How it Works

A. Program Overview
B. How Funding Works
C. How to Apply
D. Decision-Making Process
E. Eligibility
F. Project Reporting Requirements
G. Schedule and Submission Deadlines

Please note that applications to this program are currently closed.

A. Program Overview

The Medical Sciences Proof-of-Principle (MSc PoP) program helps commercialize promising life sciences and medical technology intellectual property (IP) developed at Ontario publicly funded academic research institutions (universities, colleges, and research hospitals). The goal is to deliver substantial and sustainable economic benefits to Ontario (e.g. jobs, sales) through newly created Ontario-based companies founded on this IP, or by licensing the IP to an existing Ontario-based company for incremental growth opportunities. 

Program Objectives:

  • Provide proof-of-principle funding that is aimed at stimulating the commercialization of life sciences and medical technology research by bridging the development gap to help attract investment and development partners from industry and the venture community; and
  • Build institutional commercialization capacity and expertise in the life sciences and medical technologies field.


B. How Funding Works

The province-wide MSc PoP program provides project support directly to:

  • Incorporated spin-offs or spin-ins for commercialization activities, or
  • Principal investigator at an academic research institution (pre-incorporation). NOTE: The principal investigator must be the applicant, and funds will flow to the academic research institution. 

For MaRS Innovation Member Institutions, the program is brought to you through an OCE and MaRS Innovation partnership. Applications must be submitted to Jackie Terry, Program Administrator at MaRS Innovation will formally submit applications on behalf of their member institutions and the start-up companies through OCE's online application system.


Applicants will be eligible for a non-repayable contribution toward direct eligible costs of up to $70,000 per project. Applicants must have matching cash equal in amount to 100% of the total requested investment at the time of application. The matching cash contributions must come from a non-governmental source.

Applicants can receive only one MSc PoP award throughout the lifetime of the project. It is anticipated that projects will take up to 12 months to complete.


C. How to Apply

Applications should be prepared by the Applicant(s) and Partner(s). All MaRS Innovation Member Institutions (MI) should work with MI in preparing their applications. For all other applicants, upon request, an OCE Business Development Manager will be made available to support throughout the application process and will maintain responsibility for the oversight of approved projects. 

Please complete all the information in the MSc PoP Program Proposal Questions template ensuring:

  • The proposal’s font and format are maintained
  • The proposal is submitted via the OCE online application system and uploaded as an attachment (only PDF format accepted). To set up an account and initiate an application in the OCE online application system, contact the Program Manager. If you already have an account, you still need to contact the PM to initiate a new MSc PoP application, but can use your existing username and password to access the application module 
  • As noted for MaRS Innovation Member Institutions and company start-ups, applications must be submitted to Jackie Terry, Program Administrator at MaRS Innovation will formally submit applications on behalf of their member institutions and the start-up companies through OCE's online application system.

Applicants are expected to submit an application online. The highest ranked applications will be invited to present to the External Review Panel (ERP) during a panel review meeting.
NOTE: The MSc PoP online application module will be available shortly. Download the MSc PoP Program Proposal Questions and Sample Application Template

Applications may be submitted at any time and are evaluated in accordance with the Application Submission Deadlines. Complete Application Submissions include:

  • Application Information (Contact information/Project Title/Company Profile)
  • Public Release Classification:
  • Project Plan and Budget
  • Milestones (Activities)
  • Project Finance (Budget and justification)
  • Attachment Checklist (supporting documentation to be uploaded):


D. Decision-Making Process

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Team/Institution Commitment to the Project
  • Intellectual Property Potential
  • Potential for Commercial Development/Market Opportunity
  • Feasibility of Project Milestones and Budget

Applications are internally reviewed for completeness, eligibility and use of funds prior to evaluation by expert reviewers with business and domain expertise. They will assess the proposal and make a funding recommendation to OCE. Final funding decision is made by OCE.  

The MSc PoP program is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible projects are assessed on their merit and undergo a review process where the proposals are assessed against program objectives and assessment criteria.  

