NBIF Announces First $100,000 Awarded from Early Stage Commercialization Fund (ESCF)

NBIF Announces First $100,000 Awarded from Early Stage Commercialization Fund (ESCF)


Paul Thornton

Senior Commercialization Officer


We are pleased to announce the first round of our Early Stage Commercialization Fund (ESCF) in partnership with Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Nova Scotia-based Innovacorp has now closed. We have awarded $100,000 from the $500,000 fund to New Brunswick researchers to assist them in commercializing their research. Projects funded through these awards aim to address the immediate needs in getting their innovations to market. The funds provide essential support to innovators at the province’s post-secondary institutions, and addresses the gap in support for the critical first steps of converting a novel innovation into a viable product or service. 

Our allocation of these funds shows our commitment to assisting academics through all innovation life-cycle stages, from conception and early R&D to validation and product development. Many researchers are unfamiliar with the concepts and tools needed to create a business from their research. It’s this roadblock to the creation of innovative products and services that the ESCF will help address. This program will offer support for work that is critical for successful business creation (market research, developing an IP strategy, etc.) and offering researchers the mentoring and advice needed to accelerate these innovations on their path to market.

In the first of three rounds of the ESCF, we leveraged the expertise and experience of Nova Scotia-based Innovacorp in our review process. Innovacorp has run its ESCF program since 2005, and their support has been instrumental in our execution and roll-out here in New Brunswick.

The complete list of recipients and their projects is below. Stay tuned as we spotlight some of these projects and discuss the commercialization process over the next coming weeks.

  1. Dr. Erik Scheme, UNB. Project: Community-based Mobility Assessment using Augmented Assistive Technologies. Dr. Scheme is working to commercialize a line of smart devices (canes, walkers, etc.) to evaluate patient usage, gait, and overall mobility and provide feedback to users and their healthcare providers. This data can then be used to support better clinical decision-making and improve outcomes for patients or ageing adults with mobility issues. 

  2. Dr. Sid Ahmed Selouani, Université de Moncton. Project: IADS: Intelligibility Assessment Tool for Disarthic Speech. Dr. Selouani is developing an automated diagnostic and assessment tool for patients who suffer from impaired speech. This condition can often occur as a result of an accident or stroke. Dr. Selouani’s device allows for easier and more accurate assessment of speech problems and can facilitate rehabilitation. It is currently being tested with partners at the Stan Cassidy Rehabilitation Centre.

  3. Dr. Luc Boudreau, Université de Moncton. Project: Commercialization of anti-inflammatory products containing honeybee-derived bioactive compounds. Dr. Boudreau is leading a team to commercialize anti-inflammatory compounds from the propolis of honeybees. Dr. Boudreau’s team aims to identify and create consumer products (e.g., throat lozenges, skin creams) that best incorporate the health benefits of natural propolis compounds they obtain from their proprietary extraction process. 
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