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Canada – Germany 2020-21 collaborative industrial research and development call for proposals (NRC IRAP-ZIM Call 7)

From: National Research Council Canada

Important notice

The Government of Canada is taking strong and quick action to protect our economy, and the health and safety of all Canadians during this global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In view of the difficulties Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are facing during this uncertain time, the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP)'s International team is committed to continuing to provide international business advisory services and funding support to innovative Canadian SMEs through its regular processes.

Given the rapidly evolving global situation, however, NRC IRAP International will continue coordinating closely with its national and international partners, and other government departments, and reserves the right to modify, postpone or cancel planned or anticipated international activities where required.

Should your project proposal be related to the global pandemic, please visit our webpage on the NRC COVID-19 response to see how you can join the collective effort to help find solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we all do our best to navigate these unprecedented challenges together.

Please direct any questions and concerns to

1. Application deadlines

May 1, 2020 Canadian registration deadline
May 8, 2020 Canadian expression of interest deadline
May 15, 2020 German optional project sketch deadline
June 30, 2020 International consortium project proposal deadline

2. Sectors of focus

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

3. 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:

  1. The project consortium must include at least:
    • 1 incorporated Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), defined as a for-profit company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, and
    • 1 eligible German R&D performing SME, defined as a for-profit company with less than 1,000 employees
  2. The project partners that form the consortium must:
    • be capable of implementing the project, including funding their respective share
    • agree in advance on intellectual property rights and a commercialization strategy, and
    • not be related in terms of corporate ownership
  3. The project must focus on co-developing a product, process, or technology-based service that:
    • is highly innovative
    • has significant commercial potential
    • has outcomes that can be realized within 3 years of completion of the project, and
    • does not involve R&D-related to products, processes, or technology-based services with military or non-peaceful applications
  4. The project must demonstrate:
    • the unique scientific and technological contribution that each organization brings to the project
    • an obvious advantage and added value for each project partner resulting from the collaboration, such as an increased knowledge base, an access to R&D infrastructure or new fields of application or a solutions for commercial needs, and
    • 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 organization in any project with more than 2 partners

In addition to the above eligibility requirements, each applicant must meet their country-specific requirements, outlined below:

3.1 Canadian eligibility requirements

Canadian applicant(s) must also meet the following criteria.

  1. The Canadian SME must have a technology that is:
    • world-class, differentiated, and protectable, such as a unique or novel patentable technology that may alter the industry or market
      Note: preference will be given to existing commercialized technologies in Canada
  2. The Canadian SME must be committed to:
    • pursuing growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, processes or technology-based services, and
    • aggressive growth through global market expansion
  3. The Canadian SME must be ready, and have the resources to:
    • complete a collaborative project with international project partners, and
    • make a serious new market entry push*.
      *Note: for this reason, preference may be given to SMEs with at least 20 full‑time equivalent employees and $2 million CAD in annual revenue.

3.2 German eligibility requirements

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

4. 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 and/or program. 

Additional country-specific funding parameters are outlined below:

4.1 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 $600,000 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 an NRC IRAP client, please contact NRC IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.

4.2 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 ZIM website call announcement (in German only) for funding parameters.

5. 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 their respective national funding body and meet its due diligence process requirements.

Not meeting these requirements may cause the 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:

5.1 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 / joint application form outlining the
    • project consortium
    • collaborative project
    • expected outcomes
    • funding request
  2. a draft international consortium agreement describing:
    • roles and responsibilities of each consortium member
    • project management framework
    • financial plan
    • division of intellectual property rights
    • confidentiality and publication agreements
    • liability clauses
  3. an NRC IRAP Canadian annex form containing additional information required to assess the eligibility of the Canadian SME and the project consortium for NRC IRAP funding through this call for proposals processes.

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. Next, 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.

5.2 German application process

The Canadian application process has 2 phases: the optional German Project Sketch phase and the project proposal phase. Please consult the German call for proposals announcement (available in German only) for full official instructions related to the German application process and requirements.

6. Contacts

6.1 Canadian Contact

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

6.2 German Contact

Georg Nagel
Director International Cooperation
AiF Projekt GmbH

7. Register