Entrepreneur – Postdoc Fellowships 2019

Entrepreneur-Postdoc Fellowships

General information

Program deadlines

Eligibility, review and funding


Program description

  • Program type: Postdoctoral fellowships to support research and development activities conducted to create a business enterprise based on the applicant’s doctoral or prior postdoctoral research
  • Target areas: Data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, operations research, data-driven innovation
  • Responsibilities: Next AI, an accelerator or incubator in the IVADO network shall oversee the entrepreneurship component. The academic supervisor shall oversee the scientific component.

Program objectives

The entrepreneur-postdoctoral fellowships program aims to:

  • Enable the fellowship recipient to complete a marketable prototype of his/her research and proof of concept and follow entrepreneurship training. At least one mentor from the business sector will work with the recipient to draft the business plan, find partners and secure initial funding. The business proposal must be in the data science sector, ideally in one of IVADO’s areas of excellence: operations research, machine learning or decision science.
  • Encourage new researchers to invest locally to develop new businesses based on scientific advances.

Supported Areas

The IVADO funding program for entrepreneur-postdoctoral fellowships will support business projects in the data science sector in the broad sense. 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 during the selection process.

Amount and term of the fellowship

  • Each fellowship totals $70k/year, including benefits and taxes, for a period of up to 18 months fully funded by IVADO. The funding agreement will set out project milestones and the fellowship recipient’s progress will be assessed periodically. The fellowship will initially be awarded for a period of 12 months and may be extended by 6 months, for an additional $35k, based on the recipient’s progress.
  • A maximal amount of $30k, as required, will be awarded to the recipient to fund the expenses incurred to attain the project objectives.

Two fellowships may be granted as part of the fall 2019 edition of the competition. The fellowships are not renewable.

Program deadlines

Deadline to submit the documents
October 20th 2019, 23h59
Notification of the selection for review November 8th 2019
Selected applicants interviews Week of November 18th 2019
Notification of award December 1st 2019
Funding start date Between January 1st 2020 and July 1st 2020



Entrepreneur-postdoctoral fellows must:

  • have earned a doctorate or completed postdoctoral training at least two years prior to the submission of the application or expect to earn a doctorate or complete postdoctoral training in the six months following the announcement of the competition results.
    • IVADO will give consideration to applicants who justify their career interruptions and/or particular circumstances.
  • Own a significant part of the company funded or co-funded by the applicant

Supervisors must:

  • have a faculty position (professorship) in one of the University of Montréal Campus institutions: HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and/or Université de Montréal.
  • McGill University professors who seek to supervise a fellow must be members of an IVADO research group (MILA, CIRRELT, GERAD, CERC-data science, CRM and/or Tech3Lab).
  • If the above requirements are met, PhD candidate supervisors and co-supervisors are also eligible.

Funding start date

  1. The applicant must have submitted his or her doctorate thesis by the funding start date.
  2. An intellectual property agreement must be signed before the funding start date (see annex for information on the key principles that will apply).

Assessment criteria

  1. Quality of project (50%)
    1. Originality and anticipated commercial impacts of the project
    2. Feasibility of the prototype and relevance of the host laboratory and supervisor
    3. Alignment of the project and Canada Research Excellence program objectives
  1. Applicant’s file (40%)
    1. Quality of the doctoral thesis and academic excellence
    2. Applicant’s entrepreneurial qualities, motivation to develop a business, extent and scope of his/her experience (multidisciplinary, professional, extracurricular, etc.) and knowledge of the project’s business area
  1. Alignment of the project and the IVADO and Canada First Research Excellence Fund programs (10%)
    1. Promotion of multidisciplinary collaborations
    2. Contribution to diversity

Applications will be assessed by a review committee made up of at least (1) one representative from entrepreneurship organisation (e.g., accelerator, incubator, etc.), (2) one representative from the community of investors in business start-up and (3) one member of the academic community. IVADO’s entrepreneurship research advisor will serve as the chair of the review committee.


  • A letter of application of a maximal length of 3 pages, written with single-line spaced used the Century Gothic Font with a size of 10. The letter should contain the following elements:
    • Description of the product to be developed as part of the fellowship (including its innovative aspects). The applicant must explain the work that was/will be undertaken as part of his/her doctorate and the work that will be undertaken during the fellowship period to release a functional prototype to be tested by the client. The applicant must provide a draft working plan that demonstrates how the prototype will be produced in the 18-month fellowship period.
    • Explanation of the product’s target market, the needs the project addresses, the interest expressed by future clients (if any; include the individuals’ contact information) and the product’s disruptive impact.
    • Explanation of the reasons that motivate the applicant to become an entrepreneur and any relevant experience he/she possesses.
    • Any additional information deemed relevant to the application.
  • A résumé detailing the applicant’s academic and extracurricular activities
  • A letter of support from the professor who will supervise the applicant’s postdoctoral training

Complete applications will be submitted on our dedicated platform : https://ivado.smapply.io/

Annex: Note on intellectual property

Note on the basic intellectual property principles that will apply to the work undertaken as part of an entrepreneur-postdoctoral fellowship. This policy was approved by HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal 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 license agreement.
  3. Any other major contributions to the fellow’s project (e.g. by the supervisor, other students, other research funding programs, etc.) may be subject to specific agreements prior to the start of the project.


  • What if my application exceeds the page limit?
    • Applications that exceed the page limit are automatically disqualified.

Other questions? Please submit them to: jfconnolly@ivado.ca