How it Works

A. Program Overview

In its first year the Ontario-Israel Research Network Program – MAGNET (OIRNP-MAGNET) is committing CAD 2M to support Cybersecurity-Fintech companies, and potentially academic institutions, developing cybersecurity technology solutions in the Financial Services sector. OCE is collaborating with the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) during this inaugural call. Future calls may focus on different sectors.

Managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and offered through a partnership with Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science (MRIS) and the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA), the program supports bilateral collaboration, including consortia comprised of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and academic institutions to jointly develop cybersecurity technology solutions for multinational, Ontario-based financial institutions (FIs). Each application must include at least one SME from Ontario, one SME from Israel, and one partnering FI from Ontario. Ontario applicants are encouraged to collaborate with academic researchers.

The expression of interest (EOI) submission does not require identification of an Israeli SME or FI, though if a potential partnership has been formed it should be identified. SMEs with accepted EOIs will be required to attend a Partnering Forum in mid-May 2017 in Toronto where they will meet with all other SMEs, both Ontarian and Israeli, as well at the FIs. Full Applications will be submitted thereafter.

Partnering FIs include: Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Scotiabank, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD).

Both jurisdictions have committed CAD 1M each in 2017 to support this initiative for a total of CAD 2M that will be matched by the participating SMEs. Ontario funds will be disbursed to successful Ontario SMEs by OCE. Successful SMEs from Israel will be funded separately by IIA.  

  • Projects may include technology and knowledge applications, product customization, near commercialization or new market creation activities
  • Applications should demonstrate how the projects will provide economic benefits in both jurisdictions
  • Project activities should take place primarily in Ontario and Israel

The project participants are required to demonstrate that they themselves have, or have ready access to, the infrastructure and resources required to complete the joint development of the project.

Objectives

  • To create partnerships through bilateral collaboration that develop innovative industry-oriented technologies that will strengthen both Ontario and Israel’s technological expertise while enhancing competitiveness. 

Priority Areas

In the current call for proposals, OCE and IIA are seeking cybersecurity solutions that will support Financial Institutions with the following six challenges:

1. 

Solutions that can leverage data spanning across various forms of cyber security threats, fraudulent transactions and suspicious activities around money laundering to detect patterns and reduce the time to detect occurrences of these events. Bringing together the whole of financial crime activity into one view to provide insight into the threat landscape. Proposed solutions will:

  1. Reduce the cost/impact of cyber and fraud events.
  2. Provide new models for proactive monitoring.

2.

Solutions for authentication that demonstrate to an interface that the user is who they claim to be.  Today's methods rely on a combination of what the user knows (password), what they are (biometrics), and what they have (tokens).  In addition, today's generation leverages mobile phones as a core communications device. Proposed solutions:

  1. A platform solution that integrates a combination of technologies to validate identity i.e. not limited to biometrics, facial recognition, voice recognition, passwords, geolocation, and/or behavioral analytics. Applications would directly connect to the service, instead of trying to authenticate at the application level.
  2. A frictionless authentication methodology – where the user has limited or no awareness of the authentication method – is preferred.

3. 

Solutions that develop a cost effective and efficient approach to encrypting / securing data in the cloud both at rest and while in use. Proposed solutions will:
  1. Reduce cost and complexity, while increasing effectiveness beyond current solutions such as Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) and other encryption.

4. 

Solutions that block malicious network traffic as close to the source as possible and that can provide numerous benefits to downstream individuals and organizations.  Proposed solutions will:
  1. Allow voluntarily installed downstream nodes to report back to systems placed at upstream chokepoints (e.g. at telcos, network connects) to block obviously malicious traffic or monitor suspect traffic closer to the source (e.g. similar to botnet and c&c model being used for good).
  2. Provide local and central visibility of telemetry from downstream nodes.  Provide ability to centrally control chokepoints and downstream nodes.
  3. Enable tools and processes for coordinated response by participants.

5. 

Solutions addressing the trend around increasing use of third parties and expanding supply chains broadening the attack surface for many organizations.  Proposed solutions will help companies manage third party risk by:

  1. Identifying and maintaining an organization’s third party footprint with as much automation as possible.
  2. Identifying network connections / links with third parties with as much automation as possible.
  3. If the solution has visibility to the suppliers of multiple organizations, identifying suppliers that represent concentration of risk.

6. 

