Tip Sheet - Canada Foundation for Innovation _CFI_

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					          Tip sheet for Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF)

CFI & AET applications are different from tri-council applications, as they both consider their funding more
of an investment based on future anticipated benefits of the research, rather than an award based on
previously demonstrated excellence. The applications serve as ‘business cases’, and the budget is
correspondingly more stringent.

CFI & AET grants are institutional awards, and the application is submitted by the University, rather than
the researcher. Because of this, researchers can anticipate more University involvement in the application
and management of CFI & AET funds than for individually-held operating funding.

The CFI & AET application process includes an assessment of financial risk associated with the new
infrastructure, and considerable consultation with your Faculty, Campus Planning, Facilities Management,
the Project Management Office and Research Services.

Traditionally, the SEGP program has provided the matching funding for CFI LOF awards. However, due to
the budget situation within AET, they are projecting to be able to provide matching for 30% of the CFI-
approved projects. It is essential to have a contingency plan in place in the event that applicants are
unsuccessful in securing a match from AET.

CFI decisions are announced 5 – 6 months after submission. When the University is informed of the
decision, the applicant, Department Head and Associate Dean (Research) will be notified. If successful, CFI
allows 9 months to finalize the budget through the Institutional Programs Division (IPD) at Research
Services. Further details on the second phase of the process will be provided at that time. Applicants
should note that CFI and AET will not release their funding until the finalized budget is submitted.

Useful information for completion of CFI & AET applications (e.g. previous successful applications) is
available on a password-protected website ( IPD staff can be contacted for
access if required.

CFI Description of Infrastructure form
General comments
    1. Application text can be created and saved into a word document to be cut and pasted into the
        PDF application form fields. This will provide a guide to the applicant on the space limitations of
        each section of the forms.
    2. Applications are theoretically written by “the U of C”, so text should be in the third person with
        the exception of the CV in first person.
    3. Applications often do not include references.
    4. In addition to peer reviewers, readers not directly in your field of expertise may have input to the
        review process, so use field-specific jargon sparingly and ensure the application is relatively self-
    5. CFI is concerned that this infrastructure is to launch careers, rather than serving as a ‘core facility’,
        so mentions of sharing the infrastructure should be worded carefully as ‘use for Dr. X and his/her
    6. Read the questions and additional points on the form carefully, and ensure answers cover all
        requested aspects.

LOF pointers                                                                                  p1 of 7
    7. The application form cannot accept images or any special formatting (Greek characters need to be
       spelled out, sub- or superscripts will disappear, etc). Only the uploaded Budget Justification pages
       permit flexible formatting.
    8. Application forms will need to be signed by the VPR and the IPD office will obtain those signatures.
    9. LOF is open to all full-time faculty members and up to three applicants can be listed on one
       application. There are no known advantages or disadvantage to having multiple applicants but
       applications should consider the planned sharing of the infrastructure.

Project Overview
    This section serves as an executive summary for the reviewers, so in addition to summarizing the
    requested infrastructure, it is beneficial to:
         start with a statement of why the research is important (anticipated benefits, etc);
         include a statement of the level of novelty/innovation of the infrastructure and/or the
            research it supports (i.e. will it be unique regionally? nationally? internationally?);
         Include highlights of the other sections of the application

Quality of the research or technology Development
   1. To make a good business case, the ratio of background and past research to future research plans
        using the infrastructure and expected outcomes should be roughly 20:80.
   2. For each subtheme of the research presented, discuss which items of infrastructure are required
        and provide a wider context (e.g. Dr. X at institute Y is doing similar research, but the research
        discussed here is unique because xx, and is represented at regional/national/international levels.

This section should discuss the applicant and any co-applicants. The ‘other users’ are the collaborators
who will actually use the infrastructure and may be mentioned in the text. A separate section is available
for full details of collaborations. Try not to refer to the project as a ‘core facility’ within the University and
emphasise the primary importance to the career(s) of the applicants.

Need for the Infrastructure
   1. This section should be focused on the actual research facility (i.e. the infrastructure project itself).
       Refrain from outlining the research program or HQP as these are covered in other sections.
   2. Make clear the situation with existing infrastructure, and how the requested infrastructure will
       build upon this capacity rather than duplicating it.
   3. Applicants who have held a CFI award before may want to emphasize that this will be their first
       CFI-funded project.

