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Canada–Germany 2023-24 collaborative industrial research and development call for proposals (NRC IRAP-ZIM Call 12)

From: National Research Council Canada

1. Call description

Working together, the Government of Canada and the Government of Germany aim to foster and support collaborative industrial research and development (R&D) projects with high potential for commercialization. This call for proposals is open to companies from Canada and Germany who wish to perform joint R&D leading to technology commercialization focused on developing innovative products, processes, or technology-based services in all technological and application areas which have strong market potential.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) will provide access to public funding for joint projects through the BMWK's ZIM program (Central Innovation Program for SMEs) in Germany, and through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) in Canada.

2. Application deadlines

3. Sectors of focus

This call for proposals is open to projects in all sectors that are civilian in nature.

4. Eligibility requirements

To be considered for funding, applicants must form a project consortium and develop a collaborative R&D project that meets the following criteria:

4.1 Canadian eligbility requirements

  • The Canadian applicant must:

    • be an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized entreprise (SME) in Canada
    • have 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
    • pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada
    • have a differentiated and protectable technology with commercial potential in global markets
    • have sufficient working capital (e.g. revenue, investment) and resources to undertake a multi-year R&D collaboration and commercialize the results
    • be committed to significant growth through international market expansion
  • Preference may be given to SME applicants who:

    • have a minimum of 15 full-time equivalent employees
    • have commercialized one or more products domestically or internationally
    • have greater than $500,000 CAD in annual revenue

4.2 Consortium

  • The project consortium must include at least:

    • 1 eligible Canadian SME
    • 1 eligible German R&D performing SME, defined as a for-profit company with less than 1,000 employees
  • The parties listed above must be unrelated parties (i.e. no direct, indirect, beneficial or constructive ownership interest between these parties).
  • The project partners that form the consortium must agree on a plan addressing intellectual property rights and intent to commercialize.

4.3 Project

  • The project must focus on co-development, adaptation or validation of an innovative product, process, or technology-based service that has:

    • substantial commercial potential and outcomes that can be realized within 2 to 3 years of completion of the project
    • a civilian (non-military) purpose
  • The project must demonstrate:

    • a complementary technological contribution from each partner
    • an obvious advantage and added value resulting from the cooperation between the participants
    • an adequate balance and significance for all project partners, defined as no more than 70% of the project work effort may be contributed by any one organization in a 2-partner project, and no more than 50% of the project work effort may be contributed by one organization in any project with more than 2 partners

4.4 German eligibility requirements

Please consult the German call for proposals announcement (only available in German) for German eligibility requirements.

5. Funding

Eligible project participants in collaborative projects selected through this call for proposals may receive funding from their respective national funding body. Funds will be provided in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, rules and procedures established by the relevant national funding body, country, jurisdiction or program.

Non-eligible project participants (e.g. universities, research institutes, etc., and other companies) are welcome to participate on a self-funded basis or as sub-contractors to funded participants, according to each country's funding regulations.

Additional country-specific funding parameters are outlined below.

5.1 Canadian funding

In Canada, this call for proposals is offered through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). NRC IRAP is responsible for delivering this call for proposals and for managing any resulting funding agreements.

Eligible Canadian SMEs may receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible project costs up to a maximum total funding amount of $500,000 CAD over 12 to 24 months (an extension of 12 months may be considered if sufficiently justified and accepted by both countries).

Note: Canadian SME applicants must be eligible for funding as NRC IRAP clients before they can be considered for funding through this call for proposals. For more information on NRC IRAP eligibility and becoming a client, please contact NRC IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.

Note: Canadian SME applicants may apply to more than one NRC IRAP call for proposals simultaneously. However, NRC IRAP may limit the number of funded projects per applicant. Canadian SME applicants who are applying to more than one opportunity or who have ongoing NRC IRAP projects should speak to their NRC IRAP representative for more information.

5.2 German funding

In Germany, this call for proposals is administered by AiF Projekt GmbH and offered through Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand (ZIM). AiF Projekt GmbH is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and the management of any resulting funding agreements.

