Call for Proposals for Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research

PDAD&C #1, 2007-08

 MEMORANDUM

To: PDAD&C
From: Tim McTiernan, Interim Vice-President, Research
            Vivek Goel, Vice-President and Provost
Date: July 10th, 2007
Re: Call for Proposals for Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)

As many of you will have seen, the Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat has announced a call for proposals for its 2008 competition to fund CECR's. See http://www.nce.gc.ca .

Key features of the competition, as described in the application guidelines, include:

 * A strong emphasis in commercialization in the priority sectors identified in the recent federal S&T strategy - environment, natural resources and energy, health and life sciences technologies, information and communications technologies;

 * World class talent and scale, capable of growing new markets, global networks and leading edge technologies through Canadian based firms with competitive advantage, capable of attracting foreign direct investment and venture capital;

 * Fiscal self-sufficiency for the centre in 5 years;

 * The requirement for matching funding during the period of funding received from the NCE programme;

 * A proposal review process centred on a private sector, outcome-focused, advisory board and international peer review.

As described, eligible recipients for funding include not-for-profit organizations created by universities and colleges, not-for-profit research organizations, firms (boldface added), and other interested non-governmental parties. This
provides opportunities for U of T focused proposals developed with not-for-profit delivery partners and/or U of T involvement in proposals originating from industry and other research institutes.

Given the short timeframe for expressions of interest in CECR's and given the requirement to demonstrate strong commercialization performance and ties to the private sector in an LOI and subsequent application, the Research Portfolio will work actively with the Provost's Office and University Relations to provide strategic support during the development of  proposals, and guidance on potential partnership arrangements.

We are developing a list of proposals being considered.  Please send a one- or two-liner on any initiative you are considering to Judith Chadwick (j.chadwick@utoronto.ca). We will add it to the list.

We will be developing a question and checklist template highlighting essential components of an LOI proposal which will be distributed by the  end of the week and available through Judith Chadwick's office. An ad hoc meeting with members of the Research Advisory Board and the  University Relations Portfolio will be held at the beginning of next week to review strategic opportunities, to discuss an internal review process for proposals, to address potential business and industry partners and to define general guidelines for relationships between the university and any new CECR.

An information session with potential applicants will be held in the last week of July to review LOI requirements, including partnership arrangements with proposed centres, centre deliverables and strategic focus, and sources of matching funding.

A working group representing Research Services, GRIP and The Innovations Group, with Judith Chadwick as team lead, has been established in the Research Portfolio to support the application process.