PROCEDURES FOR PROJECT SELECTION, REVIEW AND FUNDING
ArboraNano is a not-for-profit Network funded by the new Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) Program of the Canadian Federal Government. The ArboraNano Network will fund R&D projects that have the potential to rapidly lead to important commercial product developments for the benefit of Canadians. Other projects which may also be considered for funding include those with a focus on fundamental or pre-competitive aspects judged to be of importance for the development of important commercial products; in the case of such projects an agreement can be made by some or all Funding Members to divert a portion of their funding towards these projects, with the results to be shared by those contributing to the funding.
All projects funded by ArboraNano must involve a wood-derived material and nanotechnology, and must be of interest to the Funding Members of ArboraNano. The four industrial sectors of primary interest for the development of commercial products include Aerospace, Automotive, Medical and Forestry, which includes both paper and building products. The four research themes of primary interest include Fundamentals, Composites, Coatings and Processing. Viewing the program from the perspective of research themes will facilitate the discovery and exploitation of cross-cutting issues and synergies among the development objectives of the industrial sectors. Through its activities, ArboraNano strives to develop a Canadian Advantage and encourage an Entrepreneurial Spirit.
The ArboraNano Network is managed by a Board of Directors, a Network Director, and a Scientific Director. A Scientific Committee, comprising 8 members representing the four industry sectors and the four research themes of primary interest to ArboraNano, makes recommendations to the Board regarding the selection and funding of projects.
Funding Members include those groups that contribute cash or in-kind to ArboraNano. The introduction of new Funding Members is subject to approval by the Board of Directors. Funding Members located outside of Canada may contribute cash or in-kind to ArboraNano, although all R&D projects must be carried out in Canada.
Projects may be submitted at any time by a Member using the ArboraNano Project Proposal Template. A general requirement is that at least 50% of the funding for the project, including associated administrative expenses, must be contributed by Funding Member(s) or sources other than ArboraNano. Open Calls for Proposals will also be made at various times in order to introduce new partners to the Network. New partners will become Funding Members subject to Board approval.
Project proposals may be submitted for research carried out by individual organizations or as collaborative R&D efforts involving any combination of University, Government and Industry researchers to carry out the proposed work. Universities or research institutes may carry out research sponsored by funding members or become involved with industrial research initiatives on a contract basis if desired.
All projects submitted to ArboraNano will undergo a two-stage review, consisting of an assessment of the Relevance of the project to ArboraNano objectives, followed by an assessment of the Technical Merit and Commercial Potential.
The first phase of review will be carried out by the Network Director, the Scientific Director, and if required one member of the Scientific Committee selected by the Network Director. Once the relevance of the project has been established, the project will be assessed for Technical Merit and Commercial Potential. This review will be carried out by 3 reviewers, at least 2 of which must be from the Scientific Committee and 1 of which may be a professional external to ArboraNano. Such professionals may include researchers, engineers, scientists, professors, or business leaders.
The Network Director and Scientific Director will select the 3 reviewers for each project to be reviewed, but will also consider suggestions made by the project proposer as to the choice of Scientific Committee members and external reviewers.
All project proposals will be considered confidential, to be viewed only by the Network Director, Scientific Director, and the 3 reviewers. All reviewers (as well as the Network Director and Scientific Director) will have signed an Agreement as to Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest prior to the review of any proposal. The outcome of all reviews will be transmitted as recommendations by the Scientific Committee to the ArboraNano Board of Directors for their approval. Decisions made by the Board of Directors are final and cannot be appealed.
The review criteria and weighting for Technical Merit and Commercial Potential are shown Table 1.
Table 1: Review Criteria
New inventions must be promptly disclosed to the Network Director following the protection of such IP, and the inclusion of a brief description of such inventions in the ArboraNano Annual Report will be made according to a mutually agreed upon wording between the IP inventors and ArboraNano Management. Further details related to the disclosure, ownership, protection and licensing of Network Supported IP (NSIP) can be found in the document entitled “IP Management”.
Funding will be provided at 6 month intervals subject to satisfactory annual progress according to stated project objectives and activities. Progress will be assessed based on compulsory submission of project Progress Reports every 6 months, and project leaders will be expected to participate in ArboraNano Network meetings every 6 months. It should be noted that ArboraNano funding can be used for research staff, materials and supplies, equipment, travel and dissemination. ArboraNano funding cannot be used to support research that is not carried out in Canada or that is carried out by government researchers.