McMaster’s Commitment to Create Benefit and Impact from its Research Enterprise
McMaster University ranks among Canada’s most research-intensive universities and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s Top 100 universities. It is our goal and responsibility to use our evidence-based knowledge to further understanding, drive change, and, ultimately, advance human and societal health and well-being. Through knowledge mobilization, technology transfer and commercialization activities, we are committed to placing that knowledge in the hands of those who can put it to its best use, to maximize the social and economic benefit with long-lasting impact for the McMaster community, greater Hamilton region, Ontario, Canada, and the world. This framework outlines the university’s guiding principles and the supporting infrastructure that ensures effective management of intellectual property (IP) created at McMaster University while respecting the interests of faculty, staff, students, and clinicians at our affiliated hospital, along with our corporate, not-for-profit, and government partners.
McMaster’s Institutional Roles and Policies
To ensure McMaster’s national and global competitiveness, the university continues to make strategic investments in its research enterprise. The McMaster Industry Liaison Office (MILO), reporting to the VP Research, has the administrative responsibility for the Joint IP Policy as it relates to effective management of IP and commercialization of research results developed in the labs at the university and its affiliated hospitals.
One of the main objectives of this Policy (section 3.1) is to encourage IP Creators – our faculty, staff and students – to disseminate that IP to the public in a manner that benefits society – meeting the university’s strategic objective of driving economic prosperity and social innovation, while benefiting the Creators and institutions (section 14). IP Creators are required to disclose the creations or discoveries resulting from the institution’s research enterprise to MILO (section 6.1) and are consulted throughout the commercialization process (section 13). MILO provides support to its research community by facilitating collaborative research with industry and not-for-profit partners, as well as the resources and expertise to guide researchers through the commercialization process. This process includes IP evaluation, management and protection; marketing and licensing IP to existing companies; and the creation of start-up companies. Successful commercialization outcomes are a result of a partnership between MILO and the IP Creators, which includes provision of both hands-on support (e.g., mentor and investor network, entrepreneur-in-residence) and electronic resources (Inventor’s Guide, Start-up Guide, and IP Handbook).
McMaster’s IP Education and Awareness Resources
McMaster’s goal to increase our IP capacity is enhanced by entrepreneurial and IP educational resources that the university is committed to providing through:
- Resources available on-demand and directed towards the research community – faculty and graduate students, such as electronic materials (Inventor’s Guide, Start-up Guide, and IP Handbook), customized workshops or seminars with patent agents and MILO staff for departments and research groups, and specialized graduate level workshops both within and across Faculties
- The Forge – McMaster’s business incubator – provides entrepreneurial support to early-stage start-ups arising from students, alumni and others within the greater Hamilton and southwestern Ontario region
- Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare runs a wide variety of workshops, programs, fellowships, and events through the Clinic, MGD Health ICE and Health Venture Academy that target faculty, clinicians, as well as undergraduate and graduate students
- Academic degree programs, including the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program, Masters of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation or Masters of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and courses, including Minor in Innovation, and graduate level courses. Many of these courses are open to students from all Faculties.
McMaster’s Activities to Create Impact/Benefit and Engagement with Innovation Ecosystem
Aligned with the university’s mission and vision, MILO’s guiding principles regarding research partnerships and commercialization of IP are driven by maximizing impact globally and creating a net benefit to Ontario and Canada. As applicable, the university achieves this through:
- Encouraging our researcher community to collaborate with companies and other organizations located in the region (Ontario and across Canada) to generate economic development and retain or create jobs in Canada
- Managing IP protection within Canada and internationally to enable Canadian companies to capitalize on global market opportunities
- Engaging with and being a key member of our local, provincial, and national ecosystems to identify licensees, entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors who are committed to further developing IP to bring products to market in a timely manner
- Providing the research community with support and resources to access funds from agencies with strong mandates to create benefit for Ontario and Canada, including ISED, FedDev Ontario, Tri-council agencies, Ontario Centre of Innovation, Mitacs, National Centres of Excellence, federal and provincial ministries, and NRC-IRAP
- Retaining the university’s non-commercial rights in any IP for research and teaching purposes, and continued ability to publish the research
- Creating the McMaster Seed Fund to address the early-stage funding gap between proof of principle and external seed financing
- Providing access to space, including our investment in the McMaster Innovation Park, to enable growth of start-ups and ventures that have a strategic alignment with the university