All you need to know

Video presentation

Target group and supported fields

  • Type of program: postdoctoral funding to support research and development conducted to create a business enterprise (startup) and built a prototype based on the applicant’s prior doctoral or postdoctoral research.
  • Target areas: this program will support planned startups in the field of digital intelligence in its broad senses: data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, operations research, and data-driven innovation. Priority will be given to innovative product and service development initiatives based on potentially disruptive scientific advances with significant commercialization potential. Applications combining machine learning and operations research will have an advantage.
  • Responsibilities: Next AI or another entrepreneurship support organization connected to IVADO will oversee the entrepreneurship component. An academic supervisor will oversee the scientific component of the program.
  • A total of three candidates will be selected.


The goals of this program are to:

  • Enable the candidate to complete a marketable prototype of their research along with proof of concept, while undergoing training in business creation within the framework of a program offered by an entrepreneurial support organization linked to IVADO. The business proposal should be in the area of digital intelligence, ideally in IVADO’s areas of excellence.
  • Encourage young researchers to invest themselves in Montréal to develop new businesses based on scientific advances.
  • Participate in the development of scientific entrepreneurship and encourage the transfer of scientific knowledge and/or intellectual property developed in academia to the market.


  • Opening of applications: May 1, 2023
  • Deadline for submitting documents: June 19, 2023 at noon
  • Date of notice that an application has been accepted for evaluation: week of July 10, 2023
  • Interviews with chosen candidates: week of July 17, 2023
  • Funding award notification date: week of July 31, 2023
  • Funding start date: between September 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024

Amounts, duration and terms of payment

Amounts and duration

  • An agreement with the Arbour Foundation also provides access to a $5,000 grant per year, for a total of $10,000, on a Mitacs Accelerate Internship. The remaining $2500 industrial contribution must be paid by the startup’s own funds.
  • * New this year * IVADO is partnering with Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives to offer a 3rd funding opportunity for a project specifically in AI and neuroscience. This offer, funded by McGill, will be open to their affiliated postdocs for projects related to neuroscience, digital health and medical devices. Three winners will be able to produce a marketable prototype from their doctoral research, while receiving $105,000 in salary funding, including benefits, for 18 months, plus up to $30,000 in research funds or other programs in the case of McGill.

Terms of payment

The funds will be transferred to the research office of the supervisor’s home university, and the university will pay the postdoctoral researcher according to its specific rules. For projects requiring ethics approval, funds will not be released until approval is granted. Funding may be reduced, withheld, delayed, or rescinded under specific circumstances, which will be outlined in the letter of award.

Eligibility criteria

For the candidate

  • You must be eligible to register as a postdoctoral fellow at HEC Montreal, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, McGill University or Université Laval, on the funding start date;
  • You must have submitted your doctoral thesis by the start date of funding;
  • You own or will own a significant share of the company founded or co-founded. If the company is already founded, it must be very recent and it must not have carried out any significant commercial activities;
  • Some flexibility will be granted in the case of applicants who provide adequate explanation for a career interruption or particular circumstances. Please include this explanation (e.g., parental leave, sick leave) in your application.

For the professor (supervisor)

  • You must be a faculty member at one of the following institutions: HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, McGill University or Université Laval, at the time of the start of funding.
  • You must have one of the following eligible statuses: assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, research professor, or visiting professor. Adjunct professors are not eligible;
  • If you meet the preceding criteria and are the PhD candidate’s thesis director or co-director, you are also eligible.
  • You may not submit more than one application for this competition.

For the eventual co-director, there are no restrictions.

Submitting an application

Apply by email to!
/!\ If your submission file does not meet the requested length, your submission will be automatically disqualified.

The application package must include the following three components:

  • A cover letter (maximum three pages, single-spaced, in 10-point Century Gothic) including the following:
    • A description of the product to be developed as part of the fellowship (including its innovative aspects). The applicant must explain the work that has been / will be done as part of their doctoral studies and that remaining to be completed during the fellowship period to achieve at least a functional prototype ready for testing by a client. The applicant must provide a draft working plan demonstrating the feasibility of producing a prototype during the funding period.
    • An explanation of the target market for the product, the need that it addresses, and any interest already expressed by a potential client (include a contact at that company). Are there similar products on the market? If yes, how will the product developed differ from existing ones? What disruptive impact will it have on the market?
    • An explanation of the reasons motivating the applicant to become an entrepreneur and any relevant experience they possess.
    • Any additional information deemed relevant to the application.
  • A CV detailing the applicant’s academic and extracurricular activities.
  • A letter of support from the professor who will be supervising the postdoctoral fellowship.

