Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP)

The Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program helps companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships between Ontario's industry and publicly funded post-secondary institutions. VIP projects are intended to generate economic benefit for companies in Ontario (including job creation/retention, new revenue generation, investment attraction, cost savings, value chain development), in the short-to-medium term (e.g. within three years of project completion).

Program Summary

Program Name

Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP)

Program Status and Submission Deadline

✓ Open for Applications (accepted at any time)

What it Supports

R&D collaborations between companies and publicly funded university/research hospitals

Project Sector

All

Basic Eligibility Criteria

(A full list of eligibility requirements is available.)

Research Partner:

  • Principal investigator at Ontario publicly funded university/research hospital, or applied research officer at Ontario publicly funded college

Industry Partner:

  • For-profit company
  • Incorporated in Ontario for a minimum of two years, and five full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in Ontario
  • Operations and/or R&D in Ontario with capacity to commercialize results of the project

Project:

  • Utilizes unique skills/resources of post-secondary institution to meet industry innovation and commercialization needs

OCE Funding

Between $20,000 and $150,000 to the post-secondary institution (minimum $20,000 per year)

Project Duration

Six months to 24 months

Matching Requirement

1:1 cash from the Industry Partner

  • Minimum 50 per cent of the 1:1 match must be spent at the post-secondary institution; remainder may be spent at the company
  • Cannot be leveraged with other federal or provincial grant programs unless otherwise stated in this program guideline

How to Apply

See details on the How to Apply tab.

Contact

Search OCE’s Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions. For further assistance, see details on the Contacts tab.

More program information

Program Overview and Benefits

The VIP program helps companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships between Ontario's industry and publicly funded post-secondary institutions. VIP projects are intended to generate economic benefit for companies in Ontario (including job creation/retention, new revenue generation, investment attraction, cost savings, value chain development), in the short-to-medium term (e.g. within three years of project completion).

The VIP program is supported by the Government of Ontario.

When applying to the VIP program, eligible applicants can also leverage funds from several federal Co-Funding Partners, through a streamlined, single application process. Current Co-Funding Partners include:

Benefits to Industry Partners

Benefits to Post-Secondary Institutions (Researchers and Students)

Benefits to Industry Partners

  • Gain access to cutting-edge knowledge, new talent, unique facilities and equipment to extend company R&D capabilities
  • Create solutions to current industry challenges, leading to revenue and job creation, follow-on investment, increased productivity and/or cost savings
  • Access several provincial and federal funding sources through one application
  • Establish relationships within the research community and OCE's networks

Benefits to Post-Secondary Institutions (Researchers and Students)

  • Use knowledge and innovative ideas, to help solve real-world R&D challenges
  • Establish relationships with industry and within OCE's networks
  • Provide students with valuable experiential learning opportunities

How Funding Works

OCE Contribution

50% (maximum) of total eligible project costs, from $20,000 to $150,000

  • Minimum OCE contribution $20,000 per year

Industry Partner Contribution

50% (minimum) of total eligible project costs (i.e. minimum 1:1 match to OCE contribution), in cash

  • At least half of the 1:1 match must be spent at the post-secondary institution; remainder may be spent at the company
  • Cannot be leveraged with other federal or provincial grant programs unless otherwise stated in this program guideline

Example

Total eligible project costs: $200,000

  • Maximum OCE contribution $100,000 to post-secondary institution
  • Minimum Industry Partner contribution $100,000 ($50,000 to post-secondary institution, plus $50,000 spent at the company)

OCE Funding Recipient

Publicly funded post-secondary institution (i.e., university, college, research hospital)

Institutional Overhead

  • Overhead is not an eligible project expense and should not be included in the project budget
  • Overhead on the OCE contribution will be remitted separately by OCE to the institution (10 per cent of OCE contributions to direct project costs)
  • Overhead on the Industry Partner contribution payable to the institution must be discussed with the institution's research office at the time of application, to ensure it is correctly accounted for

Applicants may jointly apply for the following co-funding with an OCE VIP application where all eligibility criteria are met. Please see the Eligibility tab (Co-Funder Eligibility) for more details.

