Industry Challenge 2020 Program


Ontario Genomics



This competition is closed. All submitted proposals will be assessed according to the process outlined in the competition timeline, and results will be announced as indicated.

Industry challenge program banner, a man standing with his hands on his hips and looking at a whiteboard that has DNA drawn on it
Healthy Lives, Healthy Economy, Healthy Planet through Genomics

Open Call for Challenges


With the Industry Challenge Program, Ontario Genomics will provide teams with funding for novel and innovative projects to solve pressing challenges and address industry opportunities through the application of genomics-based solutions across key sectors of the Ontario economy with the intent to drive economic growth, improve quality of life and Ontario’s global leadership.

Ontario Genomics is issuing an “Open Call for Challenges” for genomics and engineering biology innovators to solve industry and other end-user identified challenges within and across agriculture and agri-foodhuman health, industrial biotechnology and natural resources and the environment in one or more of the five areas identified below.

  • Sustainable Food and Biomaterials Production
  • Rapid Genomic Diagnostics in Healthcare, Food Safety & Agriculture, and the Environment
  • Biomanufacturing and Scale Up from the Lab to the Factory
  • Roadmaps for Reducing Red Tape, Regulatory Burden or other Barriers
  • New Paradigms for Rare Disease Treatment

The Industry Challenge 2020 Program intends to catalyze and support collaboration in the application of genomics and engineering biology solutions to solve challenges identified by industry. This “industry-pull” approach is designed to enable market-informed outcomes and maximize the impact of these projects. This program is open to creative partnerships and collaborative teams (e.g. teams comprising industry, industry-academia, industry-industry, industry-other) that are in the position to address the identified challenge or opportunity and implement the results from the project.

Project outcomes should enable the applicant to implement the next steps, e.g. follow-on investment, increase technology readiness through next level applied research, validate a new business opportunity, obtain future partners etc. It is expected that the knowledge generated will have a high potential for future implementation by the industry, resulting in a marketable or translatable asset and will ultimately create social and/or economic benefit for Ontario, including the creation of jobs.


Ontario Genomics will provide up to twelve (12) individual awards of $25,000 each for teams to be used for short duration (up to 12 months) research projects. Each project must be matched with a minimum of $25,000 contribution from the industry (cash and in-kind acceptable), to a total project size of $50,000 or more. Higher funding could be requested in exceptional cases and would have to be matched dollar for dollar by the industry partner. Applicants must ensure that the research funded through the Industry Challenge Program is independent of current funding or is incremental to previously funded projects.


To be eligible for Industry Challenge 2020, a proposal must conform to the following criteria:

  • The proposal must respond to the objectives and intent of the Industry Challenge 2020 program (as described above)
  • The project must address an industry-identified challenge within one or more of the five areas identified above that can be solved with a genomics or engineering biology solution
  • The team must comprise of an Ontario-based industry or other industry partnerships (as described above)
  • If the industry is a company, the company must be incorporated prior to the application date
  • Funded research must be performed in Ontario, and awarded funds will not flow outside of Ontario
  • Ontario Genomics funds must flow to the industry team member. In exceptional cases, it may go to another team member and only if agreed upon by all parties
  • Co-funding is required from the industry, at a minimum of $25,000 (cash and in-kind acceptable)
  • Project duration should not exceed one year in length unless agreed upon by all parties

How to Apply

The Industry Challenge Competition will consist of a three-stage gated application process:

  • Intent to Apply (screening calls with Ontario Genomics, see below)
  • Submission of Written Application and
  • Pitch to Expert Panel.

Potential applicants must contact Elaine Corbett, Director of Strategic Partnerships to discuss their project idea. Ontario Genomics will help determine eligibility, positioning of the project and will provide an invitation to apply for eligible applicants.


Elaine Corbett

Director, Sector Innovations & Programs

Key Dates

* Please ensure that you have availability to present via video conference that day. Successful applicants will be notified of dates and times for the pitch.

Industry Challenge Launch

February 13, 2020

Intent to Apply (screening calls with OG)

Feb 13 – March 9, 2020

Applications due to OG

Mon, March 9, 2020 by 9:00am

Invitations to Pitch (gated process)

By March 13, 2020

Pitch to Panel (video conference for invited applicants only)

March 20, 2020*

Funding decision notification (NOA)

March 24, 2020

Term Sheet Signed

by March 31, 2020

Agreement Signed/Anticipated Project Start Date

by May 1, 2020

Final Report

One month after project ends

Follow-up reports

Post Project Completion