CA*net Institute takes on new manager; launches 2nd round funding competition The CA*net Institute is back with a $900,000 funding competition for new Internet technologies and applications following a two-year hiatus. Now under the auspices of the federal research agency, CANARIE Inc, the program anticipates funding about 15 of the estimated 100 applications expected by the Feb. 2 deadline, with an emphasis this time around on more content-oriented projects, specifically the development of innovative network applications and increased education and awareness of the Internet. The first funding round was held in 1998 and the monies left over from that process are being used for this competition (CNM, Feb. 8/99). ELIGIBLE PROJECTSCanadian history/cultureCanadian art and animationContemporary social issuesEducational techniquesArt and technologyMedia/health issuesYouth issuesNancy Carter, the assistant director of finance at CANARIE, says the purpose of the program is to target smaller projects that don’t always have a strong commercial bent. "There are bigger competitions that CANARIE itself runs, where the contributions might be in the neighbourhood of $1 million, but there are smaller organizations who want to start small," she explains. "In our learning program, for example, we would be looking for a much more substantial business plan and project plan from an applicant that we would be looking for in this competition." In addition to the CA*net Institute Program, CANARIE also manages funding competitions for learning and tele-health and e-business (see separate story below). Organizations that receive funding under the CA*net Institute Program can apply to one of the other programs in the future for a larger funding amount for a more ambitious project, she adds. OVER $1 MILLION AWARDED TO E-BUSINESS CLUSTERSCANARIE Inc awarded nearly $1.2 million to two companies Jan. 18 for research projects under its $10-million E-business Virtual Clusters Program. Projux Online Inc, Vancouver, will receive $740,960 to develop a central web-based bank for contract-related information, and connector technologies that will enable users to access Projux from anywhere and any device in the world. Toronto-based Acres Productive Technologies Inc will receive $438,000 for its HydroVantage project - a maintenance and capital investment decision support model aimed at the hydro-electric industry. The company’s new portal will provide information on equipment replacement and investment models. Expressions of Interest to the E-business Virtual Clusters Program are accepted, and evaluated by a committee of peers, on a continuing basis."There was a project in the last round of competition that the Canadian Hearing Society was doing, and they were working on training hearing impaired users on the Internet. This organization is now participating in a collaborative learning project that’s running through another CANARIE program now." As for how future CA*net competitions will be funded, Carter says that’s still unclear. ‘It’s probably too soon to say anything about how we would like to see it continue," she says, adding that they are pursuing a model that would see private sector companies contributing to the funding pool. If successful, she says a funding competition could be held every 18-24 months. The CA*net Institute plans to announce the funding winners from this current competition on May 11. It will fund up to 50 per cent of the cost of each project to a maximum of $150,000.