Mitacs Accelerate

Mitacs Accelerate Funds collaborative research between companies or not-for-profit organizations in all sectors, students and/or postdoctoral fellows, and professors at Canadian academic institutions.

Mitacs

Maximum investment

$7,5000 per intern per four- to six-month internship unit

Industry Partner Matching (Minimum)

$7,500 per intern per four- to six-month internship unit

Project Duration

Six to 12 months

Sector

All

Institutional Overhead

OCE: N/A

For Mitacs Accelerate-partnered projects, industry partner should send their contribution to Mitacs and Mitacs will release the funds to the post-secondary institution upon activation of the project by OCE. Applicants will be allowed to apply for more than one internship.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Financing and Advisory Support

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It provides access to financing, both online and in-person, as well as advisory services to help Canadian businesses grow and succeed. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions. For 75 years and counting, BDC's purpose has been to support entrepreneurs in all industries and all stages of growth.

Companies that require a loan to support their contribution towards a VIP project, or who have other business projects that need financing, can apply online for a BDC loan of up to $100,000 with no application fees, competitive interest rate and flexible terms. It's fast, easy and affordable. Industry partners on VIP 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 application. With the BDC online loan, funds are accessible in as little as 48 hours of being approved*. Additionally, BDC offers a range of advisory services to assist SMEs to accelerate growth, improve productivity and build organizational capabilities. More information about BDC advisory services can be found on BDC's website.

*Certain conditions apply.

Eligibility Requirements

OCE VIP eligibility requirements are listed on this page. Please review the list of additional eligibility requirements when jointly applying to federal Co-Funding Partners.

Research Partner

  • Principal investigator at an Ontario-accredited, publicly funded university/research hospital, or applied research officer at an Ontario-accredited, publicly funded college (additional primary researchers must be listed as team members in the application)
    • Adjunct professors may be eligible on a case-by-case basis. At a minimum, the adjunct professor must 1) actively conduct research at an Ontario institution, 2) be allowed by the institution to hold a grant and be given an institutitional account, and 3) be allowed to supervise students.
  • Has an arms-length relationship with the industry partner
  • In good financial and reporting standing with OCE

Industry Partner

  • For-profit, incorporated in Ontario for at least two years, and has a valid
    CRA business number The 9-digit business number (BN) is a common client identifier for businesses to simplify their dealings with federal, provincial, and municipal governments. The BN is the first nine digits of your company’s HST account number. The BN for your company may be verified at one of the following links: Industry Canada or CRA.
    *Note that your CRA designated 9 digit BN will differ from your Government of Ontario designated Corporation number.
    ; has a minimum of five full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in Ontario; is using or developing technology innovation or innovative processes for competitive advantage in provincial, national and/or global markets
  • Has operations (production and/or R&D) in Ontario related to the project
  • Has the intent and potential to apply, exploit and/or commercialize the results of the project for the economic benefit of Ontario
  • Has the necessary expertise and resources to put the project into effect within an appropriate timeframe
  • Company subsidiaries (organizations with headquarters outside of Ontario) are eligible, provided that the Ontario operations meet all the above criteria
  • In good financial and reporting standing with OCE
  • Companies with over $100,000 in active OCE projects must complete those projects (including all final reporting) prior to OCE considering other applications for funding. This excludes TalentEdge Internships and Fellowships

Project

  • Leverages the unique capabilities of the research environment and of the post-secondary research team, and is 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 (note: Co-Funding Partners may have different IP policies; please consult their guidelines for more information).
  • All participants must co-operate in providing project outcomes and metrics in required reports
  • View a list of eligible project expenses

Co-Funder Eligibility

Mitacs

Applicant

  • Faculty from an Ontario university/research hospital
  • Eligible to hold Tri-Council funds

Intern

  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or international student
  • Full-time graduate student, OR
  • Post-doctoral fellow (except those who have previously held a Mitacs Elevate award), with PhD granted no more than five years prior to the project start date

Industry Partner

N/A

Project

  • Eligibility of not-for-profit partners and project economic orientation must be assessed by the Mitacs Business Development Manager prior to proposal submission

More details

Mitacs guidelines

BDC

Industry Partner

  • Canadian-based business
  • Generating revenues for at least 24 months
  • Good credit history
  • Business owner reached the age of majority in the province or territory where they live

More details

Please contact BDC for details regarding program eligibility and information.

