Aerospace R&D Challenge

The call for Expressions of Interest to this program is now closed.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC), the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) are partnering to support collaborative research and development projects by Ontario industry companies and academic research partners through OCE’s Voucher for Industry Association R&D Challenge Program. 

The Aerospace R&D Challenge is a $2.5-million program initiative supporting areas of technology that are strategically important to the Ontario aerospace sector. Goals of the program include development of technological breakthroughs and new enabling technologies, with significant economic benefit for Ontario (jobs, revenues, etc.).

Interested researchers are invited to submit expressions of interest in partnership with industry partners for the development of collaborative research projects for this Aerospace R&D Challenge.

How Funding Works

The Aerospace R&D Challenge program partners (OCE, OAC, CARIC and NSERC) will select approximately five qualified projects (each lasting up to two years) to be funded by OCE, NSERC, industry and CARIC (where applicable). Selected projects will undertake research and development in the aerospace sector and demonstrate an economic benefit to Ontario. Potential areas of focus include purpose-built aerospace, supply chain development, and systems and sensors, although all R&D projects that address aerospace industry needs will be considered. 

Direct contributions from OCE, CARIC, NSERC and the industry partner(s) may total up to $400,000 per project (cash and in-kind). Overall, this program provides industry partners with a maximum 2:3 total leverage on their contribution (in-kind and cash). For details on OCE, CARIC and NSERC leverage calculations, please see examples below.

Projects may be funded in one of two ways:

  • Stream 1: OCE and NSERC funding (for non-CARIC-eligible projects)
  • Stream 2: OCE, NSERC and CARIC co-funding (for CARIC-eligible projects; see Eligibility Criteria below)

Stream 1:

OCE will provide funding of up to $80,000 per project for direct project costs. OCE funds support the academic partner(s) who must be located at an Ontario accredited public academic institution (university or college).

To qualify for OCE funding, applicants must provide a minimum match of 2:1 (including cash plus in-kind) from industry for direct project costs. The cash component of the industry contribution must be at least 100 per cent of the amount requested from OCE; i.e. if OCE contributes $80,000 per project, the industry contribution must be a minimum of $80,000 cash PLUS $80,000 in-kind for direct project costs. 

Institutional overhead is not an eligible project expense and should not be included on either the OCE or industry funded portions of the 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 to a maximum of 20 per cent of 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. 

Funding Per Project (Stream 1):

Partner  Maximum cash contribution per project ($) In-kind contribution per project ($) 
OCE  80,000   
Industry  80,000*  80,000* 
NSERC  160,000**   
Total  320,000  80,000 

*Minimum required match
**See section below for more details on NSERC matching contributions

Stream 2:

For projects that are eligible for CARIC co-funding, applicants may apply for funding of up to $80,000 per project for direct project costs (combined OCE and CARIC contribution).

To be eligible for CARIC co-funding, the project must:

  • Involve a minimum of two industry partners and two academic partners. At least one industry partner and one academic partner must be from Ontario.
  • All applicants and industry partners must either be CARIC members, or become CARIC members upon approval of a project. Membership is required for the duration of the project. For details on membership please see the CARIC website or contact Richard Worsfold (richard.worsfold@oce-ontario.org).

By applying for this stream, applicant companies may form partnerships with other companies which may include those from other parts of the value chain (e.g. suppliers). Research institutions and companies in Ontario may also form cross-provincial partnerships. Through CARIC, organizations have access to a large variety of services and resources to leverage their R&D projects, de-risk the R&D process and reduce time-to-market. They can also benefit from a talent pool of highly qualified personnel throughout Canada. CARIC offers its members networking opportunities, support to set up their research projects, and many other benefits. 

For EOIs selected to proceed to full proposal stage, the CARIC contributions to the project will be determined on a case-by-case basis by OCE and CARIC at the time of full NSERC proposal preparation. CARIC will co-fund eligible projects with OCE to a maximum of 10 per cent of the total project costs.

