We’re excited to inform you about two Interactive Visit program pilots that NRC and Tech Access Canada have just implemented. Super Interactive Visits (iVisits) provide clients with up to 100 hours of access to research facilities, equipment and expertise to solve their business or technical challenges. Strict eligibility requirements have made it difficult for start-ups and some scale-ups to get approval for the Program. Please see the two new pilots described below. These pilots are effective until March 2023, with hopes they will become permanent:
Pilot one: No more referrals necessary – SEATAC can now refer clients directly for a Visit
Previously, the hurtle for some firms to access, iVisits, a program that covers 20 hours of scientist/technician time, materials, equipment time, and costs of travel for the TAC to the client at the cost of $250 was strict eligibility requirements. This pilot program has been developed to remove this barrier. Firms are eligible for up two iVisits per fiscal year.
Technology Access Centres (TACs) across the country, including SEATAC here in Nova Scotia, can now refer a client directly for an iVisit. The steps below outline the new process and requirements:
- SEATAC and the firm can identify an opportunity to utilize the iVisit Program and confirm that the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirement:
- Incorporated SME with fewer than 500 employees
- Operating in Canada with a CRA business number
- Objective to grow through innovation
- An Industrial technology advisor (ITA) from NRC-IRAP has not yet been assigned to the SME (if you have already been assigned an ITA, you will need to follow the traditional iVisit process, including the NRC-IRAP eligibility requirements)
- The firm completes the required online form: https://interactivevisits.ca/iVisit/Create
- The Program reviews the firm’s submission. If approved, a request is sent to SEATAC to complete the application with an agreed-upon Statement of Work
- SEATAC completes the required forms and the iVisit is automatically approved
Pilot 2: Super iVisits – 100-hour Visits using multiple TACs
There are 60 TACs associated with various colleges, institutes and cegeps in Canada. Multiple TACs can now collaborate with a single firm on a specific project or innovation challenge. Super iVisits include up to 100 hours of scientist/technician time, materials, equipment time, and costs of travel for the TAC to the client, if needed. These 100-hour Super iVisits can be split between up to five TACs and the cost to the client is only $500.
Note, the Super iVisits require the same basic eligibility requirements (as shown above) and have additional qualifying criteria shown below:
- Super iVisits must use traditional iVisit portal
- Super iVisits must have an Industrial technology advisor (ITA) from NRC-IRAP to participate
- There is a maximum of two normal Visits and/or 100 hours of assistance per firm, per year (example, if an SME has completed two normal iVisits in a year, they may only apply for 60 hour Super iVisit)
- Super iVisit must focus on one problem/challenge the SME is having
- Must have minimum of two to maximum of five TACs participating
We’re working with Merinov, a TAC that specializes in technologies specific to fisheries, aquaculture, processing and marine bioresources, to strategize how we can optimize these new pilot programs. This is a great opportunity for the local marine sectors.
If you are interested in either (or both) of the iVisit pilot program(s), contact us at email@example.com