Neuro Commercialization Grants - Accelerate

Funds available

  • Up to $200,000 for 12 months.
  • Funding is non-renewable.
  • Note: The Accelerate grant requires direct financial support from (a) commercial partner(s) or foundations. The total of the third-party contribution(s) must match HBHL’s contribution at a rate of at least 1:1. In-kind support is not considered in meeting this requirement.


Open program: Applicants may apply at any time once they are able to meet program eligibility requirements.

Application process


  • A Report of Invention (ROI) must have been filed with the Innovation and Partnerships Office at McGill (I+P).
  • To be eligible for HBHL’s Accelerate Grants, applicants must have successfully completed the Ignite phase and received approval from the HBHL Innovation Committee to apply to the Accelerate phase.
  1. Applicants must have successfully completed the Ignite phase and submitted a final report to HBHL. The Innovation Committee must have determined that the project is ready to move on to the Accelerate phase before applications will be deemed eligible for this funding.
  2. Applications will be reviewed internally for eligibility and relevance.
  3. Applications will be sent to a review committee, which will review the application for scientific excellence, potential for innovation and commercialization and long-term market potential.
  4. Out of the applications that are deemed fundable by reviewers, the Innovation Committee will make a recommendation for funding to the SSC.
  5. Successful applicants will be required to meet with NeuroSphere staff at the mid-point of the granting period to report on progress.
Successful applicants will be required to submit a final report to HBHL and meet with NeuroSphere at the end of the granting period to discuss their results.


Complete the online application form.

See the Application Process section below for further information and details about the required application package.


The Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) initiative is a high profile, interdisciplinary initiative located at McGill University, and made possible with support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). HBHL’s strategic priorities are represented by its four Research Themes.

The Accelerate Grants are the second of two phases in the HBHL Neuro Commercialization Grants program. The objective of the Accelerate Grants is to support research aimed at improving the commercial potential of a neuroscience-related technology and to position it for commercial development.

Note: To be eligible for HBHL’s Accelerate Grants, applicants must have successfully completed the Ignite phase and have received approval from the HBHL Innovation Committee to apply to the Accelerate phase.

Application Process

1. Invitation to apply

The applicant must have fulfilled all of the requirements associated with an Ignite Grant and produced a final report (including a demonstration of project advancement) for review by the Innovation Committee (IC). The IC must have determined that the project is ready to move on to the Accelerate phase before applications will be deemed eligible for this funding.

2. Eligibility review

The NeuroSphere team will assess the eligibility of applications based on the following criteria:

Applicant Eligibility

  • Applicant: The applicant must be a McGill researcher who is eligible to hold Tri-Agency research funding (students and postdoctoral researchers are not eligible).
  • Co-applicants: Co-applicants must be researchers from McGill University or from one of HBHL’s CFREF partner institutions (Western University, Université de Montréal, University of British Columbia or Montréal Polytechnique). Grant funding may NOT be transferred to co-applicants from other institutions than the ones previously listed.
  • Partners: This grant requires (a) commercial partner(s) or (b) foundation(s), interested in the commercialization of the technology, to match the HBHL contribution at a rate of at least 1:1.


  • This matching contribution must be a cash investment. While in-kind contributions are welcome and will be considered during the evaluation process, they will not be considered during assessment of this eligibility criteria.
  • If the identified partner is a foundation, its eligibility will be evaluated by the NeuroSphere team on the basis that it is a real partner actively engaged in investing. Funding from foundation grants/awards will not be considered in meeting this eligibility requirement.
  • A letter of support from the commercial partner(s) confirming their financial commitment will be required as part of the Accelerate Grant application (the total amount listed must match the HBHL contribution). This letter must be for the full amount of funding, but the NeuroSphere team may allow 50% of the funding to be transferred up front and 50% at the project’s mid-point.
  • McGill University will charge a 27% overhead rate on the partner(s) total cash contribution(s).

Intellectual Property

  • A Report of Invention (ROI) must have been filed with McGill’s Innovation and Partnerships Office (I+P) and the technology must be active with I+P. If a McGill affiliated researcher decides to manage IP by themselves, without I+P, they will not be eligible. Even if projects adhere to guiding principles of Open Science, an ROI must be filed.
  • A research agreement must be negotiated between McGill University and the partners before the HBHL funds will be released, and must include a description of the agreements negotiated, including terms of access to intellectual property, licensing, and contractual arrangements, as applicable.

Allowable Costs

Funding must go towards direct support of technology maturation (i.e., personnel, materials and supplies). Business case and model evaluation, as well as strategic planning, may also be considered as allowable costs.

Equipment is not an eligible expense. Other ineligible expenses include market studies, patent searches or filling, maintenance costs or salaries associated with commercial development. Although these activities are not eligible, I+P and NeuroSphere staff can provide assistance in these areas.

Application Completeness

For an application to be considered complete, it must include:

The NeuroSphere team is available to provide assistance with the application.

