These FAQs answer the most common questions about the Alberta-Germany Collaboration Fund for Product Development and Commercialization.

What is the objective of the Alberta-Germany Collaboration Fund for Product Development and Commercialization?

The goal is to help participants become more globally competitive through developing technology and research based alliances with the potential to foster increased international trade and economic growth.

  • Connecting industry players and researchers across multiple jurisdictions
  • Development of new models of collaboration between Alberta and Germany that leverage key research & technology capabilities, address common priorities, and accelerate the commercialization of technology
  • Launch of revolutionary product development and commercialization projects that aim to bring new products and services to market, and deliver economic benefits to citizens in both jurisdictions
  • Taking innovation through to market and commercialization

What amount of total funding is available?

Approved projects will be funded with up to $ 150,000 on the Alberta side by the GCCIR. The German contribution can be split between different companies and/or funding organizations. The only prerequisite here is that the German side matches the amount of the GCCIR contribution in cash.

Who is eligible for funding by the Alberta-Germany program? Who can apply?

Albertan small and medium-sized enterprises (1 to 499 employees and less than $50 million in gross revenues) are welcome to apply to the Alberta-Germany Collaboration Fund for Product Development and Commercialization if they meet the key scoring considerations. The partner from Germany can be a small and medium-sized enterprise, as well as a big company or an independent research institution. All proposals to the program must involve an industry partner from each jurisdiction with an interest in commercialization.

Albertan SMEs are defined as incorporated (Alberta or Canadian registration) for-profit companies, sole proprietorships or partnerships with an office and employees in Alberta. The company needs to have a significant technology development presence in Alberta.

Furthermore, the two project partners have to be legally independent. A subsidiary is not a partnership. If your company has investment in the other company, you can still apply as long as you provide further investment.

Please see also the key scoring considerations below.

What types of joint project activities are eligible under the program?

Projects may include any or all of the following stages of activity on the path to commercialization:

  • Product Development
  • Proof of Concept
  • Prototype Development
  • Technology Demonstration
  • Applied Research and Development

What are the areas of technology that are eligible for funding?

The project’s scope must address one of the following areas of technology:

  • Clean Energy and Environmental Technology
  • Advanced Materials (including Micro/Nanotechnology)
  • Industrial Bio-Technology
  • Health
  • Information and Communication Technology

How can my SME submit an application to the program?

Joint applications for the joint projects must be submitted to the GCCIR until January 31, 2013. Incomplete applications received on the deadline date will be deemed ineligible and will not be sent for external review. The application form can be downloaded from the website http://www.gccir.ca/funding-opportunities/companies.html

How will my application be reviewed? What are key scoring considerations when reviewing projects?

Applications will be reviewed in conjunction with the program objectives. They will be scored for their fit within the project requirements and key scoring considerations, including the project's innovation and commercialization potential. Applications will also be reviewed for their technology, process, product or service and market opportunity, commercial strategy, quality of project plan and SME capabilities, financing plan and the project’s potential value to the SME, specific sector and overall economy.

All applications will be reviewed by multiple experienced business people and scientists from different sectors. This leads to a ranking of the applications based on progrit methodology. The final decision making authority is a Steering Committee consisting of one industry member, one member of the Alberta Government and one GCCIR board member.

What is eligible for consideration as cash or in-kind contributions by the SMEs?

For the Alberta-Germany Collaboration Fund for Product Development and Commercialization, a cash and in-kind contribution from the applicants is mandatory. This contribution is meant to reflect a meaningful collaboration and equal involvement of the partners. For the Albertan company a minimum cash contribution of 20 % of the total Alberta budget is required. The German contribution should match the amount of the GCCIR contribution in cash.

The cash contribution is defined as new incremental costs. Eligible cash contributions include expenses for the direct costs of product development (e.g. IP protection costs, incremental staff costs, equipment, tools, software, consultants) that are directly related to achieving the objectives for which the grant was awarded. If the German side contributes significant equipment that will depreciate over the time it is used in the project (e.g. from 1 million to 500,000 CAD in two years), it counts as cash contribution. Procurement of chemicals counts as cash. Salary and benefits of new hires also count as cash (industry standards for benefits).

