Commercialize: OCIE

Dalhousie’s Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE) has four key functions:

  1. To manage and facilitate collaborations between companies and university researchers;
  2. To support commercialization of research at Dalhousie University, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, and the IWK Health Centre;
  3. To assist in the creation of spin-off ventures; and
  4. To promote I&E and industry engagement to enable knowledge transfer to industry for public and economic development benefits.

The objective of OCIE is to mobilize available knowledge into active service to benefit society and maximize academic, economic, and financial impacts, and to share information, skills or discoveries so as broad a group of stakeholders as possible benefit from that earned knowledge and technology.  OCIE proactively works to support the university community to inform and advise researchers, support receptor capacity in the community at large, and lead the foster the growth of startup companies.

OCIE will help you manage outgoing relationships with industry partners and generate new ones. The office also helps to navigate commercialization funding resources, such as:

Springboard Atlantic: Springboard Atlantic is a network of 19 Atlantic Canadian post-secondary institutions, focused on collaboration between academia and industry across the region; helping organizations and businesses compete through the application and commercialization of world-class research and expertise.

One of the key Springboard programs that helps member institutions commercialize promising ideas with market potential is the Innovation Mobilization (IM) Program – a cost-shared fund open to our institutions and its researchers. IM funding is used to connect industry with researchers and mobilize the knowledge/skill-based expertise from the member institutions into industry and advance the commercialization of ideas.

Note: to be eligible for IM Program funding, a technology/innovation must be well past the ideation stage (at a Technology Readiness Level of 4 or higher) and developed sufficiently to indicate a benefit or efficacy, and the IP must be assigned to the institution. A spin-out looking to apply for IM funding must be at the pre-incorporation stage.

There are four funding categories within the IM Program:

  • Proof of Concept funding is available to support development towards a commercial opportunity: to verify and validate the potential of new IP. A maximum project cost of up to $20,000 per project is available (including matching funds).
  • Patent and Legal funding is available to help protect and prepare promising IP for commercialization (for undertaking IP assessment, or filing of IP protection (patents, industry designs, copyright, trademarking etc.). A maximum project cost of up to $15,000 per project is available (including matching funds).
  • Market Validation funding is to provide market assessment, beta testing, market research, or market demonstration to prepare IP for successful market entry. A maximum project cost of up to $25,000 per project is available (including matching funds).
  • Industry Engagement funding is to support events and activities that facilitate industry engagement. The fund helps to build awareness in industry (including entrepreneurial start-ups, social and non-profit enterprises) of academic programs/opportunities, as well as institutional resources and the expertise available in institutions, ultimately impacting Atlantic and Canadian economic development. A maximum project cost of up to $10,000 per project is available (including matching funds).

Early Stage Commercialization Fund: Innovacorp’s Early Stage Commercialization Fund (ESCF) helps move Nova Scotia’s university and community college research to market. Funds can be used to assess market potential, develop go-to-market strategies, perform strategic planning, create/update business plans, assist with intellectual property protection strategies, finish proof-of-concept development, build prototypes and leverage of other funds. Up to $50,000 in funding is available per project.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Grants: NSERC has a number of programs to generate and nurture industry engagement with academic research.

NSERC Connect helps to build a new relationship with an academic researcher.

Idea to Innovation (I2I) accelerates the pre-competitive development of promising technology originating from the university and promote its transfer to a new or established Canadian company.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Engage Grants.  NSERC Engage Grants are designed to give companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge and expertise available at Canadian universities. Engage Grants support well-defined projects undertaken by eligible university researchers and their private-sector partners. A maximum grant of $25,000 over a period not exceeding six months will be awarded to the academic researcher to cover the direct project costs associated with the research activities needed to address the identified problem.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants. The Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants are intended to give companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge, expertise, and educational resources available at Canadian post-secondary institutions and to train students in essential technical skills required by industry. CRD Grants support well-defined projects undertaken by university researchers and their private-sector partners. Direct project costs are shared by the industrial partner(s) and NSERC. Projects may range from one year to five years in duration, but most awards are for two or three years.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – Atlantic Innovation Fund (ACOA AIF): Further develops an innovative product, develops or applies improved technology for your business, or brings a research idea from the lab to the marketplace.

Science and Technology Assistance Program: Dalhousie has developed an initiative, with support from the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), to help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – commercial enterprises with less than 500 employees. This initiative will help firms strengthen their competitiveness and enhance their growth through innovation by providing SMEs easy access to three to five days of scientific and technical expertise. Access FAQs about the Program [PDF – 210KB]. Download application form [PDF – 287KB].

Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program: The Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism administers this program which enables Nova Scotian companies to undertake research projects at Dalhousie University. Awards of up to either $15,000 or $25,000 are available. Access FAQs about the ProgramDown application form.

Mitacs:  Mitacs builds partnerships between academia, industry, and the world – to create a more innovative Canada

  • Mitacs Accelerate  While this research internship is for graduate students, the faculty supervisor can use the $5,000 research allowance to hire an undergraduate student to assist on the project.  The Accelerate Entrepreneur initiative provides the opportunity for graduate students or postdoctoral fellows to do internships in their own start-up company if the company is housed in an eligible incubator. Please contact to determine the eligibility of a specific incubator and associated start-up(s).
  • Mitacs Globalink Research Internship Provides Canadian summer research internships to top-notch undergraduates (entering their fourth year) from several countries overseas. Faculty pitch research positions to Mitacs.
  • Mitacs Globalink Research Award.  Canadian senior undergrads (or graduate students) undertake an approved 12-24 week research project in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey or Vietnam, jointly supervised by Canadian professors and their international collaborators at an accredited university.
  • Mitacs Elevate supports postdoctoral fellows and Canadian companies/partners collaborating on cutting-edge research projects. The program develops and builds on the skills and experience of the next generation of R&D management leaders.  In addition to a $115,000 research award over two years, fellows receive top-tier R&D management training valued at $15,000 (non-cash) that build their management skills and help them develop as leaders. Partner organizations engage Canada’s brightest minds to pursue innovation as they undertake research projects in collaboration with universities and build research and development management capacity.