The Chwang-Seto Innovation Fellowships Program

The Chwang-Seto Innovation Fellowships Program supports the recipient and the team on the development of a technology in order to bring it closer to the marketplace and allow the fellow to gain further knowledge and experience in business and technology commercialization. Up to $50,000 is awarded as a grant to the Principal Investigator with 80% minimum in stipend/salary going to the eligible McGill Faculty of Engineering PhD student or post-doctoral fellow to carry out the project full-time within 1 year maximum. This program is made possible thanks to the Chwang-Seto families, in honour of the late Ronald Chwang (B.Eng.'72, D. Sc.'12), a pioneering entrepreneur and venture capitalist who served on the Faculty of Engineering Advancement Board.

Program Objectives

  1. Advance the technology from a minimum of TRL3 to TRL5 or higher in conjunction with targeted market needs/opportunities. 
  2. Significantly increase the likelihood of creating a McGill spinoff company or licensing the technology to an existing company.
  3. Provide an opportunity for the inventors to focus on the development of their invention while acquiring business and technology commercialization skills as part of the innovation process.

Key Benefits

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Project grant to further advance technology commercialization

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Personalized mentorship and training from our Ronald-Chwang Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

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Development of innovation and entrepreneurship skills 


Innovation Fellowship Key Dates

Call for applications opens August 1, 2024
Deadline to submit an application November 3, 2024, 11:59PM ET

Finalists selected

November 12, 2024

Finalist presents (in person) to the Selection Committee. File Chwang-Seto Innovation Fellowship Presentation
Each application is evaluated by a Selection Committee comprised of external and internal reviewers.

November 12, 2024 to November 20, 2024

Awards announced

November 21, 2024
Project begins January 6, 2025

Project ends

January 6, 2026

Application Details


  • Application: Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. You can send your draft application for review prior to the deadline to the Engine's associate director, katya.marc [at] (subject: Draft%20Innovation%20Fellowship%20Application%20Review) or to one of the Ronald Chwang Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

  • Lead Applicant:

    • Current post-doctoral fellow at McGill Faculty of Engineering or a PhD student who has successfully defended their thesis at McGill Faculty of Engineering by the time of the award.

    • Co-inventor or has worked on the invention, along with a full-time professor at McGill Faculty of Engineering, on an active report of invention backed by the McGill’s Innovation and Partnerships office, I+P. The professor cannot hold an Engine gap funding grant (TechAccelR, WRSA) for the same invention at the same time as this project grant.

  • Invention: 

  • Project Timeline: Projects can last up to 12 months maximum, projects can be completed earlier.

  • Project Expenses: At least 80% of the grant must go towards the salary for the eligible post doc or PhD student to work full-time on the project.
    A maximum of 20% can be spent on product and process development costs towards achieving technical milestones (e.g., materials, equipment, personnel).

    • Eligible Expenses:
      • stipend/salary for the eligible PhD student or post doc
      • product and process development costs (e.g., materials, equipment, personnel)
    • Non-Eligible Expenses:
      • publication costs
      • patent fees
      • incorporation fees
      • travel costs 

Evaluation Criteria

  • Applications will be evaluated based on:

Evaluation Section Percentage Allocated Description
Problem Statement 20% What is the problem being solved? Does the proposed solution fill an unmet need? Are your target customers clearly outlined? Have you validated the problem with your target customers? 
Proposed Solution/Approach  25% Is this a novel, not obvious, and potentially disruptive technology? Has the competitive landscape been identified? Any customer/end user validation?
Technology Development and Commercialization Plan  25%

What is your project? Is there proof of concept already? What is the IP strength and stage of development both of technology and market validation? Is there a strong potential impact or market need? 

What is the assessment of the patentability, third party rights, marketability, and commercial potential of the invention/technology? Have the business challenges been acknowledged?  

Will this Award greatly help move the technology towards commercialization, e.g. will it attract and accelerate follow-on funding from other sources, significant/relevant technical milestones will be achieved (e.g. go/no-go proof, improved scope and value of the IP, prototype for MVP).  

Project Budget by Milestones and Funding  20% Does the proposal clearly identify the key technology development milestones and deliverables? Are the planned expenditures appropriate and justified? 
Team and Collaborators  5% Who are the current team members? Has the additional talent needed throughout the project been clearly identified?  
Presentation and Q&A 5% In-person presentation by lead applicant to the Selection Committee with Q&A.  Communication clear? Enthusiasm and desire for innovation?  File Chwang-Seto Innovation Fellowship Presentation

How to Apply

Application deadline is November 3, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

Selected applicants will need to complete an in-person 10-15 minute presentation to the Selection Committee

Terms of the Award

  • Timeline: The Chwang-Seto Innovation Fellow has up to 12 months to work full-time on completing their project milestones and deliverables. 

  • Award: The award will be dispersed into a new account under the PI.

  • Reporting: Mid-term report, final report and presentation are due to the Engine's associate director and the team's assigned mentor showing the project’s current status, status of IP, commercialization and development plan progress/next steps, and the use of funds. In addition, self-assessment questionnaires and program evaluation feedback will be required. 

  • Mentorship & Training: Meet with assigned business mentor on a regular basis throughout the program (minimum once per month). Attend Engine's entrepreneurial skills development workshops or other entrepreneurial training as suggested by mentor.

  • Outreach Activities: Willingness to assist the McGill Engine in outreach activities pertaining to technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Promotion: Acknowledgement and promotion of the program and the McGill Engine in publications and communications arising from the project through your own networks and events.

  • Giving back: The McGill Engine does not take equity in McGill spin-off companies. There is an expectation, but no requirement, that participating researchers will make a non-binding charitable pledge to McGill Engine aimed at sustaining the activities of the McGill Engine Centre and helping the next generation of technological innovators and entrepreneurs that the Centre supports. Funding is not conditional on a researcher signing a pledge.

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