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Questions and Answers

It is the responsibility of the applicants to obtain clarification of the requirements contained herein, before submitting an application, if necessary. For any questions related to this CFPMN, applicants can use the following email address: IDEaS-IN.IDEeS-RI@forces.gc.ca.
 
The IDEaS Program Office will aim to respond to questions received within five business days of receipt. However, it is the responsibility of the applicants to ensure that questions regarding the LoI and Full Proposal are received by the following deadlines to ensure responses are obtained well in advance of the application deadlines:
 
CFPMN 1 – Advanced Materials
  • Full Proposals: Questions pertaining to the Full Proposal for CFPMN 1 must be received before 12:00 (noon) EDT, September 21, 2018 to ensure responses are received in advance of the Full Application deadline.
CFPMN 2 – Autonomous Systems
  • Full Proposals: Questions pertaining to the Full Proposal for CFPMN 2 must be received before 12:00 (noon) EST, November 9, 2018 to ensure responses are received in advance of the Full Application deadline.

Check back regularly for updates.
# Question Response
1. Can the Initial Recipient, who will assume the administrative and financial responsibilities on behalf of the Micro-net, be a college or other non-university institution? No, the Initial Recipient must be a Canadian university and the Lead Applicant must be primarily affiliated with that university.
 
The Innovation Networks contribution funding program is a research-oriented program and targets basic and applied research at the lower end of the technology/solution readiness scale. As most of this type of research in Canada is conducted by universities, where professors are mandated to perform research, the Lead Applicant (who also must be a Principal Investigator) is required to be primarily affiliated with a university, and at the same time must have obtained the backing of their university to administer the funding on behalf of the Micro-net. In other words, the Lead Applicant and their university are not mutually exclusive when it comes to being eligible for funding under this program. The program was purposely developed this way.
 
However, in terms of participation in the network, colleges and all other eligible organizations/institutions identified in the application guide may share in the scientific leadership of the network alongside a university.
 
2 I am working for a Federal government department and at the same time I am Adjunct Professor at a Canadian university. Can I be a member of the Micro-net, and if so, in what capacity? As per Section 3.1 of the Application Guide, federal government departments/agencies, as well as federal and provincial Crown corporations are ineligible for funding under this funding program. The organization each Micro-net member is primarily affiliated with must be identified at the time of application to determine eligibility. An adjunct professor is not a primary affiliation in your case, the Federal government department is, so therefore you would remain ineligible for funding under this program.
 
You may, however, participate in the Micro-Net as a Collaborator.
 
 
3. In the Application Guide, section 5.1 you mention an LOI form that needs to be signed by the Lead Applicant/Principal Investigator as well as all other Principal Investigators if applicable. I just went through the steps in the application portal and there is no place to upload any form. Could you please clarify? For submission of the LOI form, the only signature requirement is an electronic one (by means of a check box) from the Lead Applicant/Principal Investigator. Signatures from the Lead Applicant and Initial Recipient will be required for the submission of the full proposal at stage 2 of the application process.
4. Can I submit more than one research proposal for as a Principal Investigator (PI) under this first call for proposals for Micro-nets? As indicated in Section 3.2 of the Application Guide, individual researchers may submit a maximum of one proposal as a Principal Investigator, and up to two as a Co-Investigator.
5. What are the required documents for Letter of Intent (LOI) submissions? There are no required documents to upload at the LOI stage. To submit an LOI, you just need to register to the Application Portal, sign in, enter all of the required information on the on-line form, and click “Submit your LOI” when complete. Note that this form is meant to be filled and submitted by the Lead Applicant on behalf of all other Micro-net members.
6. Which research topics on Advanced Materials are of priority for funding under this first call for proposals for Micro-nets? Please see https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/programs/defence-ideas/past-opportunities/innovation-cfpmn-1.html for details on the Innovation Challenge for this call.
7. Must the senior scientists hold a doctorate degree? No.
8. What is the difference between a co-investigator and a collaborator? The main difference is that a co-scientist can submit costs that are eligible for reimbursement, whereas a collaborator cannot. More precisely, the co-scientist is an independent researcher and a recognized expert, possibly a manager of a research group or laboratory, responsible for a subset of micro-network research activities. As an expert, the co-scientist supports the overall scientific direction of the micro-network.
 
