IPON invests $4.6 million to build IP capacity at post-secondary institutions

University of Toronto
IPON has made $6.6 million in investments in the last year.

Ontario’s intellectual property (IP) agency is investing $4.6 million into post-secondary institutions to help them better commercialize ideas and products. 

The investment, which comes from Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), includes $2.9 million for 10 new institutions, which include Brock University, Carleton University, George Brown College, McMaster University, Georgian College, Sheridan College, Toronto Metropolitan University, and the Universities of Ottawa, Toronto, and Windsor.

“This funding will help institutions across the province more effectively translate research into commercializable innovations.”

Each awarded university is putting the new funding towards different activities. For example, Brock University said it will, among other things, use the funding to hire a business development manager to source new inventions and internship program to provide graduate students with training on the different stages of the commercialization process.

Georgian College will use the funds to host workshops and learning sessions to increase subject-matter experts’ knowledge about IP, among other things, while McMaster University will put the funds towards piloting a streamlined IP outreach, disclosure and technology assessment process.

IPON is also investing $1.7 million to expand its existing pilot funding program, involving a total of 10 universities. IPON launched this program with an initial $2 million to fund 10 post-secondary institutions to improve their support and resources related to IP commercialization efforts and improve their internal IP knowledge.

The post-secondary institutions involved in that pilot include Collège La Cité, Conestoga College, Durham College, Lambton College, Niagara College, York University, and a joint initiative led by Laurentian University, Trent University, Lakehead University, and Nipissing University.

“This funding will help institutions across the province more effectively translate research into commercializable innovations, while ensuring the IP at their foundation is appropriately developed and protected,” Dan Herman, CEO of IPON, said in a statement.

Following the recent investments, IPON’s investments over the past year total $6.6 million, distributed among eight colleges and 12 universities.

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According to IPON’s statement announcing the new funding, the agency is currently leading a working group focused on commercialization metrics, and is exploring ways to best support technology transfer and applied research offices within Ontario’s research community.

Last month, IPON announced that Herman would serve as the agency’s first permanent CEO. Prior to Herman’s appointment, the CEO role was held on an interim basis by Peter Cowan since the agency’s creation in 2022

BetaKit was first to report Cowan would lead the agency, and in January, Cowan left IPON and was named president and CEO of Innovate BC.

In recent years, IP creation and protection have been a key focus for the federal government and a number of Canadian provinces. In January, the University of Calgary announced plans to fully launch ElevateIP Alberta, the Albertan iteration of the federal IP program, and similar programs were launched in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada in 2023. Communitech is delivering the ElevateIP programming in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, while Mouvement des accélérateurs d’innovation du Québec is delivering the program in Québec.

Feature image courtesy Unsplash. Photo by Narciso Arellano.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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