Terms of Reference
The Future Energy Systems (FES) Accelerator Fund is intended to advance current and past FES funded research to implementation, including pilot and field application, in collaboration with external stakeholders.
University of Alberta (UofA) faculty members currently or formerly funded by FES are eligible to apply as principal investigators. Research team members and co-investigators can include anyone formerly funded by FES or not yet funded by FES, from UofA or any other research institution. Researcher team members who have not yet been funded by FES should have a strong track record of work in some facet of the energy systems field. Cash and in-kind funders can be from previous or ongoing FES projects, or be new to the FES research program.
Accelerator funds cannot be used to supplement current or previously funded FES projects. Successful proposals will demonstrate how a new project will build upon a current or previous FES project, and show progression toward implementation (see objective) through clearly defined deliverables and timelines. Proposals that expand upon deliverables in the original FES project will be considered (such as leveraging a stakeholder relationship to move FES funded research to a pilot or field test stage).
Each proposal must demonstrate that external cash from stakeholders to support and/or implement research has been confirmed. In kind support is highly valued and will be carefully considered in evaluation of applications. Technological, environmental (such as reclamation, remediation, monitoring, mitigation), and societal (such as business, economics, policy, law, arts) focused research projects aligned with the FES mandate are eligible to apply.
The research and reporting responsibilities will need to be completed no later than June 30 2026. If the project will run longer than June 2026 other funding must be confirmed to support it. Clear, significant deliverables and timelines applicable to the FES mandate must be met within the FES program timeline.
Applications must clearly show all of the following.
- Innovative findings from current or past FES funded projects ready to be moved to stages of implementation, application, or practical use with clear deliverables and timelines.
- Support of at least one key stakeholder, such as industry; government; not-for-profit; a rural, Indigenous and/or urban community.
- Funding commitment(s) for research (such as NSERC, SSHRC, external stakeholders, other grants).
Priority will be given to applications that are expected to achieve one or more of the following.
- Lead to commercialization of novel technologies, processes, and/or patent filings.
- Substantially influence best practices for industry, government, and/or communities.
- Directly affect policy, the regulatory framework, and/or other community processes and/or activities.
Criteria And Review Process
All applications will be peer reviewed by an Accelerator Evaluation Panel (AEP) consisting of at least two subject experts, at least one external stakeholder expert, and at least one member of the FES Research Advisory Committee (RAC). The AEP will make recommendations to the Director, who may solicit additional input from RAC and/or other institutional personnel as required before final decisions for funding are made.
Proposals will be assessed based on the following.
- How the proposed project will significantly advance previously funded FES research.
- Specific transformative research contributions beyond publications and presentations.
- Sound plan for transfer of research results to applied stakeholders.
- Training of HQP in a collaborative environment with the stakeholder.
- Continued development of current or former FES HQP (opportunity to continue growing, for example in a new role for a PhD student such as a post-doctoral fellowship).
- Nature of external support (level of cash funding, nature and significance of in kind support). At least one source of funding must be formally approved prior to application, and be a new commitment not previously applied to a current or former FES research (the same external funder may add new funds to a project but funds already applied cannot be counted again).
- Nature of commitments from stakeholders to assess, test, and/or adopt research outcomes.
- Significant deliverables clearly achievable by June 30 2026.
All applicants will complete Part A (Project Overview), Part B (Project Impact), and Part C (Top FES Research Outcomes) of the application form. Due to the diverse nature of FES research, Part B should specifically address the technological, environmental, and societal impacts of the project. If one of the aspects of Part B is not applicable, an explanation should be provided. Applicants must provide clear, concise explanations of their proposal’s importance, addressing factors such as stakeholder interest and support, advancement of research within the field, and specific challenges or conditions relevant to the application.
Approved proposals will be established as new FES projects. Successful principal investigators will be required to maintain accurate, up to date information on the projects, deliverables, timelines, research outputs, and HQP in the FES Forum project management system, to report annually, and to provide a final report to FES.
Applications will be received and adjudicated on an ongoing basis until accelerator funds are depleted.
Informal expressions of interest should be sent via email to the individuals below, with each message briefly describing (i) the proposed project, (ii) its relationship to past or current FES research, (iii) its potential impacts, and (iv) partner(s). Advice and application packages will be sent to potential applicants in response to their expressions of interest.