Training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) through research
    1. Provide evidence to support the demand for HQP in this area and the high priority to Canada
    2. Outline the unique training programs or opportunities available to HQP
    3. Cite the destinations of recent trainees including company or institution names
    4. Confirm the number and type of HQP to be trained using the infrastructure

Collaborations and Partnerships
    1. Mention any formal partnerships in existence at the University level rather than the individual
       level if applicable. This may be unlikely for new staff.
    2. Explain the added value of each collaboration for the applicant and partners.
    3. Dept/Fac support, via mentoring collaborations, should be evident for new recruits.

LOF pointers                                                                                    p2 of 7
Benefits to Canada
   1. If the potential benefits of the research are broad, they can all be listed but consider highlighting
        those that you will actually achieve from basic research to beneficial outcome.
   2. Outline the partnerships, committee memberships, personal or group expertise that will enable
        research findings to be used by the relevant industry, service group, government agency
   3. Determine the expected timeframe before benefits are realized
   4. Statistics or citations are more convincing than statements

Integration with the Strategic Research Plan
    1. Assess the alignment of your project with the current version of the SRP:
    2. IPD staff will need to upload this section to the .pdf form so applicants will not be able to view it
        from site login
    3. IPD staff will provide feedback on content but Associate Deans (Research) must provide approval
        of the final draft.
    4. Please advise IPD staff of the start date of your full time academic position at the university. If this
        is within 24 months of the application submission, identify the country and sector you were
        recruited from e.g. public/private/non-profit
    5. In addition to SRP alignment, emerging regional, national, or international research mandates may
        be cited if they also support your research area. The university tries to align the SRP with
        provincial and national strategies.

Financial Information module
General Comments
    1. An IPD staff member will be allocated to assist in the completion of the Financial Module. An
        Excel spreadsheet is available to track the budget development, from application stage through
        completion of the project. The budget information is entered on-line when the applicant and IPD
        staff are generally satisfied with the information.
    2. When entered on-line, changing details is not problematic but combining/pulling apart or
        changing the order of line items is more onerous. IPD staff review all quotes, confirm all revenue
        sources, provide feedback on the budget justification, and verify that the budget meets all
        institutional and agency requirements.
    3. Prior to final submission, all applications require approval from the Provost’s Operating Group to
        obtain VPR sign off. Before this meeting, Campus Planning must have confirmed and provided
        space allocation, renovation cost estimates (even if these are ‘zero’), incremental ongoing facilities
        operations and maintenance cost estimates (even if these are ‘zero’).
    4. UofC’s internal process discourages projects requesting a CFI contribution > $250K, so a
        convincing argument would be required before a larger project would be considered. This limit is
        not mandated however, applicants should consider the amount of effort involved in requesting
        and managing CFI/AET funding, in relation to the amount of funding requested.

Budget cost of individual items
   1. Construction/renovation - Identifying and receiving approval for the space required for the
       infrastructure project is time consuming so applicants are encouraged to start early. Work with
       your Dept/Inst/Fac to determine which space will house the requested infrastructure. In
       collaboration with U of C support personnel, determine if any renovations are required to existing
       space and how much these will cost. If work is completed or in progress, identify this to your IPD

LOF pointers                                                                                 p3 of 7
        contact, so that accurate accounting of the work can be budgeted. The final step is a required
        approval of the allocations and cost estimates from Campus Planning.
   2.   Obtaining Quotes for equipment – it is recommended that you work with Chris Turner in Supply
        Chain Management (see “Research Guidelines for Purchasing”).
   3.   Quotes - are required for all items on your budget except for expenses such as personnel, travel,
        training, and groupings of many small items (<$100 each). For the ‘non-quoted’ items, we require
        an explanation of how the estimate was calculated. After the application stage, it is impossible to
        obtain an increase in CFI funds and therefore it is imperative that your application includes
        sufficient funds. Changes to construction, renovation and warranty estimates may vary between
        application and finalization, so it is important to factor this into the budget from the start.
   4.   Ensure that GST, exchange, shipping, customs etc are all included in your budget costs. IPD staff
        will check these costs and use the most recent agency information when finalizing the budget
        spreadsheet. The full GST rate should be applied for Canadian quotes and a higher US exchange
        rate should be applied than the current one to help account for any increased costs that may
        occur during the post submission period while awaiting notification.
   5.   Donations – IPD staff will ensure that part and full donations (also known as Gifts in Kind) are
        reviewed by Chris Turner in Supply Chain Management.
   6.   Warranties including extended warranties must be included in the original quote and purchase
        order and should be purchased at the same time as the item itself. On the budget they will need
        to be identified separately.
   7.   Items such as training, travel, and personnel are only eligible if they can be justified as one-time
        start-up costs required to get the requested infrastructure up and running. If the application is
        successful, these expenditures will need to be justified each year for reporting purposes.
   8.   Consider grouping logical sets of smaller items, so that your budget does not include an unwieldy
        number of line items.
   9.   While still in the spreadsheet phase, organize the order of your line items to align into a logical
        format aligned with the Budget Justification.