OCE funds support the academic partner(s) who must be located at an Ontario accredited public academic institution (university or college). CARIC funds (where applicable) support the academic partner(s) who may be located at an accredited public academic institution (university, college or research centre) in Ontario or within another province. 

Applicants must secure a minimum of 2:1 (cash plus in-kind) total matching from industry for direct project costs. The cash contribution must match 100 per cent of the combined amount requested from OCE and CARIC; i.e. if OCE and CARIC contribute $80,000 per project (combined), the industry contribution must be a minimum of $80,000 cash PLUS $80,000 in-kind for direct project costs. There must be at least one Ontario industry partner who provides cash and in-kind contributions as a match to OCE funding to the Ontario academic institution. 

Institutional overhead should not be included on either the OCE/CARIC or industry funded portions of the budget. The overhead that is to be attributed as part of the OCE contribution will be calculated directly by OCE and paid annually to the OCE-funded academic institution(s), to a maximum of 20 per cent of direct costs of OCE-funded research.

A portion of the total CARIC contribution will be attributed to institutional overhead, to a maximum of 15 per cent of direct costs of CARIC- and industry-funded research, which will be paid separately from the direct project budget. Any additional 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. 

Funding Per Project (Stream 2):

Partner  Maximum cash contribution per project ($) In-kind contribution per project ($) 
OCE/CARIC  80,000*   
Industry  80,000**  80,000* 
NSERC  160,000**   
Total  320,000  80,000 

*CARIC will co-fund eligible projects with OCE, up to 10% of total project costs
**Minimum required match
***See section below for more details on NSERC matching contributions

Industry contributions to the project are further leveraged by NSERC CRD and ARD programs.

For industry-university and industry-college projects, NSERC CRD or ARD grant will match the industry cash contribution to the direct costs of research (excluding institutional overhead, i.e. the Net Contribution), up to twice the net industry cash if the in-kind contribution is at least the same as the net industry cash**.

Sample calculation showing additional NSERC CRD leverage on the Industry contributions:

 
Net Contribution
($)
NSERC CRD Contribution** ($)
Industry Cash 80,000 80,000
Industry In-kind 100,000 80,000
Total Industry 180,000 160,000

Please refer to NSERC CRD and ARD contribution and eligibility requirements online: 

Typical Activities:

  • Experimental design
  • Lab testing
  • Pilot projects
  • In-situ experiments and data collection
  • Workshops and meetings
  • Cross-disciplinary exploratory meetings
  • Highly qualified personnel (HQP) development
  • Intellectual Property development

Typical Use of funds:

  • Salaries and benefits not paid by public institutions, including, but not limited to students (undergraduate and graduate), post-doctoral fellows, technologists. (Principal investigators’ salaries are not supported by this award.)
  • Small equipment purchase (prorated to project duration) or equipment usage
  • Materials and supplies
  • Travel
  • Project management or other direct project administration costs up to a maximum of 10 per cent of the direct project costs
  • Intellectual Property protection costs are the responsibility of the applicant/partner(s) and are not an eligible project expense
  • Institutional overhead is not an eligible project expense. Overhead will be paid separately as described in the How Funding Works section above.

A full list of eligible expenses can be viewed on NSERC's website. 

Additional details on partner contributions can be viewed on NSERC's website.

 

Benefits

Companies

  • Access new talent and established academic researchers
  • Identify innovative marketable solutions to current industry challenges
  • Gain affordable short-term skilled labour
  • Increase productivity and revenue
  • Gain exposure for company and brand

Academia

  • Access exciting innovation challenges and conduct cutting edge research to solve industry and sector-wide problems
  • Increase visibility of your team in both academic and industry research environments
  • Create intellectual property
  • Establish relationships with industry firms 

Students

  • Gain real-world experience
  • Enhance skills through R&TD training and development
  • Connect with established companies 
  • Use knowledge and fresh ideas to solve industry and sector-wide problems

