Seed Funding Pilot Program Launches!

Proof of Concept Seed Fund Pilot Program

Description: The McDonald Institute Proof of Concept Seed Fund Pilot Program provides early-stage support for technology innovation supervised by an awardee. Funding of up to $20,000 CAD is currently available to offset the real costs to an eligible astroparticle physics researcher developing an early-stage demonstration of practical technologies either adapted, or transferred from research-driven activities. Funding may be used for a portion, or the entirety of costs incurred for, prototype development, technology integration, or technology demonstration. Once funds for the current Pilot are exhausted, the opportunity will close until the next fiscal year (April 2022- March 2023).

Applicant Eligibility: Any researcher focused on astroparticle physics and already eligible to hold funds from Tri-Council granting agencies (or currently in receipt of CFREF funding through the McDonald Institute) may apply if they are eligible to manage an institutional research account. Any researcher working under the direct supervision of a researcher meeting the above criterion may act as the application lead (proponent), but all funds must flow through a Tri-Council eligible researcher’s account (awardee).

Eligible Expenses: Successful awardees may invoice the McDonald Institute to recover up to $20,000 of proof-of -concept costs including salary costs of awardee-supervised research personnel (post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate students, or technical or engineering staff); materials, licences and fees required to fabricate, operate or demonstrate the proof of concept (including fees for machining work, assembly, software development). Up to 20 percent of an award is eligible for travel support related to proof-of-concept activities. Documented expenses incurred in the three months prior to an award letter may be reimbursed if they are CFREF eligible, provided that the applicant has disclosed such prior spending in their application budget.

Ineligible Expenses: Awardees will not be eligible for the reimbursement of intellectual property protection costs, legal advice, hospitality, or the recovered costs of goods that are subsequently sold to a third party (e.g., prototypes or services that are sold as products). This list is not exhaustive, please reach out to the program contact staff for confirmation of eligibility.

How it works: Successful applicants will be granted an award letter committing the McDonald Institute to reimburse up to $20,000 CAD of receipted expenses incurred up to 12 months from the award date. The target of the first award call is to bolster community members’ experience in mobilizing research technology to address practical problems and to de-risk such mobilizations by demonstrating feasibility (problem-solution “fit”). Applications are welcomed at any time for this funding opportunity Once this funding pool (currently $20,000 CAN) has been exhausted, this competition will close for the current fiscal year. Contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen (Business Development Officer) for additional application information and guidance.

Call for applications opens: March 26, 2021 Results will be announced within one month of each application submission.

Potential applicants must contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen, the McDonald Institute Business Development Officer, at prior to submitting an application to discuss the project.

Completed applications may be sent to with the subject line “Proof of Concept Seed Fund Round 1 – {Applicant Last Name}”.


Please visit the Funding Opportunities page for all opportunities available through the McDonald Institute.