Budget Justification
   1. This section assists the CFI reviewer to determine if you need all the requested infrastructure and
       is also used post-award by CFI and IPD staff determine if budget revisions are acceptable.
   2. Discuss the infrastructure item by item, referring to the item numbers on page 3 of the budget
   3. Include figures to help the reviewer understand the project. A template to make your upload
       resemble the CFI form is available on the IPD website.
   4. Summarize why each item is needed and explain why it is the best choice from other options.
       Address issues of duplication and complimentarity at the Dept/Fac/Institution level as appropriate
       and list sub-items for any groupings. List add-ins provided by the supplier such as installation,
       training, warranties and address any doubts the reader could have. This might include building
       your own, rather than purchasing off-the-shelf or addressing why you are buying middle-of-the-
       line rather than at the top end.
   5. Quotes are required internally for IPD files but are not submitted as part of the application.
   6. Applicants may want to indicate whether a current quote is a representative ‘place holder’ for
       whatever becomes the industry standard for the required functionality by the time the award is
   7. Applicants are encouraged to consult the CFI guidelines “Requirements at the Application Stage”
       in respect of renovation and construction items. Construction is expected to commence within 18

LOF pointers                                                                               p4 of 7
       months following award announcement. Within this timeframe, contracts for construction or
       renovation must be finalized, and the construction or renovation work begun.
    8. For all projects involving construction or renovation, the university must provide the following:
       • Complete description of the entire new space, inclusive of common elements (e.g. corridors,
       washrooms, etc). The description should include the location, size and nature of the space
       • Timeline identifying key dates for the various stages of the proposed construction
       • Detailed breakdown of the overall cost of the construction or renovation project, categorized by
       cost component (i.e. direct construction costs, soft costs, and contingency costs)
       • Rationale for special circumstances which may affect the cost
       • Overall cost per square foot or metre
       • When construction or renovation involves multiple rooms, floor plans of the proposed new
       area(s), showing where the infrastructure will be located and the scale of the plans

For projects exceeding ~$50K the inclusion of a schematic is preferred, which can be incorporated into the
Budget Justification.

Details of funding from eligible partners
   1. All partner funding must be secured at the time of application, or a persuasive plan included in the
        application for securing the funds within nine months of the CFI decision. Persuasive plans can
        include an application to a provincial program to provide partner funding or commitments from
        partners (documentation not required with application)
   2. With the exception of the Provincial Government, applications to agencies that review and decide
        on funding independently of CFI decisions are not considered a persuasive plan.
   3. The CFI review process does not consider the source of the partner funding although a specific
        source of funding may demonstrate the interest of potential users of the infrastructure; the
        beneficiaries of research results; or the potential employers of the highly qualified personnel.”
   4. For GIK revenue: if the item (and therefore the discount) has not yet been received, the revenue
        is listed as “Secured/Expected”.
   5. All revenue listed as “secured” on the application must be confirmed. If the revenue is not located
        in a UofC account, a letter from the contributor must be supplied to IPD staff.
   6. All UofC funding in accounts not held in the applicant name (e.g. funds from another researcher,
        Dept Head, or Dean’s office) must be confirmed by the contributor. Verification of the amount
        and the account is required. Confirmation from the contributor is required that these funds will
        be from an eligible source (i.e. not from Tri-Council, NCE, or Federal Indirect Costs of Research
   7. If all funds are listed as “expected”, it does not seem to impact chances of CFI success however
        applicants only have 9 months to secure match funds. The university requires an alternative plan
        in these cases to ensure the project will not eventually require a ‘handout’. This includes
        commitment from your Dept and Faculty to assist in a shortfall situation and signatures on the
        Application Acceptance Form are required to confirm this prior to CFI application submission.
   8. Any contributions from the institution must be entered on the form as cash.

