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The Fonds de recherche du Québec grants V1 Studio $600K for a lab-to-market education program

Funding will support training and resources for student researchers exploring an entrepreneurial career path
August 18, 2022
A group of young people in a university classroom environment talking together.
One of the benefits of the QcSE program is that students get to network with their peers and university researchers to expand their entrepreneurial connections.

Many university student researchers lack access to the resources required to transition from academia to the business world — and very few pursue entrepreneurship. Not advancing research beyond the lab means their innovative ideas don’t reach commercial markets to have a real-world impact.

In response, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) has awarded $600,000 over three years to the Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship (QcSE) program, which facilitates researchers’ lab-to-market journey through entrepreneurship training. Funding will support the creation of new curriculum and expand program outreach.

V1 Studio, a venture builder founded by Concordia with a mission to give every researcher a touchpoint with entrepreneurship, runs the QcSE program. “Too many student researchers bypass the idea of starting a business to advance their technologies and products,” says Diana Horqque, executive director of V1 Studio.

“Training can help make entrepreneurship a viable career option. More broadly, having researchers bring their ideas to market feeds into the innovation pipelines that positively impact our communities and economies.”

Bridging the gap between classroom and boardroom

The QcSE program aims to encourage researchers to explore entrepreneurship to bring their academic research to market and add entrepreneurial prowess to their professional skillset.

During 12 weeks of live workshops and self-paced online courses, participants receive training on entrepreneurship fundamentals including business modelling and delivering an effective business pitch. The program also offers relevant resources and access to Quebec’s innovation and startup ecosystem leaders.

Master’s, PhD and postdoctoral researchers from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or social sciences are encouraged to apply to the program. It’s offered at a flexible time-commitment of three hours a week, bilingual and free for Quebec-based researchers.

“With the right education and resources offered in a formula adapted to their lifestyle, students can take control of their research and make informed decisions about their future career paths,” Horqque adds.

Participants can remain connected with the QcSE program through the QcSE ambassadors initiative, which brings current and past participants together to share knowledge and experiences. Those who have a business idea and who wish to continue their entrepreneurial journey can apply for V1 Studio’s hands-on Scientific Venture Program, a two-year postdoc position designed for the creation of a scientific startup.

Since launching three years ago, the QcSE program has made significant contributions to fostering the early-stage advancement of research-based innovation in Quebec. In addition to providing entrepreneurship training to more than 700 master’s, PhD and postdoctoral students from 14 Quebec universities, it has helped create and support the launch of more than 60 startups.

Forming partnerships with key local ecosystem players, most recently including Concordia’s startup hub District 3, Centech, CEuMONTRÉAL, 2 Degrés, Front Row Ventures and the Association of Scientific Entrepreneurs and Innovators of Quebec, the V1 Studio team ensures its participants are connected to relevant and timely resources depending on which stage they are at.

They then curate the curriculum to reflect the most up-to-date business practices.

This year, in partnership with the Innovation + Impact Network of Canada and District 3, the program is now being delivered in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, with plans to offer it in the Prairies and Western Canada within a year.

Learn more about the
Quebec Scientific Entrepreneurship Program and apply here. Deadline for applications is September 9.

V1 Studio is hosting a complimentary hybrid event at Concordia’s 4TH SPACE on September 1. Register now for Researcher to innovation leader: How to level-up your research potential.


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