In collaboration with TandemLaunch – SciFest is a groundbreaking new one-day event revealing the synergy between research, technology innovation in academia and startups. It’s a full day conversation on the role of university research, Intellectual Property, technology transfer and the critical place of entrepreneurs in the equation. It brings together citizens, professors, students, technologists, founders, VCs and innovative thinkers from around the world.

Who’s it for: Professors and students in Engineering, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Computer Sciences. Technology transfer professionals and entrepreneurs of university spinouts.


  • Tara Akhavan

    Ph.D. – Co-founder & CTO,


    Thad Starner


    Georgia Tech

  • Sophie Forest

    Managing Partner,


    Raphaël Christian-Roy

    Co-Founder & Managing Partner,

    Front Row Ventures

  • David Dorsey

    Senior Associate,

    Osage University Partners

    Josette-Renée Landry

    Founder & CEO, Streamline Genomics,

    VP Business Development, Mitacs

  • Dr. David R. Smith

    Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,

    James B. Duke

    Mike Cegelski

    Managing Partner,

    Panache Ventures

  • Mike Lee

    Président – R&D,

    Partners & Fundica

    Myra Tawfik

    Professor of Law and EPICentre Professor of IP Commercialization and Strategy,

    University of Windsor

  • Daniel Cohen

    Co-Founder and CEO,

    InVivo AI

    Robert Ashcraft

    Senior Strategy Manager,

    Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology / Samsung Research America

  • Danielle Alexander

    General Manager,

    Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator 

    MC Omar Zahr

    Technology Manager,

    TandemLaunch Inc.

  • Isabelle Deschamps

    Expert-Advisor & Innovation Coach, ISA

    Adjunct Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Polytechnique Montreal

    Murray Grainger

    Managing Director & Head,

    Honeywell Ventures

  • Mario Bouchard

    Board Member & Strategic Advisor,

    iBwave Solutions Inc.

    Jean-François Connolly

    Entrepreneurship Research Advisor,


Buy your tickets for SciFest + Startupfest!

