Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement

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We fuel collaboration between Alberta SMEs and Alberta researchers

The Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) program is a funding program that leverages the different research industry partnerships programs offered by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

During 2022-23, the CASBE program will offer two different streams:

  1. Stream I: is only for applicants from Alberta Colleges and Polytechnics (NSERC ARD program) including 2021 NSERC Applied Research and Technology Partnership (ARTP) grants pilot program applications.
  2. Stream II: is only for applicants from Alberta Universities (NSERC Alliance) including NSERC Alliance Quantum grants applications.

The objectives of the CASBE program are to:

  • Facilitate Alberta SMEs (the “Industry Partner”) to adopt emerging technologies in Alberta’s research and commercialization priorities to diversify their technological services and/or products (the “project”) with the support of Post-Secondary Institutions (the “applicant”).
  • Provide the applicants funding to effectively use their technology platforms’ world-class knowledge, facilities and students within Campus Alberta to support the Alberta SMEs.

How the program works

Project funding

The CASBE program leverages NSERC’s contribution per project up to $150,000 per year for one year or a maximum of two years depending on the project duration funded by NSERC.
The industry partner(s) is expected to provide cash and in-kind contributions in the NSERC application.

If there are additional partners such as large companies providing cash in the proposed NSERC application, the Alberta SME could only provide in-kind contribution in the Alberta Innovates CASBE application. All partner cash contributions in both Streams will follow NSERC matching percentage following NSERC matching guidelines.

Do you qualify?

Applicants

To qualify as an applicant, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be a researcher(s) from an Alberta post-secondary institution (Alberta colleges, polytechnics and universities)
  • meet eligibility criteria for NSERC research programs within the scope of CASBE Stream I and Stream II.
  • be authorized to undertake the proposed project, and execute a grant agreement with Alberta Innovates on our standard terms;
  • not otherwise be prohibited from receiving Alberta Innovates funding, for instance due to a past bad debt or otherwise not be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates or its subsidiaries, InnoTech Alberta and C-FER Technologies;
  • have a physical presence in Alberta;
  • demonstrate the relationship between the Applicant and Industry Partner does not create a conflict of interest;

Industry partner

To qualify as an industry partner, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be a for-profit SME; with at least two full-time employees;
  • demonstrate that the relationship between the applicant and industry partner(s) does not create a conflict of interest;
  • have demonstrated operations in Alberta and able to continue to adopt and develop in house the results of the academic research;
  • meet the following definition of an SME: a company with fewer than 500 full-time employees, with less than $50,000,000 annual gross revenue;
  • be a legal entity:
    • incorporated in Alberta; or
    • incorporated federally or in another jurisdiction AND extra-provincially registered in Alberta; or
    • a General Partnership, Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership AND registered in Alberta; and
    • be in good financial and final reporting standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries InnoTech Alberta and C-FER Technologies.

Eligibility

CASBE is open to academics from Campus Alberta and they must have at least ONE Alberta SME as an industry partner.

Researchers eligibility follows NSERC eligibility criteria with the addition that the CASBE Program is only available to Alberta academics helping Alberta SMEs developing solutions aligned to priority areas identified above.

Applicants

To qualify, an applicant:

  • must meet eligibility criteria for NSERC ARD or Alliance programs,
  • demonstrate the relationship between the applicant and industry partner does not create a conflict of interest, and
  • the industry partner must have a physical presence in Alberta.

Industry partner

To qualify as an industry partner for Stream I and II, at least one SME as industry partner is required. The SME must:

  • be a for-profit, with at least two full-time employees, and fewer than 500 full-time employees,
  • have less than $50,000,000 annual gross revenue,
  • demonstrate the relationship between the applicant and industry partner does not create a conflict of interest,
  • have a physical presence in Alberta,
  • be a legal entity:
    • incorporated in Alberta, or
    • incorporated federally or in another jurisdiction AND extra-provincially registered in Alberta, or
  • a General Partnership, Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership AND registered in Alberta, and
  • be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries InnoTech Alberta and C-Fer Technologies.

Projects

To qualify, all projects must:

  • align with the objectives of the CASBE program, and meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria;
  • align with any of Alberta’s research and commercialization priorities outlined in the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy (ATIS);
  • align with any of the priority emerging technologies outlined in the document below under Program resources;
  • include at least one Alberta SME as an industry partner (multiple partners including MNEs are encouraged);
  • provide critical milestones including mid-project and final presentations and final report;
  • be completed within the one or two-year term;
  • comply with other criteria that Alberta Innovates may develop from time to time; and
  • include a technology within the technology readiness levels 2 to 6.

