AgriScience Program – Projects: Applicant guide
Applicant guide – Projects
Purpose of this guide
This guide will:
- Help you determine if you may be eligible for funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) under the AgriScience Program – Projects Component.
- Provide you with directions and explanations to assist you in completing the project application form.
AgriScience Program – Projects Component: Project Summary Form
1.0 Canadian Agricultural Partnership
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector. In addition, producers will continue to have access to a robust suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs.
The partnership is in place since April 1, 2018.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership will focus on six priority areas:
- Science, research, and innovation – to help industry use science and innovation to improve resiliency and increase productivity
- Markets and trade – to open new markets and help farmers and food processors improve their competitiveness through skills development, improved export capacity, underpinned by a strong and efficient regulatory system
- Environmental sustainability and climate change – to help the sector reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, protect the environment and adapt to climate change by enhancing sustainable growth while increasing production
- Value-added agriculture and agri-food processing – to support the continued growth of the value-added agriculture and agri-food processing sector
- Public trust – to build a firm foundation for public trust through solid regulations, improving assurance systems and traceability
- Risk management – to enable proactive and effective risk management, mitigation and adaptation to create a resilient sector
The AgriScience Program is a program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
1.1 About the AgriScience Program
The AgriScience Program aims to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians.
The program provides support through two components, AgriScience Clusters (Clusters) and AgriScience Projects (Projects). This guide is designed for applicants submitting Project proposals. Information on Clusters is available in a separate guide.
Projects aim to support specific shorter-term research activities to help industry overcome challenges and address fiscal barriers experienced by small and emerging sectors. They also seek to mitigate high risk opportunities that have the potential to yield significant returns. On the innovation continuum, project activities range from applied research and development to technology and knowledge transfer.
1.2 Eligible applicants
The following organization types are eligible under this program component:
- For-profit organizations; they may include:
- businesses and/or corporations
- Indigenous groups
- Not-for-profit: organizations that operate solely for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure or recreation, any other purpose except profit. They may include:
- Indigenous groups
Note: Eligible applicants must be legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements.
1.3 Funding and cost-sharing
Applicants may apply for:
- Non-repayable contribution funding (referred to as Vote 10 at AAFC) for activities conducted by industry;
- Collaborative research and development support (referred to as Vote 1 at AAFC) from AAFC scientists; or,
- Both (Vote 10 and Vote 1).
In all cases, successful applicants are required to enter into a legal agreement(s) with AAFC as indicated below:
Contribution funding (Vote 10)
AAFC will reimburse a portion of the costs for your Project. Note that contribution funding is not a grant. Successful applicants enter into a Contribution Agreement (CA) with AAFC that lists a number of reporting requirements, including reporting on costs that are eligible.
Collaborative research assistance (Vote 1)
AAFC Science and Technology Branch scientists can conduct research on your Project. Successful applicants are required to enter into a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) with AAFC. The CRDA outlines the deliverables, licensing options and payment schedule for the industry share of funding supporting the Project activities. The approved Vote 1 financial allocation is not paid to the applicant but provided within AAFC.
Both types of funding/assistance (Vote 10 and Vote 1)
Projects may contain activities/sub-projects that are completed by industry, or completed by AAFC personnel, or where they are closely linked, such as when AAFC personnel and entities outside AAFC (for example, the applicant or a university) work together. In this case, the successful applicant would enter into a CA and a CRDA.
Maximum AAFC funding amounts
(Combined Contribution funding and Collaborative research assistance)
The maximum AAFC funding amount for a Project will be less than $5 million over five-years.
If you have multiple approved Projects/Clusters within this program, total AAFC funding cannot exceed $10 million per year.
Eligible project costs will normally be shared between AAFC and you as follows:
- For Not-for-profit organizations:
a maximum of 70% AAFC and a minimum of 30% applicant
- For For-profit organizations:
a maximum of 50% AAFC and a minimum of 50% applicant
As demand for the program is expected to be high, you are encouraged to seek out other sources of funding above the minimum applicant cost-share ratio.
You must clearly indicate all sources of funding for the project, including your contribution and other industry and/or partner sources of funding including:
- industry associations and networks
- academic institutions
- other federal government departments
- provincial/territorial/municipal governments
In-kind may be considered as part of the applicant's cost-share (up to 10%) and, in exceptional cases, total government sources of funding should generally not exceed 85%. For more information, refer to Annex A: How to Apply.
Note that the cost share ratio applies to both Contribution funding and Collaborative research assistance; each agreement should be cost-shared at the same ratio where possible.