Evaluation of applications

1/ Quality of the project (50%)

  • Originality and anticipated commercial impacts of the project;
  • Feasibility of prototype development and relevance of the host laboratory and supervisor;
  • Alignment of the project with the Canada First program guidelines.

2/ Application package (40%)

  • Suitability of the project with the doctoral thesis and academic excellence of the candidate;
  • Applicant’s entrepreneurial qualities, motivation to develop a business, extent and scope of experience (e.g., multidisciplinary, professional, extracurricular), and knowledge of the project’s business area.

3/ Alignment of the project with the IVADO framework and the Canada First / Apogée program (10%)

  • Promotion of multidisciplinary collaboration;
  • Contribution to diversity;
  • Environmental and social impact of the project.

Applications will be evaluated by a review committee made up of 1) at least one representative of an organization providing support to entrepreneurs (e.g., accelerator, incubator); 2) one representative from the start-up investor community; and 3) one member of the academic community. The committee will be chaired by the IVADO Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship Advisor.

Note regarding intellectual property

Note on the basic intellectual property (IP) principles applicable to the work undertaken as part of this program. This policy has been approved by HEC, École Polytechnique and Université de Montréal.

The basic principles are as follows:

  1. The objective is to create a business enterprise based on the results of the project led by the postdoctoral fellow, which constitutes an applied research initiative. The results and intellectual property (IP) stemming from the project may be fully owned by the business enterprise once it is created (i.e., when the project’s technological outcomes and the fellow’s entrepreneurial qualities are sufficiently realized to support the business plan). This means that the Institution shall retain the IP rights until the business enterprise is created. Doing so prevents the need to implement a rights transfer process should the results not support the start-up process. In such cases, the Institution has no counterpart in the assignment of the IP rights. Should the IP rights not be assigned, they shall be jointly retained according to the institutional policies in effect for future marketing purposes.
  2. Should the postdoctoral project be based on pre-existing IP, the new business enterprise must obtain the rights to develop the pre-existing IP according to the standard technology transfer process. Doing so will ensure fair returns for those who contributed to the pre-existing IP with regard to the IP that the fellow will develop. In most cases, the more generic and cross-cutting findings will remain the property of the Institution in order to enable the pursuit of research in the academic context. These findings may be published and, if useful, the business enterprise may be granted a free licence agreement.
  3. Any other major contributions to the fellow’s project (e.g., by the supervisor, other students, other research funding programs) shall be subject to specific agreements prior to the start of the project.

* McGill’s intellectual property guidelines will follow the terms of the institution.


Postdoctoral researcher

  • Maintain a full-time focus on the research project;
  • During the course of funding, notify IVADO prior to any changes to the research fund budget as submitted and accepted. IVADO reserves the right, after reviewing a modification request, to adjust its financial contribution or even suspend it if the modifications are no longer compatible with the terms and conditions of the competition;
  • Complete the mid-term and end-of-funding scientific progress report in the requested format and timeframe;
  • Contribute to the IVADO community and our activities, including, e.g.:
    • Giving presentations on your research;
    • Taking part in consultations as well as training and knowledge dissemination activities;
    • Providing support during various activities that are normally undertaken by career researchers (e.g., mentorship, participation in evaluations, co-organization of events);
  • Acknowledge that you are a member of an academic community to which you contribute;
  • Comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. You are encouraged to publish your research findings (e.g., papers, recordings of presentations, source code, databases) in compliance with the intellectual property rules governing your specific situation;
  • Acknowledge the support of IVADO and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund / Apogée when disseminating research results and, more broadly, in all activities in which you take part.


  • Provide a work environment conducive to completion of the project;
  • Oversee the postdoctoral researcher’s work.

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

To ensure all members of society draw equal benefit from the advancement of knowledge and opportunities in digital intelligence, we promote principles of equity, diversity and inclusion across all of our programs, and we commit to providing a recruitment process and research setting that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, open, and transparent.


Le financement postdoc entrepreneur.e d’IVADO me permet de me concentrer à 100% sur la transformation d’une technologie issue de ma recherche doctorale en un produit médical qui pourrait changer la vie des gens. Il permet à mon entreprise, NeuralDrive, de poursuivre le développement de sa technologie dans un cadre académique de calibre international tout en étant clair sur la gestion de la propriété intellectuelle qui en découle. C’est un véritable atout pour l’entrepreneuriat scientifique.

  • Marco Bonizzato, co-fondateur NeuralDrive