Please consult the German call for proposals announcement (only available in German) for funding parameters.

6. Application process

Application processes and evaluations will be performed independently by each national funding body in accordance with their national and institutional laws and regulations. Once each national funding body has evaluated the submitted applications, a final joint project selection will be performed.

Each applicant must submit all required documents to, and meet the due diligence process of, their respective national funding body. Failure at any point or for any reason to do so may cause the entire collaborative project application to be considered incomplete or ineligible and render the entire project consortium ineligible for funding through this call for proposals.

Information on respective application processes follows below:

6.1 Canadian application process

The Canadian application process has 4 phases:

  1. registration
  2. expression of interest
  3. international consortium project proposal
  4. national funding body proposal and funding agreement

Step 1: Registration phase

Each Canadian applicant must register using the Register button at the end of this page. Basic information about the applicant and the organization will be required upon registration.

NRC IRAP will review registrations for this call for proposals and contact applicants if more information is required. Qualifying applicants will proceed to the next phase and be invited to submit an expression of interest form.

Step 2: Expression of interest phase

During this phase, each Canadian applicant seeking funding must submit an expression of interest (EOI) form outlining basic information on the applicant and the collaborative project.

While completing the EOI form, each Canadian applicant is encouraged to contact their NRC IRAP representative to discuss their project idea and receive guidance on preparing their submission.

It is recommended that applicants submit the EOI as early as possible. EOIs will be evaluated by the applicant's NRC IRAP representative and the NRC IRAP International Office. Qualifying applicants will be invited to submit the more detailed international consortium project proposal in collaboration with their project partners.

Step 3: International consortium project proposal phase

During the international consortium project proposal (ICPP) phase, all project partners work together to complete and submit an application package to each implicated national funding body. The contents of the ICPP package are unique to each national funding body.

In this call for proposals, the Canadian ICPP application package consists of:

  1. an international consortium project proposal outlining the:

    • project consortium
    • collaborative project
    • expected outcomes
    • funding request
  2. an NRC IRAP Canadian SME Annex form containing additional information required for the NRC IRAP assessment of the project, including:

    • information about the Canadian SME
    • information about make up of the project consortium
    • information related to the structure of the project
  3. a draft international consortium agreement containing descriptions of the:

    • roles and responsibilities of each consortium member
    • project management framework
    • financial plan
    • division of intellectual property rights, and
    • confidentiality and publication agreements, and liability clauses.

Canadian ICPP applications will be evaluated by an NRC IRAP evaluation team including the applicant's NRC IRAP representative and the NRC IRAP International Office. Then, the amalgamated evaluation results will be shared between all implicated national funding bodies to jointly select the collaborative projects that will be invited to proceed to the final national funding body proposal and funding agreement stage.

Step 4: National funding body proposal and funding agreement phase

During the national funding body proposal and funding agreement phase, all eligible project partners work independently to complete funding proposals and sign legally binding funding agreements with their respective national funding body. Canadian applicants will work with their NRC IRAP representative to prepare an NRC IRAP funding proposal and contribution agreement.

6.2 German application process

The German application process has 2 phases: the optional German Project Sketch phase and the project proposal phase. Each German project partner must file an individual ZIM application to AiF Projekt GmbH. Please consult the German call for proposals announcement (only available in German) for full official instructions related to the German application process, requirements and national funding body proposals and funding agreements.

7. Contacts

For questions, concerns, or for more information, please contact the appropriate call for proposals representative listed below:

Canadian Contact

Andrew Bauder
NRC IRAP Germany National Program Coordinator
National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program

German Contact

Georg Nagel
Director International Cooperation
AiF Projekt GmbH

8. Register

Canadian SME participants must be registered NRC IRAP clients. If not already an NRC IRAP client, Canadian SMEs must contact 1-877-994-4727 to determine if they might be eligible for support through the NRC IRAP.

To begin the application process, interested Canadian participants must first register online to receive an Expression of Interest form by clicking the Register button.

If there is no Register button visible below this line, it means the call for proposals has closed. Please contact the Contact listed or the NRC IRAP International Office for more information.