Pilot program announced for collaborative R&D projects in Canada and Germany

January 31, 2018— Ottawa, Ontario

Canada and Germany are pleased to announce the first Call for Proposals for 2+2 research and development projects, focused on the development of Industry 4.0 enabling technologies. This new pilot program, delivered by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) in collaboration with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), is the result of a recent research agreement between Canada and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Canada and Germany have a long history of collaboration with the goal of advancing market-driven research and development (R&D) innovation that began with the signing of the bilateral Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Agreement over 45 years ago. As a result of this Agreement, the German-Canadian Joint Commission for S&T Cooperation was formed to continue to further build on and strengthen the S&T relationship between the two countries. The launch of this latest pilot program is a direct result of the S&T Commission and is a great example of the continued commitment to strengthening research and innovation collaboration, ultimately contributing to economic growth for both countries.

Supporting digital transformation through innovation

Industry 4.0, commonly referred to as the "Smart Factory", refers to the digital transformation of manufacturing - connecting automated machines to each other, to their operators, to other processes and services, to the Internet of Things, and the supply chain. “Digital transformation in all industrial sectors is perhaps one of the most important trends of our time,” says François Cordeau, Vice-President, NRC Transportation and Manufacturing and Co-Chair of the Canada-Germany S&T Commission. “The new 2+2 pilot program presents exciting opportunities for joint research projects where pooling expertise in the Industry 4.0 sector will bring significant advantages to both sides.”

“2+2” refers to the nature of an eligible project consortium, which must include at least one small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) and one academic partner on the Canadian side, in addition to at least one academic or research institute partner and one eligible industrial partner on the German side.  Additional participants may join the consortia on a self-funded basis.

Applicants are expected to develop innovative market-ready solutions or projects which have strong market potential for Canada and Germany. “NSERC is proud to support partnerships between top Canadian researchers, industrial partners and their multi-sectorial, cross-disciplinary collaborators in Germany,” says B. Mario Pinto, President of NSERC. “Investing in global networks of talented scientists and engineers advancing ICT and manufacturing technologies will accelerate results and ensure lasting impacts in the next industrial age.”

Partnering mission to Germany

In addition to the Call for Proposals, an upcoming Industry 4.0 partnering mission will take place in Berlin, Germany from February 27 – March 2, 2018. With support from NRC IRAP, NSERC, and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) a delegation of Canadian SMEs, academics, and researchers will benefit from site visits to some of Germany's leading Advanced Manufacturing hubs, including 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. In particular, the Canadian delegation will visit the “it’s OWL" (Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe) Industry 4.0 leading-edge cluster region of Germany, one of its top performing clusters with over 200 partners.

For more information on the Canada-Germany 2+2 R&D Projects in Industry 4.0 Technology pilot program, please refer to the detailed Call for Proposals.

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