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Prototyping Awards


Connected Minds provides competitively adjudicated funds to support members in the development of a prototype (hardware or software) that will lead to the commercialization or knowledge sharing/open-source development of a product or concept that is aligned with the Connected Minds socially responsible technology development mandate.


Applicants must be a Connected Minds member.

In recognition of the underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous Peoples within the disciplines Connected Minds touches upon, at least 10% of available prototyping awards will be designated for qualified applicants identifying as African, Caribbean, and Black, and at least 10% for Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit), totaling at least 20% of all prototyping awards. To qualify for these designated awards, applicants must complete the voluntary self-identification form and meet the minimum requirements set for the award. Any proposals addressing Indigeneity will be reviewed by the Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Project Duration:
Phase 1: 4-6 months
Phase 2: 6-12 months (extension to 18 months possible with justification)

Use of Funds:
• Phase 1 – Early-stage prototype development (hardware or software) where experimental or technical data are still required.
• Phase 2 – Full prototype development (hardware or software) of a product.
• The funds can be utilized as salary, material, or fee-for-service.
• As per CFREF rules, these funds cannot be used to pay patent fees.


Phase 1: Up to $20,000; Phase 2: Up to $50,000

Minimum 50% of the Connected Minds award contribution

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis

Apply Here

Download Budget Template


Applicants must be a Connected Minds member.

  • Proof of concept is complete (only for Phase 2 projects).
  • The technology must be disclosed to Innovation York/Queen’s Office of Partnerships & Innovation.
  • The Connected Minds IP agreement with York/Queen’s University must be signed.
  • The funds will be administered in accordance with the Connected Minds IP policy and aligned with the institutional policies of the respective universities with due consideration being given to projects which engage in issues of Indigenous IP and Knowledge.

Applications for Phase 1 and Phase 2 must include the following sections and be submitted via MachForm link above.

  • Title of the proposal
  • Description of the proposed project
    • Background of the invention, the state-of-the-art, and value proposition of your technology, and proof-of-concept if applicable (200 words)
    • Work plan, including technical objectives and technical risks (250 words)
    • Milestones/timelines (1 page attachment in appendix)
    • Budget and source of the matching funds (all expenditures must be CFREF-eligible) (Download budget template)
    • Relevance to Connected Minds mandate (200 words)
    • In the MachForm, add the following statement for applicants to select if appropriate: “This proposal is in collaboration with one or more members of the Ingenuity Labs Research Institute, Queen’s University. Please consider this proposal for an additional $25,000 in funding under the Ingenuity Labs Research Opportunity Seed Fund.”
  • Description of the market analysis assessment (Phase 1 only) or the technology transfer plan (Phase 2 only)
    • Market overview, the opportunity, the advantage of the proposed product or technology, and the competition (250 words)
    • Commercialization strategy and proposed technology transfer activities (250 words)
  • Connected Minds Social Impact Assessment Guidelines (see guidelines below)
    • Social responsibility
    • Consideration of diverse perspectives
    • Environmental impact assessment
    • Building trust and public acceptance
    • Acknowledgment of intellectual property and considerations for traditional knowledges


Given the complex, interdisciplinary and techno-social focus of the Connected Minds program, the Connected Minds Social Impact Assessment Guidelines were developed to emphasize that researchers and prospective researchers are further required to think about their research, their technologies and the proposed uses of those technologies through the lenses of social responsibility, harm avoidance, equity and inclusivity. 

Socially responsible research prioritizes ethical principles and values throughout the development and implementation of new programs, processes, technologies, and ways of knowing and doing. It is research that takes into account the potential impact(s) on individuals, communities and society/societies as a whole, while aligning with human values, respecting both individual and collective human rights, and contributing to a sustainable and inclusive future. 

Researchers (both funded and prospective) must be able to demonstrate to the program and its reviewers that they have considered and adequately addressed the following considerations in their proposals/reviews: 

1. Social Responsibility:

Clearly articulate how your research will be conducted in a socially responsible manner. Explain the measures you will take to ensure that the research process and outcomes contribute positively to societal well-being. If appropriate, apply generally agreed-upon risk assessment tools to identify and mitigate potential harms associated with your research. Clearly outline the steps you will take to monitor and address risks, with a focus on minimizing adverse impacts on impacted communities. (500 words)

2. Consideration of Diverse Perspectives:

Clearly demonstrate how your research accounts for the needs and perspectives of diverse populations. Provide details on how you plan to prevent biases and ensure inclusivity across socioeconomic status, race, gender, and other equity-deserving identity characteristics. (500 words)

3. Environmental Impact Assessment:

Please describe how the proposal integrates considerations for environmentally sustainable technologies. Proposals with potential environmental ramifications should explicitly showcase the prediction, analysis, and mitigation measures employed to ensure any adverse effects are identified and addressed to prevent harm. (500 words)

4. Building Trust and Public Acceptance:

Demonstrate how your research approach is designed to build trust and gain public acceptance. Highlight specific strategies to engage with the public (including users and/or patients, as applicable), address concerns, and maintain transparency throughout the research lifecycle. (500 words)

5. Acknowledgment of Intellectual Property and Considerations for Traditional Knowledges:

Clearly acknowledge and outline how your research and any technologies developed respect the intellectual property of individuals or entities who hold rights to them. Identify and specify the types of intellectual property involved, such as patents, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. Identify the data governance framework that will be applied to this proposal. If applicable, address Indigenous intellectual property rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (2017). Emphasize how your research respects Indigenous rights to the protection of traditional knowledge, cultural heritage, and customs. (500 words)

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • All proposals will be reviewed by the Connected Minds Innovation & Commercialization Committee.
  • Any proposals addressing Indigeneity will be reviewed additionally by the Indigenous Advisory Circle.
  • Researchers may apply for Phase 2 directly if their technology is sufficiently developed.
  • Receipt of Phase 1 funding does not guarantee that the project will receive funding under Phase 2.
  • Connected Minds Social Impact Assessment (Pass/Fail)
  • Scientific/engineering/scholarly/creative merit of the project (25 points)
  • Innovation/Commercial/Knowledge mobilization potential of the technology as outlined in the market analysis assessment (Phase I only) or technology transfer plan (Phase II only) (20 points)
  • Feasibility of project plan, milestones, and the budget (20 points)
  • Coherence of plan for commercialization/knowledge sharing/open-source development (15 points)
  • Relevance to Connected Minds’ mandate and potential for positive impact on equity-deserving groups (20 points)

Awardees must submit a final report no later than two months after the end of the project. The report must include the following:

  • Overall outcome of the project (200 words)
  • Milestones achieved; Milestones not achieved and the reasons why (100 words)
  • How the prototyping funds were used (100 words)
  • Next steps (100 words)

Last updated: 05/03/2024