NSERC Alliance - OCI VIP Partnership for Industry (SME)-Academic Collaboration


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI)


NSERC Alliance
OCI Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP)

For More Information

For full details on eligibility and guidelines, please refer to the VIP program website and the NSERC Alliance/VIP website.

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In partnership, NSERC's Alliance program and OCI’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program will support post-secondary R&D collaborations with the highest potential for regional economic development and commercialization in Ontario. The streamlined, joint application and decision process enables companies to quickly undertake new research collaborations with Ontario-based researchers and have their cash contribution leveraged by both NSERC and OCI. The mutually beneficial projects are expected to result in economic benefits to the company and to Ontario and build impactful longer term collaborations between the researcher and the company. 


Faculty Eligibility

  • Eligible to hold Tri‐Council funds.
  • Faculty from an eligible Ontario‐based University.
  • University researchers with active OCI or NSERC peer‐reviewed grants.
  • Adjunct professors
    • Will be considered on a case‐by‐case basis.
    • Adjunct professors who meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria and whose primary place of employment is at an eligible Canadian university may apply to NSERC grants programs.
    • Please note, researchers who wish to apply at the University of Guelph must provide a letter from their College/Dept. that indicates their Adjunct status extends the term of the proposed project.

Industry Partner

  • For‐profit organization, with Canadian R&D and/or manufacturing operations related directly to the project, and the capability to exploit the research results.
  • Must be an SME (small-to-medium sized enterprise), incorporated in Ontario for a minimum of two years with between five and five hundred full‐time equivalent (FTE) employees globally.
  • SME-University R&D collaborations with the high potential for regional economic development and commercialization in Ontario.

Maximum Project Value

Individual proposals can request at least $20,000 up to $30,000 from NSERC Alliance, and at least $20,000 up to $30,000 from OCI VIP, with a corresponding $20,000 to $30,000 from the industry partner (at least 50% must be cash provided to the academic institution).

Indirect Costs

0% - indirect costs will be waived only on industry funding that has not been spent more than three (3) months prior to the date the application is submitted to the sponsor (or according to the applicable sponsor program guidelines for the eligible matching funding).

Project Duration

Up to 12 months.

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Applications to the joint NSERC Alliance/OCI VIP program are accepted on a rolling basis, pending availability of funds from both funding agencies. 

Please ensure you connect with your OCI Business Development Manager early to initiate the process.

An OR-5 and full application must be submitted to the Office of Research Services (research.services@uoguelph.ca) a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to the intended submission date to NSERC. Please be sure to "submit" in NSERC's online system.

External Deadline

The Office of Research Services will submit the full application on behalf of the applicant to NSERC through their online system.

How to Apply

Step 1: In consultation with your industry partner, please connect with your OCI Business Development Manager to initiate the application process.The opportunity will undergo an initial vetting and due diligence assessment by an OCI Business Development Manager to ensure the project fulfills all eligibility criteria. If the opportunity is selected as eligible and suitable, you will be sent the required proposal template for VIP Alliance.

Step 2: Complete the VIP Alliance proposal template provided by OCI using a maximum of 6 pages and following the instructions for completing an Alliance grant application. Submit your completed application and supporting documents, including the Personal data form with Common CV attachment for the applicant and all co-applicants, through NSERC’s online system. Your contact person will be invited through the online system to provide information about the partner organization following the partner organization instructions. A letter of support is not needed. For assistance with the partner documents and facilitation with the industry partner, please connect with Vanja Banks, Industry Liaison Officer (vbanks@uoguelph.ca) or Gregor Lawson, Industry Liaison Manager (lawsong@uoguelph.ca) at the Research Innovation Office.

Consult the Alliance grant application checklist for a summary of information that needs to be addressed in a completed application.

Step 3: Formally 'submit' the application in NSERC's system, and submit a completed OR-5 to research.services@uoguelph.ca. The Office of Research Services will review the application alongside program guidelines, and will receive approval to formally submit the application to NSERC.

Information For Co-applicants

If you need to meet a deadline set by the lead institution for this opportunity, please ensure that you provide the Office of Research with at least five days in advance of the lead institution’s deadline to review the application, or your proposed component of the project. Please be in touch with the Office of Research (contact information below) ahead of the deadline if it looks like it will be difficult for you to submit all the required documentation on time (i.e. budget, proposal, OR-5 Form).

For Questions, please contact

For further questions regarding program guidelines, eligibility, and submitting the online application, please contact the OCI Business Development Manager:

Patrick Farrer
Business Development Manager

Office of Research

Amy Bossaer, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x58613

Devon Staaf, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office

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