More program information

How to Apply

Program Status: ✓ Open for applications (accepted at any time)

  1. If you are ready to apply for the Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) Program, the Industry Partner should connect with their Business Development and Commercialization Manager to start the process towards initiating an application.

  2. If new to OCE, the Industry Partner should complete the Program Enquiry Form (click above) to be connected with a Business Development Manager to discuss VIP eligibility and how to start the application process. *Please note that completion of this form does not constitute an application for funding. Once the Program Enquiry Form has been completed, an OCE Business Development Manager (BDM) will contact you within two business days to discuss the opportunity and if required, to assist in identifying a Research Partner.
  3. The opportunity will undergo an initial vetting and due diligence assessment by OCE to ensure that opportunities fulfill all eligibility criteria and are suitable for the VIP program. The opportunity must be both eligible and suitable to move forward in this very competitive program.
  4. If the opportunity is selected as eligible and suitable for the program, you will be sent an auto-generated link to OCE's online application system, AccessOCE, to complete the application. The application will remain open for 90 days.
  5. Complete the online application form. Both the Industry Partner and the Research Partner can log into OCE's AccessOCE using your existing username and password to complete the application. If it is the first time you are using AccessOCE, please follow instructions to create a username and password. The application must be completed jointly between the Industry Partner and the Research Partner. Please ensure only the eligible expenses are included in the budget as OCE will not reimburse ineligible expenses. Once both the Industry Partner and Research Partner have jointly completed the application including terms and conditions, it must then be submitted (by either partner) to the post-secondary institution's Research Office for endorsement.
  6. For assistance, please see the following resources:

  7. The Research Office must then submit the application to the OCE Business Development and Commercialization Manager (BDM) for final endorsement and submission. The BDM endorsement may take up to one week. Once the endorsement is provided and OCE internal review completed, the application will proceed to external review.

Reference Documents

Assessment Process and Criteria

VIP is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible applications undergo a review process where the applications are assessed against program objectives and other criteria. Not all eligible applications will be approved for funding.

  1. Complete applications will undergo a written external peer review by three subject-matter experts from academia, industry and/or government. Reviewers are contractually bound by confidentiality and conflict of interest requirements.
  2. Recommendations from the peer review process will be assessed by OCE's Internal Review Panel, which will have responsibility for the final OCE decision. Decision notifications are typically provided within eight to 10 weeks of application submission.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated against assessment criteria including:

  • Significance of the challenge/opportunity to support the company's business strategy and/or growth
  • Rationale for the proposed project to address the company-specific problem or opportunity
  • Clarity and appropriateness of the research and development methodology, objectives and roles of each partner
  • Feasibility of the project plan (i.e. milestones, budget, timeframe, project management plan and risks)
  • Appropriateness of the team's experience, expertise and resources to perform the proposed project
  • Clarity of the rationale and plan for collaboration between the research team and company
  • Clarity and feasibility of the plan to implement and/or commercialize the project results, including management of Intellectual Property emerging from the project, and next steps after the project completion
  • Adequacy of the company resources and capacity to commercialize the results
  • Likelihood of economic benefit for the company in Ontario (including job creation/retention, new revenue generation, investment attraction, cost savings, value chain development) within three years of project completion
  • Overall quality and completeness of the application
More program information

Project Activation

  • Upon approval of a project for funding, the post-secondary institution and industry partner will be forwarded a copy of OCE's standard funding agreement. This funding agreement must be signed, via OCE's online electronic signature function, by the institution and industry 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 as a copy of the agreement will be generated through OCE's online management system and sent to you upon approval of your project.
    • The purpose of the OCE funding agreement is to define roles and obligations for the project partners with regards to OCE's guidelines and funding contribution only. Project partners are encouraged to enter into a separate research agreement to ensure agreement on other roles and responsibilities specific to the project.
  • The project will be activated upon receipt of the signed funding agreement. The start date will be by default the date of activation and cannot be changed.

