Canada – Germany 3+2 collaborative call for proposals on low-carbon hydrogen technologies

From: National Research Council Canada

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1. Introduction

Working together, the governments of Canada and Germany aim to foster and support collaborative industrial research and development (R&D) projects with a high potential for commercialization. This call for proposals is open to organizations from Canada and Germany who wish to form project consortia to perform collaborative projects focussed on developing innovative materials, processes, technology, processes, or products for large-scale, low-carbon hydrogen technologies within their energy systems.

2. Application deadlines

December 3, 2021 Canadian registration deadline
December 10, 2021 Canadian Expression of Interest deadline
March 21, 2022 International Consortium Project Proposal deadline

3. Sectors of focus

Projects must be focussed on the development of pre-commercial technologies that address an identified need in the area of large-scale, low-carbon hydrogen technologies within the Canadian and German energy systems.

Preference will be given to technologies which generate hydrogen from renewable sources.

Projects are encouraged to focus on, but are not limited to, the following themes:

Project findings should contribute to the hydrogen economy and should be commercialized.

4. Eligibility requirements

To be considered for funding, applicants must form a project consortium and develop a collaborative R&D project that meets the following criteria:

  1. The project consortium must include a minimum of five (5) participants (three (3) Canadian and two (2) German participants)*:
    • Canadian participants
      1. One (1) incorporated Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), defined as a for-profit company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
      2. One (1) researcher from the National Research Council of Canada who will be undertaking project research activities through the NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program
      3. One (1) Canadian research institution (e.g., post-secondary institution, research and technology organization)
    • German participants
      1. One (1) eligible German commercial enterprise—in particular small or medium-size companies
      2. One (1) German research institution
    *The participants listed above must be unrelated parties (i.e. there must be no direct, indirect, beneficial or constructive ownership interest between these parties)
  2. The project partners that form the consortium must agree on a plan addressing intellectual property rights and intent to commercialize.
  3. The project must focus on co-developing, adaptation, and/or validation of an innovative product, process, or technology-based service that:
  4. The project must demonstrate:
    • an alignment to the specific objectives outlined in the Canadian and German national hydrogen strategies, and contribute to targets and measures related to improving: costs, efficiency, durability, production pathways, and/or functionality of value chains
    • a complementary technological contribution from each partner
    • an obvious advantage and added value resulting from the cooperation between the participants
    • a balanced contribution between project partners and countries (with no more than 75% of the effort contributed by any one partner or country)
    • an increase in the international competitiveness of German and Canadian partners, including the development of market potential

In addition to the above eligibility requirements, each applicant must meet their country-specific requirements, outlined below:

4.1 Canadian eligibility requirements

Canadian applicant(s) must also meet the following criteria.

Canadian SMEs

The Canadian SME applicant must:

Preference may be given to SME applicants who:

Canadian research institutions

NRC researchers

4.2 German eligibility requirements

Please consult the DLR Project Management Agency call for proposals announcement for German eligibility requirements.

5. Funding

Eligible project participants in collaborative projects selected through this call for proposals may receive funding from their respective national funding bodies. Funds will be provided in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, rules, and procedures established by the relevant national funding bodies, country, and jurisdiction.

NOTE: One country and/or project partner cannot represent more than 75% of the total project budget and the project duration must be between 24 and 36 months.

Additional country-specific funding parameters are outlined below:

5.1 Canadian funding

In Canada, this call for proposals is offered through the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and through the NRC's National Program Office. NRC IRAP is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and for the management of any resulting SME funding agreements. The NRC's National Program Office is responsible for the management of any resulting funding agreements with research institutions.

Canadian SMEs

Eligible Canadian SMEs may receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible project costs up to a maximum total funding amount of $600,000 CAD.

NOTE: Canadian SME applicants must be eligible for funding as NRC IRAP clients before they can be considered for funding through this call for proposals. For more information on NRC IRAP eligibility and becoming an NRC IRAP client, please contact NRC IRAP at 1-877-994-4727.

Note: Canadian SME applicants may apply to more than one NRC IRAP call for proposals simultaneously.  However, NRC IRAP may limit the number of funded projects per applicant. Canadian SME applicants who are applying to more than one opportunity or who have ongoing NRC IRAP projects should speak to their NRC IRAP representative for more information.

Canadian research institutions

Eligible Canadian research institutions may receive funding of up to 100% of eligible costs up to a maximum of $100,000 CAD per year. Indirect (i.e. overhead) costs may represent up to 10% of total eligible project costs.

Eligible direct costs include salaries (excluding academic principal investigator salaries); research support costs (including student stipends, research materials and minor equipment purchases up to $10,000); travel and accommodation costs; and professional services (amounts invoiced by a contractor for services rendered directly to the project).

NRC researchers

NRC researchers may request up to $50,000 CAD per year to cover incremental operating costs. Eligible operational costs include research related expenses such as: student research staff salaries or stipends (e.g., students or post-doctoral fellows), consumables, minor capital acquisitions, workshops, consortium in-person meeting coordination expenses, and travel.

