College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP)


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

K. Contacts

Please note that this program is no longer accepting applications.

A. Program Overview

The College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP) stream of the College Applied Research and Development Fund (CARDF) supports Ontario colleges to work in partnership with industry associations, industry consortia and/or groups of companies to build capacity for innovation in strategic sectors and/or technology areas and drive economic growth. The intent of this program is to accelerate, expand, and/or enhance the applied research and development (R&D) plan for the industry partners, by leveraging the expertise and resources available at the college.  Colleges will develop a portfolio of applied/industrial R&D projects that will drive broad benefits across many companies and help to move an entire sector, cluster, or technology area forward. These partnerships will support start-ups, SMEs and large companies through projects with Ontario colleges to focus on sector or technology challenges that have demonstrable global market potential. CSSCTP outcomes will include commercialization and increased productivity with significant economic impact for Ontario.

Intake for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) to the College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP) program opened on January 24, 2017.  


B. Program Objectives

The objectives of the College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP) program are to:

  • Support capacity building within colleges and alignment with strategic mandates, to address sector or cross-sector applied R&D challenges, and positively impact multiple companies within a cluster, sector or technology area
  • Drive increased industry-college collaborations while creating an efficient marketplace for industry to access innovation, productivity and commercialization resources within Ontario colleges
  • Provide experiential learning opportunities for college students
  • Enable the development of new products, services and processes, facilitate productivity improvements and help generate new revenues and high-value jobs in Ontario


C. How Funding Works

  • OCE may provide between $250,000 and $1,000,000 to support eligible research and development costs, for a portfolio of industry-college collaborative applied R&D projects.
  • Each funded project within the portfolio must have at least 1:1 matching on the OCE contribution from the industry partner(s). The matching per project must consist of at least 25% cash and the remainder in-kind.
  • A minimum of 25% of the total required industry matching for the portfolio, and/or at least one industry partner, must be identified at the time of Full Application to demonstrate industry commitment and a pipeline of projects.

Flow of Funds

  • OCE contributions are provided to the Applicant college. Upon award and execution of the OCE Funding Agreement, OCE will release a portion of the funding for Defined Projects (see definition under Section D: Eligibility below), which have been identified at the time of agreement execution. Interim payments for the initial and subsequent Defined Projects will be released to the Applicant based on receipt of interim progress and financial reports.
  • A holdback of 10 per cent of the total OCE contribution will be released upon project completion and receipt and OCE approval of the following for all projects within the portfolio: final progress, metrics and financial reports, outcomes and attestation from the Applicant regarding the use of funds.
  • Institutional overhead is not an eligible CSSCTP project expense and should not be included on either the OCE or industry funded portions of the project budget. The overhead that is to be attributed as part of the OCE contribution will be calculated directly by OCE and paid annually to colleges at a rate of 20 per cent x direct costs of OCE-funded applied 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.
  • The cash (and in-kind) contributions from the industry partner(s) on portfolio projects are provided by the partner(s) to the college directly. Project participants are encouraged to negotiate additional agreement(s) to enable the transfer of these funds. The college is required to provide periodic attestations to OCE to confirm receipt of the cash and in-kind contributions from all industry partners.


D. Eligibility

D.1 Applicant and Partner Eligibility 

  • Applications for a portfolio of projects under the CSSCTP program must be submitted by a publicly-funded Ontario college (lead Applicant). Additional colleges may be included in the application as Co-Applicants.
  • The lead Applicant must be a representative of the College Applied Research Office, with the primary research faculty members and industry partner representatives included as team members. The Applicant and Co-Applicant(s) must have an arms-length relationship with the industry partner(s) as defined on NSERC's website (refer to the section Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Partner Organizations). 
  • Projects may be in partnership with industry association(s), consortia or groups of companies in a given sector or technology area.
  • 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.
  • All participants (Applicant, Co-Applicant and industry partners) must be willing to co-operate in providing project and outcomes metrics.
  • The lead Applicant must consent to represent the college(s) and industry partner(s) on all portfolio projects, including, but not limited to, providing OCE with financial, metrics and progress reports on all portfolio projects at pre-determined intervals and as necessary. Participating co-applicants and industry partners must consent to have the lead Applicant submit reporting to OCE on their behalf.
  • Applicant, Co-Applicant and other project partners must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE.

