Canada – Germany 3+2 collaborative call for proposals on low-carbon hydrogen technologies
From: National Research Council Canada
Given the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, NRC IRAP International will continue coordinating 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.
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 IRAP.International.PARI@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.
Should you be interested in learning more about how the NRC is helping to find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit our webpage on the NRC COVID-19 response.
Working together, the governments of Canada and Germany aim to foster and support collaborative industrial research and development (R&D) projects with a high potential for commercialization. This call for proposals is open to organizations from Canada and Germany who wish to form project consortia to perform collaborative projects focussed on developing innovative materials, processes, technology, processes, or products for large-scale, low-carbon hydrogen technologies within their energy systems.
2. Application deadlines
|December 3, 2021||Canadian registration deadline|
|December 10, 2021||Canadian Expression of Interest deadline|
|March 21, 2022||International Consortium Project Proposal deadline|
3. Sectors of focus
Projects must be focussed on the development of pre-commercial technologies that address an identified need in the area of large-scale, low-carbon hydrogen technologies within the Canadian and German energy systems.
Preference will be given to technologies which generate hydrogen from renewable sources.
Projects are encouraged to focus on, but are not limited to, the following themes:
- Applied research to further the fundamental understanding of hydrogen production, including electrochemistry, photo-catalysis, and storage technologies or media
- Discovery, development and advanced characterization of new or novel materials and components, including catalysts, electrodes and membranes to improve devices, production and transport of hydrogen
- Advanced methods for the production, characterization, and analysis or classification of materials or components using high-throughput methods such as advanced modelling, artificial intelligence augmented methods, and materials acceleration platforms
- Use of advanced system level modelling, and production or process design, particularly to increase cost-effectiveness of hydrogen technologies, including the use of techno-economic and lifecycle assessments of hydrogen production pathways in the context of Canadian or German energy systems
- Device development, prototyping and system validation in the context of making, using, moving or storing hydrogen, hydrogen transportation infrastructure and logistics, including station network architecture
- Solutions for integration of hydrogen value chains into national energy systems.
Project findings should contribute to the hydrogen economy and should be commercialized.
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:
- The project consortium must include a minimum of five (5) participants (three (3) Canadian and two (2) German participants)*:
- Canadian participants
- One (1) incorporated Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), defined as a for-profit company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
- One (1) researcher from the National Research Council of Canada who will be undertaking project research activities through the NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program
- One (1) Canadian research institution (e.g., post-secondary institution, research and technology organization)
- German participants
- One (1) eligible German commercial enterprise—in particular small or medium-size companies
- One (1) German research institution
- Canadian participants
- The project partners that form the consortium must agree on a plan addressing intellectual property rights and intent to commercialize.
- The project must focus on co-developing, adaptation, and/or validation of an innovative product, process, or technology-based service that:
- advances the objectives of the NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program
- has substantial commercial potential and outcomes that can be realized within 2 to 3 years of completion of the project
- has a civilian (non-military) purpose
- The project must demonstrate:
- an alignment to the specific objectives outlined in the Canadian and German national hydrogen strategies, and contribute to targets and measures related to improving: costs, efficiency, durability, production pathways, and/or functionality of value chains
- a complementary technological contribution from each partner
- an obvious advantage and added value resulting from the cooperation between the participants
- a balanced contribution between project partners and countries (with no more than 75% of the effort contributed by any one partner or country)
- an increase in the international competitiveness of German and Canadian partners, including the development of market potential
In addition to the above eligibility requirements, each applicant must meet their country-specific requirements, outlined below:
4.1 Canadian eligibility requirements
Canadian applicant(s) must also meet the following criteria.
The Canadian SME applicant must:
- be an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business 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 that could become competitive in global markets
- have sufficient working capital 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
Canadian research institutions
- eligible recipients are Canadian research institutions (e.g., post-secondary institutions, research and technology organizations)
- eligible institutions must perform collaborative research and development and/or prototype development which supports research, development, adoption and/or adaptation of innovative or technology-driven products, services or processes
- NRC researchers' project-related work must support the advancement of NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program objectives
4.2 German eligibility requirements
Please consult the DLR Project Management Agency call for proposals announcement for German eligibility requirements.
Eligible project participants in collaborative projects selected through this call for proposals may receive funding from their respective national funding bodies. Funds will be provided in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, rules, and procedures established by the relevant national funding bodies, country, and jurisdiction.
NOTE: One country and/or project partner cannot represent more than 75% of the total project budget and the project duration must be between 24 and 36 months.
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 (NRC), the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and through the NRC's National Program Office. NRC IRAP is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and for the management of any resulting SME funding agreements. The NRC's National Program Office is responsible for the management of any resulting funding agreements with research institutions.
Eligible Canadian SMEs may receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible project costs up to a maximum total funding amount of $600,000 CAD.
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.
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.
