The IVADO “Scientist in Residence” program is aimed at startups seeking the scientific expertise of a PhD student in artificial intelligence or data science so as to acquire new skills as well as validate and guide their R&D projects and move them in the right direction.
PhD students taking part in this program acquire hands-on experience as instructors in an entrepreneurial environment that is complementary and relevant to their curriculum. This in-company experience enables them to take concrete action in knowledge transfer from academia to industry, and thus contribute to the growth of Québec startups at the leading edge of technological advances in artificial intelligence.
By R&D project, we mean a strategic development project and not a project aimed at rapidly bringing a product or service to market.
*Master’s students are also eligible.
This program is designed to support research in the areas delineated in our CFREF funding proposal: data science in the broad sense, encompassing methodological research in data science (machine learning, operations research, statistics) and its applications in multiple sectors, including our priority sectors (health, transportation and logistics, energy, business, and finance) and any other sector of application (e.g., sociology, physics, linguistics, engineering).
Objectives, roles and responsibilities
The goal of this program is to promote transfer of academic expertise to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is achieved through customized training and coaching developed by the candidate to meet the needs of the startup’s R&D project. The candidate acquires experience complementary to their curriculum, while the startup benefits from the knowledge transfer and establishes itself as a scientific leader in its field.
Roles and responsibilities
The customized training will be co-ordinated by IVADO and delivered by a PhD student / instructor specialized in the relevant field, in close collaboration with the startup involved. Following are the roles and responsibilities of the various parties.
- Co-ordination and management of the call for applications issued to startups;
- Receipt, evaluation and selection of applications;
- Communication with and identification of the PhD student / instructors interested in the program and the selected R&D projects;
- Administrative and financial management of the program;
- Initial meeting and follow-up meetings during the process to ensure smooth progress and satisfaction of the parties;
- Post-training evaluation and any necessary adjustments to the process.
PhD student / instructor
- Identification of the knowledge transfer goals;
- Identification of the relevant issues to be tackled;
- Identification of and training in available methods and technology tools;
- Validation of the proposed methods and tools;
- Knowledge transfer and coaching;
- Delivery of the documents developed during the process: state of the art, documentation on the proposed tools and methods, adoption plan, next steps.
Startup (once selected)
- Identification and mobilization of the R&D team that will lead the project;
- Identification of relevant issues to be tackled during the training and transparency on already tested solutions;
- Availability, transparency and openness to the knowledge transfer to be conducted;
- Before the start of the mandate, payment of a contribution of $1,950 plus taxes.
- March 1 to 31, 2023: call for R&D projects issued to startups;
- Week of April 3, 2023: analysis and selection of projects;
- Week of April 10, 2023: communication with the chosen startups;
- From April 10, 2023: communication and sharing with PhD students;
- From April 24, 2023: interviews
- From May 1, 2023: start of training and coaching.*
*The start date may vary depending on the candidate’s selection date, availability and administrative timelines.
*Doctoral students can apply starting from March 1, 2023. See details in the submitting application section.
Knowledge transfer plan
The knowledge transfer plan will cover the three phases of the program: preparation and startup, training and validation workshops, and the transfer itself. The number of weeks dedicated to each phase and the main tasks indicated may be subject to change depending on the specifics of each project. A preliminary plan will be requested from the PhD student / instructor when they submit their application and a detailed plan must be submitted at the end of the preparation and startup phase.
Phase 1: Preparation and startup
Given that “Scientist in Residence” is a program for transfer of applied knowledge to an R&D project in artificial intelligence specific to each selected startup, the preparation and startup phase is crucial to achieving smooth progress and the satisfaction of all parties.
We estimate that three weeks (45 h) will be required to complete this first phase. The primary tasks will be structured as follows:
Phase 2: Training and validation workshops
This phase forms the core of the program and, as its name suggests, is the period in which the knowledge transfer will be concretely conducted. Eight weeks (120 h) are set aside for this phase, which will allow time to transfer the theoretical and methodological knowledge as well as the relevant tools for the project, test them in real-world situations, obtain feedback, and make any necessary adjustments.
Phase 3: Transfer and coaching
This last phase consists in ensuring adoption of the best methodologies and tools identified, and completing the knowledge transfer as the R&D project progresses. In addition, the PhD student / instructor will support the startup in defining the next stages of the R&D project. Lastly, this is when the PhD student / instructor finalizes documents benefiting the participating startup at the end of the program (e.g., state of the art, theoretical and practical training, adoption plan). Four weeks (60 h) are reserved for this phase.
Amounts, duration and terms of payment
- The program will last 15 weeks and must be completed between May 1 and August 31, 2023. The PhD student / instructor investment is +/- 15 hours per week, working jointly with the startup.
- The training is valued at $13,000 and is eligible for the Scale AI reimbursement of 85%.
- IVADO will invoice the participating startup the amount of $1,950 + taxes, i.e., 15% of the cost of training. The invoice is payable before the start of the project.
- The PhD student / instructors will receive a $10,000 scholarship, to be administered by the academic supervisor.
- A maximum of 15 projects will be funded.
For the startup
- Have less than 20 employees;
- Have an R&D team active in the submitted project;
- Be part or have completed a program of a recognized coaching organization;
- Pay a contribution of $1,950 + taxes to IVADO before the start of the mandate.
For the candidate
- Be enrolled in a PhD program at a Québec university;
- Have the support of the thesis director;
- Neither the supervisor nor the PhD student must have an employment or business relationship with the startup.
Submitting an application
For the candidate
The application package must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and to the company’s representative (in the project form), and include:
- A letter of intent outlining the applicant’s interest in the research project and the fit of their expertise with the mandate (max. 1 page);
- Résumé in an open-source format;
*Please note that a letter of support will be requested from the supervisor confirming the applicant’s expertise in connection with the research and the supervisor’s support for the initiative. This template may be used.
For the startup
Complete and submit the form by midnight on March 31, 2023. Submissions that are incomplete or sent by any means other than the form will be automatically rejected.
Evaluation of applications
For evaluation of the R&D project applications submitted by the startups, a committee will be formed comprising an academic representative, a representative of the entrepreneurship support organizations ecosystem and the IVADO Entrepreneurship Advisor. Compliance with the eligibility criteria, the quality of the proposed R&D project and the project’s strategic impact on the company will be the main criteria evaluated.
Candidates interested in a project will be interviewed by the company, which will make the final choice.
Selected R&D Projects
Draft & Goal
Note regarding intellectual property
As this is a training and knowledge transfer program, all intellectual property belongs to the startup. If the successful applicant, jointly with the company, identifies a new development project and the successful applicant’s involvement is sought, that project would then be the subject of a collaborative research agreement distinct from this program.
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed by the successful applicant and the company.
- For the doctoral students
- Demonstrate integrity and respect in all your dealings with the startup;
- RAcknowledge IVADO’s support by mentioning the institute’s name in all public communications about the program, and participate, when possible, in its various activities.
- For the startup
- Provide a working environment that is suitable for the completion of the project;
- Demonstrate integrity and respect in all your dealings with the doctoral student.
- 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 our programs, and we commit to providing a recruitment process and research setting that are inclusive, non-discriminatory, open, and transparent.