Fessenden Professorships


Letter of Intent (L.O.I.) - TBA

Fessenden Professorship awards encourage the commercialization of innovative technologies stemming from Faculty of Science research. The primary objective is to accelerate the development of spin-off companies based on intellectually rigorous research.

Funds are expected to enable:

  • additional R & D which will significantly augment the value of an existing invention (or portfolio); and
  • other activities which advance the technology significantly closer to constituting an attractive investment opportunity.

Fessenden Professorship funds may be used for research personnel, travel, materials and for teaching relief. See Awards below for a list of past recipients of a Fessenden Professorship in Science Innovation.


Applicants must hold an academic appointment in the Faculty of Science.

The invention(s) must have been disclosed to McGill’s Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) in a completed Report of Invention.

Value and Duration

Applications must request an amount between $25,000 and $70,000.

A Fessenden Professorship will normally not exceed one year.

How to apply

Applications will be invited periodically, based on the funds available.

Stage 1: Letter of Intent and NSERC Personal Data Form 100
Stage 2: Proposal (upon invitation)

Letter of Intent

On a single page headed by your Name, Department, Telephone ext, E-mail and Date, write a brief statement of interest including:

  • Background of the technology
  • Technology to be developed
  • Report(s) of Invention (number and title)
  • Intellectual property (relevant material may include copyright, patent [indicate whether application or issued], trademark, etc.)
  • Commercialization-related activities to date (e.g.presentations, POP or I2I grants; indicate whether application or awarded)
  • Current status of the technology/portfolio and opportunity perceived
  • Expectation of what a Fessenden Professorship will enable

Here is a template for the letter of intent, available both as a Word document and a PDF file:

An up-to-date NSERC Personal Data Form 100 must accompany the Letter of Intent.

Proposal Package (only on invitation)

A complete Application (maximum 6 pages) shall include:

Description and Context:             
  • research to date and context for use of the envisaged technology
  • project and particular activities to be performed during the Fessenden Professorship
Action Plan, including:
  • results of patent literature search and date this was completed
  • results of the OTT-led due diligence
  • review of the competitive landscape
  • statement of research goals, timeframe and milestones for the Project proposed in Gantt-chart format (see example)
Risk Assessment, including brief discussion of:
  • elements critical to the commercial viability of the product envisaged
  • principal risks which may impact commercial success of the product, as well as a plan to address these
Technology Transfer:
  • presentations planned during Project timeframe
  • other communications with potential investors
  • Other funding held or applications (in preparation or submitted) for complementary research or commercialization activity on the Project proposed; for applications, indicate when notification of decision is expected
  • Detailed and justified Budget for the amount requested. Fessenden Professorship funds may be used for research personnel, travel, materials and for teaching relief. The proposed teaching relief must have been discussed and accepted by the Department Chair prior to submitting an application.


Documents required to complete the proposal:

  • A letter of support from the Department Chair, which explicitly describes the support or teaching relief which shall be granted to a successful candidate;
  • an updated CV;
  • copy of the due diligence report or equivalent, as prepared by the OSR Commercialization Officer;
  • description of the innovation track record of the Applicant.
  • Table (Gantt-chart format, single page) indicating Project timeframe and milestones.

Presentation Guidelines:

  • Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines per inch.
  • Font should be Times New Roman regular 12 pts.
  • Set margins at 3/4 of an inch (1.9 cm) (minimum) all around.
  • Number your pages sequentially.

Also see Frequently Asked Questions


Submit the completed LOI or application package electronically in pdf format  to doina.precup [at] mcgill.ca (Doina Precup )by: TBA

Adjudication and Awards

Applications shall be reviewed by the Dean and members of the Dean's Advisory Board for Research Innovation. Submissions will be ranked using the following weighting:

  • The innovation - 40%
  • The context - 20%
  • The translation to product - 40%

Reporting and Indicators of Success

Normally, two oral reports on progress will be expected from the holder of a Fessenden Professorhip. For awards of more than one year duration, a written report shall be due each year, summarizing the incumbent’s activities and achievements.

If a complementary grant is held for the project, including specified milestones, then reporting schedules will be harmonized to avoid duplication. If an upcoming Fessenden meeting is planned within one month of a status report meeting pertaining to the externally funded project, a single meeting shall suffice. Reports on progress will be given by the Fessenden Professor in person, in a meeting with the Dean or with the Dean’s delegate at both the mid-point and at the end of the Fessenden Professorship award period.

A written final report shall be due no later than 30 days following the end of the award period. Fessenden Professors may be invited to make a presentation to the Dean’s Advisory Board for Research Innovation at the conclusion of the Project.

Assessment of the progress made towards realizing the program objective will use indicators including:

  • Filing a regular (non-provisional) patent application
  • Substantial motion forward in patent position
  • Exposure given to the innovative technology
  • Number of presentations to potential investors made by the incumbent
  • Number of presentations to VCs made by the incumbent
  • Working prototype completed
  • Algorithm beta-tested
  • Venture capital or Angel investor identified &/or Option signed
  • License negotiation in process or completed
  • Business Plan written




1st Prize: Kaleem Siddiqi
Modeling Heart Wall Myofibers

2nd Prize: C.-J. Li
Catalytic Conversion of Methane and Natural Gas into High-Valued Aromatics, Hydrogen, and Liquid Fuel


1st Prize: Jerome Waldispuhl
A crowdsourcing platform for analyzing big data in personalized genomic and pharmaceutical research

2nd Prize: Karine Auclair
Prodrug inhibitors of aminoglycoside acetyltransferases as agents to block resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics                  

June 2012 Patanjali Kambhampati
Development of the first single-sealed box commercial two-dimensional optical spectrometer
June 2011

Youla Tsantrizos
Development of novel inhibitors of the human FPPS and GGPPS enzymes

May 2011 David Burns
Development of a smart ultrasound sensitive hydrogel sensor platform
December 2010 Gregory Dudek
Development of the AQUA robotic platform and technologies. See Independent Robotics
September 2010 Masad Damha
Development of novel RNA chemistry for therapeutic and microarray applications
2009 Paul Wiseman
Development of a new clinical device to detect malaria infection and obtain rapid parasite counts based on third harmonic generation emission from the malaria pigment hemozoin
2008 Nicolas Moitessier
Development of a novel software platform for drug discovery, design and process chemistry into a commercial product: FORECASTER. See Project Website



Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Should I resubmit the NSERC Personal Data Form 100 when I forward my invited application package?
    Yes, resubmit your CV including any appropriate updates which may have occurred since submission of the Letter of Intent.
  2. What is the expertise of the members of the Dean's Advisory Board on Research Innovation (ABRI)?
    Members of the ABRI are successful entrepreneurs who are usually graduates of McGill's Faculty of Science. Their practical experience informs their ability to gauge the probability of success of projects described in the Fessenden Professorship proposals.
  3. Why must the application include a discussion of elements critical to the commercial viability of the product envisaged and of principal risks which may impact commercial success?
    Although the Fessenden Professorship awards target technologies which are still at a very early stage of development, it is critical that the Applicant demonstrate an awareness of the needs of the market in which the eventual product will be offered. Without such understanding, the probability of success will be sharply reduced.
  4. Will I have the opportunity to respond to questions raised by the referees?
    Yes, referee questions will be communicated and a response will be invited.