How it Works

The Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) supports collaborations up to one year long between industry and academia that lead to knowledge mobilization, commercialization and increased productivity with significant economic impact for Ontario. OCE has engaged a number of federal partners for a whole-of-government approach and a streamlined application process. A referral to NRC-IRAP may also be made for non-academic support to eligible companies. The final approval of project-related support rests with each program partner.

How Funding Works

Investments under the VIP program are up to $20,000 from OCE for up to one year. Industry must make a cash plus in-kind contribution to the project matching or exceeding OCE's investment. Please see eligibility for contribution requirements. OCE has engaged a number of federal partners (Connect Canada, NSERC, NRC-IRAP) for a whole-of-government approach and a streamlined application process.

OCE has engaged with the following Federal program partners:


  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

    NSERC ARD Level 1

    The NSERC Applied Research and Development Grant (ARD) Level 1 is intended to give a company that operates from a Canadian base access to the knowledge and expertise available at a Canadian college. The grant supports a first-time collaboration between a college and a company for an R&D project of one year to solve a company-specific problem.

    See more program information:
    Company
    Researcher

    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

      NSERC Engage

      The NSERC Engage Grant (EG) is intended to give a company that operates from a Canadian base access to the knowledge and expertise available at Canadian universities. The grant supports a first-time collaboration between an academic researcher and a company for an R&D project of up to one year to solve a company-specific problem.

      See more program information:
      Company
      Researcher

      • Industrial Research Assistance Program

        NRC-IRAP

        The National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) is Canada's premier innovation assistance program for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

        See more program information


      • The vouchers enable a whole-of-government approach where applicants are eligible for the following program support through one application. Below is reference chart for applicants:

          OCE NSERC Engage NSERC ARD 1 IRAP
        Max. Support available ($)  $20,000 $25,000 $25,000 Typically $20,000 funding will be appropriate to project size
        Industry matching 25% of OCE cash, the remainder in-kind to 1:1 minimum In-kind at a minimum In-kind at a minimum Minimum of 20% for internal technical salaries, and a minimum of 50% for third-party contracted work related to the project
        Type of Work Industry-Academic Industry-Academic Industry-Academic Non-academic
        Sector All Natural Science and Engineering (NSE) All All
        Overhead 0% 0% Up to 20% of ARD-1 support 0%
        Additional Eligibility See below See below  See below See below

Under the Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program, we have instituted a new payment structure to simplify the invoicing process. Rather than invoicing Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) on a quarterly basis in arrears, upon receipt of the $5,000 Industry cash component, OCE will release a payment equal to your award amount less a $5,000 OCE holdback and $5,000 Industry cash holdback. The total holdback of $10,000 will be released upon project completion and receipt of the following: final progress and financial reports, outcomes and attestation from the Institution of the use of funds.

Benefits

Companies:

  • Gain access to new talent 
  • Develop relationships with researchers to extend company R&D 
  • Gain access to unique facilities and research equipment available in academic institutions 
  • Create marketable solutions to current industry challenges 
  • Increase productivity
  • Gain access to OCE's academic networks and exposure to other OCE programs
  • Access several funding sources through one application form

Students:

  • Leverage knowledge and innovative ideas to solve industry problems 
  • Gain real-world experience 
  • Build relationships with established companies 
  • Gain access to OCE's industry and entrepreneurial networks

How to Apply

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Projects must include at least one investing company applicant and one academic applicant
  • Company must be for profit and have operations in Ontario which are expected to commercialize or use the results of the project in Ontario
  • Academic partner must be an Ontario accredited public academic institution (college, university, research hospital)
  • 1:1 cash plus in-kind matching is required
  • OCE may contribute up to $20,000 to the project. A minimum of 25% cash-contribution from the company is required. For example, if OCE contributes $20,000, we require a minimum of $5,000 cash and the remainder in-kind from the company
  • OCE contributions are provided to the academic institution who is partnering with the company
  • Projects must leverage the unique capabilities of the academic environment and of the academic team and be non-competitive with Ontario private-sector capabilities
  • Intellectual Property (IP) arising from the project will be managed by the project participants as OCE does not claim or manage IP rights
  • Participants must co-operate in providing project outcomes and metrics, annually at a minimum
  • Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE
  • Other program partner rules and eligibility apply for Connect Canada, NSERC Engage, NSERC ARD-1 and NRC-IRAP (see below)

