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NBIF INNOVATION VOUCHER

The NBIF Innovation Voucher Fund encourages collaboration and partnerships between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research organizations. The Fund aims to accelerate innovation within SMEs by leveraging the talent, capacity, and infrastructure of New Brunswick research institutions. The ultimate goal is to apply innovation in a way that improves the profitability and the competitiveness of SMEs in New Brunswick.

Projects may range in size from $10,000 to $100,000. NBIF will fund 80% of the total project costs, up to a maximum of $80,000 per project. The company will be required to fund the remaining 20%. This web site only highlights the fund. Please refer to the NBIF Innovation Voucher Guidelines for a complete explanation, including terms and conditions. NBIF will assist in determining the right research organization or professional for your project.

Innovation vouchers can be used for one or all of the following:

Concept Validation

Concept validation can include a variety of activities such as applied research, laboratory experimentation, bench testing and evaluation. At the most basic level, it is figuring out whether or not the proposition will work as it is proposed, before it is further developed.

Video: Dr. Felipe Chibante has participated in concept validation activities for two NBIF portfolio companies, Atlantic Hydrogen and Smart Skin.

Concept Validation

Dr Felipe Chibante is an expert in nanomaterials development at University of New Brunswick

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Development

Development can include activities such as industrial/process engineering services, product and industrial design (function and aesthetic) prototype development, and scientific or technology-related advice and support. This is the point at which the first running prototype of your product or process is crafted and demonstrated.

Video: LaForge Bioenvironmental collaborated with Kevin Shiell at the Centre for Excellence in Agricultural and Biosciences at CCNB Grand Falls to develop a novel, full scale bio-gas capturing and power generation facility.

Development

Kevin Shiell is a researcher at the Centre for Excellence in Agriculture and Biosciences

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Evaluation

Innovation vouchers can also be used for the testing and evaluation of existing innovations, or for those activities described above. It can also be used to test, evaluate and report to specific governing bodies for certification.

Video: Dr John Spray tests and evaluates advanced materials that can experience tremendous impact damage. Some of his current collaborations include Dew Engineering of Miramichi, Bombardier Aerospace, and Pratt & Whitney.

Evaluation

Dr John Spray is the Canada Research Chair in Planetary Materials

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Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, companies must:

  • Be provincially or federally incorporated and registered to operate a business in New Brunswick
  • Have fewer than 500 employees
  • Have 24 months operating history
  • Operate within one of NBIF’s strategic industries
  • Be committed to collaborate with a researcher at one of New Brunswick’s post-secondary institutions or research organizations.

Eligible companies that are interested in pursuing the development of a new or improved product, process or technology are encouraged to submit an application form to NBIF. Successful applicants will be matched with the research professional(s) they require to carry out the innovation. NBIF will contribute up to $80,000 towards the project.

FAQs

When can my company apply for funding?
Applications can be submitted to NBIF at any time. However, your company can only be involved in one project at any given time. Projects must be completed before you apply for another voucher.

Does the research organization have to be in New Brunswick?
Yes. A list of eligible research organizations is available here.

Can my company suggest a researcher?
Yes, if you have a particular researcher in mind, please include this information in your project proposal.

Who evaluates the projects and decides on funding approval?
NBIF will evaluate and award funding, at its sole discretion, for viable project proposals.

When will I know if my project has been approved for funding or not?
NBIF will make reasonable efforts to communicate funding decisions within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of submission, provided the application is complete and in good order.

My company was approved for funding, how do we proceed?
NBIF will first develop a list of eligible researchers for your company to consider. Once the matchmaking is completed, the researcher and your company must then jointly develop a project work plan and budget to be submitted to NBIF. Once all parties have entered into the contract agreement, the project will commence.

What do I have to contribute to the project?
Participating companies will be expected to make a cash contribution equal to a minimum of 20% of the total project costs.

Do in-kind contributions count?
No. While in-kind contributions may increase your probability of receiving funding, companies are required to make cash contributions towards the project.

Who will be receiving the voucher funds, my company or the research organization?
Funding will flow directly to the participating research organization under a contract agreement. Your company in return will receive the benefits of the research and development services performed.

Can I use the voucher funding to leverage additional funds?
No. The Innovation Voucher Fund is intended to fund stand-alone projects. Once completed, additional funding may be available through NBIF or from other funding agencies to continue the work under a larger project.

When must the project begin?
The project may begin as soon as possible, but no later than 6 months from the award date.

Can we apply for an extension to complete the project?
No. Projects are to be completed within 12 months of the start date. 

How can I request a change to the scope of the project?
Any scope changes must be presented to and pre-approved by NBIF.

What if the total project costs end up being higher than originally estimated?
NBIF will provide funding equal to 80% of the total project cost, which cannot exceed the awarded amount. The company and the researcher will be responsible for managing the project and covering any cost overruns.

What if my company has already worked with a researcher, can we still apply for funding under the Innovation Voucher Fund?
Yes. 

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Apply

To apply for funding under the Innovation Voucher Fund, eligible companies must submit a fully completed application form.

The company is not required to identify or secure a researcher in order to be eligible for funding. While identifying a researcher or research organization in advance is helpful, doing so has no bearing on our decision making process. If your project is approved, NBIF will assist in matching the company with a suitable researcher.

Please refer to the NBIF Innovation Voucher Guidelines for complete instructions. When you are ready to apply, click the button below and fill in the form. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.

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