The SR&ED Program & How to Determine Project Eligibility Series Part 3

The determination of SR&ED – The Five Questions

Question #1

Was there a scientific or a technological uncertainty?

Referring back to the definition, we know that an uncertainty:

  1. Cannot be resolved based on the existing knowledge base;
  2. Recognizes the need for an advancement.

When defining an uncertainty, it is important to identify what is lacking in the existing knowledge base and why the uncertainty cannot be resolved by known solutions. This rationale is due to the fact that an uncertainty can only occur after realizing that no solution exists in the knowledge base or whether it is even possible to achieve a solution.

This brings us to an important distinction. If a problem can be resolved based on existing knowledge and known tools and techniques, it is a technical problem and, therefore, not a technological problem (aka technological uncertainty) and doesn’t qualify for SR&ED. This is why it is important to identify the existing knowledge base and why your uncertainty cannot be resolved solely by it.

Question #2

Did the effort involve formulating hypotheses specifically aimed at reducing or eliminating that uncertainty?

This question centers around the definition of a hypothesis. As mentioned before, terms like hypothesis may have little to no meaning in an industrial context. So, in this context, a hypothesis can be thought of as a possible solution to the problem which attempts to resolve the uncertainty defined in Question #1. This proposed solution should be consistent with the existing knowledge base and act as a starting point which encourages further investigation.

In our next blog post we will discuss question three.

Author: Nicholas Ogrodnik
Position: Technical Advisor

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