All costs claimed under the program or contributed by industry and other sources for the Project and its activities, must fall within the program cost categories and respect all limitations. For more information and details on cost categories, eligible/ineligible costs and other limitations, refer to Annex B: Cost Categories.
1.4 Program priorities and eligible activities
Five (5) areas were identified to address key industry and government priorities through Project activities. Projects are expected to address at least one priority. Program priorities and examples of eligible activities are:
- Improve support for minor commodities, emerging, and transformative areas. Examples of eligible activities include:
- conducting scientific research that responds to the needs of crops and livestock with a small production base and emerging market potential
- value added transformation, such as bioproducts from agricultural fibre and agricultural residue from plants
- ideas that can positively transform agricultural production such as the application of emerging technologies (for example, robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence, big data analytics)
- Invest in discovery and applied science for major commodity sectors. Examples of eligible activities include:
- science that maintains economic growth in Canada's major commodity sectors such as canola, wheat, dairy, beef and pork, etc., and continue to perform scientific research to maintain momentum of economic growth already benefitting the sector
- research aligned with one or more of the science objectives (increasing agricultural productivity, improving traits for food and non-food uses, addressing threats to the agriculture and agri-food value chain, and improving environmental performance)
- activities that align with crop variety development and finishing; or, resistance to pest and disease
- activities that address agreed upon priorities of the sector (such as those identified by the Value Chain Round Tables)
- Enhance efforts in clean growth, environment, and climate change, such as:
- addressing environmental challenges and adaptation to changing climate, agricultural impacts on air, water and soil
- reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions
- transforming agricultural products into biofuels
- water management and soil management
- Accelerate growth of Canada's food and beverage processing or value-added sector, for example:
- ensuring the safety and quality of foods
- research addressing market access issues leading to increased exports
- Strengthen knowledge transfer and adoption, for example:
- ensuring that research programs include consideration of end users and practical application of research results
- making information readily available in formats easily accessible, such as social media, brochures, videos
For clarity, the following activities are excluded from the above list and are ineligible:
- any activities, including research, occurring at the commercialization phase of development for products, practices, processes, systems, or technologies
1.5 Application deadlines
Applications for Projects are accepted since February 13, 2018, and will continue to be accepted until funding has been fully committed or until otherwise announced by the program. The program ends March 31, 2023.
For information on how to complete a full Project application, refer to Annex A: How to apply.
Note: AAFC is working to improve horizontal collaboration across government funding programs. As part of your application, in addition to the normal consents required, AAFC is requesting your consent to share a summary of your Project proposal with other federal, provincial and territorial governments.
2.0 Expected results
Building on program priorities, Project activities are normally anticipated to produce one or more of the following results.
Expected results, along with examples of potential outcomes, are:
- Targeted applied science, research and/or development activities that lead to new and/or improved products, practices, processes, systems, or technologies, which may lead to such outcomes as:
- highly qualified personnel (HQP) working on funded activities
- new technologies (new products, practices, processes and systems) that are developed
- Evaluated or tested new and/or improved products, practices, processes, systems, or technologies under research conditions which may lead to such outcomes as:
- new technologies (new products, practices, processes and systems) that are assessed under research conditions
- Further developed existing and/or new pre-commercial agricultural products, practices, processes, systems, or technologies which may lead to such outcomes as:
- new technologies (new products, practices, processes and systems) are utilized
- Knowledge transfer of Project results to the sector which may lead to such outcomes as:
- new knowledge transfer products developed
- training/knowledge transfer events organized
- increased participants at training/knowledge transfer events
- new technologies (new products, practices, processes and systems) are demonstrated on-farm or in-plant
- papers published in peer reviewed journals
- Other activities that support the objective and priorities of the program which may lead to such outcomes as:
- new technologies (new products, practices, processes and systems) attain Intellectual Property (IP) protection
3.0 Project assessment criteria
Based on experience from previous AAFC science funding programs, demand for the program is anticipated to be high. As a result, assessment criteria, principles and processes have been developed to help identify strong Projects and activities from among a range of proposals with distinct needs. The application assessment will have two main components
First, all proposals will be reviewed to ensure Project activities are scientifically sound. This assessment will examine:
- relevance, feasibility and impact of the research on the sector
- research methodology and experimental design
- timelines are realistic to achieve planned results
- science capacity, that the proposed science team possess or has access to the necessary qualifications, mix of disciplines, and track record to successfully complete the proposed activities
- proven capacity/capability of intellectual property management where applicable
In addition, where proposed activities are a continuation of work supported under previous science Projects, applications should demonstrate how the current proposal advances the science relative to the previous work. Evidence of progress toward the objective of the previously-funded research should be included in the proposal.