Additional Eligibility

Connect Canada Eligibility

Intern Eligibility:
  • Registered as a full-time graduate-level student or post-doctoral fellow through the course of the internship period
  • In attendance at an eligible Canadian institution
  • Supervised by a faculty member at that institution
  • 50% of the intern’s time must be spent on-site with the Industrial Partner
  • A maximum of two (2) NCE IRDI internships are allowed for any individual over the course of their entire academic and post academic career
  • Must provide reporting
Academic Supervisor Eligibility:
  • Eligible to receive Tri-Council funding
  • Hold an active faculty position at an eligible Canadian institution
  • Must provide reporting
Company Eligibility:
  • For profit, operating in Canada
  • Minimum $5,000 Industrial contribution per internship period (four to six months)
  • Multiple internships are permitted per project
  • Must provide reporting

More program eligibility and information

The Voucher for Innovation and Productivity has fully committed all its Connect Canada partner internships and we are not currently accepting VIP applications with Connect Canada interns. 

We thank all the applicants for their interest in these internships. In the meantime OCE strongly encourages prospective applicants to speak to an OCE Business Development Manager who can advise on the current Voucher for Innovation and Productivity program framework and potential future internship opportunities.


NSERC ARD1 Eligibility

College Eligibility:
  • Eligible to receive Tri-Council funding
  • First time collaboration with the company
  • Must provide reporting

More program eligibility and information

Company Eligibility:
  • For profit, with Canadian operations in R&D and/or manufacturing directly related to the project
  • Incorporated for a minimum of 1-year
  • First time collaboration with the college
  • Must provide reporting

More program eligibility and information



NSERC Engage Eligibility

Principal Investigator Eligibility:
  • Eligible to receive NSERC funding
  • Has been awarded a peer-reviewed grant from a recognized federal or provincial granting agency in Natural Sciences & Engineering in the past six years
  • Hold a faculty position at an eligible Canadian institution
  • First time collaboration with the company
  • Must provide reporting

More program eligibility and information

Company Eligibility:
  • For profit, with Canadian operations in R&D and/or manufacturing directly related to the project
  • Incorporated for a minimum of 1-year
  • First time collaboration with the Principal Investigator
  • Must provide reporting

More program eligibility and information


NRC-IRAP Eligibility

Project Eligibility:
  • Non-academic activities by the company or by a third-party service provider
  • IRAP supports up to 80% for internal technical salaries and up to 50% for third-party contracted work related to the project
  • The company’s contributions to the non-academic project can be valued as in-kind in the OCE budget form
  • Funds cannot be used for materials, infrastructure or overhead
  • Projects must be completed this fiscal year by March 31, 2014 with monthly invoices to NRC-IRAP under normal NRC-IRAP procedures
Company Eligibility:
  • A small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Canada, incorporated and profit-oriented
  • Company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; and
  • Company has the objective to grow and generate profits through development and commercialization of innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services, or processes in Canada.
  • Must provide reporting
The Voucher for Innovation and Productivity has fully committed all its NRC-IRAP partner funds and we are not currently accepting VIP applications with an NRC-IRAP add-on 

We thank all the applicants for their interest in the NRC-IRAP partnership. We strongly encourage prospective applicants to speak to an OCE Business Development Manager who can advise on the current Voucher for Innovation and Productivity program framework and future NRC-IRAP partnership opportunities.

More program eligibility and information

Timelines and Decision-Making Process

VIP applications are accepted at any time.  An OCE Business Development Manager reviews eligibility and maintains oversight responsibility for an approved industry-academic project, in partnership with NSERC, as applicable. 

Effective April 1st, 2014: A completed Schedule D (Intellectual Property Term Sheet) is required at time of application submission.  Without this, the application can not move forward through internal review (compliance check). Following internal review for application completeness and financial compliance, the applicant will be forwarded a copy of OCE’s non-negotiable funding agreement, to which a copy of the submitted proposal and Schedule D will be embedded, for execution. This funding agreement must be signed, via our online electronic signature function, by the applicant and partner(s) and returned to OCE via our online application management system, PRIOR to the application being considered for review.  OCE’s non-negotiable funding agreement can be viewed here. Please note this copy of OCE’s non-negotiable funding agreement is for reference only and should not be completed by applicants and submitted with your application. Only copies automatically generated by OCE from the online application management system following internal review of your application will be accepted.

To apply please contact your regional Business Development Manager.

For more information on the VIP program, please contact:

Nicole Mihai
Program Manager
(416) 861 1092 x3234
Email: nicole.mihai@oce-ontario.org

Charmaine Llewellyn
Program Coordinator
(416) 861-1092 x2421
charmaine.llewellyn@oce-ontario.org