Eligible in-kind contributions include non-monetary resources that the applicants provide to support the project. In-kind contributions can be management time or tools that you already own, specialized skills and advice or access to special equipment, space, data sets. In-kind contributions will be recognized at fair market value. Money already invested in the product development can be counted as in-kind contribution as long as it is equipments, tools or materials that will still be used during the project phase. Management overhead counts as in-kind contribution.

No funding will be granted for the duplication of infrastructure in either Alberta or Germany for the purpose of conducting a project.

Who fills out the application?

The Albertan SME is to fill out the application form and submit it to the GCCIR. Please note that a signature from the German partner is required.

How are the Program funds to be used?

Funds may only be used to pay for budget items as outlined in the written agreement and the application between the GCCIR and the Albertan SME. Expenditures in any agreement are subject to approval by GCCIR. Eligible costs are limited to project-specific expenses (i.e. costs associated with developing/testing a product in a particular setting).
Eligible costs include:

  • Costs of Alberta-based project personnel (i.e. researchers, engineers, technicians, tradesman, project management and support staff when involved in project activity). These costs can be in-kind by the applicant if using existing staff or the applicant can utilize the monetary contribution from the program if they are incremental (new) or are using resources from a third party organization.
  • Costs of instruments and equipment used exclusively for the project (except when disposed of on a commercial basis after the project is over.) The products, technology, innovations, services and processes to be developed/ tested can only be considered as an eligible cost if it is proven that they are produced specifically for this project and are supported by auditable manufacturing cost documentation. Also, such products, technology, innovations, services and processes, developed, built and contributed by the applicant may also be considered to be in-kind;
  • Additional costs incurred directly as a result of project activity;
  • Other project-specific expenses including materials and supplies and travel expenses for trips to Germany related to project activities (travel expenses are limited to 10% of program funds);
  • Professional services directly related to project activities; as well as
  • IP management, market assessment, fees for service labs.

What are ineligible expenses under the program?

Expenses not eligible under the program include:

  • Technology, innovations, products, processes, services and/or devices that can continue to be used for other purposes including selling them, following the project;
  • Training courses;
  • Salaries for applicant’s employees if not involved and other in-kind costs in project activity;
  • Administrative fees or overhead charges for administering this program.
  • Design and production of advertising material;
  • Sales and promotion activities;
  • Costs associated with applying for government grants and programs;
  • Costs of internships or support for students of knowledge institutions unless directly working on project activities;
  • Basic professional services such as ongoing routine accounting, tax and legal business requirements and financing fees;
  • Routine testing and maintenance;
  • Travel costs and entertainment costs (except those to Germany as part of the project); and
  • Hospitality costs.

Any expenses outside of those listed above must be pre-approved by the GCCIR prior to the actual expenditure. Ownership of all purchased materials resides with the SME.

When will I know if my SME has received funding under the program or not?

A final decision will be made by the Steering Committee in March 2013, so that the approved project can start in April 2013.

What if my application is rejected?

If you could not find a German collaboration partner or your application was not approved, we encourage you to apply to potential subsequent rounds of the program.

My company was approved for the program. How do we proceed?

If your company has been approved for the program, you will be notified by email promptly after decision making. The GCCIR then sends you the project agreement. The projects can start as early as April 2013.

When can I expect to receive the program funds?

The reimbursement will be made by milestones determined in the written project agreement.

How do I cancel my Alberta-Germany project?

Please contact the GCCIR and inform them of your intention to cancel. As soon as the GCCIR receives the phone call indicating the SME’s intent to cancel, the project will be deemed to be terminated immediately (unless otherwise decided) and all funding and claims under the program will cease as of that day. You might be required to pay back any funding that you had already received up to this point.

How much time do the project partners have to complete the project?

The project  partners have two years to complete the project beginning with the signing of the project agreement.

Does the GCCIR audit the German participant?

The accuracy of the reporting is the responsibility of the Albertan company. The GCCIR might, however, conduct an announced sight visit.

How can I request a scope change for an approved project?

Any scope changes to the approved project, as in the original proposal, must be approved by the GCCIR Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will provide instructions to the SME on how best to submit the scope changes, but usually this includes demonstrating why the change is needed, and providing a new project timeline and a budget if necessary. Where significant changes occur, such as a change in ownership (all or part) or bankruptcy, the project is subject to immediate cancelation.

What if the total project costs end up being lower than originally estimated?

The GCCIR will only pay based on actual costs and only up to a maximum of the amount granted with proof of invoices paid by the company.