TechAccelR Program

The TechAccelR program supports McGill University Faculty of Engineering tenure-track professors by enabling them to accelerate their research-based ideas with commercial potential that are reported as inventions but need further validation as part of the commercialization plan. The program is offered biannually (spring and fall) and includes grants that can go up to $15,000 per invention/technology, along with personalized business mentorship. For 2024, the budget will allow for up to 5 projects per round to be selected. Funding of the TechAccelR proposals is at the sole discretion of the McGill Engine team. We will look at the comparative merit of the application pool and the project criteria.

The TechAccel grants are short-term for projects that will advance or enhance an invention/technology in order to improve the scope and value of McGill’s IP and enable researchers to obtain further funding for commercialization. The TechAccel project proposals are co-written with the PI's technology transfer manager. Some examples of scope of work goals: improved claims in future patent applications, new uses/applications of existing technologies, gathering additional data to further demonstrate proof of concept (e.g. increased robustness/reliability of AI/ML models), obtaining data to compare/benchmark the technology to existing technologies to show its competitive advantages.

In addition to funding, teams are matched with a Ronald Chwang Entrepreneur-in-Residence to help advance their technology commercialization plan and provide industry connections.

The grants come out of the Faculty of Engineering Innovation Fund*, which is funded by charitable gifts from alumni and other community donors.

*The Innovation Fund is not an investment fund. Donors are not investing in companies. Donations made by donors are charitable contributions, which may be tax deductible.

Program Objectives

  1. Validate early stage technologies
  2. Advance the invention's Technology Readiness Level
  3. Accelerate the technology’s commercialization and development plan - achieve product-market fit faster
  4. Further develop the research to strengthen eligibility for additional funding
  5. Research team works closely with the assigned business mentor, gaining from their experience, knowledge, and industry connections

TechAccelR Key Dates

Date Description

August 1, 2024

Call for applications

September 29, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET 

Deadline to submit an application

October 1- 18, 2024 

Applications are reviewed and evaluated 

October 21, 2024

Applicants informed of review and evaluation outcomes. TechAccelR Grants awarded.  

November 1, 2024 

TechAccelR project begins 

May 1, 2025

TechAccelR project ends (projects can last up to 6 months maximum, projects can be completed earlier) 

Application Details

Eligibility/Requirements

  • 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 Ronald Chwang Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

  • Lead Applicant: Any McGill University Faculty of Engineering tenure-track professors working on a technologically-based invention with business or social impact potential.  Cannot hold another Engine gap funding grant (WRSA, Innovation Fellowship) for the same invention at the same time as this project grant.

  • Invention: The technology must be reported as an invention to McGill's Office of Innovation and Partnerships. Your Technology Transfer Manager’s confirmation on your project proposal along with their assessment and commercialization plan will need to be included in this grant application. Only one grant per invention/technology is allowed.

  • Project Timeline: Projects can last up to 6 months maximum, projects can be completed earlier.

  • Project Expenses: Applicants must use the funds to advance the technology in accordance with their project technical milestones. The McGill Engine team can make recommendations for changes to the budget and uses of funds that are required for the acceptance and funding of the project. Once the grant is awarded, if your milestones and project expenses change significantly from what was in your project proposal (e.g. greater than 10% on any allowed budget item), you must discuss with your mentor and provide the revised milestone(s) and budget to Engine's Associate Director for approval.

    • Eligible Expenses:
      • Product and process development costs towards achieving technical milestones (e.g., materials, equipment, personnel).
    • Non-Eligible Expenses:
      • Costs related to non-technical milestones
        • publication costs
        • patent fees
        • incorporation fees
        • travel costs 

Evaluation Criteria

  • Funding of the TechAccelR proposals is at the sole discretion of the McGill Engine team.  We will look at the comparative merit of the application pool and the following project criteria:

    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  30% 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?  What is the latest commercialization plan as developed in collaboration with your Technology Transfer Manager? Have the business challenges been identified?  Is there a strong potential impact or market need? 

    What external/market validation is there that your technology development plan may attract and accelerate follow-on funding from other sources (e.g. other awards/grants, licensing, customers, investors)? 

    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 any additional talent needed throughout the project been identified?  

How to Apply

Terms of the Award

  • Timeline: Teams have up to 6 months maximum to complete their project milestones and deliverables. Unused funds will need to be returned. 

  • Award: The award will be dispersed into a new account under the PI. Once the grant is awarded, if your milestones and project expenses change significantly from what was in your project proposal (e.g. greater than 10% on any allowed budget item), you must discuss with your mentor and provide the revised milestone(s) and budget to Engine's Associate Director for approval.

  • 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.

  • Participation: Participate in surveys and requests for feedback in connection with the procedures and services provided by the McGill Engine, with the aim of collaborating in the continuous development of its global offer, research commercialization support, and student experience. 

  • 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 award and the McGill Engine in publications and communications arising from the project through your own networks and events.

  • Consent: Consent to the publication of your picture, name, as well as pictures and names of co-applicants, the title of the project, and amount of funding.

  • Giving Back: The McGill Engine does not take equity in McGill spin-off companies. The 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. 

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