The collaborator is an independent researcher who can bring his/her particular experience to the micro-network research activities in a spirit of collaboration, in order to optimize the research results or its potential for success. Usually, collaborators are not directly involved in the scientific management of the micro-network.
9. Are the wages of employees who work in a laboratory considered to be eligible costs? Yes, but only the incremental wage costs associated with the project. Employees include students and postdoctoral fellows, research assistants and technical staff. Compensation for senior scientists and co-scientists, on the other hand, is not eligible.
10. In terms of eligibility, can three universities develop a micro-network? Yes. See section 3.1 of the Application Guide.
11. Could a partner make additional cash contributions that would increase the project value beyond $1.5 million? Yes. See section 4.4 of the Application Guide.
12. Are in-kind contributions necessary? No. See section 4.4 of the Application Guide.
13. What is the process for requesting a cash advance? The process will be described in the recipient claim package, which will be provided to the successful applicants.
14. Would a renewal be possible at the end of the agreement (3 years following its execution)? There will be no renewal. However, as mentioned in the first section of the Application Guide (background), it is expected that future calls for proposal will encourage the merger of micro-networks that demonstrate results, so as to build more extensive innovation networks.
15. Can a research centre be an organization that is eligible in a micro-network? See section 3.1 of the Application Guide. If the research centre is considered to be a Canadian for-profit or non-profit organization, the answer is yes.
16. Is it possible to terminate a contribution agreement before the project’s end? Yes, DND reserves the right to terminate an agreement at any time. That being said, this right will be usually exercised in exceptional cases (e.g. failing to honour commitments in the agreement, substantive changes to the scope of the project, a substantive delay in the project schedule, etc.)
17. Who determines intellectual property rights among the micro-network members? Members of the micro-network are encouraged to have an intellectual property management plan stemming from the proposed project. The details of this plan should be set out in agreements that are separate from the contribution agreement between the initial recipient and the Crown. Such agreements must consider the rights and requirements of the Crown, as noted in section 11 of the Application Guide.
18. What is the maximum amount of eligible costs for administrative overhead? See Annexes A and B of the Application Guide. Usually, overhead allowance can be as high as 15% of the eligible costs incurred by the micro-network. In recognition of the additional administrative responsibilities required to manage the micro-network, the initial recipients can claim up to 3% of the total eligible costs incurred by the micro-network. That 3% is in addition to the 15% overhead for the eligible costs incurred by the initial recipient.
19. Can the IDEaS Program Office provide feedback or validate aspects of the innovation challenge on which an applicant wishes to propose a solution prior to the LOI submission deadline? It is the responsibility of the Micro-net to propose research that aligns with the Innovation Challenge. The IDEaS Program Office shall not provide any pre-evaluation or concurrence on proposals or proposal topics. All proposals received are subject to the formal evaluation process as described in Section 6 of the Application Guide.
20. Can a postdoc fellow be part of the Micro-net team? Yes, either as a member supervised by a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator (i.e. a member of the Investigator’s research laboratory) or as a Collaborator, but not as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator. See Section 3.2 of the Application guide.
21. Is a Co-Investigator required to be primarily associated with a Canadian University? No, a Co-Investigator can be primarily affiliated with any eligible organization/institution as indicated in Section 3.1 of the Application Guide.
22. Is equipment needed for the proposed research an eligible cost? See Annex B of the Application Guide. Cost category #2 refers to the acquisition or rental of equipment.
23. Is it possible to access federal testing/measurement facilities related to research projects? No special access to federal testing/measurement facilities will be granted to Recipients of contribution funding. However, fees for such services offered by supplier departments are eligible costs, as long as:
 