Solutions focused on security technology tooling orchestration and threat hunting automation. Proposed solutions will:

  1. Provide an automated platform / tool capability for policy enforcement against a threat from a centralized console.
  2. Command and control orchestration of security tools against specific threats.
  3. Choose which tool to enforce the security controls on, based on the best fit and effect of the tools managed by the orchestration tool.
  4. Automate threat hunting from security events that are generated by Cyber Analytics algorithms on a Big Data platform.
  5. Leverage advanced algorithms such as Machine Learning (ML), can identify potentially novel threats (security findings).
  6. These findings require further analysis and contextualization to support investigations.
  7. This threat hunting may require the interrogation of other security tools or other contextual data in order to assess the threat.
  8. Threat hunting capability examples:
    1. Analyze outliers identified and determine if the outlier is significant.
    2. Determine if a suspicious event/activity is actually malicious.
    3. Answer the what/why/how questions for flagged alerts during the analysis.
    4. Understand attacker/threat capabilities and potential targets.
    5. Extract additional artifacts from impacted targets.
    6. Leverage ML models in support of attack path modelling (APM).

Future calls for proposals may focus on other priority areas. 

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B. How Funding Works

OCE and IIA will conduct parallel two-stage application processes.

  • Ontario-based SMEs submit Expressions of Interest (EOIs) directly to OCE
  • Israel-based SMEs submit EOIs directly to IIA
  • Selected SMEs will be invited to a Partnering Forum to meet other selected SMEs from both Ontario and Israel, and the partnering FIs
  • Partnered Israel-Ontario SMEs will be invited to submit Full Applications – the Israeli SMEs will submit their Full Application directly to the IIA and Ontario SMEs will submit their Full Applications directly to OCE
  • On approval of the Full Applications, collaborating SMEs and FIs will execute agreements and begin a project
  • Flow of Funds: Project funding will be released to the SME. Upon project activation, 25 per cent of funding will be released by OCE to the Ontario SME. Further payments will be reimbursed upon receipt and approval of reports. Funding from IIA will be released to the Israeli SME according to the IIA funding procedures.

Duration

Project terms should not exceed two years and are non-renewable.

Grant Amount

Successful Ontario applicants will be eligible to receive a maximum of CAD 200,000 grant funding per project from OCE to fund the Ontario portion of the project. Additional grant funding will be provided to the corresponding Israeli applicant on each project by IIA to fund the Israel portion of the project (e.g., the maximum grant amount to be received by a project is CAD 200,000 in Ontario and CAD 200,000 in Israel, to a total of CAD 400,000). 

Matching Contributions

All grant funding must be matched 1:1 by industry cash.

  • Projects of any size can be proposed for funding
  • Overall, OCE will pay up to 50 per cent of eligible Ontario project expenditures, to maximum of CAD 200,000
  • Upon successful execution of the Funding Agreement, 25 per cent of funds will flow directly to the Ontarian SME. The remaining 75 per cent of the funding will flow directly to the SME based on a claims and reimbursement model for eligible expenses. Claims can be made when submitting Interim Report(s) and the Final Report, required at the end of the project. More information on reporting in section E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements.
  • Projects can be up to 24 months in length
  • A Letter of Support from each source of matching funds, signed by a signing officer of that organization, must be included along with the Full Application confirming both the amount of matching funding, and the intended use of the contribution

For more information on eligible and ineligible expenses please refer to the OIRNP Eligible Expenses Guidelines.

C. Eligibility

Eligible Ontario Applicants

Ontario funding is open, on a competitive basis, to:

  • Ontario SMEs – defined as a company with less than 500 full time employee equivalents (FTE), conducting R&D and/or manufacturing in Ontario, with at least half of their FTE working and living in Ontario.
  • Each application must include at least one SME from Ontario, one SME from Israel, and one partnering FI from Ontario. Ontario applicants are encouraged to collaborate with academic researchers.

Note: FI’s act as the receptors to SME’s technology during the project term.

Israeli partners apply directly to IIA for funding.

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D. Evaluation and Project Activation

Review Procedure

Applications – EOIs and Full Proposals – will be assessed under a five-step process (for schedule, see F: Timelines).

  1. Ontario and Israeli EOIs will be evaluated by OCE and IIA respectively for eligibility, completeness, compliance with program requirements, and fit with the program objective
  2. EOIs meeting the above criteria will then be reviewed by the partnering Ontario FIs, who will select the top applicants to attend the OIRNP Partnering Forum.
  3. Leading up to, and following the Partnering Forum, SMEs – both Ontarian and Israeli – will work with FIs towards submitting a Full Application
  4. All Full Applications will be evaluated independently by OCE and IIA for eligibility, completeness, compliance with program requirements, and fit with the program objective
  5. Full Applications will be reviewed by external domain experts in both jurisdictions that will assess the applications against program selection criteria and make recommendations to OCE, IIA, FIs and MRIS
  6. Final funding decisions will be jointly made by OCE, MRIS and IIA after approval in their respective jurisdictions
  7. Final decisions will be communicated through letters to the Lead Applicant identified in the Applications

