Innovation. We all know what it is, and we all agree it is something to be desired. But what can we do to ensure that it flourishes?
McGill polled the Montreal innovation/ entrepreneurial ecosystem. The response was overwhelmingly unanimous: bridge the funding gap between discovery and implementation to ensure that innovation thrives at McGill.
This is why the Office of Innovation and Partnerships (I+P) is pleased to introduce a game-changing initiative that will support our professors, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are ready to take their research to the next level: The McGill Innovation Fund (MIF).
The Valley of Death is Real
Another important motivation for launching the fund was the understanding that Canadian universities can and must do more to turn their research into viable businesses. In 2018, Canadian universities created only 0.25% of new businesses in Canada.
However, just creating business after business is not sufficient in itself. This is due to the phenomenon known as the valley of death: in the transition from laboratory to market, 90% of new ventures that don't attract investors fail in the first three years. What can academic institutions do to support their spinoffs?
With this in mind, the support provided by the MIF will be a game-changer in the role universities have to play in the value they generate for society.
An additional aspect of the MIF is the fact that projects at different levels of development need different amounts of funding and support to reach the next step towards commercialization. That's why we've divided the fund into two distinct phases.
Three funding packages
The MIF provides three levels of funding. Pre-launch and Launchpad are grouped into the Technology Phase, while Blastof is in the Spinoff Phase:
- Pre-launch: $25,000 to be awarded to 5 projects
- Launchpad: $50,000 to be awarded to 3 projects
- Blastoff: $100,000 to be awarded to 2 projects
Full details on the evaluation criteria are available on this page: About the MIF.
The MIF is more than just funding, however. Awarded projects will also receive a full year of support from the MIF team, including coaching, mentorship, and access to a range of specialized service providers who have offered discounted rates on their normal fees. Check out the support program page for more details.