William and Rhea Seath Awards in
Engineering Innovation

On this page: WRSA Timeline | Eligibility/Requirements | Evaluation CriteriaHow to Apply | Terms of the Award

Winners of the WRSAs (2012-2024)

 

Profile photo of William and Rhea Seath
William and Rhea Seath

The William and Rhea Seath Awards (WRSAs) have been made possible thanks to the generosity of Faculty of Engineering alumnus, the late Mr. William Seath (B.Eng. 1952). These awards support McGill University Faculty of Engineering tenure-track professors and their graduate students by enabling them to accelerate their technology that is reported as an invention but needs further validation prior to commercialization.

Call for Applications: November 1, 2023

Up to two equal awards of $25,000 for projects up to 12 months is given as part of this annual competition. They are reviewed by the McGill Engine Director and awarded by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering based on the recommendation of a committee composed of faculty, industry and alumni members. Recipients use the awards to support the commercialization of their technologies. Examples of eligible support activities: development, testing, prototype construction, salary stipends for students.

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 Ronald Chwang Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, gaining from their experience, knowledge, and industry connections

WRSA Timeline 

Date Description
November 1, 2023 Call for applications - File wrsa_application_process_2023.docx

January 14, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

Application deadline 

January and February Applications are reviewed and evaluated
Mid February Applicants informed of review and evaluation outcomes. Winners announced. 
March 1, 2024 WRSA project begins
March 1, 2025 WRSA project ends (projects can last up to 12 months, 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: Only candidates who are full-time members of McGill Faculty of Engineering are eligible as lead applicants for the WRSAs. Lead applicants can be graduate students or professors. Students must be registered full-time in a Faculty of Engineering program. Professors must hold an appointment in a department or school formally affiliated with the Faculty of Engineering.  Professors cannot hold another Engine gap funding grant (TechAccelR, 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 assessment and commercialization plan will need to be included in this grant application.  

  • Project Timeline: Projects can last up to 12 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

  • Applications will be judged and ranked according to the following 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

  • Please fill out the application template: File wrsa_application_process_2023.docx
    and submit your application (maximum 3 pages not including cover page nor appendix) by e-mailing the pdf version to the McGill Engine Associate Director, Katya Marc, katya.marc [at] mcgill.ca

  • If you have any questions and/or wish to have your application reviewed prior to final submission, please contact katya.marc [at] mcgill.ca

  • Application Deadline: January 14, 2024, 11:59 PM (ET)

Terms of the Award

  • Award: The award will be dispersed into a new account under the PI and entitled W&R Seath Award.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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Only candidates who are full-time members of McGill Faculty of Engineering are eligible as lead applicants for the WRSAs. Lead applicants can be graduate students or professors. Students must be registered full-time in a Faculty of Engineering program. Professors must hold an appointment in a department or school formally affiliated with the Faculty of Engineering.

A candidacy must be based on a current technologically-based project that the candidate has been actively involved in and that they have reported as an invention to McGill's Office of Innovation and Partnerships.

For students, an up-to-date CV must accompany the application. The CV should provide information on contributions to publications (including patents) and collaborative research activities. For professors, an up-to-date NSERC Personal Data Form 100 (or Common CV equivalent) must accompany the application. All applicants must also complete the three page application form (details under "How to Apply").

Applications will be judged and ranked according to the following criteria.

Evaluation Criteria Percentage Allocated Description
The Innovation 20% Is this a novel, not obvious, and potentially disruptive technology?
The Impact 20% Is there a strong potential impact or market need? Does the proposed solution fill an unmet need?
Stage of Development and Progress to Date 25% Is there a proof of concept already? What progress has been made so far? Any customer/end user validation?
The Likelihood of Success 35% Does the proposal clearly identify the technical and/or business challenges that must be faced and milestones to be achieved before commercialization? Will this Award greatly help move the technology towards commercialization? Is this technology likely to be spun-out of McGill within 2 to 5 years?

Please fill out the application template: File wrsa_application_process_2023.docx
and submit your application (maximum 3 pages not including cover page nor appendix) by e-mailing the pdf version to the McGill Engine Associate Director, Katya Marc, katya.marc [at] mcgill.ca 

If you have any questions and/or wish to have your application reviewed prior to final submission, please contact katya.marc [at] mcgill.ca

    Terms of the Award:

    • Award: The award will be dispersed into a new account under the PI and entitled W&R Seath Award.

    • 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 your project’s commercialization and development plan.

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

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

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