Impact Since 2021

Seventeen teams have completed our program, representing 47 STEM and life sciences researchers from across McGill, being trained and mentored in order to help assess the commercial potential of their inventions to solve social, health, or environmental challenges. Fifteen early-stage ventures are continuing their commercialization plan with total follow-on funding of over $910,000.

+14% innovation skills*
+29% entrepreneurship skills*

* based on self-efficacy surveys from Fall 2021 to Spring 2023

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 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. This program allows student participants to receive CCR recognition as it is an approved Enriched Educational Opportunities (EEO) program. 


    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 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 weekly group classes but also through the use of myCourses 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 10-week training program offered during the Spring 2024 session, 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 4 teams for this Spring 2024 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 students, the lead applicant must be a current McGill graduate student (Master’s or PhD or post-doc), 1-2 McGill principal/co-investigators (professors), 1 industry/entrepreneurial expert (assigned mentor). Teams submit details, in particular the feasibility and viability of the research they want to commercialize, through an online application form. 
    • A commitment towards attending and participating in all the classes, using myCourses, and executing the project work is required (estimate minimum 5 hours/week, this includes the 1.5 hour class).


    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.

    Each accepted team will be assigned a mentor based on the technology and industry sector of application.

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