FAQs

Most frequent questions and answers

OVERVIEW

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster (“the Supercluster”) aims to unlock the potential of innovative Canadian enterprises by bringing together leading organizations to develop solutions for some of our biggest global problems. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, we are one of five Superclusters across Canada, funded by the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative via the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). Bringing together small medium enterprises, multi-national organizations, large companies, research organizations and post-secondary institutions, we provide co-investment to selected, collaborative digital technology projects that will transform our local industries, fuel economic opportunities and position Canada as a leader in digital innovation.

 

Read our Strategic Plan, and our Core Values here.

Membership & Member Fees

We have over 600 organizations in our supercluster community, with Members such as D-Wave, TELUS, Terramera, Microsoft, DNAstack and the University of British Columbia. Learn more about our Members here.

Membership is open to any organization that is based in Canada (either headquartered or have a Canadian subsidiary).  As an industry-led initiative, most of our membership is comprised of private sector organizations, focused on building a world-class R&D operation and intent on continuing to invest in product and technology develop programs as they grow. Post-secondary institutions, government agencies and non-profit organizations may become members but are not eligible to receive co-investment funding.

There are two types of membership: Associate and Member. Organizations typically start as an Associate and may upgrade to a Member upon invitation from the Supercluster, usually in concert with being part of a successfully selected project. Both Associates and Member have access to the Supercluster community via the Resource Portal, Ideation Hub and Member Directory as well as invitations to community and ideation events. Click here to view the key differences between Members and Associates.

We encourage organizations to join initially as an Associate and to upgrade in due course as they are successful in being part of a selected project.  Associates are a free, exploratory class of membership, providing the opportunity to engage and discover partnerships, access our resources and events. Join as an Associate here.

Academic institutions are a critical part of the Supercluster as it is a requirement to have at least one academic institution part of your project consortium. Having partnerships with researchers and academia supports the goal of commercializing research outcomes. It is important to note that Academic institutions are not eligible for co-investments as the Supercluster can only fund industry participants in projects. 

Academics can get involved by:

  1. Joining the Supercluster as an Associate
  2. Identifying opportunities for your existing industry sponsors
  3. Attending Ideation Forums and find potential consortium partners
  4. If you are a part of a university, connect with your Vice President (Research or Academic) who will act as the prime point of contact for your academic institution

International companies who have a Canadian operation may join the Supercluster.  The co-investment funding is intended for research and development investments in Canada.

Programs and Project Funding

The Supercluster focuses on industry-led projects involving digital innovations that could radically improve Canadian economic prosperity, competitiveness and productivity. We invest in technology projects that can have transformational impacts in healthcare, natural resources and industrial sectors. All our projects have the potential to deliver significant benefits to the local, regional and national economy. See examples of the types of projects we fund here, and learn more about the projects we are looking for in our Program Guide.

Periodically, the Supercluster invites project submissions from Members through a Competition Cycle that includes a Call for Projects.  The terms of these Calls for Projects are set out in the Program Guide.

Project submissions are evaluated and selected on a competitive basis, thereby ensuring that the Supercluster investments are applied to the projects with the greatest potential.  The Supercluster “co-invests” in projects alongside Members and Associates that are participating in that project.  The total amount of co-investment available from the Supercluster will vary based on the Program. 

There must be a minimum of three partners in a project consortium (not including the Supercluster) and it must include at least a small and medium enterprise (SME) and a  post-secondary institution.  Projects must be led by a Member of the Supercluster. For more information, read our Program Guide.

The criteria and weighting used to evaluate project submissions are found in our Program Guide, Appendix A.

There is no explicit guideline for each project, however, the Supercluster aims to invest in 30 – 40 projects that are developing products/applications and up to six platforms that may require larger investments.  The total amount of Supercluster funding is $153 million with matching dollars from industry Members. 

Projects typically range in duration from 12 months to 36 months.  Supercluster projects must be completed by March 31, 2023.

Eligible project costsfor Supercluster co-investment are those that are incremental, reasonable and directly relate to project execution and achievement of the project objectives. For more information on Co-investments, please refer to our Co-Investment Guidelines and COVID-19 Program Co-investment Guidelines

Co-investment amounts vary based on the scope of the project, the period of performance, and the nature of the work. We anticipate most of our investments will range between $500,000 and $10 million. Larger investments will be judiciously made into projects that demonstrate significant ecosystem benefit, technological impact, ambition, and careful management and mitigation of associated risks. For more information on Co-investments, please refer to our Co-Investment Guidelines and COVID-19 Program Co-investment Guidelines

We operate a reimbursement model. Partners undertake activities, report progress on milestones and include invoices when reporting. Once the Supercluster has reviewed and accepted the reports at the end of any given milestone, the Supercluster will transfer our portion of funds to the relevant recipients. Project partners may specify how they wish funds to be disbursed. Each milestone report should specify reimbursement by organization.

It varies, but we expect 60-90 days. Time to contracting is dependent on the time it takes for the Supercluster to receive and approve required documentation (most notably confirmation of funding for the Project and signed Agreements with Consortium Partners).

Yes. Total Canadian government assistance for all projects, including federal, provincial/ territorial and municipal, must not exceed 100% of Eligible Costs. The Supercluster typically funds up to 43% of Eligible Costs. The stacking limit applies to the scope of activities captured by the Contribution Agreement. Seeking other funding to expand the scale or scope of activities to further the objectives of the Contribution Agreement is encouraged.

Intellectual Property

Governance related to Intellectual Property for each project is set out in the Master Project Agreement (MPA) entered into between collaborating organizations. The MPA distinguishes between Background IP and Foreground IP as follows:

1) Background IP is the IP which has been developed prior to the beginning of a project or is developed independently of a project.  

2) Foreground IP is the IP that is generated as a result of a project. 

Different collaborating organizations can apply IP practices that are best suited to their organizations in finalizing their MPAs. For each project, there will be an IP framework that clearly outlines ownership and usage rights for both Background IP (which remains under the ownership of the contributing party) and the Foreground IP.  The Supercluster will have an independent IP advisor with expertise to help Members arrive at fair and reasonable agreements in their MPAs.

A key aim of the Supercluster is to catalyze the growth of small and medium-sized companies by creating opportunities for them to collaborate with both industrial and iconic technology companies.  Accordingly, a key role of the Supercluster, in terms of project and membership governance, is to uphold the spirit of collaboration ensuring that there is sharing/diffusion of IP to convey commercial benefits for participating organizations.

The Supercluster entity does not seek ownership positions of IP.