Innovation guides not only businesses but also the future. Businesses may choose to look away from innovative solutions, but it is necessary for the long-term success of global space and general society. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has put the Idea to Innovation grants to support the development of promising technology from university and college sectors and promote its transfer to a new or already existent Canadian company.
Type of Funding Eligible
The Idea to Innovation Grant is split into five sections, with the funding changing per section.
The Market assessment projects are designed for institutions to conduct market studies for the products, processes, or technologies they plan to develop. The market assessment should focus on the primary research required to discuss with potential customers or partners.
The funding available for the market assessment for principal applicants only provides up to $15,000, up to 75% of project consultant costs. The technology transfer activities or the additional funds needed are up to $5000, or 25% of the costs. The duration of the funding is up to 12 months.
Phase I, also known as the reduction-to-practice phase, looks to support innovative projects and technologies that will help attract investments in its very early stages. The goal of this phase is to find whether theses technologies can access early phase investments and to see if the technology could be applied commercially through either an already established company or a completely new company. To experiment with the practicality of the technology, other companies, such as potential clients, could be involved to test the projects.
The amount of funding accessible is accessible to principal applicants and co-applicants, covering 100% of the project costs up to $125,000. The funding lasts for up to . For transfer activities or additional funds, up to half of the price can be covered by NSERC. The institution or partner must cover the other half.
This phase exists for projects with a high compromise or probability of securing an investor or licensing company.
This phase covers 100% of project costs up to $60,000. The funding duration is up to 6 months for this phase, applicable to principal applicants and co-applicants. The NSERC can cover technology transfer activities for half of the cost, but the institution or partner must cover the other half.
With Phase II, the technology enhancement phase, the projects should start establishing the technical feasibility of said project. This can be proved with scientific or engineering evidence that showcases that the project or technology being developed is practical and attainable. The market definition for the project should also be showcased, to see where it would fit and be implemented in the current market as a technology, process, or product. Once in this phase, the project should also have an early-stage investment entity that will share the costs that are undertaken for the project. These investors can be an early-stage investment identity (Phase IIa) or a company (Phase IIb), that can support the cost of the project.
The project proposals that have early-stage investors and are designed with a “go/no-go” decision point, meaning that in 6 to 18 months, they should represent an achievement of a predefined scientific or engineering milestone.
The amount of funding in phase IIa covers about 67% of total project costs up to $125,000. The funding duration is from 6 months up to 18 months, applicable to the principal and co-applicants. The institution or partner should cover any additional costs, with the NSERC providing up to half the cost. Any additional funds required from the partner (price/risk-sharing) can be claimed for 33% of costs up to $62,500.
This phase is for projects partnering with a Canadian company to support the development of their technology. The requirements for Phase IIa mainly apply to Phase IIb applications as well.
If funding was received during the previous phase, the claimant must show evidence that they had met their objectives:
- The prototype should already be existent
- There should be a strong business plan
- The involvement of experienced business mentors is necessary if the team is choosing to develop a new company
- The receptor capacity to manufacture, distribute, license, etc. should be substantiated
- The adequate budget should show the product will be at the end of the marketing/manufacturing stage by the end of the phase IIb grant
- The “in-kind” contributions need to be fully justified, as the contributions will be scrutinized
The funding in phase IIb will cover 50% of project costs up to $350,000. The funding duration is up to 24 months, applicable to the principal and co-applicants. Half of the technology transfer activities can be covered by NSERC, with the other half covered by the institution or partner. The partner/company is required to contribute their portion of the project costs in the form of in-kind contributions and cash. Additionally, the cash contribution must cover at least 40% of the funding received from NSERC.
The project durations depend on the phase they are in, which go from a minimum of 6 months to up to two years. The application deadlines are as follows: January 7, April 4, June 27, and September 26, 2022.