3. Peer Review

Once the application’s eligibility and relevance has been validated, a peer review committee will be formed to review the scientific excellence and commercialization potential of the application based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the development plan
    • Progress made during the Ignite phase and current status of the research and technology to be developed; and
    • Quality of the development plan and capacity to meet objectives and milestones;
  • Potential for impact
    • Evidence of market need;
    • Commercial potential of the technology;
    • Competitiveness of the technology; and
    • Feasibility of the proposed objectives and timeline.
  • Likelihood of success
    • Identification of potential hurdles in the research plan and plans for mitigation;
    • Relevance of milestones to commercialization plan;
    • Qualifications and track record of the applicants to achieve the results described; and
    • Quality of the medium- and long-term business plan.
  • Budget
    • Appropriateness of the proposed budget to achieve the aims described; and
    • Appropriateness of contributions from industry partners and collaborators to support the aims of the project.
  • SGBA+
    • Appropriateness of the application’s integration of sex as a biological variable, gender as a socio-cultural determinant of health, and/or other relevant factors (e.g., race, age, Indigeneity, ability) or an evidence-based justification for not including these or other intersectional factors.
    • Note that the historical omission of sex, gender and other identity factors from health research has resulted in a dearth of evidence about the effects of these factors. Therefore, a lack of evidence indicating the importance of these factors in the literature is not a sufficient justification on its own for omitting them in the proposed study.
    • Note that SGBA+ will be reviewed separately by designated, knowledgeable reviewers for all applications. Applicants may be asked to revise this section prior to receiving funding if reviewers deem it inadequate.

4. Strategic Selection and Final Approval

Upon completion of the peer review, the Innovation Committee will rank applications deemed high priority by the review committee and submit the ranked list to the HBHL Strategic Steering Committee (SSC) for final approval. The SSC may decide to fund fewer projects than the competition envelope allows if they determine that projects are not a good strategic fit for HBHL at that time.

5. Results and Post-Awards

  • All applicants will be notified by email of the results of their application.
  • Successful applicants will be sent a Notice of Award. It is the applicant’s responsibility to complete the Acceptance of Award form and other required documents, including the McGill Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) checklist, by the indicated date.
  • Project start date must occur after the award has been approved.

6. Responsibilities of Successful Applicants

Successful applicants are required to:

  • Spend all awarded funds within the granting period—no extensions will be permitted except in extremely extenuating circumstances;
  • Provide a final report to retain access to all other HBHL funding programs, including the Neuro-Partnerships Program in collaboration with CQDM and MEDTEQ.
  • Meet with the NeuroSphere business development team at the mid-point of the granting period to review progress and adjust the strategy if needed.
  • Funded researchers, their collaborators and trainees are also encouraged to attend educational, training and entrepreneurship events/ workshops offered by NeuroSphere.


All application packages must be submitted online through the Accelerate Grant application form. Please use the templates provided below and upload all parts as a single PDF application package named as “Lastname_Firstname_Accelerate.pdf”.


Access the Accelerate Proposal template (upload as part of single PDF application package).

In a maximum of 10 pages, describe the research project for which funding is requested. Refer to the evaluation criteria. Number the pages and indicate the Applicant’s name in the top right corner of each page. The Research Project should contain the following sections (with required space limitations):

1. Overview (1 page) Description of the technology/invention.

  • Description of the business opportunity, medical and market need.
  • Value proposition and justification on how the requested funds will contribute to help materialize the opportunity and advance the technology/invention readiness for commercial success.

2. R&D Technical Plan (5 pages)

  • Background and context of the technology/invention.
  • Synopsis of pertinent literature.
  • Benefits and limitations of the technology/invention.
  • Description of technical/scientific requirements to move the technology/invention and how the R&D plan would allow to address these requirements and facilitate the transition towards maturation/commercialization.
  • A description of R&D expertise and experimental plan.
  • Timelines, milestones and deliverables as well as an experimental risk mitigation strategy.
  • Sex- and Gender-based Analysis Plus: Describe how sex as a biological variable, gender as a socio-cultural determinant of health and/or other relevant factors (e.g. race, age, Indigeneity, ability) have been considered in the research so far and how they will be integrated into the work going forward (if applicable). If none of the above factors were considered, provide an evidence-based justification for this decision. The applicant must attach to the application an electronic certificate of completion, showing their name and date completed, from at least one of CIHR’s Online Training Modules on Integrating Sex and Gender in Health Research.

3. Maturation/Commercialization Plan (3.5 pages)

  • Value proposition, Targeted market(s) and best choice of receptor(s)/end-user(s).
  • SWOT analysis.
  • IP portfolio/Status and IP Strategy (open science applications will need to provide alternate IP strategy)
  • Business expertise and choice of co-funding partner.
  • Regulatory strategy.
  • Best path for technology/invention to reach receptor(s)/end-user(s) (licensing, spin-off company or other course of action).
  • Description of business development efforts already done.
  • Opinions of Key Opinions Leaders and of potential partners if available.
  • Timeline, milestones and deliverables necessary for the execution of the Maturation/Commercialization Plan.
  • Description of the follow-on activities post funding period.
  • Description of how the technology/invention is expected to solve identified medical need and expected socio-economic and health benefits to Canada.

4. EDI (0.5 page)

Describe the manner in which the activities of your research team, and the team(s) of any collaborators, advance McGill’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI). View examples of practices that you can implement in your research design if you have not done so already.

Note: Applicant must include all the necessary information (including tables, figures and a list of references) within 10 pages. Please note that extra pages will be removed from your application.


Access the Accelerate Budget template (upload as part of single PDF application package)

Provide details of the anticipated expenses and how they were calculated. Justify why these expenses are necessary to the project. Mention any relevant quotes from suppliers for materials or services >$10,000. Specify any co-funding contributions from collaborators, industrial partners or foundations.

Letters of Support

(Upload as part of single PDF application package)

Provide a letter of support from the investment partner(s). The letter(s) must be on official letterhead, confirm the financial commitment and outline the timelines and contributions to the project (must be a cash investment. In-kind contributions are not eligible). The total of the financial commitments must match the HBHL contribution.
CIHR Training Module Certificate

Application PDF package must include an electronic certificate of completion (incl. name and date) from at least one of CIHR’s Online Training Modules on Integrating Sex and Gender in Health Research.

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