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Applied Research for Students

Students are a pivotal part of this relationship, applying their learning in real-time, to real-world industry projects while they study at SAIT.

How we work

At Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS), we involve students in real-world industry research projects through practicum placements, capstone projects and as student research assistants. Students use their knowledge and skills to collaborate with ARIS researchers and industry partners, contributing their own innovative ideas to the technology-development challenges organizations are here to address. 

This gives student researchers a leg up in the job market after graduation and provides them with work experience that sets them apart.

Innovative Student Projects 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. 

Funding Levels

Tier Amount Funding Details
Tier 1 Less than $5,000 no matching contribution is required but recommended
Tier 2 $5,000 to $10,000 requires 50% matching contribution, either cash or in-kind (e.g. An $8,000 ISPF request will require $4,000 in matching contributions)

Upcoming application deadlines

  • Fall – Nov. 20, 2019 @ 11:59 pm
  • Winter – Jan. 29, 2020 @ 11:59 pm
  • Summer – May 30, 2020 @ 11:59 pm

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, 2020.
  • Projects approved for funding in the Summer term must be completed by Aug. 31, 2020.
  • Students must demonstrate the capacity for innovative thinking within their project.
  • The project must include a component of applied research — projects must address an existing challenge or meet an unsolved need, as presented by a Project Sponsor.
  • Students must identify a SAIT Faculty Advisor.
  • Students must identify a Project Sponsor (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 the Application package - Application Form, Sponsor Letter Template and PowerPoint Template - and complete all sections.
  2. Submit the following to sait.studentproject@sait.ca:
    • An electronic copy of your application form that is digitally signed by your group, Industry Sponsor, Faculty Advisor and Academic Chair.* 
    • Industry Sponsor Support Letter
    • A five-slide PowerPoint (including title page) to be used for a three-minute presentation.

*Handwritten signatures will also be accepted but you must attach both the original document and a separate copy with manual signatures if you choose this method. You cannot mix digital and hand-written signatures for your submission - choose only one method.

Present to ISPF panel

  1. If your application is accepted for review you will be notified of your date and time slot for your presentation. Your team will have three minutes to pitch your project to the ISPF Panel, followed by five minutes for question and comments. The panel consists of up to 10 members. They comprise of one representative from each of the eight SAIT schools, the VP Academic of SAITSA and Academic Coordinator at ARIS.

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


What are the judging criteria?

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.
How detailed should my budget be?
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.
What type of expenses are allowed?

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
How do I report purchases with foreign currencies?

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.

Does ISPF retain and intellectual property?

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.

Who owns the material purchased by ISPF?
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.


Timothy Huynh
Student Initiatives Coordinator

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