Evaluation Criteria

EOIs and Full Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of assessment criteria that may include but are not limited to: 

  • Scientific merits of the project / significance of the technological innovation
  • Commercial merits of the project
  • Strategic benefit to Ontario and Israel
  • Benefits to Ontarian and Israeli companies and FIs
  • Ability and capacity of the project team

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E. Funding Agreement and Project Reporting

Applicant’s Agreement

If selected to receive a grant under OIRNP, Ontario applicants must enter into an agreement with OCE, which will include conditions such as:

  • Project activities and deliverables cannot be changed without the written approval of OCE
  • Projects may be subject to an audit
  • Any good and/or service to be purchased in relation to the Ontario side of the project, with a value of more than CAD 25,000, must go through an open procurement process before the applicant purchases the good and/or service. See the BPS Procurement Directive for more information
  • Progress reports must be submitted a minimum of every year including progress on project deliverables, results, budget, and partner contributions – reporting templates and schedules will be provided
  • Actual project resources and expenditures will be reviewed on a regular basis and may result in an adjustment in the payment level in subsequent years
  • Projects will be required to acknowledge the Government of Ontario’s support
  • The provision of an indemnity and the requirement to maintain commercial general liability insurance

Click here for a template of the full Funding Agreement. 

Reporting

Progress and Claims Reports

  1. Progress and Claims Reports will be required detailing:
    • The significant accomplishments and performance measures of the project
    • Achievement of milestones and deliverables as set out in the above project plan
    • Actual expenditures
  • The Applicant MAY submit up to two-reports per year – to trigger the release of additional funds
  • The Applicant MUST submit at least one report per fiscal year
  • The Applicant will receive the reporting template upon signing the Funding Agreement
  • Ontario funds will be reimbursed by direct deposit upon successful submission and review of the report, Israel funds will be reimbursed in accordance with the SME agreement with IIA
Note: Applicant MUST retain all proof of purchases, receipts, and other relevant documentation relating to eligible expenses. 

Final report

  1. A Final Report will be required at the end of the project detailing:
    • The significant accomplishments and performance measures of the project
    • Achievement of milestones and deliverables as set out in the above project plan
    • Detailed accounts of project related expenditures
  • The Applicant will receive a notification and the reporting template forty-five days prior to the due date
  • If an extension is required, it must be requested via OCE’s online AccessOCE system
  • Ten percent (10 per cent) of the total OIRNP grant will be held back until the final report is received and approved

All required final reports by all partners must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order for reimbursement, and to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Retrospective Project Reports

  1. Applicants will be required to complete a brief retrospective survey on an annual basis three years from the end date of the project. The retrospective survey is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with the Ministry. 

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F. Timelines

Ontario Application Timelines

Activity

Date

EOI submission period begins

February 7, 2017

EOI submission period ends

2pm E.S.T. on March 2, 2017

EOI evaluation

March 2 - April 13, 2017

Invitation to Partnering Forum

April 13, 2017

Partnering Forum

May 15, 2017

Full Application submission period begins

May 15, 2017

Full Application submission period ends*

July, 2017

Full Application evaluation

July-October, 2017

Funding Decisions**

October, 2017

*Including a draft consortium agreement
**Funding dependent upon presenting a signed consortium agreement

OIRNP is a discretionary and non-entitlement program. As such, even if applicants submit complete applications and meet all OIRNP program criteria, there is no guarantee they will be awarded funding.

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G. How to Apply

Preparing Applications

  • In preparing the application, where indicated, use the template tables provided as attachments.
  • Please adhere to the restrictions on the amount of information provided in the relevant sections of the application form.
  • Use plain English and avoid technical jargon whenever possible.
  • Avoid long descriptive narratives. Use bullet points or summary tables where possible. 

Submitting Applications

  • Applications MUST be submitted via email to alexandra.ho@oce-ontario.org
    • ATTN: Alexandra Ho, Program Manager
    • Subject Line: OIRNP / Lead Applicant Name / Project Name
  • All completed Ontario applications must be received by the OCE no later than the application deadline. Late and incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email within one business day of application submission, please contact Alexandra Ho, Program Manager by phone or email (contact details below).

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I. Contact

Applicants needing additional information or clarification regarding the OIRNP-MAGNET call for EOIs may contact:

Ontario Israel

For eligibility inquiries:

Alexandra Ho
Program Manager
Ontario Centres of Excellence

T: 416.861.1092 x 9-5018
E-mail: alexandra.ho@oce-ontario.org

Les Abelson
Program Director - North America
Israeli Innovation Authority

T. 972.2.5118139
E-mail: Les.Abelson@innovationisrael.org.il

 

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