How it Works

A. Program Overview
B. How the Funding Works
C. Decision-Making Process
D. Eligibility
E. Eligible Use of Funds and Activities
F. Demonstration Project Case Studies
G. Project Reporting Requirements
H. How to Apply
I. Timelines

J. Downloads
K. Contact Information

Please note that applications to this program are currently closed. 

A. Program Overview

The AdvancingEducation Program helps connect Ontario’s public education system with companies to test early-market interest and demonstrate innovative products and technologies in an education setting. This includes English and French K-12 schools as well as post-secondary institutions.

Designed to bolster innovation in Ontario’s public education system through partnerships between schools and companies, the program invests in collaborative innovation procurement projects to demonstrate new technologies in a public sector setting as a means of building a strong case for adoption and system-wide scaling. 

OCE accepted applications for Round 2 from September 28, 2016 to January 23, 2017. The theme for Round 2 is:

Future-Proof Learning – seeking demonstration of innovative technologies that engage all students in the development of global competencies, including:

  • STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and ICE (innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship) related skills
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Self-Direction and Well-Being

Technologies may target one or more of the following users: students, teachers, administrators, and parents/caregivers.

The overall objectives of the AdvancingEducation Program are to:

  • Improve student learning and wellness outcomes, introduce innovative teaching methods, increase student engagement, enhance educator and administrator experience, and provide experiential learning opportunities for students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Build capacity for early-market engagement in the procurement process by providing a platform for the public education sector to share their “Problem Statements” directly with the Ontario innovation community, so that new solutions may be identified, implemented and demonstrated in a collaborative way
  • Enable the public education sector to identify and bridge barriers to realize sustainable and long-term adoption and procurement of innovation
  • Further establish Ontario as a model for innovative public education and a global leader in EdTech.

Projects of a considerable scale, with multiple education and/or industry partners, are strongly encouraged to apply.


B. How the Funding Works

  • A funding allocation of up to $250,000 per demonstration project
  • Approximately five demonstration projects will be funded per Call for Applications
  • 1:1 matching required on direct project costs (combination of cash and in-kind; minimum 25 per cent cash;  preference given to projects with strong cash contributions)
  • Funds will support eligible demonstration project costs at the company, at the public education organization(s), including student stipends; and collaborating academic institution(s) as applicable and based on a reimbursement model
  • Funding will support projects up to two years in duration and spanning two academic years
  • Flow of Funds: Funding for the demonstration project will be released to the public education organization that will be responsible for reimbursing their project partner(s). Upon project activation, 25 per cent of funding will be released. Further payments will be reimbursed upon receipt and approval of quarterly expenditure reports. 


C. Decision-Making Process

  • Applications will be assessed and reviewed by an external panel of experts against well-defined selection criteria. Projects that are outside of the scope will not qualify and may be referred to partner programs as appropriate. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) will be completed by the review panels prior to review of the proposals.

The application review process will comprise of: 

  • Expression of Interest (EOI) review and ranking by a committee of external reviewers with appropriate domain expertise. Highly ranked EOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal
  • Full proposal review by the External Review Panel (ERP), which is comprised of domain experts. Applicants will submit an online proposal and present to the ERP during a panel review meeting. The ERP makes funding recommendations to OCE based on its assessment of the application and presentation.  
  • The final funding decision rests with OCE, through the Internal Review Panel (IRP), which is comprised of senior OCE staff.


D. Eligibility Criteria

  • All applications MUST reflect a partnership between at least one public education organization and at least one Ontario-based company
  • The Lead Applicant MUST be an Ontario public education organization
  • The public education organization and/or a partner for the proposed demonstration project is expected to act as the demonstration site
  • The proposed demonstration MUST be at the pilot stage and will provide a competitive advantage or other significant benefits
  • Projects MUST demonstrate a good return on investment for the Ontario public education sector
  • The proposed innovation/technology MUST be validated and provide sufficient data to warrant a pilot-scale project and have the necessary approvals if required
  • Following a successful pilot, the innovation/technology can be scaled further across the market
  • The innovation/technology is best in class and will lead to a globally competitive business and market opportunity
  • Industry partner(s) MUST have an R&D presence and/or manufacturing facility in Ontario, and the operations in Ontario are expected to commercialize the R&D results of the project
  • Partners MUST meet the minimum cash and in-kind matching requirements
  • The proposed demonstration project MUST address a problem statement and/or challenge identified by the public education partner
  • Participants will agree to provide project metrics and progress reports to OCE
  • Participants will agree to cooperate with OCE and the academic case study partner(s) in the development of a case study based on the funded demonstration project (see below for details)
  • Applicants MUST be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE


E. Eligible Use of Funds and Activities

  • Innovation/technology implementation and demonstration  in a public education setting,
  • Student training and development opportunities on demonstration projects

Activities that are outside the scope of this program include pre-market evidence development and evaluation of new technologies.