Flow of Funds

  • The OCE contributions are provided to the post-secondary institution. Upon activation, OCE will release an advance payment equal to 25 per cent of the OCE award amount. Subsequent payments are made upon submission and approval of progress reports and reimbursement requests. 10 per cent of the OCE award will be held back until project completion. For example:
  • Example OCE award amount

    $100,000

    Funds released upon project activation

    $25,000 advance

    Holdback

    $10,000

  • OCE will not release any funds until the project is activated and will not be held responsible for any expenses incurred for the project prior to approval of award. If for any reason the requirements for activation are not met within thirty (30) days from the date of release of the approval notification, the funding offer may be retracted.
  • All Industry Partner cash contributions to be spent at the post-secondary institution must be provided directly to the institution. The institution may be requested to provide confirmation of receipt of these funds.
  • The holdback will be released upon project completion; receipt and approval of the following: Applicant and Client final progress and financial reports, outcomes and attestation from the institution regarding the use of funds.

Project Reporting Requirements

The following project reports will be required. Project reporting requirements are a contractual obligation. Failure to report is a breach of contract and may result in the termination of your contract, forfeiture of remaining project funding and/or a request to return funds.

Annual Progress and Claims Reports (Mandatory)

An Annual Report is required for projects with durations greater than 12 months. Thirty days prior to end of 12 months, Research Partners will receive a notification from OCE's AccessOCE system, to complete the Annual Report, including Claims Report with detailed expenditures for reimbursement of eligible expenses.

Final Progress and Claims Report (Mandatory)

A Final Report is required for all projects. Forty-five days prior to the scheduled project completion date, the Industry and Research Partners will receive a notification from OCE's AccessOCE system to complete the Final Project Report, including Claims Report with detailed expenditures for reimbursement of eligible expenses. All required final reports by all partners must be submitted within 30 days of project end date in order to release the holdback and maintain good financial standing with OCE.

If an extension to complete the project is required, the Research Partner must request it prior to the scheduled project end date, using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. A maximum extension of three months will be allowable for projects with duration of up to 12 months, and six months for projects with duration of 13 to 24 months.

Quarterly Progress and Claims Reporting (Optional)

Up to once per quarter for the duration of the project, the post-secondary institution's finance office may submit a Quarterly Progress and Claims Report with detailed expenditures for reimbursement of eligible expenses. Please contact the Program Manager to request quarterly reports. OCE will only release funding upon approval of the submitted progress and claims report.

Retrospective Survey (Mandatory)

At one, two and three years after project completion, the Industry Partner 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.

Project Changes

  • For any variances to the OCE budget of $5,000 or greater, or extensions to the project end date, the Research Partner must complete a Project Change Request prior to the project end date, using the Project Administration tab in the AccessOCE project file. A maximum extension of three months will be allowable for project with duration up to 12 months, and six months for projects with duration 13 to 24 months.
  • For any other material change to the project, including but not limited to changes related to the project's Research Partner, Industry Partner, scope of work or eligible expenses, the partners must contact the Program Manager as soon as the changes are known.

For More Information

Search OCE’s Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions.

For further questions regarding program guidelines, eligibility, and submitting the online application, please contact your OCE Business Development Manager or:

For more information on the VIP program, please contact:

Alexandra Ho
Program Manager
Tel: 416-861-1092 x5018
Email: Alexandra.Ho@oce-ontario.org


Funding Partners


BDC
Mitacs-120x100

How to Apply

Program Status: ✓ Open for Applications (accepted at any time) 

If new to OCE, the Industry Partner should complete the Program Enquiry form (click above) to be connected with a Business Development Manager to discuss VIP eligibility and how to start the application process. Please note that completion of this form does not constitute an application for funding. Once the Program Enquiry Form has been completed, an OCE Business Development Manager (BDM) will contact you within two business days to discuss the opportunity and, if required, to assist in identifying a Research Partner. See details on the How to Apply tab.


​Last update: August 27, 2019