Eligibility Criteria

  • Projects must include at least one investing industry partner and one academic institution in Ontario
  • Industry partner(s) must have an R&D presence and/or manufacturing facility in Ontario, and the operations in Ontario must be expected to commercialize the R&D results of the project
  • To be eligible for CARIC co-funding, the project must also:
    • Involve a minimum of two industry partners and two academic partners. At least one industry partner and one academic partner must be from Ontario.
    • All applicants and industry partners must either be CARIC members, or become CARIC members upon approval of a project. Membership is required for the duration of the project. For details on membership please see the CARIC website or contact Richard Worsfold (richard.worsfold@oce-ontario.org).
  • 2:1 cash plus in-kind matching is required from the industry partner(s); e.g. If OCE (and CARIC where applicable) invests $80,000, the industry partner must contribute a minimum of $80,000 cash plus $80,000 in-kind towards direct project costs.
  • R&D projects must leverage the unique capabilities of the academic environment and academic team and be non-competitive with Ontario private sector capabilities
  • Projects must be in the aerospace sector with a demonstrated immediate upstream or downstream benefit to the aerospace industry leading to novel, newly adapted or adopted processes, products, or services
  • 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 and outcomes metrics, annually at a minimum
  • Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE and NSERC, and CARIC (where applicable)
  • Please note that companies that have 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  

 

How to Apply

Application is a two-step process:

  1. Expressions of Interest (EOI) stage: 
    OCE, OAC and CARIC will issue a Call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for industry-academic R&D projects that address opportunities/challenges in the identified focus areas.
  2. Invited NSERC application stage: 
    Selected applicants submit a full application to NSERC CRD or ARD grants.

Step 1:

Eligible applicants must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) describing the specific challenge or opportunity, along with an industry letter of commitment which must include the following items:

  • Support for and agreement with the proposal
  • Reasons for being involved in the collaboration
  • Anticipated benefits from the project outcomes
  • Effort required to exploit the results in Ontario and Canada
  • Benefits to the Ontario and Canadian economy and the relevant time frame
  • Anticipated interaction of industry personnel with the university / college researchers
  • The contribution to the direct costs of the research (cash and in-kind)
  • In the case of a small company, it is recommended that a company profile be included

To initiate your online application, please contact your OCE Business Development Manager or the Application Support Team (application-support@oce.zendesk.com) who will assist. Applicants are recommended to engage with an OCE Business Development Manager to help in the preparation of the EOI. Applications are only accepted through OCE’s online system where the EOI questions must be attached, and full submission requirements (including project contacts, summary for public release, classification, budget, milestones, team members) are listed.

EOIs must be submitted via the OCE Online Application System before 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Please ensure that you have initiated your online application at least one week prior to the deadline.

An EOI review committee comprised of representatives of OCE, OAC, CARIC, NSERC and industry experts will review and select EOIs to go forward for submission to full application to the NSERC’s Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) or Applied Research and Development (ARD) program. CARIC-eligible projects that are selected by the EOI review committee will also require approval by the CARIC Scientific Committee prior to final approval of the EOI to proceed.

Step 2:

Applicants whose EOI was selected by the EOI Review committee will be invited to submit a full application to NSERC CRD or ARD grants (see forms on the NSERC website).

For CARIC-eligible projects (Stream 2), applicants will work with their OCE Business Development Manager to confirm the breakdown of OCE and CARIC contributions.

The first draft of NSERC CRD/ARD application must include a completed application, budget information and letter(s) of support. The draft must be submitted to NSERC by Friday, April 8, 2016 before 5:00 p.m.

Final CRD/ARD applications must be submitted to NSERC by Friday, May 13, 2016 before 5:00 p.m.

Successful applicants and their industry partners must execute OCE’s non-negotiable funding agreement, including a completed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, within 60 days of notification of NSERC 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.

For CARIC-eligible projects, applicants and partners must also execute CARIC’s funding agreement within 60 days of notification of NSERC award. A copy of CARIC’s funding agreement for reference is available on request.

 

Decision-Making Process

Applicants may work with an OCE Business Development Manager throughout the application process. The funding process is competitive. Expressions of Interest will be reviewed by a panel comprised of OCE, OAC, CARIC, NSERC and industry experts.