  • The good or service provided by the Supplier department must be a good or service, such as time on a wind tunnel, with an established fee agreement.
  • The good or services provided by the Supplier Department must be generally available to all potential customers equally. The Recipient of the contribution payment should not receive any special service not available to non-Recipients, nor should they be quoted a reduced rate
  • The cost of services provided by the Supplier Department must be an eligible expense (for example, “laboratory analysis services”)
 
24. Will it be possible to obtain scientific feedback/ assistance on project progress on a regular basis? Yes. Each Micro-net will have an Integrator assigned to it by the IDEaS Program Office. The Integrator, a Defence Scientist working in science and technology within DND, will follow projects and be available to provide scientific feedback related to defence and security applications as the project progresses. The Integrator will not provide assistance on project progress, but may act in an advisory capacity as the scientific research progresses. Integrators will be the primary scientific point of contact between the Micro-net and DND.
25. Can the team composition change after the submission of the LoI? Yes. See Section 5.1.1. of the Application Guide.
26. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by "the risk profile" that you referred to that may impact the way projects will be monitored? The recipient/project risk profile is an internal assessment that will be conducted for proposals being considered for funding at the final stages of evaluation. Risk factors may include, but are not limited to: the value of funding being considered; the complexity and feasibility of the proposed project; and past contractual experience in with a recipient. The risk assessment will result in monitoring measures the IDEaS Program Office will consider for a particular project if approved for funding by the IDEaS Decision Board. Monitoring measures may include, but are not limited to: the eligibility and frequency of advance payments, the frequency of progress reporting and claims, and pre-emptive flagging of projects for audit.
27. Is there a preference for team members to come from one eligible organization over another when considering the overall composition of the Micro-net? No, the only requirement is that multidisciplinary teams are proposed, and that the Micro-net members must come from at least three separate institutions/organizations. See Section 3 of the Application Guide.
28. Can you clarify the Technology Readiness Levels that you are targeting for this first call for proposals for Micro-nets? The IDEaS program is using Solution Readiness Level (SRL) as a broader-scope alternative to Technology Readiness Level (TRL). SRL levels are defined in the Definitions Section of the Application Guide. The SRL levels targeted are in the 1 to 6 range, as noted in Section 3.3 of the Application Guide.
29. Will the names of the assessors / members of decision boards be divulged to applicants? No, the names of the assessors / members of any decision bodies will not be revealed to applicants to minimize any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
30. Do all members of the Micro-net need to be Canadian? No. Micro-net members working in Canada must be legally entitled to do so. The primary affiliation of each Micro-net member must be from one of the eligible organizations/institutions listed in Section 3.1 of the Application Guide, which includes international universities and international educational institutions. However, no more than 50% of eligible costs may be incurred outside of Canada, as stipulated in Section 4.3 of the Application Guide.
31. Can for-profit organizations receive funding under this program? Yes. See Section 3 in the Application Guide. Reimbursement of eligible costs submitted by for-profit organizations will vary from 50% to 100% depending on the size of the organization, as per the schedule in Section 4.3 of the Application Guide.
32. Can funds flow to a company that is a partner in the Micro-net and can those funds be used by the company to pay their eligible costs? Yes. IDEaS contribution funds will flow to the Initial Recipient, responsible for the financial administration of the Micro-net, who will then distribute funding to the Micro-net’s Ultimate Recipients, which may include for-profit organizations, to cover their eligible costs.
33. Are there limitations to the number of Micro-net applications that can be submitted by one university? No, there is no limit to the number of Micro-net applications that can be submitted by any single university, provided the limitations on PIs and Co-Is are respected.  
34. If a for-profit organization is part of the Micro-net, is there any requirement for them to provide a cash or in-kind contributions? No. However, reimbursement of eligible costs submitted by for-profit organizations will vary from 50% to 100% of their eligible costs, depending on the size of the organization. See Section 4.3 of the Application Guide.
35. What is the estimated acceptance rate of LOI? The LOI is screened for eligibility, and alignment to the Innovation Challenge, on a pass or fail basis. See Sections 6.1.1 and 6.2.1. of the Application Guide.
36. Are the allowable overhead (administrative) costs on top of the total eligible costs requested for the Micro-net? No. All eligible costs (including overhead) must be included in the total funding requested from the IDEaS Program, to a maximum of $1.5 million per proposal.
37. Can non-Canadian for-profit organization participate in the Micro-net? Yes, but only as a Collaborator, unless the company is applying via its Canadian subsidiary.
38. Do the suggested reviewers Applicants can provide in the LOI have to be international (non-Canadian)? Yes. The expectation is that most, if not all reviewers for the Full Proposal will be international reviewers. However, depending on the number of applications received, the IDEaS Program Office may consider Canadian reviewers, which the Office would identify. The selection of reviewers remains at the entire discretion of the IDEaS Program Office.
39. Are patent fees considered eligible costs? No. See Annex B – Eligible and Ineligible Costs of the Application Guide.
40. Does IDEaS Program funding for a call for proposals for Micro-nets go to Principal Investigators and not Co-Investigators? No. IDEaS funding is to go towards funding eligible costs submitted by all Principal Investigators (Min. 1- Max. 3) and Co-Investigators (Min. 4 – Max. 10) that are part of the Micro-net. The Initial Recipient, as the financial administrator for the Micro-net, is responsible for submitting periodic claims on behalf of the Micro-net and disbursing IDEaS funds received to all Principal Investigators/Co-Investigators via the Ultimate Recipients.
41. For the full proposal evaluation, does the ‘scientific capability’ evaluation criterion refer to the Micro-net members’ capability to complete the proposed research? Yes. See the assessment statement listed in section 6.2.2 in the applicant guide for details.
42. The Application Guide indicates that the principal investigators’ and co-investigators’ salaries are not eligible costs.
 
