TalentEdge Fellowship Program

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


A. Program Overview

Ontario’s TalentEdge Fellowship Program (TFP) provides support for Ontario-based PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows to work on industry-driven research and development projects. The TalentEdge Fellowship Program is open to PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows from across all disciplines, and all areas of specialization.  

TalentEdge fellowships are intended to provide PhD graduates with an experiential learning opportunity and hands-on industry experience. All fellowships must be project-based with clearly defined activities, milestones and outcomes. Projects must have a clearly-defined R&D component, where R&D is defined by the discipline and is inclusive of all areas of specialization and disciplines. 

Each 12-month fellowship is valued at $85,000 as follows:

  • $35,000 contribution from OCE. OCE will contribute $32,500 in cash and $2,500, in value, for professional development per fellowship, per year, for up to two years
  • $25,000 company cash contribution
  • $25,000 company in-kind contribution

Current Masters and PhD students and recent Masters graduates must apply through the TalentEdge Internship Program.

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B. Program Objectives

The objectives of the TalentEdge Fellowship Program are as follows:

  • Help students and recent graduates bridge the gap between academia and industry by providing hands-on experience with companies 
  • Build receptor capacity in industry for highly skilled R&D personnel
  • Provide research and development capabilities to companies
  • Improve companies’ competitiveness by attracting top talent and tapping into world-class R&D to strengthen capacity to develop new products, services, and processes
  • Develop and retain top talent in Ontario
  • Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and emerging technologies from academia to industry
  • Prepare and provide recent PhD graduates with an opportunity to engage and network with potential collaborators and employers across Ontario’s innovation ecosystem at Discovery, Ontario’s premier innovation conference

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C. How Funding Works

  • Fellowships can be 12 or 24 months in length. Each 12-month fellowship is equal to one unit (12-month fellowship = 1 fellowship unit)
  • Fellowships can be based at a company or an academic institution. The amount of time spent with the company, as well as the most appropriate location for the interaction, should be mutually determined and depend on the nature and needs of the project. If fellowships are based at an academic institution, fellows are required to spend a significant portion of their time on-site or in the field with the company.
  • Fellowship compensation per 12-month fellowship unit:
    • Academic-based fellows must receive a minimum compensation of $50,000 per year. Of the $85,000 value of the 12-month fellowship unit, up to $32,500 may be used for direct costs of the project (this includes a part of the cash and all company in-kind contribution to the fellowship); the $2,500, in value, from OCE for professional development, will be provided annually at OCE’s Discovery Conference. Attendance is mandatory.
    • Company-based fellows must receive a minimum compensation of $57,500 per year.  Of the $85,000 value of the 12-month fellowship, up to $25,000 may be used for direct costs of research (company in-kind contribution only); the $2,500, in value, from OCE for professional development, will be provided annually at OCE’s Discovery Conference. Attendance is mandatory.
  • Overhead is not an eligible expense for this OCE program.
Flow of Funds: 

OCE funds flow directly to the Applicant Organization, either the academic institution or the company depending on the location of the fellowship:

  1. Academic-based fellows: OCE funds will flow directly to the academic institution. 
    • Fellow must have a post-doctoral fellow status at the academic institution for the duration of the fellowship. Includes post-doctoral fellows at research hospitals, where applicable.
    • At the time of an award, an invoice for the company cash contribution plus HST* will be sent to the company. 
    • Upon receipt of the company cash contribution, OCE will release a payment equal to the award amount minus holdback of 10%.
  2. Company-based fellows: OCE funds will flow directly to the company.
    • Fellow must have employee status at the company for the duration of the fellowship.
    • Upon approval of the application, OCE will release a payment equal to the value of the award minus holdback of 10%.

The holdback will be released upon project completion and receipt of the following: progress and final reports, proof of payroll for the fellow (must include the fellow’s name, company/institution name, payment periods and amounts e.g., fellow pay stub, payroll print out, T4/T4A) and attestation from the financial officer/signing officer of the applicant organization regarding the use of funds.

