Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens with ideas, insights, time — and money.

About the program

Innovate BC Ignite Program

Innovate BC’s Ignite Program provides up to $300,000 to fund innovation projects in the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering. Teams made up of industry and academia come together to solve real life business problems in a 3-year time frame. From helping get clean drinking water into third world countries to diagnosing eye diseases faster than ever before, Ignite is bringing technology to life in B.C.

Looking to connect with a B.C.-based researcher to commercialize your innovation? Connect with our BD Specialist from Mitacs & Innovate BC for further support via programs@innovatebc.ca.

Program eligibility

Focus area

Proposals must involve the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering, and must outline the business problem you and your team is attacking. Preference is given to eligible projects that address challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Applicants must be a B.C.-based team comprised of two or more companies, organizations and academic researchers. All teams must include an academic member and an industry partner.

Matching funds

Projects must secure matching funds from industry or government sources at a ratio of 2:1 matching dollars to Ignite dollars.


Projects must plan to move a proposed innovation to market within a 3-year timeframe.

Key dates:

Ignite Round 10

  • Deadline to submit Letter of Intent (LOI) to Innovate BC: August 10, 2020
  • Deadline for invited applicants to submit full proposal: October 19, 2020
  • Anticipated notice of decision: Early January 2021
  • Anticipated start of funding: Early February 2021

To view past winning Ignite projects, click here.

What is the maximum amount I can request from Ignite?

The maximum request is $300,000 for the duration of the project. As per the 2:1 matching requirements, projects must secure $600,000 in matching funds to request the maximum allowable amount from Ignite.

Can you clarify the 2:1 matching fund requirements?

Applicants are required to secure $2 external matching dollars for every $1 requested from Ignite. External matching dollars can come from industry, government or a combination thereof. A maximum of 50% of the matched funds can be from government sources, including federal funding sources such as NSERC, IRAP & Mitacs. A maximum of 50% of the matching funds can be from in-kind sources. An example is given below to illustrate:

$150,000 Industry cash contribution
$150,000 Industry in-kind contribution
$300,000 Government cash contribution
$600,000 Total matching funds

This scenario qualifies for a $300,000 request from Ignite.

Do matching funds have to be secured at the time of application?

No, matching funds can be pending at the time of submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI) and should be indicated as such in Section 4.1 of the Letter of Intent form. However, it should be noted that those applications with confirmed matching funds may potentially be viewed more favorably by the review panel than those with pending funds.

What are the minimum requirements for the consortium?

All consortium must contain, at a minimum, one B.C.-based academic partner and one industry partner. The academic partner must hold a firm appointment at a B.C.-based post secondary institution, and be conducting research in the natural resources, applied sciences or engineering. The majority of the consortium must be based in B.C. and be able to exploit the research results in B.C. Please see Section 3.0 Eligible Applicants of the program guidelines for more detailed information on the eligibility requirements for academic faculty, industry partners and research-owned companies.

What is the likelihood of my application being invited for full proposal?

Ignite is a competitive process. The average success rate at the LOI stage is 40%; however, this can vary on the number and quality of applications received in any given round. The review panel typically invites approximately 10 to 15 applicants from the Letter of Intent stage to submit a full proposal per round.

What is the expected timeline for the application process? If we're successful, when can we expect to receive funding?

The application process is two phases and takes approximately 5 months from submission of Letter of Intent to funding notifications. Please see the program guidelines for the most current funding timelines.

Does Ignite fund companies in the consortium directly?

No, Ignite funds research projects, not companies. As a stipulation of the endowment where funds are derived from, if an applicant is selected for Ignite funding, the academic partner in the consortium (i.e. the university) will receive and manage the funds. The academic institution is then required, according to a funding contract with Innovate BC, to distribute project funds to any applicants or co-applicants (i.e. companies) in the project consortium as listed in the approved budget. If your consortium is successful with an Ignite award, you will likely be required by the academic institution to enter into a research collaboration agreement in order for them to distribute grant funds to your company.

Does my company need a formal research agreement with the University to apply?

No, but it is highly recommended. Research collaborations may be informal, however at a minimum, the roles, responsibilities, and IP arrangements between the academic and industry partners should be discussed and defined between organizations in advance of submitting an application. It is highly recommended you speak with your Academic Partner and contact the appropriate office at the academic institution (i.e. The University Industry Liaison Office) to ensure you are aware of each institution’s policies and procedures on industry-academic research partnerships, and any distribution of the consortiums grant funds, prior to applying.

Our project has already started, can we still apply for an Ignite Grant?

The project start date can begin prior to the submission of an Ignite application; however, Ignite will not assume responsibility for retroactive project costs.

I'm unsure if my project is the right fit for Ignite. Is there someone I can speak with directly to discuss in more detail?

Yes, it is strongly encouraged that you contact Innovate BC staff to discuss your project prior to submitting an application. Requests can be sent to programs@innovatebc.ca.

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