Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
The Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (VIP I) program helps eligible companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships between Ontario's industry and publicly funded post-secondary institutions. Projects funded through VIP I enable the development of new products and/or processes, facilitate productivity improvements, and help generate new revenues and high-value jobs for Ontario.
The VIP I program supports collaborations between industry and post-secondary institutions up to 12 months in duration that lead to knowledge mobilization, commercialization and increased productivity with significant economic impact for Ontario. In addition to VIP I as a standalone program, OCE has engaged a number of federal partners to enable applicants to develop larger-scope projects by leveraging OCE as well as federal funding through a streamlined, single-application process (whole-of-government approach). These partners include Business Development Bank of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the National Research Council (NRC) and Mitacs.
The VIP I program helps eligible companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting partnerships between Ontario's industry and publicly funded post-secondary institutions. Benefits to the project partners include:
- Gain access to new talent
- Develop relationships with researchers to extend company R&D
- Gain access to unique facilities and research equipment available in publicly funded post-secondary institutions
- Create marketable solutions to current industry challenges
- Increase productivity, revenue and jobs
- Gain access to OCE's research networks and exposure to other OCE programs
- Access several funding sources through one application form
- Access exciting research and development challenges
- Establish relationships with industry
- Leverage knowledge and innovative ideas to solve industry problems
- Gain real-world experience
- Build relationships with established companies
- Gain access to OCE's industry and entrepreneurial networks
- All applications require a research partner and an industry partner at a publicly funded post-secondary institution who will co-invest in the project
- Research partner (applicant) must be a principal investigator at an Ontario-accredited, public post-secondary institution. The applicant must have an arms-length relationship with the industry partner as defined on NSERC’s website (refer to the section Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Partner Organizations).
- Adjunct professors may be eligible on a case-by-case basis. At a minimum, the adjunct professor must 1) actively conduct research at an Ontario institution, 2) be allowed by the institution to hold a grant and given an institutional account, and 3) be allowed to supervise students.
- Company (industry partner) must be for-profit and have operations in Ontario (typically manufacturing and/or R&D directly related to the project) which are expected to commercialize and/or implement the results of the project in Ontario and for the benefit of Ontario.
- Company (industry partner) must have been in operation for a minimum of two years, and have a minimum of two full-time employees.
- Projects must leverage the unique capabilities of the research environment and of the post-secondary research team, and be non-competitive with Ontario private-sector capabilities.
- Intellectual Property (IP) arising from the project will be managed by the project participants as OCE does not claim or manage IP rights (note: Program Funding Partners may have different IP policies; please consult their guidelines for more information. See below for NSERC Engage-specific IP requirements). An IP term sheet (“Schedule D”) must be provided at the time of application submission.
- Participants must co-operate in providing project outcomes and metrics, annually at a minimum.
- Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE.
- Companies that have over $100,000 in active OCE projects must complete those projects (including all final reporting) prior to OCE considering other applications for funding. This excludes TalentEdge internships and fellowships.
- If a program partner is engaged (NSERC Engage for Colleges, NSERC Engage and/or NRC-IRAP), additional partner rules and eligibility criteria apply, see OCE Section E1 - Additional Program Partner Eligibility.
- OCE will support up to 50% of the eligible research costs, to a maximum OCE investment of $20,000. The OCE funds will flow to the post-secondary institution.
- The industry partner must support at least 50% of the eligible research costs, i.e. must provide at least 1:1 matching on the OCE contribution. The matching contribution may consist of cash and in-kind support, however a minimum of 25% must be in cash. For example, for a request from OCE for $20,000, the industry partner must provide $20,000 with at least $5,000 of this in the form of cash. The industry partner cash contribution will flow, via OCE, to the post-secondary institution.
For complete details, please see OCE Section D: How Funding Works.
Up to 12 months.
Please see OCE Section J: Downloads to access:
- Eligible Expenditures Guide
- OCE Funding Agreement
- VIP I Sample Application Template - this sample application template is for informational purposes only. Applications are only accepted through OCE's online system where full application requirements are listed.
- VIP I Application Instructions
Please see the Office of Research Services website, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) page to obtain Schedule D - Intellectual Property terms (under Resources).
If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.
This program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Please submit your complete application, including budget and OR-5, to firstname.lastname@example.org two weeks prior to your intended submission to OCE.
How to Apply
To begin the application process you will first need to contact an OCE Business Development Manager (BD) to discuss the opportunity and assist you with developing your application. Your OCE BD will also maintain oversight responsibility for the OCE components of any approved project.
Please see OCE Section H: How to Apply for a complete overview of the process.