Canadian research institutions
Eligible Canadian research institutions may receive funding of up to 100% of eligible costs up to a maximum of $100,000 CAD per year. Indirect (i.e. overhead) costs may represent up to 10% of total eligible project costs.
Eligible direct costs include salaries (excluding academic principal investigator salaries); research support costs (including student stipends, research materials and minor equipment purchases up to $10,000); travel and accommodation costs; and professional services (amounts invoiced by a contractor for services rendered directly to the project).
NRC researchers may request up to $50,000 CAD per year to cover incremental operating costs. Eligible operational costs include research related expenses such as: student research staff salaries or stipends (e.g., students or post-doctoral fellows), consumables, minor capital acquisitions, workshops, consortium in-person meeting coordination expenses, and travel.
NRC research centres will be expected to provide in-kind contributions that match or exceed the amount of funding received through this call for proposals, i.e. if $50,000 CAD funding is awarded for the project, the research centre must provide at least $50,000 CAD worth of in-kind contribution for a total minimum project contribution value of $100,000 CAD.
NOTE: Please contact the NRC challenge officer to determine if the proposed project is in alignment with NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program.
5.2 German funding
In Germany, this call for proposals is administered by DLR Project Management Agency (DLR) and offered through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). DLR is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and the management of any resulting funding agreements.
Please consult the DLR Project Management Agency call for proposals announcement for German funding parameters.
6. Application process
Application processes and evaluations will be performed independently by national funding bodies in accordance with their national and institutional laws and regulations. Once the national funding bodies have evaluated the submitted applications, a final joint project selection will be performed.
Each country lead participant must submit all required consortium application documents on behalf of the consortium, to the appropriate national funding body (NRC IRAP for Canada and BMBF for Germany) 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:
6.1 Canadian application process
The Canadian application process has 4 phases:
- Expression of Interest (EOI)
- International Consortium Project Proposal (ICPP)
- National Funding Body Proposal and Funding Agreement
Step 1: Registration phase
The lead Canadian applicant must register electronically by using the Register button (at the end of this page) and completing the online registration form which requests basic information about the Canadian applicants and their organizations.
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 (EOI) form.
Step 2: Expression of interest phase
During this phase, the lead Canadian applicant seeking funding must submit an EOI form outlining basic information on the applicants and the collaborative project.
While completing the EOI form, each Canadian SME applicant is encouraged to contact their NRC IRAP representative to discuss their project idea and to receive guidance on preparing their submission.
Canadian research institutions must have their project idea approved by the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program director or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program director prior to application submission. Research institutions are encouraged to contact the NRC challenge officer to discuss their project idea and to receive guidance on preparing their submission.
It is recommended that applicants submit the EOI as early as possible. EOIs will be evaluated by an NRC evaluation team. Qualifying applicants will be invited to submit the more detailed international consortium project proposal (ICPP) in collaboration with their project partners. The lead Canadian applicant will be provided all templates needed to submit an ICPP.
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 lead national call administrator. The contents of the ICPP package are unique to each national call administrator.
In this call for proposals, the Canadian ICPP application package consists of:
- International Consortium Project Proposal (ICPP)/Joint Application form outlining the:
- project consortium
- collaborative project
- expected outcomes
- funding request
- NRC IRAP Canadian SME Annex form containing additional information required to assess the Canadian SME applicants and the project consortium
- NRC NPO Canadian Researcher Annex form containing additional information required to assess the Canadian researcher applicants and the project consortium
Canadian ICPP applications will be evaluated by an NRC evaluation team including the applicant's NRC IRAP representative, the NRC's National Program Office and the NRC IRAP International Office. Next, the amalgamated evaluation results will be shared between 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.
Additionally, during this phase an International Consortium Agreement contains descriptions of the consortium member roles and responsibilities, the project management framework, the division of intellectual property rights, any confidentiality and publication agreements, and any liability clauses. The agreement must be signed by all consortium partners and submitted before funding is approved.
Canadian SME applicants will work with their NRC IRAP representative to prepare an NRC IRAP funding proposal and contribution agreement. Canadian research institutions will work with the NRC National Program Office to prepare a funding proposal and contribution agreement.
6.2 German application process
Please consult the DLR Project Management Agency call for proposals announcement for full official instructions related to the German application process and requirements.
For questions or for more information, please contact the appropriate call for proposals representative listed below:
7.1 Canadian contacts
Small and medium-sized enterprises
NRC IRAP Germany National Program Coordinator
National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program
Research institutions and NRC researchers
Challenge Officer, National Program Office
National Research Council of Canada
7.2 German contact
Senior Scientific Officer
DLR Project Management Agency
Canadian SME participants are registered IRAP clients. If not already an IRAP client, Canadian SMEs must contact 1-877-994-4727 to determine if they might be eligible for support through the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program.
To begin the application process, the lead Canadian applicant must register for this opportunity 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 for your country or the NRC IRAP International Office for more information.