The top ranked EOIs will be invited to submit full proposals through NSERC’s Collaborative Research & Development (CRD) or NSERC Applied Research & Development (ARD) programs.

Full applications will undergo arms-length peer review by NSERC.

Preference will be given to EOIs that:

  • Demonstrate immediate upstream or downstream benefit to the aerospace industry, leading to novel, newly adapted or adopted processes, products, or services
  • Demonstrate an innovative approach to solving an important challenge
  • Are very likely to be commercialized/implemented and generate economic benefit for Ontario and Canada
  • Demonstrate close industry-academic R&D collaboration
  • Engage or include training opportunities for post-doctoral fellows and graduate students
  • Anticipate tangible deliverables in the form of new technologies, new processes, significant skills transfer, job creation, or other downstream benefits to society

Flow of Funds and Reporting Requirements:

OCE and CARIC funds will flow directly to the academic institution:

  • Upon execution of the OCE and CARIC Funding Agreements, OCE and CARIC will release payments as follows:
  • OCE and CARIC will release an initial payment of 45 per cent of the OCE/CARIC contribution when all Agreements have been executed. A subsequent interim payment (45 per cent of the OCE/CARIC contribution) will be released upon receipt of interim progress and financial reports.
  • 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. 

Overhead on OCE contributions is calculated by OCE and paid annually to academic institutions. Overhead is calculated at a rate of 20 per cent x direct costs of OCE-funded research. For CARIC-eligible projects, overhead on CARIC and industry contributions will be paid separately from the direct project budget, to a maximum of 15 per cent of direct costs of CARIC- and industry-funded research.

NSERC funds will flow to the academic institution following NSERC CRD/ARD guidelines based on project length and value, as shown on NSERC's website.

The following project reports will be required by OCE and CARIC:

Interim Progress Reports:

1. Applicant(s) will be required to complete Interim reports (including progress and financials) at one half of the project duration. The reports must be approved by OCE and CARIC for release of the second funding tranche.

Final Reports:

2. After completion of the project, the Applicant(s) and Industry Partner(s) will be required to complete Final Project Reports (including progress, financials and metrics). Applicant and Partner reports must be received and approved by OCE and CARIC within 30 days of project completion.

3. When the Applicant and Partner 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 and CARIC.

Project Metrics:

5. If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant(s) and Industry Partner(s) will be required to complete annual OCE and CARIC metrics surveys each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE and CARIC to fulfil their contracts with their government funders. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE and CARIC.

Retrospective Survey:

6. Two 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.

Reporting to NSERC will follow NSERC CRD reporting requirements based on project length and value as shown on NSERC's website:

Timelines

Date Application steps
Thursday, October 8, 2015 Call for EOIs
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

EOI deadline for submission to OCE

EOI Submission Checklist:

  • Application Information
  • Public Release Classification
  • Project Contacts
  • Application Form
  • Project Plan and Budget
  • Attachment Checklist: Supporting documents

Please ensure that you have initiated your online application, either through an OCE BD or Application Support, at least one week prior to the deadline.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 A panel reviews the EOIs and informs applicants about their submission status
Friday, April 8, 2016 First draft of NSERC CRD/ARD application is due for invited candidates
Friday, May 13, 2016 Final application submission to NSERC CRD/ARD
August to October 2016 Funding agreement executed, approved projects start

To apply, please contact your OCE Business Development Manager or the Application Support Team (application-support@oce.zendesk.com) who will assist in initiating an Expression of Interest in the OCE online application system.

For more information on the Aerospace R&D Challenge, please contact:

For general inquiries about the program: eligibility, funding, timelines, application process:

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

Bettina Klenkler, PhD
Acting Director, Programs
(416) 861 1092 x1066
bettina.klenkler@oce-ontario.org

For OCE Business Development assistance with preparation of EOI and CRD/ARD applications:

Richard Worsfold
Director, Business Development
(416) 861 1092 x3252
richard.worsfold@oce-ontario.org