Canada’s ocean economy is a key contributor to the country’s financial health: the ocean economy employs roughly 350,000 people and contributes over $36B to the national GDP.
The Ocean Supercluster (OSC), one of Canada’s five Innovation Superclusters, brings together leaders in multiple sectors across the ocean economy: fisheries, aquaculture, offshore resources, shipping, defence, marine renewables, and ocean tech. Based in Atlantic Canada, OSC aims to leverage Canada’s ocean capabilities, investments from the private sector, and Canadian government grants to make Canada a global leader in the ocean economy.
OSC offers project funding and other support to organizations through two main pillars: Technology Leadership Programs and the Innovation Ecosystem Strategy.
OSC’s Technology Leadership Programs
OSC’s Technology Leadership Programs are areas of interest that have been identified as priorities for OSC. These areas include ocean sensing and characterization, data analysis and visualization, and operational intelligence.
Through Technology Leadership Programs, OSC will provide Canadian government grants to help fund collaborative research and development projects led by OSC members. Technology Leadership Projects should solve industry challenges, resolve capability, foster sustainable growth across ocean sectors, and help create high-quality jobs.
There is no minimum or maximum funding amount for Technology Leadership Projects, but funded projects will likely range in size from $0.5M to $20M, with coverage of up to 50% of eligible costs.
The program is currently open and accepting proposals on a continuous basis.
Project development should follow five steps:
- Preliminary Development: OSC members discuss ideas and form a Project Team.
- Preliminary Qualification: The Project Team completes the TL Project Preliminary Qualification Template to explain its project idea to OSC.
- Proposal Development: After qualification, the Project Team develops and completes the TL Project Proposal Template.
- Proposal Assessment & Selection: The Project Team submits the Proposal to OSC, who arranges for the Proposal’s evaluation.
- Project Agreements & Execution: Approved Projects are accepted for contracting and implementation.
Applicants must be OSC members. Project Teams must include investment from at least two OSC members, and at least one member needs to be a small- or medium-sized enterprise (500 or fewer employees).
Projects for the Technology Leadership Programs should:
- Perform research, development, demonstration, commercialization, and/or capability-building activities
- Deliver value to the involved organizations, the innovation ecosystem, and Canada’s ocean economy
- Respond to gaps and priorities identified in OSC’s Five-Year Strategy
- Promote entry or development in new domestic and international markets
- Create and/or maintain jobs
Projects should also be incremental to the regular business undertakings of the applicants. That is, the project is new or would not be completed at the same scope without co-investment from the Supercluster.
OSC’s Innovation Ecosystem Strategy
Businesses may also be interested in exploring OSC’s Innovation Ecosystem Strategy, where member organizations can deliver or suggest ideas for programs, called Innovation Ecosystem Activities (IEAs), that help grow the ocean economy. Such activities should focus on access to shared resources, regional connectivity, and innovative culture. They should also respond to gaps and needs identified by cluster participants, or address opportunities to build on areas of strength in Atlantic Canada’s innovation ecosystem.
Initiatives are to fall into one of four categories: Company Creation & Growth; Inclusive Talent Attraction & Transformation; Access to Ocean Innovation Resources; and Global Cluster Collaborations.
Canada’s Innovation Superclusters
The Ocean Supercluster is one of Canada’s five Innovation Superclusters. Funded by the federal government, Canada’s Superclusters foster strong connections between stakeholders in Canada’s most promising clusters. Such stakeholders include large anchor firms, start-ups, small- and medium-sized businesses, post-secondary institutions, researchers, and government partners. These stakeholders work together to develop bold proposals to strengthen Canada’s economy and foster innovation.
Canada’s four other Innovation Superclusters are the Digital Technology Supercluster, the Protein Industries Supercluster, the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster, and the SCALE.AI Supercluster.
One of the easiest ways to stay up-to-date with news regarding all of Canada’s Superclusters is to register for our Small Business Funding Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Monday.
Mentor Works does not provide consulting or writing services for this program. Those who need support can reach out to the Ocean Supercluster.