McGill’s Faculty of Science is very fortunate to have resources, partners, and visionary benefactors, such as Mr. Erik Blachford, to enable the process of translating discoveries from creative ideas into marketable technologies and services. Through the generosity of Mr. Blachford, the Fessenden Innovation Prize provides seed funding and mentoring to those behind new promising ideas.

Through this Prize, valued up to $5,000, recipients have the opportunity to achieve two objectives. First, to explore, create, refine, and validate a minimum viable product or a prototype based on an idea. Second, to leverage a minimum viable product or prototype in other funding competitions and/or in applications to accelerator programs that operate outside the university sector to facilitate conversion of their technology into a viable business model. 

Funding value

The maximum value of each award is up to $5,000.


  • Innovation Prize is open to students (undergraduate and graduate), post-doctoral fellows, faculty, and staff in the Faculty of Science.
  • An individual, or a group of individuals (team) may submit one application. An individual cannot be part of more than one application.
  • For team applications, a team can have up to 5 members, with at least 50% of the members having a direct affiliation to the Faculty of Science.
  • The main applicant must be affiliated to the Faculty of Science, and must be a member holding the leadership role (for a team application).
  • A team may be formed from a mix of students, or a mix of students and Faculty/staff members. A team may also have McGill alumni, as well as non-McGill students and external members (i.e. not affiliated to McGill).
  • Applicants must disclose other sources of funding they have received related to the idea being proposed.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee who will provide funding recommendations to the Dean of Science.

Important considerations

Recipients are required to acknowledge support from the Faculty of Science at public and private events, published materials, websites, and social media. Recipients will be contacted by the Fessenden Innovation Prize manager to review progress, evaluate milestones, and discuss the experience gained by having received the prize. Recipients will be invited to speak about their experiences at various Faculty events.


Questions about the Fessenden Innovation Prize can be sent to the [at] (Research and Grants Office) for the Faculty of Science.

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