Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 partnering mission

Request for expression of interest

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) are pleased to invite Canadian SMEs and their current or potential academic partners to submit an expression of interest to join an Industry 4.0 mission to Berlin, Germany which will take place from February 26 to-March 2, 2018. This mission will include an Industry 4.0 partnering event and site visits to German companies, demonstration facilities, and clusters.

Mission objective

To establish collaborative applied research and development opportunities in Industry 4.0 sectors between Canadian and German companies and their academic partners, leading to future economic benefits for Canada and Germany.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a term coined in Germany that refers to cyber-physical systems communicating and cooperating through the Internet of Things with each other and humans in real-time along the value chain. This "smart factory" enables highly flexible and customizable mass production.

Canadian delegate profile

Ideal participants for this mission would be:

  1. Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the development or deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies that meet the requirements described below:
    • Actively or interested in partnering with a Canadian academic researcher in applied R&D;
    • Capacity and interest to perform applied R&D projects with German partners;
    • Committed to aggressive growth and global market expansion;
    • Financial capability to undertake a multi-year R&D collaboration project and commercialize the results;
    • Already commercialized products in the domestic or other markets;
    • Maintain existing relationships or have the capacity to develop and maintain relationships with foreign partners;
    • Company is in a market expansion stage and needs R&D to bring technology to next level and enter new markets.
  2. Canadian academic researchers who are eligible to apply for and hold NSERC funds and are engaged in research in the natural sciences and engineering. In addition they must:
    • Have expertise in a scientific area related to Industry 4.0 technology;
    • Have a demonstrated history of or display a willingness and ability to collaborate with industrial and international partners; and
    • Be prepared to incorporate student training as part of their involvement in a potential collaborative project.

Mission description

A Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 Partnering Event will take place at the Embassy of Canada to Germany in Berlin on February 27 and 28, 2018. In advance of the Partnering Event, we are working with our German partners BMBF (the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) to organize a program of site visits to some of Germany's leading Advanced Manufacturing hubs in the North Rhine Westfalia Region. This region is home to some of the German government's largest investments in Industry 4.0 technology development and promotion. They include key academic and institutional researchers, demonstration facilities, and large and small and medium-sized companies who are leading players in the development and adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Prior to the Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 Partnering Event, Canadian delegate profiles will be shared with our German partners to enable high quality matchmaking and targeted recruitment of German delegates for this by-invitation event. This event will include Canadian and German presentations on support programs for collaborative international industrial R&D projects, presentations from German guests on the breadth of German advanced manufacturing capabilities, and individual presentations by Canadian and German delegates on their capabilities, collaborative project ideas and partnership needs. A structured format for presentations and matchmaking will be provided to the Canadian and German delegates.

Preliminary mission agenda

Day 1 – Monday, February 26, arrive in Berlin

Day 2 – Tuesday, February 27, Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 Partnering Event (state of Industry 4.0 development in Germany and Canada, funding opportunities, company and researcher presentations and pitches)

Day 3 – Wednesday, February 28, Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 Partnering Event continued (German initiatives in Industry 4.0, individual break-out meetings, wrap-up); late afternoon, travel

Day 4 – Thursday, March 1, company, university and demonstration facility site visits in the "it's OWL" (Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe) Industry 4.0 Leading-Edge Cluster Region (Bielefeld, Paderborn)

Day 5 – Friday, March 2, continue visits in OWL Region or travel to Dortmund for EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr Leading-Edge cluster site visits; late afternoon travel to Dusseldorf

Day 6 – Saturday, March 3, return to Canada

Advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 in Germany

  • Manufacturing accounts for almost 21% of the German economy (vs approximately 10% of the Canadian economy). While noted for prominent multinational companies, most noteworthy is the "Mittelstand" – a subset of German SMEs focusing on niche products and markets, with a reputation for quality, frequently holding #1 or #2 world position in their respective niches and accounting for 70% of all German manufacturing exports.
  • 57% of German SMEs in the Machine and Plant Manufacturing sector are engaged in Industry 4.0.
  • German manufacturing firms are well supported at the national and regional level by education, training, and research infrastructure.
  • One of 10 "Future Projects" identified in 2012 by the German government's "High Tech Strategy 2020", INDUSTRY 4.0 is a strategic initiative to establish Germany as a lead market and provider of advanced manufacturing solutions and will receive up to EURO 200 million in funding.
  • An example of the German government's investments, the "it's OWL" (Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe) Leading-Edge Cluster was founded in 2012 with support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The cluster has grown from 24 company members in 2012 to 205 at present, with universities and research institutes among its membership. Its industry members currently hold 75% of the global market share in electronic connectors. The cluster has implemented 46 research projects worth a total of € 100M.

How to apply for participation

If you are interested in participating in the Canada-Germany Industry 4.0 Partnering Mission, we kindly request that you contact NRC IRAP by emailas soon as possible to request an application form.

The deadline to submit the completed application form to NRC IRAP ( is January 15, 2018.

As specific site visits are confirmed, the agenda will be updated and all parties who have registered interest will be informed directly.

Financial support for participants

SMEs that have applied and are selected for participation will be invited to apply for up to $3,000 reimbursement of travel and accommodations costs associated with the mission. Selected participants will be sent instructions and information about this support. Non-SME applicants will be required to self-finance their participation. These delegates might consider applying to Global Affairs Canada's Going Global Innovation program.

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