Researchers who want to prove that their concepts can be turned into successful products and services are now eligible for support under a $275,000 early-stage funding program established by the province. A successful pilot project at Acadia University is being expanded to include all 11 of the province’s universities and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Economic Development Minister Ernest Fage announced today, Aug. 19. “This funding fills the gap that exists at the very beginning of the commercialization phase, when researchers need to prove their concepts in order to attract more funding from other partners,” said Mr. Fage. “More than 80 per cent of Nova Scotia’s research is done on our university and college campuses. Helping to advance that research and innovation is important to the economy and our quality of life.” The early-stage commercialization fund is designed to support projects that promote the development of innovative services or prototypes that may provide commercial or socio-economic benefits to Nova Scotia. While researchers’ needs can vary, many need only minimal funding to get a project with commercial potential off the ground. The program will make $30,000 available to each university that wishes to participate. NSCC will also be eligible. Researchers involved in the Acadia pilot project have begun to prove the concepts for six projects. Those projects are expected to demonstrate their full potential within the year. They include work that investigates recycling efficiency, athletic performance in selected sports, intelligent software for business applications, innovative educational products, and a device for use in biology and physics labs. “Doing research with the specific objective of developing commercially viable products opens new possibilities for our faculty beyond their current research activities and creates learning opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Gail Dinter-Gottlieb, president and vice-chancellor of Acadia. “Acadia is pleased to be part of this program and appreciates the support from the Office of Economic Development.” The Acadia projects were competitively chosen from a field of 14 through a selection process that included involvement by InNOVAcorp, the provincial Crown agency dedicated to helping new enterprises.