College Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II (VIP II)

A. Program Notes
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 Notes

Please note the following program notes:

  • 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 research partner.
  • If approved for funding, the OCE Funding Agreement will be released upon notification of approval, and both the OCE Funding Agreement and the Schedule D - Intellectual Property Term Sheet must be signed by the applicant institution and industry partner(s) and returned to OCE within 30 days. Please note that the OCE Funding Agreement is standard and modifications will not be accommodated.
  • Applications will be undergo a written review by three external subject-matter experts. In-person External Review Panel (ERP) meetings will no longer be required.
  • Applications may be submitted at any time. Notifications of decision will be provided within approximately 6-8 weeks of receipt of a complete application.

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B. Program Overview

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

The VIP II program supports collaboration between companies and publicly-funded post-secondary institutions and industry for durations of 12 to 24 months.

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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 industries and publicly-funded post-secondary institutions. 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 publicly-funded post-secondary institutions 
  • Create marketable solutions to current industry challenges 
  • Increase productivity, revenue and jobs
  • Gain access to OCE's research networks and exposure to other OCE programs

Research Institutions:

  • Access exciting research and development 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 will support up to 50% of the eligible research and development costs, with a minimum annual OCE investment of $50,000 and a maximum annual OCE investment of $75,000. Projects must be between 12 and 24 months in duration. The maximum OCE investment is $150,000 over two years.
  • The industry partner must support at least 50% of the eligible research and development costs, i.e. must provide at least 1:1 matching on the OCE contribution. The matching contribution may consist of cash and in-kind support, however a minimum of 50% must be in cash. For example, for a request from OCE for $100,000, the industry partner must provide $100,000 with at least $50,000 of this in the form of cash.
  • The cash (and in-kind) contributions from the industry partner are provided by the partner to the post-secondary institution. Project participants are encouraged to negotiate additional agreement(s) to enable the transfer of these funds.
  • The OCE contributions are provided to the post-secondary 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 post-secondary 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 Applied Research and Development (ARD) 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

  • Research partner (Applicant) must be a principal investigator at an Ontario-accredited post-secondary institution. For college projects, the applicant must be a representative of the college applied research office, with the primary researchers included as team members. 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 research 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 research and development environment and team of the post-secondary institution 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 an executed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet (for example, in the form of a Collaborative Research Agreement), 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.

Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, applications will undergo a written external review by three subject-matter experts.

For applications submitted by colleges, representatives of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) may be included in the external review process as required, to assess the project’s degree of support of the college’s approved Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA).

Recommendations from the external 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 6-8 weeks of receipt of a complete application submission. 

Evaluation Criteria​

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

  • Clarity of the company challenge, significance of the opportunity, and expected economic benefit to the company and Ontario (e.g. new revenues, job creation/retention, productivity improvements)
  • Ability of the innovation to address the company challenge, technical merit and novelty
  • Expertise and experience of the team members, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and evidence of collaboration
  • Clarity, feasibility and appropriateness of the project plan and budget
  • Evidence of next steps, and clear strategy and capacity to bring the results to market and/or implement at the company
  • Overall quality and completeness of the application

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G. Project Changes and Reporting Requirements

Project Change Requests

For any variances to the OCE budget of $5000 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.

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 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 six months will be allowable. 
  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 post-secondary 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 funding ministries. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Retrospective Survey:

  1. At one, two, and three 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

VIP II applications may be submitted at any time. To begin the application process, please complete a client intake form. An OCE Business Development Manager (BD) will contact you to discuss the opportunity and assist you with developing your application. Your OCE BD will also maintain responsibility for the oversight of approved projects. 

A sample application form may be viewed for informational purposes only. Applications are only accepted through OCE’s online AccessOCE system where full application and program partner requirements are listed. Download instructions to complete the application.

Prior to submission, applicants MUST first request their OCE Business Development Manager (BD) to provide an endorsement of the application for eligibility and suitability. Once the endorsement is provided, the applicant or BD will then be able to submit the application. Please allow at least one week for the BD endorsement step to be completed.

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.

All applicants should start negotiation with the industry partner(s) regarding intellectual property (IP) rights soon after submission of the application, as if funded, an executed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, must be provided together with a signed copy of the OCE Funding Agreement within 30 days after notification of award.

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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


Angela Fong
Program Manager
(416) 861 1092 x 1071
angela.fong@oce-ontario.org