Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II (VIP II)

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


A. Program Changes

Please note the following program changes:

  • To qualify for the VIP II program, the lead industry partner must have a minimum of five full-time employees and been in operation for at least two years, or have successfully completed a previous VIP I project with the academic partner.

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B. Program Overview

The Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II (VIP II) program helps established Ontario- based companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships with academia. Projects funded through VIP II address company needs by enabling the development of new products and/or processes, or facilitating productivity improvements, by leveraging academic skills and resources. Projects must ultimately help generate new revenues and create high-value jobs for Ontario companies.

VIP II supports industry-academic collaborations between 12 and 24 months in duration.

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C. Program Objectives

The VIP II program helps eligible companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships between Ontario's industry and academia. Benefits to the project partners include:

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, revenue and jobs
  • Gain access to OCE's academic networks and exposure to other OCE programs

Academia:

  • Access exciting research challenges
  • Establish relationships with industry 

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

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D. How Funding Works

OCE may invest between $50,000 and $75,000 annually into a VIP II project. Projects must be between 12 and 24 months in duration. The maximum OCE investment is $75,000 annually, or up to $150,000 over two years to support eligible research costs

  • 1:1 matching (cash plus in-kind) on the OCE contribution is required from the industry partner. A minimum of 50 per cent of the matching contribution must be in cash.
  • The cash (and in-kind) contributions from the industry partner are provided by the partner to the academic institution. Project participants are encouraged to negotiate additional agreement(s) to enable the transfer of these funds.
  • The OCE contributions are provided to the academic institution. Upon award and execution of the OCE Funding Agreement, OCE will release payments as follows:
    • For projects under 18 months in duration: OCE will release an initial payment of 45 per cent of the OCE contribution when the Agreement has been executed. A subsequent interim payment (45 per cent of the OCE contribution) will be released upon receipt of interim progress and financial reports.
    • For projects 18 months or longer in duration: OCE will release an initial payment of 30 per cent of the OCE contribution when the Agreement has been executed. Subsequent interim payments (two tranches, each 30 per cent of the OCE contribution) will be released upon receipt of interim progress and interim financial reports.   
    • For all projects, a holdback of 10 per cent will be released upon project completion and receipt of the following: final progress and financial reports, outcomes and attestation from the institution regarding the use of funds.
  • Institutional overhead is not an eligible VIP II project expense and should not be included on either the OCE or industry funded portions of the VIP II budget. The overhead that is to be attributed as part of the OCE contribution will be calculated directly by OCE and paid annually to academic institutions at a rate of 20 per cent x direct costs of OCE-funded research. The overhead on the industry funded portion of the project must be discussed with your institution’s research administration office at the time of application to ensure it is correctly accounted for
  • Companies that require a loan to support their contribution towards a VIP II project, or that have other business projects needing financing, can apply for a BDC loan of up to $50,000 with zero fees and flexible, convenient terms. Industry partners on VIP II projects have simplified access to BDC financing through a dedicated, online portal for OCE client companies. Access is available through OCE’s online application system upon initiation of a VIP II application. Loans are available within two to five business days. Additionally, BDC offers a range of advisory services to assist SMEs to accelerate growth, improve productivity and build organizational capabilities. More information about BDC programs can be found on BDC’s website.

OCE and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) may partner to support selected collaborative VIP II and Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) projects. Partnership may be possible where the two applications are prepared in parallel, the projects are aligned and include unique and complementary milestones, and the industry cash contributions are not already allocated. Potential opportunities must be assessed by an OCE Business Development Manager on a case-by-case basis prior to commencing an application.

