Open Call Program

Program Update Effective: 01 June 2018

Next Open Call Proposal Deadline:  Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – 4:00 pm AST

For questions related to tidal project submissions, please contact Jennifer Pinks and for Geoscience related project submissions, please contact Russell Dmytriw.

Program Guideline

The primary objective of OERA’s Open Call Program is to sponsor high quality scientific research that will advance Nova Scotia’s offshore energy sector and contribute to building research capacity in-province.  The Program has a fixed annual funding cap that supports two Open Call competitions each year.  More specifically, proposal intakes are accepted on or around the 15th of January and 15th of July each year.

The Program focus is to capture modestly budgeted, shorter duration research projects that align with an OERA research priority area, in either of marine geosciences or marine renewables (tidal energy).

Program Criteria

  • Proposed work must align with an OERA research priority area (marine geosciences or marine renewables)Prospective applicants should always check this OERA webpage link for changes or updates to the priority areas prior to starting their application.  
  • NEW.  The Open Call application process now features two funding streams; specifically: Stream 1 for projects requesting ≤$25K or Stream 2 for projects requesting ≤$50K.  Applicants must specify at the on-set of the application process which funding stream they are submitting under.  Applicants cannot submit to both Streams on a particular intake.
  • NEW. Stream 1 funding.  Available funding has increased (from $20K per project) up to a maximum of $25K CAD/per project (inclusive of academic institutional overhead; exclusive of HST).  This is a competitive process, where up to four (4) projects at $25K each are expected to be funded per intake.
  • NEW.  Stream 2 funding.  On an exceptional basis, OERA will consider project proposals with a funding request up to a maximum of $50K CAD per project (inclusive of academic institutional overhead; exclusive of HST); and take up to two years to complete.  This is a competitive process where only ONE project (≤$50K) will be awarded funding per intake, conditional on meeting all program criteria.  If the quality of the proposals received for any given intake is not to an acceptable standard, the OERA at its discretion, may choose not to award a Stream 2 proposal.
  • Project leveraging (cash and/or in-kind) and collaborative initiatives strongly encouraged.
  • Minimum 50% of proposed budget must be expended in Nova Scotia.
  • Applications that include skills development of students or recent graduates are more favorably reviewed.
  • NEW.  Insurance.  Successful applicants shall retain a minimum $5M Commercial General Liability (CGL) and a minimum $1M Errors & Omissions (E&O), and Workers Compensation Board coverage (min n/a).  For CGL, the OERA shall be named as an additional insured as its interests appear.

Peer Review Consideration

All proposal applications are vetted by subject matter experts with oversight provided by OERA.  For each intake, OERA will ‘customize’ its choice of peer reviewers to best suit the various applicants’ research interests.  Given the expertise available through this review process, applicants are strongly encouraged to employ the standard data analytical tools, statistics approaches and modeling techniques that would be familiar to their subject matter peers.

Proposal responses must be expressed in a clear and concise manner.  Each proposal is scored against a set of objective criteria as a means to fairly compare all submissions.  The criteria include (but not limited to): research priority relevance, innovation, quality of plan, researcher(s) expertise, HQP involvement, leverage, value-for-funding, etc.  Subjective arguments and other factors may also be taken into consideration as part of the overall evaluation process.  For example, an applicant’s past performance, history and reputation may be considered, or possibly, details internal to OERA business practices.

For each intake, the OERA staff will convene in person or via telecom with the peer reviewers to discuss the evaluations and reach consensus which proposals are to be recommended for funding.

Now, with the two funding stream options available, for each intake, up to four (4) proposals from Stream 1 and one (1) from Stream 2 will be recommended for funding.  The funding recommendations will be subsequently presented to the OERA Board of Directors for final approval.

The full process may take up to 12 weeks to complete.  Following Board approval, successful applicants will be notified by email or telephone.  Unsuccessful respondents will also be notified and may request OERA to provide a brief overview of the strengths and weaknesses of their submissions.

Eligible Budget Items**

  • Labour stipends for students (undergrad, Masters, PhD candidate) or recent graduates.
  • Other labour for salaried personnel, up to a maximum of 50% of the OERA funded portion of the project.
  • Modest equipment, materials & supplies, and software costs.
  • Modest travel costs for project related field work only.
  • Other items may be considered if proper justification is provided.

Ineligible Budget Items**

Conference fees, workshops, administrative software, office equipment or faculty honoraria.

**The above are not exhaustive lists.  If you are unclear on eligibility for a particular cost item, please contact one of the OERA Research Managers to discuss.

Other Considerations

For new applicants, please note:

  • the project objective is a description of what the project expects to accomplish within a specified time frame and with resources described in the proposal;
  • the scope of work is a step-by-step description of how the objective will be achieved;
  • the outcome is the result that will be produced from the research; and
  • the deliverable is any knowledge product that is produced during the course of the project that will be submitted to OERA, such as interim or final reports, maps, presentations, webinars, publications, etc.

In fairness to other applicants, a winning proponent is expected to complete the project as proposed in their original application.  Once a project commences, OERA reserves the right to decline any modifications to the project budget, timeline schedules or tasks requested.  Further, applicants that commit to securing funds/in-kind leverage from other agencies, programs, etc are expected to follow through with such plans.  OERA reserves the right to cancel the contract in the event such changes occur over the course of a project.

How to Apply

If you would like to submit a proposal, please complete the revised OERA Open Call application form.  Submissions can be uploaded HERE.