What you’ll learn


Time Session Title Description
10:00 AM - 10:10 AM Welcome! A break down of the day ahead
10:10 AM - 10:40 AM Successful Science-Based Start-ups beyond Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence and its secret ingredients (the B.A.G.E.L. Montreal Model) What is the path of an invention from lab bench to store shelves? Learn how multiple stakeholders and often conflicting interests must reconcile themselves for a university invention to leave the ivory tower.
10:40 AM - 11:10 AM From idea to execution: The Founder/Mentor winning combination Headlines about startup success rate are rarely positive so it is crucial to do everything possible to increase the chances to last longer than the stats. You will hear the story of Mario Bouchard who started a software company with no startup or business knowledge and Mike Cegelski who served as mentor to teach and help him avoid the weekly pitfalls of starting and growing a business. The team went from zero to multiple successful liquidity events, thus enhancing statistics on startup success stories.
11:10 AM - 11:40 AM Metamaterials: The Unconventional Path of Unconventional Science to Unconventional Technology In 2000, their group experimentally demonstrated a “negative index material,” created using artificially structured materials, or metamaterials. This negative index material had been hypothesized more than thirty years prior by Russian physicist Victor Veselago, but had never been realized with any conventional materials. The use of metamaterials to achieve materials not available or difficult to produce with conventional materials produced a wave of excitement—and considerable controversy—within the scientific community. The level of interest intensified with the demonstration by our group in 2006 of an “invisibility cloak,” again made possible through the use of metamaterials. Yet, despite the enormous enthusiasm and scientific promise for metamaterials, it was not clear how to harness the remarkable properties of metamaterials for practical applications; considerable skepticism was expressed that metamaterials would ever be useful. Were metamaterials destined to be just a scientific curiosity? Starting around 2004, Intellectual Ventures (IV) decided to invest in metamaterials, building a significant portfolio around the “crazy” ideas that were emerging from the research. Despite tremendous risk and uncertainty, IV continued to collect the ideas, and coupled the ideas with serious marketing and internal development. Their persistence paid off, with the creation of Kymeta Corporation in 2012, a company devoted to the use of metamaterial devices for satellite communications. This success has led to a string of spinoff companies now practicing on the exact same ideas that were used to create invisibility cloaks and other exotic materials. In this talk, David Smith will describe the journey from scientific discovery to commercialization. The partnership between Duke University and Intellectual Ventures, though unconventional, proved to be remarkably fruitful and could provide a template for the transition of early-stage ideas that may eventually serve as platform technologies.
11:40 AM - 12:00 PM My thesis vs. my startup: Balancing grad school and entrepreneurship Lessons learned trying to launch a startup while still in school.
12:00 PM - 12:20 PM A Journey from a PhD student to an Entrepreneur - Lessons Learned Tara would love to share her story; her failures and lessons learned during her education and career. She has lived in three continents and three countries, worked for two companies, finished BSc in Computer Engineering, MSc in Artificial Intelligence and PhD in Computer Vision, all before she changed gears to entrepreneurship. The path from being a technical PhD student to establishing a company is not necessarily the usual path. Although, she thinks it is one of the most efficient ways to entrepreneurship, of course if one is willing to accept the challenges and surround ourselves with the right people.
12:20 PM - 1:30 PM LUNCH It’s time to check out the amazing variety of food trucks on site!
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM Tech transfer and IP Myra's presentation will focus on the various gaps within the intellectual property (IP) ecosystem for start-ups on university campuses in relation to IP literacy, IP strategy and access to relevant expertise. She will address how these gaps may be remedied along with some of the pitfalls that can present themselves. Finally, she will also explore the Federal government’s recent national IP strategy as a framework for building greater IP capacity across the innovation ecosystem.
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM Who are the founders of university startups? Osage University Partners is a venture capital firm that invests in university startups. Over the past 9 years they have spoken with about 5000 teams attempting to start a business based on research. In this talk, David will use some of their own data to discuss the different roles that the scientific founder play in the commercialization effort. He will also talk about what they, as investors, look for in a CEO when they are deciding to fund a university startup, using a fictional example for discussion.
2:30 PM - 3:10 PM Fundraising for your tech transfer startup - Interactive session with experts Money is your venture's fuel and there have never been so many options for a fledgling venture to secure the finances it needs. However, how to navigate these various options, when to engage them and how to guarantee your success in this constantly evolving landscape is not a trivial exercise. Find out how to fund your next prototype, your next engineer and your next manufacturing run with this panel of experts representing your options for keeping your venture growing.
3:10 PM - 3:25 PM IVADO : Errors & Lessons Learned With one foot in the industry and the other in academia, IVADO is a special kind of startup. From the initial market study to our offer definition and how we interact with our partners, I will present a summary of some mistakes we made and what we have learned as an organization since our beginning.
3:25 PM - 3:40 PM BREAK Now that you’re inspired, it’s your chance to connect with the community !
3:40 PM - 4:20 PM What does industry want? Most startups fail due to poor product/market fit. This is no less true when spinning out a university technology. How do you figure out what your target market needs? How do you engage decision makers? And at what stage? This panel of strategic investors will give you real insight into the collective minds of some of the biggest industry players in the world.
4:20 PM - 4:50 PM Wearable Computing - an extension of self Bringing a technology closer to the body can help get it out of the way. Binoculars, for example, augment our ability to see. Yet, we are painfully aware of their bulk and inconvenience. We sense, very explicitly, that we are using a tool. Yet sunglasses and eyeglasses, which also augment our ability to see, become an extension of ourselves. They are worn, not held, and we see the world better through their lenses without much effort or thought. What if we could make computers that augmented our minds in a similar manner to eyeglasses - "mindglasses" that help us think, remember, and communicate better with little effort? For 25 years, my teams have been bringing computing closer to the body, trying to augment the wearer while keeping the technology out of the way. We have created "living laboratories" where groups of people wear computers as part of their daily life and explore the benefits and challenges of the technology. Our wearables augment memory, focus attention, assist communication, augment the senses, and even teach wearers manual skills without active attention. I believe wearables, more than any class of computing to date, has the potential to extend us beyond ourselves in unexpected and compelling ways. Join me for a personal journey through the world of wearable computing that will reveal a different perspective than is expressed in headlines and tech blogs.
4:50 PM - 5:00 PM Closing Remarks Summary of day