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E. Eligibility

  • Applicant must be a principal investigator at an Ontario publicly funded academic research institution (college, university, research hospital). The applicant must have an arms-length relationship with the industry partner as defined on NSERC’s website (refer to the section Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Partner Organizations).
  • Projects must include at least one for-profit industry partner.
  • Industry partner(s) must have a manufacturing and/or research and development presence in Ontario and the operations in Ontario must have the capacity (technical, financial and management) to commercialize and/or implement the results of the project.
  • The lead industry partner must have a minimum of five full-time employees and been in operation for at least two years, or have successfully completed a previous VIP I project with the academic partner.
  • Company must use the results for the economic, environmental or social benefit of Ontario. This includes direct economic benefit to the industry partner (e.g., new jobs, increased revenue, increased productivity, cost savings), and/or indirect economic benefit to other members of the value chain, partners, or industry in Ontario (e.g., job creation, capacity building, strategic benefit). Contribution to the training and industry exposure of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) at the academic institution is also a desired element.
  • Projects must leverage the unique capabilities of the academic environment and be non-competitive with Ontario private-sector capabilities.
  • Projects may range from early-stage R&D to later-stage validation and demonstration. Projects may be focused projects with specific short-to medium-term objectives, or discrete phases in a program of longer-range research. However, in all cases, the industry-led focus of the project, and the expected ultimate commercial impact on the industry partner(s), must be evident in the application.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) arising from the project will be managed by the project participants as OCE does not claim or manage IP rights. Successful applicants and their industry partners must execute OCE’s standard funding agreement, including a completed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, within 30 days of notification of approval.
  • Participants must be willing to co-operate in providing project and outcomes metrics.
  • Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE.
  • Companies that have over $100,000 in active projects must complete those projects (including all final reporting) prior to OCE considering other applications for funding. This excludes TalentEdge internships and fellowships.

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F. Evaluation and Assessment

VIP II 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 assessment criteria.

VIP II has a two-stage review process:

  • Initial online assessment will be done by members of OCE’s External Review Panel (ERP) where the project will be assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria. The ERP is comprised of external, impartial members from both academia and industry with appropriate experience and knowledge to contribute to the decision-making process. Only those applications that achieve the required scoring threshold will be invited to proceed to the next stage of review.
  • If recommended to proceed by OCE’s External and Internal Review Panels, the application will go forward to the External Review Panel (ERP) meeting stage, when a company presentation is to be given in-person or via video conference. The ERP will review the submitted applications and presentation, including feedback from the presenters, and make funding recommendations to OCE.
  • Final funding decision rests with OCE. Decision notifications are typically provided within 8 to 10 weeks of application submission to a funding round.

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G. Reporting Requirements

The following project reports will be required:

Interim Progress Reports:

  1. For projects between 12 and 18 months in duration, one interim report (including progress and financials) will be required at one half of the project duration. The Applicant will receive notification and a link from OCE’s AccessOCE system to submit the report. The report must be approved by OCE for release of the second funding tranche.
  2. For projects 18 months or longer in duration, two interim reports (including progress and financials) will be required at one-third and two-thirds of the project duration. The Applicant will receive notification and a link from OCE’s AccessOCE system to submit the reports. The reports must be approved by OCE for release of the second and third funding tranches.

Final Reports:

  1. Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant and industry partner (Client) 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 or Client wish to begin entering data. If an extension is required, it must be requested from your OCE Business Development Manager at this time.
  2. On the scheduled project completion date, the Applicant and Client will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s AccessOCE system. Both the Applicant and Client reports must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion.
  3. When the Applicant and Client final reports have been approved, the academic institution will be required to complete an attestation of the use of funds to close the project.
  4. All required final reports by all partners must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to release the holdback, and maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Project Metrics:

  1. If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant and Client 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 the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Retrospective Survey:

  1. Two years after project completion, the Client 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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H. How to Apply

Applications may be submitted at any time and are evaluated in bi-monthly rounds. Applications must be initiated by an OCE Business Development Manager, who will be available to assist with developing the application and will maintain responsibility for the oversight of approved projects. 

Applications are only accepted through OCE’s online AccessOCE system where full application and program partner requirements are listed. Download instructions for completion of the application.

Successful applicants and their industry partners must execute OCE’s standard funding agreement, including a completed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, within 30 days of notification of award. A copy of the Funding Agreement can be downloaded for your reference. Please do not fill out this form; a copy of the agreement will be generated through our online management system and sent to you upon approval of your project.

We encourage all applicants to start discussions with the industry partner(s) in the early stages of project development regarding intellectual property (IP) rights, as a completed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, must be provided following notification of award, to enable execution of the OCE funding agreement within 30 days.

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I. FAQ

Please review OCE's Program FAQ.

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J. Downloads


For more information on the VIP II program, eligibility and general inquiries, please contact:

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


Bettina Klenkler
Program Manager
(416) 861 1092 x1066
bettina.klenkler@oce-ontario.org