We understand this approach for university professors, given that their salaries are already paid by the university for research and teaching. However, for those researchers outside of academia, this is usually not the case.
 
Can you confirm that salaries of principal investigators and co-investigators that are not from a Canadian university are ineligible costs?
It is assumed that all Principal and Co-Investigators has existing salary support, regardless of their affiliation. Salaries for technical staff, students and post-docs are eligible, however salaries for Principal or Co-Investigators are not. In the for-profit context, if group leader, section head or director is a Micro-net PI or Co-I, they may not claim salary support, whereas individuals reporting to them may.
43. Is there any preference to Micro-net proposals with greater geographical diversity? No.
44. Can emeritus faculty members participate in the Micro-net as Principal Investigators and Co-investigators? Yes, however, they must hold or have a firm offer of a faculty appointment at an eligible Canadian University at the time of submission
45. Can a researcher from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) be a collaborator? Yes, since collaborators are ineligible to receive IDEaS funding.
 
As per Section 3.1 of the Application guide, federal government departments/agencies, as well as federal and provincial Crown corporations are ineligible to receive funding under this funding program.
46. Will both hardware and software solutions/projects be considered for funding? Yes
47. Is it required to provide evidence that a university outside of Canada is the only one that can offer the necessary expertise and that no such expertise is available in Canada? No. As stipulated in section 3.1 of the application guide, international universities and education institutions are eligible for funding; however no more than 50% of eligible costs can be incurred outside of Canada.
48. I work for an eligible organization / institution that is not a Canadian university. How can I propose my ideas / solutions to the Innovation Challenge? IDEaS does not provide tools to assist applicants in finding network partners at this time. Note that a component of the Innovation Challenge for Innovation Networks is asking the innovation community to form the network or Micro-net. We therefore encourage eligible organizations with potential solutions to reach out to other researchers (including in Canadian Universities, since the lead applicant must be primarily affiliated with a Canadian university) to collaborate and submit a proposal in response to the Innovation Challenge.
49. For the full proposal, can hyperlinks to other websites / documents be provided as an answer or partial answer to the questions? Evaluations of full proposals will be based on the answers provided in the application form. With the exception of references to scientific publications, reviewers will not be expected to consult external sources to obtain information essential for the evaluation of specific questions. Links to background and supporting documentation can be provided for information purposes only.