NOTE: Approved projects require the applicants to sign OCE’s standard funding agreement.

Funding Disbursements

Funding will flow directly to the lead organization:

  • OCE funds will flow directly to the Incorporated spin-offs or spin-ins or academic institution
  • Upon receipt of the lead organizations electronic fund transfer (EFT) information, OCE will release a payment equal to the award amount minus holdback of 25 per cent
  • The holdback will be released upon project completion and receipt of the following: final progress and financial reports, outcomes, attestation from the lead organization regarding the use of funds.

Eligible Use of Funds:


E. Eligibility

  • Ontario academic institutions and start-ups based on academic IP are eligible applicants.
  • Eligible start-up companies must be academic spin-outs where the institution can vouch for the academic IP, or spin-ins that have in-licensed academic IP, which forms the basis for the core product or service of the start-up. In both cases the start-up should be in its first year of operation.
  • The IP must result from research or student activity developed in an Ontario publicly funded academic research institution (university, college or research hospital).
  • Commercialization occurs in Ontario by spinning off the IP through licensing to an existing Ontario-based company (with sales and job creation in Ontario), or creating a start-up with the potential for significant economic impact in Ontario or other significant benefit to Ontario.
  • Applicants must be free to use/develop the IP with no third-party rights.
  • When applying to MSc PoP, the lead organization must be pre-recurring revenue (less than $250,000 total) and pre-significant non-government investment.  “Significant investment” is defined as an outside investment of over $250,000.
  • The project must not have received funding from the OCE and/or MaRS Innovation Medical Sciences Proof of Principle program or OCE's Market Readiness program.
  • The matching cash contributions must come from a non-governmental source (e.g. provincial and/or federal grants)
  • The opportunity must demonstrate a total addressable market in excess of $50 million.
  • Applicants must enter into a contribution agreement with OCE and be subject to project and metrics reporting at least annually.
  • Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE.

Eligible activities supported through this program include, but are not limited to:

  • technology/IP assessment
  • market assessment and strategy
  • prototype design and development
  • materials testing/analysis
  • proof of concept demonstration
  • preclinical and clinical evaluation/feasibility
  • early customer engagement
  • business and other plan (e.g. regulatory, reimbursement) development


F. Project Reporting Requirements

Final Report:

1. Forty-five days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant and Client will receive a notification of the project end date from OCE’s MIS system, with a link to the Final Project Report should the Applicant or Client wish to begin entering data. If an extension is required, it must be requested from your OCE Business Development Manager at this time.

2. On the scheduled project completion date, the Applicant and Client will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s MIS system. Both the Applicant and Client reports must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion.

3. When the Applicant and Client final reports have been approved, the academic institution will be required to complete an attestation of the use of funds to close the project.

4. All required final reports by all partners must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to release the holdback, and maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Project Metrics:

5. If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant and Client will be required to complete an annual Metrics survey each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

Retrospective Survey:

6. Two years after project completion, the Client will be sent a link to complete a retrospective survey to collect data on commercial outcomes from the project. This information is required by OCE for assessment of program impact and continuous improvement.


G. Schedule and Submission Deadlines

 Round 1
Application intake opens
 May 21, 2015 - Closed
Application submission deadline 
 August 27, 2015 by 2:00 PM
Anticipated notice of decisions
 October 2015

 Round 2
Application intake opens
 January 2016
Application submission deadline 
 March 10, 2016 by 2:00 PM
Notification to Pitch   April 6, 2016
Pitch  April 15, 2016
Anticipated notice of decisions
 April 2016

 Round 3
Application intake opens
 September 7, 2016
Application submission deadline 
 October 27, 2016 by 2:00 PM
Invitation to Pitch  November 22, 2016
Pitch  November 30, 2016
Anticipated notice of decisions
 December 2016

NOTE: Project extensions will not be provided for the final round of the program. 

For MaRS Innovation Member Institutions, inquiries should be addressed to MI at All other organizations:

For assistance with preparation of applications, please contact an OCE Business Development Manager.

For further questions, please contact Angela Fong, Program Manager at