* The Canada Revenue Agency requires OCE to collect HST on company contributions. Please note that HST is 100% recoverable by the company as an HST rebate. More information about HST rebate and recovery.

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D. Eligibility

I. Fellow Eligibility
II. Company Eligibility
III. Project Eligibility
IV. Professional Development
V. Eligible Expenses

I. TalentEdge Fellow Eligibility

  • A doctoral degree (PhD) in any discipline completed within the last five years.
  • May hold a maximum of two TalentEdge fellowships (consecutive, over lifetime).
  • Fellows must be eligible to work at the Applicant Organization. For company-based fellowships, the fellow must be eligible to work in Ontario. For academic-based fellowships, the fellow must have post-doctoral fellow status at the academic institution for the duration of the fellowship.
  • Fellows may not apply with a company where there is any conflict of interest, including, but not limited to, a company where the fellow or relatives have any control as a major creditor or shareholder or governing board.
  • Fellows may not apply if at the time of application submission they are a current or past employee of the company (including consultants, contract position, part-time, etc.).
II. Company Eligibility
  • Projects must include at least one for-profit company with operations in Ontario that meets the required cash and in-kind contribution.
  • The company must provide a Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). More information on BN.
  • On a case-by-case basis, OCE will consider applications where the contributing organization or social enterprise is an Ontario-based not-for-profit that has an innovative product, program or service and/or has a revenue-generating component (beyond grants or fundraising) in cases where the fellowship is in a non-STEM discipline (STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). 
  • Company must use the results for the economic, environmental, or social benefit of Ontario.  
III. Project Eligibility 
  • All fellowships must be project-based with clearly defined activities, milestones and outcomes.
  • Projects must have an R&D component, where R&D is defined by the discipline and is inclusive of all disciplines.
  • Projects must be commensurate with fellow’s experience and expertise.
  • Fellowships are not intended to be “first job”-type placements; all fellowships must be based on a defined project that is executed within the time frame of the fellowship.
  • Intellectual property arising from the project will be managed by the project participants. For academic institution-based fellowships, the parties are bound by the intellectual property terms of the university where the fellow is employed; except where intellectual property is covered by separate agreements to which the academic institution and the company are parties and the agreement is valid for the duration of the fellowship. For company-based fellowships, the parties are bound by the intellectual property terms of company where the fellow is an employee for the duration of the fellowship. OCE does not claim or manage IP rights.
  • Participants must enter into an agreement with OCE and co-operate in providing project reports (please refer to OCE Project Reporting Requirements).
  • Applicants and their partners must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE.
IV. Professional Development (OCE Discovery)

TalentEdge fellows will have the opportunity to directly engage with Ontario’s industry at Discovery, Canada’s leading innovation conference. Hosted by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Discovery brings together key players from industry, academia, government and the investment community, as well as entrepreneurs and students, to pursue collaboration opportunities.  

Attracting over 3,000 attendees and more than 500 exhibitors in 2015, Discovery is a showcase of leading edge technologies, best practices and research from sectors such as health, manufacturing, digital media and cleantech, including energy, environment and water. Renowned keynote speakers and panels ignite discussion, knowledge sharing, and new perspectives. Networking opportunities feature key influencers from government, academia, and industry in leading sectors. 

TalentEdge fellows are required to participate in business skills sessions as a part of their professional development at OCE’s annual Discovery conference. Attendance is mandatory and recorded by OCE. Failure to attend the professional development sessions may result in reduction or withdrawal of funding.