NRC research centres will be expected to provide in-kind contributions that match or exceed the amount of funding received through this call for proposals, i.e. if $50,000 CAD funding is awarded for the project, the research centre must provide at least $50,000 CAD worth of in-kind contribution for a total minimum project contribution value of $100,000 CAD.

NOTE: Please contact the NRC challenge officer to determine if the proposed project is in alignment with NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program.

5.2 German funding

In Germany, this call for proposals is administered by DLR Project Management Agency (DLR) and offered through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). DLR is responsible for the delivery of this call for proposals and the management of any resulting funding agreements.

Please consult the DLR Project Management Agency call for proposals announcement for German funding parameters.

6. Application process

Application processes and evaluations will be performed independently by national funding bodies in accordance with their national and institutional laws and regulations. Once the national funding bodies have evaluated the submitted applications, a final joint project selection will be performed.

Each country lead participant must submit all required consortium application documents on behalf of the consortium, to the appropriate national funding body (NRC IRAP for Canada and BMBF for Germany) and meet its due diligence process requirements.

Not meeting these requirements may cause the collaborative project application to be considered incomplete or ineligible and render the entire project consortium ineligible for funding through this call for proposals.

Information on respective application processes follows below:

6.1 Canadian application process

The Canadian application process has 4 phases:

Step 1: Registration phase

The lead Canadian applicant must register electronically by using the Register button (at the end of this page) and completing the online registration form which requests basic information about the Canadian applicants and their organizations.

NRC IRAP will review registrations for this call for proposals and contact applicants if more information is required. Qualifying applicants will proceed to the next phase and be invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form.

Step 2: Expression of interest phase

During this phase, the lead Canadian applicant seeking funding must submit an EOI form outlining basic information on the applicants and the collaborative project.

While completing the EOI form, each Canadian SME applicant is encouraged to contact their NRC IRAP representative to discuss their project idea and to receive guidance on preparing their submission.

Canadian research institutions must have their project idea approved by the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program director or the NRC's Artificial Intelligence for Logistics Supercluster Support Program director prior to application submission. Research institutions are encouraged to contact the NRC challenge officer to discuss their project idea and to receive guidance on preparing their submission.

It is recommended that applicants submit the EOI as early as possible. EOIs will be evaluated by an NRC evaluation team. Qualifying applicants will be invited to submit the more detailed international consortium project proposal (ICPP) in collaboration with their project partners. The lead Canadian applicant will be provided all templates needed to submit an ICPP.

Step 3: International Consortium Project Proposal phase

During the International Consortium Project Proposal (ICPP) phase, all project partners work together to complete and submit an application package to each lead national call administrator. The contents of the ICPP package are unique to each national call administrator.

In this call for proposals, the Canadian ICPP application package consists of:

  1. International Consortium Project Proposal (ICPP)/Joint Application form outlining the:
    • project consortium
    • collaborative project
    • expected outcomes
    • funding request
  2. NRC IRAP Canadian SME Annex form containing additional information required to assess the Canadian SME applicants and the project consortium
  3. NRC NPO Canadian Researcher Annex form containing additional information required to assess the Canadian researcher applicants and the project consortium

Canadian ICPP applications will be evaluated by an NRC evaluation team including the applicant's NRC IRAP representative, the NRC's National Program Office and the NRC IRAP International Office. Next, the amalgamated evaluation results will be shared between national funding bodies to jointly select the collaborative projects that will be invited to proceed to the final national funding body proposal and funding agreement stage.

Step 4: National Funding Body Proposal and Funding Agreement phase

During the national funding body proposal and funding agreement phase, all eligible project partners work independently to complete funding proposals and sign legally binding funding agreements with their respective national funding body.

Additionally, during this phase an International Consortium Agreement contains descriptions of the consortium member roles and responsibilities, the project management framework, the division of intellectual property rights, any confidentiality and publication agreements, and any liability clauses. The agreement must be signed by all consortium partners and submitted before funding is approved.

Canadian SME applicants will work with their NRC IRAP representative to prepare an NRC IRAP funding proposal and contribution agreement. Canadian research institutions will work with the NRC National Program Office to prepare a funding proposal and contribution agreement.

6.2 German application process

Please consult the DLR Project Management Agency call for proposals announcement for full official instructions related to the German application process and requirements.

7. Contacts

For questions or for more information, please contact the appropriate call for proposals representative listed below:

7.1 Canadian contacts

Small and medium-sized enterprises
Andrew Bauder
NRC IRAP Germany National Program Coordinator
National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program
andrew.bauder@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Research institutions and NRC researchers
Russell Girard
Challenge Officer, National Program Office
National Research Council of Canada
NRC.3plus2-3plus2.cnrc@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

7.2 German contact

Barbara Hellebrandt
Senior Scientific Officer
DLR Project Management Agency
barbara.hellebrandt@dlr.de

8. Registration

Canadian SME participants are registered IRAP clients.  If not already an IRAP client, Canadian SMEs must contact 1-877-994-4727 to determine if they might be eligible for support through the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program.

To begin the application process, the lead Canadian applicant must register for this opportunity by clicking the Register button.

If there is no register button visible below this line, it means the call for proposals has closed. Please contact the contact listed for your country or the NRC IRAP International Office for more information.

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