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Invention to Impact Training Program

Important Dates:

  • Information Session: September 23, 2021 from 5:30-6:30 PM (ET) - Register Now!
  • Application deadline – October 10, 2021 @ 11:59pm (ET)
  • Decisions made by Engine team and applicants advised by October 18, 2021.
  • Program duration: October 20, 2021 to March 17, 2022, bi-weekly in-person classes held every second Wednesday, 6-8pm, in Frank Dawson Adams Building, room 3.

Apply Today! 

Program Overview

The Invention to Impact (I-to-I) Training Program uses experiential learning to help McGill graduate students and their faculty supervisors gain insight into:

  • technology commercialization
  • entrepreneurship
  • industry requirements and challenges

I-to-I provides tools and training to support researchers to translate their fundamental research to the marketplace and have their solutions benefit society. The program imparts an evidence-based methodology that students and professors can use for the rest of their careers, and it also enables the transformation of inventions to impact.


The teaching curriculum integrates scientific discovery and commercial applications using an evidence-based and data-driven methodology, namely, the Lean LaunchPad® methodology. The I-to-I program basics are real-world, hands-on experiential learning through customer and industry discovery.

The three guiding principles are:

  1. Build a business model, not a business plan
  2. Love the problem, not the solution
  3. Experiment, learn and validate

The program utilizes the LaunchPad® software that uses the Business Model Canvas tool created by Alexander Osterwalder for discovering repeatable, scalable business models. The platform enables teams to map their business model assumptions and run experiments to gather and share key evidence in real time with team members, mentors, and the instructors to make collaboration easy. A powerful and unique combination of « learning » and « doing » and « learning by doing » will be used. Program participants learning will happen not only during the bi-weekly group classes but also through the use of the platform with integrated course videos and through the support of an assigned mentor to the team. The « doing » part for participants will be carrying out tasks in the marketplace/real-world and revolved around learning from their potential customers and partners.

Through this 20-week training program offered during the fall 2021 and winter 2022 sessions, researchers can reduce the time to translate a promising idea from the laboratory to the marketplace as they will acquire the mindset, knowledge, and skills necessary to translate their knowledge into potential technology commercialization and startup ventures.

It is also a cohort-based program with a flipped classroom setting in order to maximize peer-to-peer learning via student discussion moderated by the co-instructors and mentors present. We expect to select up to 6 teams for this inaugural cohort. I-to-I uses in-class methodology developed to promote student discussion and learning in lectures where the content coverage is moved outside the classroom.


  • Teams of 2-4 members can apply.
  • Each team will be comprised of: 1-3 McGill current graduate student (Master’s or PhD or post-doc), 1 McGill principal investigator (professor), 1 industry/entrepreneurial expert (assigned mentor). Teams submit details, in particular the feasibility and viability of the research they want to commercialize, through a webform application.
  • A commitment towards attending and participating in all the classes, using the software, and executing the project work is required (estimate minimum 5 hours/week).


I-to-I addresses the skill and knowledge gaps associated with transforming basic research into deep technology commercial ventures, and supports the commercialization of deep technologies resulting from discoveries in STEM and life sciences. We expect that this program will have a positive effect on the students’ educational success by giving them the tools and training they need in order to apply their academic and lab knowledge to real-world contexts.

We hypothesize that using this model for real-world training, i.e. “getting out of the building”, in a research-intensive university such as McGill will increase the students’ long-term interest in entrepreneurship and commercialization of research, partly by increasing their motivation, business competency, and sense of self-efficacy, that is, a person’s belief in his/her ability to perform certain tasks.


Potential mentors will be Engine’s technological entrepreneurs-in-residence, that have both a technical and business background and work closely with STEM and life sciences researchers (grad students, post-docs, professors) in commercializing the results of their research. In addition, alumni with pertinent domain expertise will be recruited to volunteer as mentors.

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