V. Eligible Expenses

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E. Evaluation and Assessment

Applications are internally reviewed for completeness, eligibility and use of funds prior to evaluation by an external review panel with domain expertise. Following an internal review, the applicant, co-applicant(s), partners and any other parties will be provided OCE’s standard funding agreement, to which a copy of the submitted application will be embedded, for execution. A copy of OCE’s standard funding agreement for company-based fellowships and academic-based fellowships is available for your review. Please do not sign this copy. The funding agreement must be signed, via our online electronic signature function, by all parties in the agreement, and returned to OCE via our online application management system, prior to the application being considered for external review.

TalentEdge is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding.  All eligible projects are assessed on their merit and undergo an external review process whereby the proposals are assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria. Expert reviewers with domain expertise will assess the application. The final funding decision is made by OCE. Typically, results will be announced within six weeks after receiving the signed OCE agreement. 

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F. OCE Reporting Requirements

Final Reports:

1.      Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant / Company will receive a notification of the project end date from OCE’s MIS system, with a link to the Final Project Report should the Applicant or Company wish to begin entering data. If an extension is required, it must be requested from the Project Administration Team (Project-Administration@oce-ontario.org).

2.     On the scheduled project completion date, the Applicant / Company 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 / Company reports must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion.

3.      An attestation on the use of funds will be requested to close the project (if applicable).

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:

5.      If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant / Company 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:

 6. Two years after project completion, the Company 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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G. How to Apply

As you develop your application in OCE’s online system, please note the following:

  • Applications must not exceed a maximum of two units per application (i.e. maximum of $65,000 in OCE contribution per application; $32,500 per fellowship unit). OCE will contribute $2,500, in value, for professional development per fellowship unit. The professional development amount is not entered into your budget.
  • Applications should be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the planned start date of the fellowship.
  • The Applicant Organization is either an academic institution or the company, and is based on the primary location of the fellowship and how funding will be administered.
    • For academic-based fellowships, where the fellow will spend a majority of their time at the university, the academic institution and academic supervisor is the Applicant Organization.  
    • For company-based fellowships, where the fellow will spend a majority of their time at a company, the company and project lead is the Applicant. Company-based fellowships do not require an academic partner. In your online application, for the ‘academic institution’ field, enter ‘Not Applicable’. 

Application Initiation: Step-by-step

  1. Eligibility Questionnaire completed by potential applicant (see link to Eligibility Questionnaire below)
  2. Eligibility Questionnaire reviewed by OCE (within 1-2 business days)
  3. If applicant meets program eligibility criteria, OCE will initiate an application and the applicant will receive a notification from AccessOCE
  4. Applicant logs in to AccessOCE account and submits the application via the online system. A complete submission includes:
    • Official transcript and curriculum vitae/resume of the fellow
    • Reference letter from the fellow’s PhD supervisor, including the following information:
      • Indicate the time period that the fellow was under your supervision
      • Describe the academic qualifications and expertise of the fellow
      • Describe the track-record of the fellow in terms of supervision of other students, publications, patents, key achievements, etc.
      • Describe the potential of the fellow
    • Curriculum vitae/resume for the academic supervisor or NSERC100 form (for academic-based placements only)
    • Information about the company, including but not limited to:
      • Business number issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). More information on BN
      • Incorporation date
      • Number of employees
    • Online application completed and submitted through AccessOCE 
Submission Timelines and Eligibility Questionnaire

Fellowships

Submission Timeline

Eligibility Questionnaire

PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows (within five years of PhD graduation)

  • Applications may be submitted any time and will be reviewed throughout the year. 

 

To initiate an application, please complete the Fellowship Eligibility Questionnaire.


For information on internships, please refer to TalentEdge Internship Program.

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H. FAQ

Please review OCE's Program FAQ

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I. Downloads

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For application initiation or general inquiries, including budget, please contact:  

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

For technical inquiries, please contact:

Management Information Systems
Tel: (416) 861-1092 x1005
Email: accessoce@oce.zendesk.com

For eligibility inquiries, please contact:

Binny Arora
Program Manager 
Tel: (416) 861-1092 x5001
Email: binny.arora@oce-ontario.org