Canada Council for the Arts is offering a grant intended to foster the professional development of artists joining forces with engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists.  The deadline for the grant, called the New Media Initiative program, is April 15 and results will be announced in October. The idea behind the grant is to use new technology to help artists with their work.  David Poole, head of the media arts section with Canada Council for the Arts, says that people applying for the New Media Initiative program must prove to a panel of artists and educators – for example, professors from the University of Waterloo – that their proposal is a mix of "good art and good science."  Proposals vary across the design, development, and application of software and hardware tools for IP networks and broadband optical networks.  These projects, Poole says, should bring together scientists and engineers with the artists combining the creativity and ability to work in technology. This could in turn bring to the market very innovative products, such as more efficient design and film editing software.  Poole tells Canadian NEW MEDIA that freelance artists are encouraged to participate. He says the Canada Council is offering the grant because, in many cases, new media artists need to further their work with the technological expertise of computer scientists and engineers. He also says the grant could help computer scientists and mathematicians because artists can offer their perspective on new media and because artists "look at new media in different ways." "New media isn’t just one set of practices, it’s a set of tools and it’s of interest to mathematicians, computer scientists, artists, and social scientists," Poole says, and adds, "There’s just an interest being expressed for things not to be done in isolated silos, but rather collectively." Many applicants "will be working in artist run centres," Poole says. He gives examples of artist run centres, such as InterAccess in Toronto and paved Art + New Media in Saskatoon.  The artist must be partnered with someone who is eligible for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) funding, such as someone affiliated with a university. This is usually a mathematician, engineer, or computer scientist.  Poole notes that the artist can’t just be a kid out of college; he or she must have experience as an artist. All Canada Council programs are for professional artists, which means the artists must have made and shown work in a recognized venue before they ask for support. Sara Diamond, director of research at the Banff Centre and artistic director for Banff New Media Institute, says the grant provides "an opportunity for artists to put together proposals with some of the science researchers that are part of our team," and added, "we can host because we support co-production and research coming in here from other teams."  Diamond says that in the past, Banff Centre has hosted artist-scientist teams who have been funded by Canada Council to come and do their actual research and creative work.  She also says that with the grant, "our teams will have the advantage of being able to work with those financed research teams and that always means that there’s more knowledge sharing and creative experience." According to the New Media Initiative grant guidelines on the Canada Council web site, applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and submit a detailed description of their project, including the concept driving it, the names of all team members and the project’s impact on the artistic and scientific communities. Only projects involving independent art creation and related science and engineering research are eligible. Projects that "focus on the routine application of existing technology," that "are principally associated with the acquisition and maintenance of scientific equipment" or "provide professional or consulting services" are not eligible. The guidelines also state that retroactive funding is not available.  The New Media Initiative grant, which began three years ago, is awarded for one-to-three-year research projects. The Canada Council’s funds reach up to $60,000 in total, and NSERC has no specified limit, however the average NSERC fund is around $130,000. All grants are dependent upon the Canada Council and NSERC’s ability to finance them.