Refer to the Eligible Expenses document for full details.


F. Demonstration Project Case Studies 

Successful applicants will be invited to work with OCE and our academic case study partner (the World Health Innovation Network (WIN)) to share their experiences and perceptions of the demonstration project they have been funded to implement.  The objective of this case study research includes the following:

  • Create a portfolio of empirical case studies to document evidence of outcomes, impact and key lessons learned from innovation procurement processes in the education sector;
  • Describe the impact of policy frameworks on the innovation procurement processes and outcomes;
  • Provide evidence to inform policy development to better support innovation procurement across the province;
  •  Document opportunities to build capacity and expertise in innovation procurement models and processes across the education system
  • Create evidence of the barriers and enablers and key conditions for success (ex. policy, tools, consumer engagement, provider engagement and leadership) to accelerate the adoption of innovative products and services in the public education sector.
  • Disseminate lessons learned and procurement project outcomes and impact across key education system stakeholder groups to build capacity in Ontario for education system innovation and scalability

Successful applicants will be introduced to the WIN research team (Chair of WIN, Dr. Anne Snowdon), who will then contact project leaders to describe the study protocol and obtain consent to participate.  The study protocols will involve interviews, document analysis, and observations of project events.


G. Project Reporting Requirements

  1. Interim Progress Reports:

    • At the end of every quarter, interim progress reports in addition to a detailed financial report – detailing actual expenditures and sources of funds – are required. OCE’s on-line application system, AccessOCE, will notify the Applicant and forward a link to the Applicant to submit the reports. The reports MUST be approved by OCE for release of funding. 
  2. Final Report(s):

    • Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, OCE’s on-line application system, AccessOCE, will notify the Applicant of the project end date and forward a link to the Final Project Report should the Applicant or Client wish to begin entering data. If an extension is required, it MUST be requested from your OCE Business Development Manager at this time.
    • On the scheduled project completion date, OCE’s on-line application system, AccessOCE, will notify the Applicant and forward a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics). Both Applicant reports MUST be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion.
    • 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. 
  3. Metrics Survey:

    • If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant MUST 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 fulfill its contract with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
    • Required metrics reports from all partners MUST be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.


H. How to Apply

The application is a two-step process:

  1. Expressions of Interest (EOI) stage
  2. Full proposal (invitation only)

Applicants can initiate an online application by working with an OCE:

  1. Business Development Manager.
  2. Innovation Procurement Manager, or
  3. Member of the Application Support Team.

Once an application is initiated, applicants MUST complete all requisite information requested in the online application module and upload a completed EOI form to the module.

Please complete all the information in the EOI template to ensure:

  • The proposal’s font and format are maintained
  • The proposal is submitted through the OCE online application system and uploaded as an attachment (PDF format accepted)

Download the EOI template.

Upon review of your EOI, OCE may request additional information or clarification to determine project eligibility. You will be notified via email and asked to follow up accordingly. This documentation will be appended to the submission.

A limited number of EOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal. The full proposal MUST include a comprehensive Milestones Table, budget and follow-up to any of the EOI questions.

Full applications must be submitted in OCE’s online application system, AccessOCE. Prior to submission, applicants MUST first request their OCE Business Development Manager (BD) to provide an endorsement of the application for eligibility and suitability. Once the endorsement is provided, the applicant or BD will then be able to submit the application.

Please allow at least one week prior to the application submission deadline for the BD endorsement step to be completed. Applications initiated less than one week prior to the deadline MAY NOT have sufficient time for a BD to support the application and provide an endorsement.

Successful applicants and their partners MUST execute OCE’s standard funding agreement, including a completed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, 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; a copy of the agreement will be generated through our online management system and sent to you upon approval of your project.

AdvancingEducation is a competitive program with limited funding. All eligible applications are assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria.


I. Timelines

Call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs)

September 28, 2016

AdvancingEducation Partnering Forum

November 23, 2016

EOI Submission Deadline

January 23, 2017

Invitations for Full Proposal

March 16, 2017

Full Proposal Submission Deadline

April 18, 2017 by 2 p.m.

Award Notifications to Applicants

June 20, 2017

Public Announcement of Results

August 2017


J. Downloads 


K. Contact Information

For project related inquiries, including assistance with potential applications, partnerships and details about the partnering forums, please contact a Business Development Manager in your area. 

For inquiries specifically related to eligibility, contracting and funding disbursements, please contact: Jennifer Moles, Innovation Procurement Manager, at

For general inquiries about the online application system and application form, please contact the Application Support Team at (416) 861-1092 x2400 or