Di Pierro Innovation Fellowships

The Innovation Fellowships Program

The McGill Engine 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 as a grant with 80% minimum in salary going to the eligible McGill Faculty of Engineering PhD student or post-doctoral fellow to carry our the project within 1 year maximum. This program is made possible thanks to the generosity of McGill alumni Pasquale Di Pierro and Cesar Cesaratto.

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.

Innovation Fellowship Timeline

Date Description

April 2, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET 

Application deadline

April 3-21, 2023 

Selected lead applicants will be invited to make an in-person presentation to the Selection Committee. File The DiPierro Innovation Fellowship Presentation Guidelines Each application is evaluated by a Selection Committee comprised of external and internal reviewers.   

April 24, 2023 

Applicants informed of review and evaluation outcomes, Innovation Fellowship awarded

May 1, 2023 

Innovation Fellowship begins 

May 1, 2024

Innovation Fellowship ends (projects can last up to 12 months maximum, projects can be completed earlier) 

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] mcgill.ca (subject: Draft%20Innovation%20Fellowship%20Application%20Review) or to one of the technological 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.

    • 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.
    A maximum of 20% can be spent on product and process development costs towards achieving technical milestones (e.g., materials, equipment, personnel).

    • Eligible Expenses:
      • salary for the eligible post doc or PhD student 
      • 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 5% In-person presentation by lead applicant to the Selection Committee. File The DiPierro Innovation Fellowship Presentation Guidelines

How to Apply

Application deadline is April 2, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET

Selected applicants will need to complete a 10-15 minute presentation

Terms of the Award

  • Timeline: Teams have up to 12 months maximum to complete their project milestones and deliverables. 

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

  • Reporting: Mid-term and final reports 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.

  • Mentorship: A mentor will be assigned to help progress the project’s development and commercialization plan following guidelines and commitment.

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

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

Back to top