D.2 Portfolio and Project Eligibility

  • Individual projects within the portfolio must have a maximum duration of 24 months. Up to six months additional time for the overall portfolio is allowable, for colleges to define all projects within the portfolio and secure all required funding allocations, industry partners and matching contributions. Therefore, the total duration of the portfolio may not exceed 30 months (six months to establish the portfolio plus 24 months maximum individual project duration).
  • Proposed portfolio projects must be focused on a sector, cluster or technology platform.
  • Proposed portfolio project activities must align with the applicant college(s) existing Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) and/or direction of future SMA
  • Proposed portfolio project activities must be in the area of applied R&D
  • Each portfolio project must include at least one for-profit industry partner and one college in Ontario.
  • The portfolio of projects at the time of application may consist of both “Defined Projects” and “Potential Projects” where:
    • Defined Projects means: clearly identified project; specific funding allocations with confirmed industry partners and matching contributions (i.e. confirmed in a letter of support);
    • Potential Projects means: clearly identified project scope, general funding allocations and representative partners; industry partners’ matching contributions may not be fully secured

      A minimum of 25% of the total required industry matching for the overall portfolio, and/or at least one industry partner, must be identified at the time of Full Application, to demonstrate industry commitment and pipeline of projects.

  • In the Full Application, Applicants must outline their proposed review and selection process for Potential Projects. The review process must be to the satisfaction of OCE, and draw on sector expertise internally and/or externally, including participation by OCE, as required by the Applicants or by OCE.
  • The lead Applicant must provide OCE with interim lists of Defined and Potential Projects during the duration of the portfolio of projects.
  • Industry partners 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).
  • Portfolio projects must leverage the unique capabilities of the research and development environment and team of the college and be non-competitive with Ontario private-sector capabilities.
  • Each portfolio project may range from early-stage R&D to later-stage validation and demonstration. It can be a focused project with specific, short-to-medium-term objectives, or a discrete phase in a program of longer-range applied research. However, in all cases, the industry-led focus of the portfolio project, and the expected ultimate commercial impact on the industry partner(s), must be evident in the application.
  • Contribution to the training and industry exposure of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) at the college is a desired element.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) arising from the project will be managed by the project participants as OCE does not claim or manage IP rights.

D3. Eligible Activities and Costs

Projects can be at any point in the applied research and development (R&D) spectrum that is consistent with the college’s mandate. Activities could include:

  • Experimental design
  • Lab testing
  • Experiments and data collection
  • Workshops and meetings
  • Cross-disciplinary exploratory meetings
  • Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) skills development

A full list of eligible expenses is available

E. How to Apply

Application to the College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP) program is a two-stage process, consisting of:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI)
  2. Full Application (invitation-only)


  • Eligible applicants must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) Form describing the specific sector/cluster/platform challenge, alignment with the college Strategic Mandate Agreement, college resources and team members, and proposed project portfolio, including a description of any preliminary projects if identified.
  • Applicants should engage with an OCE Business Development Manager to prepare the EOI.  
  • EOIs must be submitted before 12pm noon on Thursday, April 13, 2017.  
  • EOIs will be reviewed by OCE, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and Colleges Ontario as required. Selected EOIs which are eligible, and aligned with the Program Objectives and college Strategic Mandates, will be invited to proceed to the Full Application stage.


  • Full Applications will be accepted by invitation only and through OCE’s online system, AccessOCE.
  • Submission of a Full Application requires the following:
    • The Full Proposal questions must be uploaded as an attachment (only PDF format accepted)
    • All submission requirements in the OCE online system including project contacts, summary for public release, classification, list of Defined and Potential Projects, final budget and milestones, and identified team members must be completed
    • Applicants will be required to outline, in their Full Application, their proposed review process and selection criteria to assess and select individual portfolio projects.  This review process must be to OCE’s satisfaction and draw on the relevant domain and sector expertise internally and/or externally, including participation by OCE, as required
    • At least one support letter from an industry partner confirming their cash and in-kind contributions must be included  
    • Full Applications must be submitted before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, 2017.

Successful Applicants must execute OCE’s standard funding agreement within 30 days of the notification of award.

Intellectual Property arising from the project will be managed by the project participants. OCE does not claim or manage IP rights. We encourage all Applicants to start discussions with their industry partner(s) in the early stages of project development regarding Intellectual Property (IP) rights. 


F. Evaluation and Assessment

CSSCTP is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. Following internal OCE review for application completeness and financial compliance, all eligible EOIs and Full Applications undergo a review process where the applications are assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria.

