario university
    • Interns may hold a maximum of three internship units (per student/graduate)
  • Consecutive internships may be held
  • The intern must be eligible to work in Ontario and have employee status at the company for the duration of the internship
  • The intern may not apply with a company where there is any conflict of interest, including, but not limited to, a company where the intern or relatives have any control as a major creditor or shareholder or governing board member
  • Interns may not apply if they are currently enrolled in a co-op program or other equivalent job placement/employment program
  • The intern may not apply if at the time of application submission they are a current or past employee of the company (including consultants, contract position, part-time, etc.)

Eligible Expenses

Refer to the Eligible Expenses document for details.

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D. Evaluation and Assessment

This is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible projects are assessed on their merit and undergo a review process where the applications are assessed against program objectives and other criteria.

Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, and receipt of a funding agreement signed by the Applicant (and Partner, if applicable) (refer to the How to Apply section below), applications will undergo an external peer review by three subject-matter experts.

Recommendations from the peer review process will be reviewed by OCE’s Internal Review Panel, which will have responsibility for the final OCE decision. Decision notifications are typically provided within 4-6 weeks of receipt of a signed funding agreement.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of assessment criteria, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Clarity, feasibility and appropriateness of the specific R&D project
  • Credentials of intern (experience and expertise)
  • Company’s willingness to provide high-quality learning opportunity to the intern
  • Overall quality and completeness of the application

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E. Project Changes and Reporting Requirements

Project Change Requests

For any variances to the OCE budget of $5,000 or greater, or extensions to the project end date, the applicant must complete a Project Change Request form prior to the project end date, using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file.

Project Reports

The following project reports will be required:

Final Reports

  • Forty-five (45) days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant will receive a notification of the project end date from OCE’s AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Project Report should the Applicant, Partner or intern wish to begin entering data. If an extension to complete the project is required, the Applicant must request it prior to the scheduled project completion date, using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. A maximum extension of three months will be allowable.
  • On the scheduled project completion date, the Applicant will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials, metrics and intern report) from OCE’s AccessOCE system. The final report must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion.
  • All required final reports must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to release the holdback and maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Project Metrics

If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant, along with other project participants, will be required to complete an annual metrics survey each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with its funding ministries. Required metrics reports must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Retrospective Survey

At one, two, and three years after project completion, the Applicant will be sent a link to complete a retrospective survey to collect data on commercial outcomes from the project. This information is required by OCE for assessment of program impact and continuous improvement.

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F. How to Apply

Applications may be submitted at any time. For information on how to apply, please visit the TalentEdge Internship guidelines.

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G. FAQ

Please review OCE's Program FAQ

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H. Downloads

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For application initiation or general inquiries, including budget, please contact:  

Application Support Team
Tel: 416-861-1092 x2400
Email: application-support@oce.zendesk.com

For technical inquiries, please contact:

Management Information Systems
Tel: (416) 861-1092 x1005
Email: accessoce@oce.zendesk.com

For eligibility inquiries, please contact:

Binny Arora
Program Manager 
Tel: (416) 861-1092 x5001
Email: binny.arora@oce-ontario.org