Application Acceptance form
   1. This is an internal form and IPD staff can assist with completion
   2. “Matching shortfall acknowledgement” section: This does not commit the applicant or their
        Dept/Fac to supply any shortfall of funds but secures their assistance to help find alternatives.
   3. “Acknowledgement of issues related to space resources / renovations and operating costs” are
        Campus Planning criteria that must be acknowledged.

LOF pointers                                                                               p5 of 7
    4. In the signatures section include all co-applicants plus the appropriate representatives of their
       Dept/Fac. The Faculty office provide guidance if the Dean’s signature has been delegated to an
       ADR or Vice-Dean.

Partner Contributions yet to be secured
    1. For the provincial contribution, applicants can acknowledge that the CFI application will be going
        forward to the new Alberta Advanced Education and Technology’s new program when announced
        in Fall 2010. This may be shown as an expected source of funding.
    2. For donations, applicants may state that gifts-in-kind from suppliers have been reviewed by UofC’s
        Supply Chain Management department, but cannot be listed as ‘secure’ until the items (and the
        discounts) have been received.
    3. Any other ‘expected’ funding must be explained.

Infrastructure Used for Research and other purposes
If the project is for 100% research this section should state that the requested infrastructure will be used
solely for research and research training. If the project is being used partially e.g. for teaching, or clinical
service, please discuss with IPD staff.

Financial Resources for Operations and Maintenance
    1. This section should reflect page 3 of the spreadsheet and the budget justification for operating
        costs and funding. It is used to convince the reviewer that the project has been carefully planned,
        and has a high chance of success in the long term.
    2. If the application is successful and the award is finalized it becomes automatically eligible for CFI
        Infrastructure Operating Funds (IOF) equalling 30% of whatever the CFI contribution to your LOF
        capital award is. CFI compares this section to your eventual request for the IOF funding, so if you
        plan to request the full eligible amount, you need explain concisely what the funds will be spent
    3. Applicants will be notified by IPD staff when they are eligible for an upcoming IOF competition as a
        separate internal request process is adopted.
    4. When all eligible costs are identified in the upper table, they are shown as funded on the bottom
        table (i.e. the yearly totals should match). The 30% IOF funds are shown on the “Institutional
        Line”, and if costs over-run this amount the remainder would be shown as being paid (usually)
        from “Other” sources (operating grants). If the ‘institution’ is identified as covering any costs,
        confirmation of this commitment is required.
    5. Eligible operating costs include those directly related to operating and maintaining the
        infrastructure (not experiments). This often includes operating personnel, but the costs would be
        calculated as the salary of the person(s) prorated to the amount of time spent maintaining,
        trouble shooting, cleaning and servicing the equipment. Do not confuse the reviewer by
        mentioning any one-time capital costs e.g. set-up duties of the technicians in this strictly operating
    6. The “Services” line in the upper costs table can be completed when Campus Planning has
        confirmed the space allocation, costing, and provided schematics. At this point they can provide
        eligible facilities O&M costs (light, heat, etc) related to the space occupied by your project.
    7. The text section should discuss the top table and give a breakdown of the costs calculated. The
        bottom table should describe the sources to cover the costs.

LOF pointers                                                                                   p6 of 7
Plans for Management of Infrastructure
A simple plan is sufficient outlining all users to be trained, how sharing between users will be decided,
how usage will be monitored, how upgrades/repairs/extensions will be decided upon and financed, etc.

Curriculum Vitae
    1. Write in 1st person
    2. The text section on pages 3A/3B should not be a citation list. It is useful to set this up with
        subsections (one per ‘important contribution’), to describe the contribution and refer to the
        relevant publications, conferences, patents as substantiation of the text.
    3. Page 4 is a citation list.
    4. Page 5 outlines the ‘time commitments’ and these should be realistic.
    5. Check the .pdf word limit

LOF pointers                                                                               p7 of 7

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