The CSSCTP program has a two-stage review process:

  • EOIs will be reviewed by members of OCE’s Internal Review Panel (IRP), including representatives of MAESD and Colleges Ontario as required, and subject to conflict of interest policies. The EOI will be assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria.  Selected EOIs will be invited to submit full applications.
  • Full Applications will be reviewed by OCE’s External Review Panel (ERP) including a written assessment and presentation to the panel. The ERP is comprised of external, impartial members from both academic and/or industry with appropriate experience and knowledge to contribute to the decision-making process. MAESD and Colleges Ontario representatives may be included as required.
  • The ERP will review the submitted applications and presentation, including feedback from the presenters, and make funding recommendations to OCE.
  • The final funding decision rests with OCE. Decision notifications are typically provided within 6 to 8 weeks of Full Application submission.

Assessment criteria include but are not limited to:

  • Demonstration of strong industry commitment and leadership in the partnership, including but not limited to:
    • industry cash and in-kind contributions
    • letters of support/interest
    • composition of participating team of colleges and industry partners
  • Demonstration of immediate upstream or downstream benefit to the industry, leading to novel, newly adapted or adopted processes, products, or services
  • Demonstration of innovative approaches to solving important challenges
  • Demonstration of a roadmap of project outcomes to be commercialized/implemented and generate economic benefit for Ontario
  • Demonstration of close industry-college R&D collaboration
  • Demonstration of alignment with SMAs for participating college(s)
  • Anticipation of tangible deliverables in the form of new technologies, new processes, significant skills transfer, job creation, or other downstream benefits to society
  • Demonstration of a well-defined process at the college for identifying, reviewing and selecting projects and industry partners
  • Provision of significant training and/or experiential learning opportunities for students


G. Timelines 

 Date Application Steps

January 24, 2017 

Call for EOIs

12pm on April 13, 2017

Deadline for EOI submission to OCE

Mid May, 2017

A panel reviews the EOIs and informs applicants about their submission status

2:00 pm on July 6, 2017

Deadline for Full Application submission to OCE (using OCE’s online system, AccessOCE) 

Mid August, 2017

Decision notification

September, 2017

Funding agreements executed and approved projects start


H. Reporting Requirements

The Applicant will be responsible for collecting progress, financial and metrics data from all co-applicants and portfolio project industry partners, and providing reports to OCE for all portfolio projects.  The Applicant must also provide attestations to OCE to confirm receipt of cash and in-kind matching funds from each industry partner.  Funds released to the Applicant will be dependent on expenditures and matching contributions received at the time of reporting.

1. Portfolio Development Report:

The Applicant has up to six months from the portfolio start date to fully define the portfolio of projects.  The Applicant must submit at least one report within six months’ time, to provide information on each of the portfolio projects including the project details, funding amount, industry partner information and matching contributions.

2. Progress and Finance Reports:

Periodic Interim Progress reports including: i) total expenditures of OCE project funding; ii) total industry cash and in-kind contributions; iii) data on individual portfolio projects and partners, will be required through the portfolio duration. The Applicant will receive notification and a link from OCE’s AccessOCE system to submit progress, metrics and financial reports. The reports must be approved by OCE for release of subsequent funding tranches.

3. Final Reports:

  • Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date of the overall portfolio, the Applicant 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 wish to begin entering data. The Applicant will be submitting reports for all individual portfolio projects on behalf of all industry partners. If an extension is required, the Applicant MUST request it using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file.
  • On the scheduled overall portfolio completion date, the Applicant will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s AccessOCE system. These reports must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of overall portfolio completion (i.e. completion of all individual projects in the portfolio).
  • When the Applicant and industry partner final reports have been approved, the Applicant will be required to complete an attestation of the use of funds to close the project. OCE may also request proof of expenditures.
  • All required final reports must be submitted within 30 days of overall portfolio completion in order to release the holdback, and maintain good financial standing with OCE.

4. Project Metrics

  • If the portfolio continues past a fiscal year-end (March 31), the Applicant will be required to complete an annual Metrics survey each April, for the part of the portfolio that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with its funding Ministries. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

5. Retrospective Survey

  • At one, two and three years after portfolio completion, the Applicant will be sent a link to complete a retrospective survey to collect data on commercial outcomes from the projects from the industry partner(s). This information is required by OCE for assessment of program impact and continuous improvement.



Please review OCE's Program FAQ


J. Downloads


K. Contacts

For OCE Business Development assistance with preparation of EOIs and Full Applications, please contact your OCE Business Development Manager

For more information on the College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP) Program, eligibility and general inquiries, please contact:

Angela Fong
Program Manager
Tel: 416 -861-1092 x1071