Once the proposals have undergone a science review, AAFC will conduct a principles-based review. The following principles will be used to guide assessments and funding decisions:
- Projects should align with government and program priorities, for example:
- pre-commercialization research, development, and/or knowledge transfer activities are conducted
- one or more program priorities are addressed
- activities contribute to enhancing economic growth, productivity, competitiveness, adaptability and sustainability of the Canadian agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based sectors/industries
- Project applications should leverage industry contributions and funding from partners and other government sources where possible.
- Projects should identify how the expected research results will generate economic and societal benefits, such as:
- increased production, diminished environmental impacts, diminished threats, response to market demands
- results that will benefit Canadian agricultural producers
- results that will benefit other stakeholders such as food and beverage processors
- results that will benefit Canadians such as employment, clean growth, environment, climate change
- the long-term economic impacts on the sector if funding is provided
- the potential negative effects on the sector if funding is not provided
- Projects should address broader emerging issues that have increasing potential impacts on the agricultural sector, such as:
- anti-microbial use/resistance, data management, artificial intelligence, automation, etc.
Finally, each proposal will be assessed on the technical, financial and managerial capacity of the applicant managing the Project research.
Priority for funding and support will be directed towards Project proposals and/or activities that meet or exceed the expectations outlined in these program principles and assessment criteria.
4.0 Reporting on your project
Should you be approved for funding, you will be required to report on finances, performance and results. These reports include:
You will be required to provide progress reports describing the activities completed and progress made towards deliverables, as described in the Project Work Plan.
You will also be required to provide performance reports annually and at the end of the project. The reports will track progress against mutually agreed to performance measures outlined in the CA and/or CRDA.
For more information, refer to Annex C: Performance measures.
Financial reporting is required with each request for reimbursement of expenditures, in addition to year-end accounting and other financial reports such as reporting on expenditures incurred using the industry's contribution.
For more information, refer to Annex B: Cost categories.
Other reports may be required at AAFC's discretion.
5.0 Other considerations
5.1 M-30 Act (Quebec organizations only)
The Province of Quebec’s M-30 legislation may apply to Québec based applicants only. It is the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (R.S.Q., c. M-30).
More information on the Act is available online or by contacting the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation (MAPAQ) at email@example.com.
M-30 applies to various types of Quebec organizations, for example, organizations located in Québec and receiving more than half of their financing from the Government of Québec may be subject to the Act.
All Quebec based organizations will have to address this matter and demonstrate their compliance with the Act during the project assessment process, and prior to entering into a contribution agreement.
5.2 Intellectual property
Should the funding proposal be approved, specific intellectual property requirements relevant to the Project will be included in the CA and/or CRDA.
6.0 After you apply
Once an application has been submitted, an acknowledgment notice will be forwarded to the applicant. Applicants should not consider their application as submitted to the program until they receive this acknowledgement notice; if it is not received within 2 business days, please contact us.
In order to begin the assessment, an application must be deemed complete by AAFC. After an application has been received, AAFC verifies that all required forms and declarations have been completed and there is sufficient detail in the application for a full assessment. When the application has been deemed complete and ready for assessment, notice will be provided to the applicant.
Subsequently, a full review and assessment of the application will be carried out by AAFC and, if an Applicant is successful, AAFC will provide a written decision letter which will outline the level of assistance awarded and any other conditions if applicable (for example, reduced funding or activities). Unsuccessful Applicants will be contacted by AAFC and will receive a rejection notification letter explaining the reasons for rejection.
Our goal is to:
- respond to general inquiries made to our phone number or email address before the end of the next business day
- acknowledge receipt of your application within one business day
- assess your application and send you an approval or a rejection notification letter within 100 business days of receiving a complete application package
As program demand fluctuates, these standards may be updated to provide more accurate timelines. Updates will be posted on the program website.
Please note that even if a project meets all eligibility criteria, the submission of an application creates no obligation on the part of the Minister or of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials to provide funding for the proposed project. The Minister retains discretion to determine, based on other public policy and public interest considerations, whether an application that meets the criteria identified in this Guide will ultimately receive funding.
7.0 Contact information
For more information on the AgriScience Program – Projects Component, please contact us by:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, Floor 8, Room 223
Ottawa ON K1A 0C5
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