Start typing to search

Search results

Innovative Student Project Fund


The purpose of the Innovative Student Projects Fund (ISPF) is to provide SAIT students the opportunity to obtain financial support for resources required for their innovative student projects. These projects enable students to apply the skills and knowledge gained within their program in a real-world context. 

SAIT is grateful for RBC Foundation’s generous support of the Innovative Student Projects Fund. We would also like to thank the following donors: Advanced Education, Alberta Innovates, Alex Zahavich and NSERC. In the average year, the fund approves in excess of $20,000 in funding for dozens of projects involving more than 75 students.

Funding amount

Up to $5,000 — does not require a matching contribution. However, between 25-50% matching contributions either cash or in kind is highly recommended.

Application submission times

  • Fall – Sep. 15, Sep. 30, Oct. 15, Oct. 31, Nov. 15, and Nov. 30
  • Winter – Jan. 15, Jan. 30, Feb. 15, and Feb. 28
  • Summer – Apr. 15, Apr. 30, May 15, and May 30

Funding criteria

To be eligible for funding, students must meet all of the funding criteria.

  • Applications must be submitted by SAIT students, currently enrolled in either a SAIT diploma, certificate, degree or apprenticeship program.
  • Projects must be completed during the student's enrolment in a SAIT program.
  • Projects approved for funding in the Fall and Winter terms must be completed by May 29, 2022.
  • Projects approved for funding in the Summer term must be completed by Aug. 31, 2022.
  • Students must demonstrate the capacity for innovative thinking within their project.
  • The project must include a component of applied research (eg. the project must address an existing challenge or meet an unsolved need)
  • Students must identify a SAIT Faculty Advisor.
  • Students must identify a Project Sponsor or Mentor (e.g. industry, SAIT, community-based or other external organization).

Application process


  1. Review all funding criteria to ensure that your project is eligible.
  2. Make sure that your innovative project has a good plan and a well-thought-out budget.

Submit application

  1. Download Application and fill out all sections. Project sponsor letter of support optional but recommended.
  2. Submit an electronic copy of your application form to Make sure it is digitally signed by your group, Industry Sponsor, Faculty Advisor, and Academic Chair.

Present to ISPF panel

  1. Be prepared to present your project over a virtual meeting platform about 1-2 weeks after your application submission. You will have up to 5 minutes to present your project and will be able to share your screen and any resources you have prepared to the panel members.  This will be followed by another 5 minutes for questions and comments from the panel members.  We welcome your industry sponsor to attend for your presentation.

Application package 

Award notification and reimbursement

Within one to two weeks following your team's presentation to the ISPF panel, you will receive an emailed letter to notify you of the results and — if awarded — the amount of funding that your team has received. ISPF is awarded on a reimbursement process and only funds used for the project during the specified time will be covered. It will be your team’s responsibility to remain under budget as ISPF will only cover the amount your team has been approved. Any unused portion of the awarded budget at the end of the project will expire.

  1. Review
    Check your Award Letter for awarded amount, any budget changes requested or restrictions on spending.
  2. Purchases 
    1. Determine who will make the purchase. Eg. MET students must make purchases through their faculty.
    2. Obtain a receipt of all purchases this will be required for reimbursement
    3. Remember to consider costs like shipping, taxes and currency conversions.
  3. Documentation
    Document all purchases on the ISPF Student Expense Claim Form and ISPF Staff Expense Claim Form and attach the appropriate receipt to each line item. Each team or faculty member that makes a purchase with their own money must do their own expense claim form.
  4. Outcome report
    1. Work with all team members and faculty to make sure the final budget table and requested reimbursement amount match all expense claim sheets.
    2. Report the results of your project by answering all question on outcome report
    3. Get team members, project sponsor, faculty advisor, and academic chair to sign the report
  5. Reimbursement
    Approximately one month following submission of outcome report and expense claims, you should expect to be reimbursed for your purchases. Please take this timeline into consideration when making any purchases as ISPF will not cover items like interest payments onto a credit card.

ISPF will not reimburse any teams or members that have not submitted a completed Outcome report or proper expense forms and receipts.


  1. Outcomes Report
  2. ISPF Student Expense Claim Form
  3. ISPF Staff Expense Claim Form


Top three judging criteria

  • Level of Innovation — projects that contribute to more effective products, processes, services, technologies or ideas, and outcomes that have industrial/commercial/community relevance and/or uptake.
  • The Plan — a clear explanation of the project and research question being addressed, a realistic methodology and timeline, and clearly defined outcomes and deliverable.
  • Financials — a clear rationale for budget items, reasonable cost estimates for all items, and demonstration of additional support in addition to ISPF funding. 

Judging sub-criteria

  • Project Support — identification of a suitable project sponsor, links made to other programs, schools and departments at SAIT, and links to other external organizations who will support the project.
  • Legacy — the educational value of the project, opportunities for a future student to use the project outcomes and or resources.
  • General quality of application— questions are answered appropriately using satisfactory spelling and grammar.

Your budget should be detailed enough that it is clear to the ISPF that some research and quotes have been completed and your team has an educated estimate. For large budget items, it is recommended to be more specific and specify exact items rather than using general categories. Please take advantage of the open explanation section of the budget to detail what larger budget items will be used for and where your estimates came from. Smaller budget items like screws or fasteners require less detail and often no explanation.

ISPF recognizes that innovative project may require unique resources, therefore, use the following lists as a guide for some of the possible options for eligible and non-eligible expenses. Please note, these are not all-inclusive lists. 

Eligible expenses

  • Fabrication Materials 
  • Fabrication Services (Machining, Welding, etc.)
  • Electronics hardware (development boards, wires, sensors, etc.)
  • Taxes, Duties, and Shipping associated with obtaining fabrication materials
  • Software (licenses that extend beyond the life of the project must be installed on a SAIT computer unless permission is given otherwise)
  • Equipment (student should confirm with a faculty advisor if the equipment is already available at SAIT)
  • Consumables (sandpaper, adhesives, etc.)

Non-eligible expenses

  • Design or Consultation fees
  • Courses
  • Credit Card Interest Payments
  • Late Payments
  • Competitions Fees
  • Purchases without receipts

Please provide a copy of the receipt and your credit card statement with relevant line item with the CAD cost charged to you. Be sure to black out any personal information and or purchases not relevant to ISPF.

ISPF does not retain any intellectual property and in accordance with SAIT Policy AC.3.10 (Ownership of Student-Produced Work), students retain ownership of the IP they create.  In the cases of teams and when industry partners are involved, it is recommended that students have an IP agreement in place prior to the start of the project.

SAIT reserves the right to retain physical possession of items acquired with ISPF funding and work resulting from this Project. In the event that SAIT approves the retention by ‘you’ of any items resulting from the Project (the “Retained Items”), then you waive and release SAIT, its governors, officers, employees, consultants and agents from all claims, liabilities, losses and costs resulting from or related to the Retained Items.

  • Industry or community partner that has brought forward the challenge to be solved.
  • An industry subject matter expert that can help evaluate and provide feedback on a challenge students have identified.
  • A start-up or business mentor that can support students through key entrepreneurship skills to help bring their solutions to life.

If you are unsure if your project sponsor/mentor is acceptable or if your sponsor/mentor is a SAIT employee please contact the email below.


Trish Josephs
Director, Applied Research and Innovation Services