How to apply

We strongly recommend that applicants apply first to the Alberta Innovates 2022-23 CASBE program. If recommended, the applicant would then submit the completed AI CASBE NSERC joint application to NSERC, for funding consideration.

To start the application process, you apply through our online portal. The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Researchers should begin by contacting the CASBE program manager with the NSERC–CASBE proposal idea to assess alignment to the program requirements.
  2. If alignment has been identified, the applicant submits the Post-Secondary Investments & Emerging Technologies (PSIET) intake form choosing CASBE within the Funding Opportunities tab on the AI online portal.
  3. We review the intake forms in the order received. If your intake form is approved, we invite you to submit an AI CASBE NSERC full proposal.
  4. Complete your application using our online portal.
  5. As part of the AI CASBE application, please attach a draft PDF version of the corresponding NSERC application form using the NSERC online portal for each respective program:
    • Completion of the NSERC ARD application draft for Stream I or
    • Completion of the NSERC Alliance application draft for Stream II, including applications to the NSERC Alliance Quantum grants funding opportunity.
  6. Please ensure all elements in the application form are completed.
  7. For the NSERC Alliance Quantum grants funding opportunity, please read the instructions available in the funding opportunity’s web page and ensure, on NSERC’s online system, that you do the following:
    • select Quantum – Strengthening Capacity from the drop-down menu for the type of call field, , and
    • add Alberta Innovates as other funder (not involved in the research) in the Contributions section of the form 101.
  8. Note that the applicant for general NSERC Alliance, must:
    • Select Alberta Innovates – CASBE from the drop-down menu for the “type of call field,” requested, and
    • Add Alberta Innovates as Joint call funding partner in the Contributions section of the form 101.
  9. The proposal in the NSERC application form must clearly specify the proposed NSERC and CASBE research activities and corresponding budget. If conditionally approved, Alberta Innovates will:
    • provide an email to the applicant indicating note of conditional approval (for NSERC ARD and NSERC Alliance Quantum grants) which the applicant needs to include with their NSERC application under Other Documents, or
    • sign the NSERC ‘joint call funding partner’ form in the NSERC application portal (for NSERC Alliance)

You can now proceed with applying to NSERC through the appropriate NSERC application portal (NSERC Convergence portal for Stream I or NSERC online system for Stream II).

By submitting your CASBE application to Alberta Innovates and the related NSERC application to NSERC, applicants, co-applicants and partner organizations agree to the sharing between Alberta Innovates and NSERC of any and all information, including personal information, in any way related to the applications, their adjudication and to the awards.
Applicants with approved NSERC research partnership grant:
This category is applicable for applicants who are interested in the CASBE program and have approved NSERC research partnership grant (NSERC ARD, NSERC Alliance or NSERC ARTP) and are within the scope of the 2022-23 CASBE program. Applicants that have received approval of grants within the last 8 months, are welcome to apply for CASBE grants meeting the CASBE program eligibility criteria. Following application process steps are involved:

  1. Researchers should begin by contacting the CASBE program manager with the NSERC approved project description and potential R&D activities to cover by Alberta Innovates CASBE program to assess alignment to the program requirements before submitting an Intake Form.
  2. If alignment has been identified, the applicant submits the Post-Secondary Investments & Emerging Technologies (PSIET) Intake Form choosing CASBE within the Funding Opportunities tab on the AI online portal.
  3. Intake Forms are reviewed in the order of receipt. If the PSIET intake form is approved, the applicant is invited to submit a CASBE Full proposal.

You must complete your AI CASBE application using our online portal. Please ensure you have the following in your application:

  • the original approved NSERC project, reviewers’ comments,
  • NSERC Notice of Decision (NOD) and Terms & Conditions.
  • A Gantt chart including CASBE and NSERC R&D activities, and
  • a two to three page description of the additional CASBE R&D activities and associated budget, are also required as attachments in the AI online portal.

Program resources

Background

The CASBE Program, launched in October 2016, was the first time that Alberta launched a joint Provincial/Federal initiative to address this goal for Alberta Institutions and SMEs interested in research partnership grants. It has been so successful that the decision made in 2020 was to continue offering CASBE program for Alberta Colleges and Polytechnics and to extend the Program to include a new CASBE long-term R&D projects stream for Alberta Colleges, Polytechnics and Universities.