John M. Thompson Innovation Fund

Bringing Good Ideas to Life!

Are you a Western Engineering student with good ideas? The Thompson Innovation Fund is here to bring your ideas to life.

Apply now to receive funding for a prototype of your innovation.


Do I have to be a Western Engineering student?

Yes. The funds are meant for undergraduate engineering students, however, an engineering student may be part of team that is comprised of students from other faculties across campus, but an engineering student must be the principal investigator and have tuition paid in full.

How much can I get for my project?

Normal funds available will range from $500 to $2000. However, the individual / team may ask for more or less.

The funds awarded are taxable income and will generate a T4, issued by Western University.

What if I need more funds than what I asked for?

The idea can resubmitted for funding for a second round of support.

How do I apply?

Fill out a short form and include idea, value of funds seeking, how success will be measured.

What is a bill of materials (BOM)?

A BOM is a spreadsheet that includes a list of components, number for each component, cost of each component and source url and/or processing quotes.

What does open source mean for a hardware project?

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. Learn more about best practices for scaling your open source projects or successful open source business models.

How do I get an Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) Certification?

You can apply for it directly at OSHWA Certification or you can work with WORLDiscoveries® - the technology transfer and business development office at Western.

Do I need to get an OSHWA Certification to apply for the Fund if I am going the open source route?

No, you can simply provide a link to the source code for your innovation (e.g. Github repository) in the application as long as you have selected an open source license.

If I want to go the proprietary route, how do I get a patent?

You can apply directly following the steps here or you can work with WORLDiscoveries® - the technology transfer and business development office at Western.

If I am going the proprietary route can I apply before I have filed protection?

No. You should either file for a patent first or submit a Report of Innovation with WORLDiscovries first and then listen to their recommendations before disclosing your innovation.

What do I have to do if I get funded?

Use the funds to buy the things in your bill of materials (BOM), make your prototype and then report back to us on the outcomes of your innovation.

What can I use the funds for?

Funds are to be used for prototyping activities.

When is the deadline to apply?

There is no deadline. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Do I have to start a company?

No, but if you would like to, Western has support for student entrepreneurs.

Who should I contact with questions?

Dr. Joshua Pearce, the John M. Thompson Chair in Information Technology and Innovation, is the fund manager and will be happy to answer questions (