Funding Programs

About Our Funding Programs

MaRS Innovation can only accept technology emerging within or connected to our members.

As such, our funding programs are only open to researchers, students, or other affiliated staff within our membership. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible, contact the technology transfer office at your institution.

Individual programs may have other acceptance criteria as described below.

MI Member logos graphic

MaRS Innovation’s 15 member institutions.

UTEST Program

MI_utestThe University of Toronto’s Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) Program is part of U of T’s growing ecosystem of incubators and commercialization support services.

UTEST accepts companies in the very earliest stages of idea generation— before they’re ready for traditional incubators. To date, three cohorts have completed the program (16 companies in total) and a fourth is currently incubating.

UTEST companies receive start-up funding, mentoring, business strategy and office space in the MaRS Discovery District facility, along with $30,000 in start-up funds.

Funding for the companies come from MaRS Innovation and U of T’s Connaught Fund.

UTEST has been selected as of one of seven true start-up accelerators in Canada by a 2013 MaRS Catalyst report. Betakit also profiled UTEST among eight other Canadian top accelerators and incubators, and BlogTO ranked it among Toronto’s Top 10 accelerators.

Past graduates include Granata Decision Systems, Whirlscape, Crowdmark, TrendMD, eQOL, Nvest and Onyx Motion.

MaRS Innovation administers UTEST in partnership with U of T’s Innovations & Partnerships Office.

To learn more about UTEST, contact:

Michael Betts
Co-director, UTEST

Kurtis Scissons
Co-director, UTEST

MaRS Innovation Industry Access Program

The MaRS Innovation Industry Access Program (MI-IAP) was created to help researchers to secure funding for early-stage technologies through MI’s collaborative R&D programs with strategic industry partners.

The program’s three key benefits are:

  1. Gauging commercial interest in new technologies.
  2. Presenting technologies to industry partners who may participate in future grant programs that require an industry match.
  3. Potential to access committed funding through MI’s co-managed strategic partnership funds with five large pharmaceutical companies (Baxter, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer) and one diagnostics company (LifeLabs, which was formerly CML Healthcare). These funds are accessible to MI-managed technologies on a continual basis, but applicants to the MI-IAP are also eligible to access the funds, should the industry partner select the project for further diligence and elect to use the committed funds.

The program, which runs three times per year, is open to any researcher affiliated with our 15 members  who has developed therapeutic, diagnostic, medical device or health IT related technologies in the following areas (note that areas of interest may change each round):

  • Orphan indications
  • Immuno-oncology
  • Respiratory system diseases (e.g., Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, lung cancer, etc.)
  • Diabetes
  • Neuroscience
  • Orthopaedics
  • General surgery

Recommended budgets range from $75,000 to $150,000.

Applications are currently closed.

How To Apply

Download the MI-IAP 2015Q1 Framework and MI-IAP 2015Q1 A Statement of Interest for background on how this program has operated in the past.

MaRS Innovation internally reviews all submitted statements. If MI sees a prospective match between a strategic partner’s expressed interest and a researcher’s statement, the researcher will be invited to complete the non-confidential application summary, which includes:

Since the MI-IAP is a partnership development program, funding is not guaranteed; the application materials are deliberately brief. Statements of interest are to be one paragraph in length and do not guarantee funding; they are considered by MaRS Innovation for internal reviews only.

MI also reserves the right to review all submitted statements for prospective matches between technologies and the interests expressed by MI’s strategic partners.

If there is alignment between a partner’s criteria and an application, MI will invite the selected researchers to prepare a non-confidential summary of the technology, which includes:


Please Note

  • Funding is not guaranteed at any point in this process. The program’s success indicator is an invitation by at least one partner to present the technology in more detail, which may or may not lead to funding.
  • If a researcher’s non-confidential summary attracts interest from a strategic partner, MI will arrange a meeting or conference call with the partner to initiate their due diligence.
  • Upon completion of their investigation, the partner, at its exclusive option, may decide to deploy funding for the project.
  • All successful projects are subject to the terms of the member agreement between MI and its members.
  • Projects encumbered by a third party are not eligible for this program.

If you have questions about the program, contact Ben Rogers. For questions about applications, contact Jackie Terry.

Technology Transfer and Scouting Department

Five of MaRS Innovation’s members have small technology transfer offices or no dedicated staff.

For these members, MI staff provide or augment their technology transfer services:

  • Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Women’s College Hospital
  • York University

If you have questions about the Technology Transfer and Scouting program, contact Ben Rogers.