Idea Fund

Build your passion

The Idea Fund is a new funding program designed to enable students to work on their ideas beyond research and coursework. Passion projects, hobby projects, startups, hacker projects, the program rewards the commitment of students who have spent their precious time taking action on their ideas. The program has two streams: the hacker stream and the business stream. If your project is beyond the class, excites you, and is technology and/or science based, apply.

After the application is live near the beginning of the term (Jan 16), applicants have approximately two months to make demonstrable progress on their idea. At the end of the term, the projects are presented to key members of the community, with the top ideas in both streams going home with cash prizes.

Application Streams

Hacker stream

If your project does NOT contain a business idea, apply to this stream. This stream is specifically for hobby/hacker projects. These projects are created and explored just for fun, for learning a new skill, or for many other reasons. The project needs only to excite the creating team. Make something, show it off. Demonstrate your progress from Feb 3 to April 7. Do not apply to this stream with a business idea, you will be disqualified. The judging is completely different for this stream.

Startup stream

If your project IS a business idea, apply to this stream. This stream is specifically for startups that are science & technology based. As with the hacker stream, you must demonstrate your progress from Feb 3 to April 7. Do not apply to this stream with a hacker/hobby project, you will not do well. The judging is completely different for this stream.

Eligibility criteria

Project eligibility

Eligible projects can be any physical or digital work product in which undergraduate students wholly or partially initiated the project and have substantial decision making authority over the direction of the project.
Projects cannot be linked to coursework, submissions that are found to be assignments will be disqualified.
Projects cannot be academic research projects in which the participant has a supervisor employed by a post-secondary institution.
Projects cannot be current projects by official student union clubs or groups. It is fine (and encouraged) if project submissions have students who are members of active groups, but they must differentiate the submitted project from work completed through normal activities of the student group.
Projects must be 100% created by the submitting student(s), applicants cannot submit a project on another's behalf.

Team eligibility

Teams can be no larger than 4 people in size.
Each team must have a minimum of 1 undergraduate student who is registered in the Faculty of Science.
Previous participants of the Idea Fund who have not won and have not applied more than twice for the same project are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Individual applicants may only apply with one application; they cannot be listed on multiple applications.

$1000 Prize

The winning team(s), selected by the judging panel, will be awarded $1000.

Team prizes will be evenly distributed to each contributing member on the team.

Key dates

Project submission deadlines

Jan. 16 The application portal opens. Applicants must submit their project entry using the Google Form during the open submission period: Jan. 16 - Jan 30.
Jan. 30 The application portal closes. Applicants will have until 11:59:59 p.m. to submit their entries for the Idea Fund. Applications received after this time will not be considered eligible.
Feb. 3 Applicants notified. Applicants will be informed if their applications were successful and they will be invited to present their progress before the judging panel on April 7 at 5 p.m.

Project presentations

Presentations will take place in the Student Innovation Centre on April 7, 2020, at 5 p.m. Projects must be presented in person, and a demonstration of work completed since the time of application is required. Presenters will have no more than 5 minutes to present their project, including their demonstration, and the judges will have 5 minutes total for questions following the presentations.

Judging will occur the same day as presentations, April 7th, and prizes will be allocated at the end of the evening.

Project work

Applicants are invited and encouraged to make use of the Student Innovation Centre and its facilities to work on their project submissions.


Email or come by the Student Innovation Centre.

Thank you to our donor

The creation of the Idea Fund would not have been possible without a generous donation from our founding donor, AltaML.


Submit your application using your CCID & the Idea Fund Google Form during the open submission period: Jan 16 - Jan 30. Applications received before or after the open submission period will not be accepted.

Submit my application