Glossary & Resources

Forms, Process Descriptions & More

We work to make transactions between the university’s research community and our private-sector partners as transparent and frictionless as possible.

We’ve developed virtual information centres for each of our stakeholder groups.

They cover what to expect when pursuing endeavours related to university-industry partnerships, commercialization, technology transfer, and launching a startup company based on Dalhousie research.

The information centres include:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Descriptions, processes and timeline estimates around the legal agreements that support industry partnership, tech transfer, and commercialization at Dalhousie
  • Example templates of each agreement for reference
  • A list of funding sources that support the above-mentioned endeavours 
  • Forms you’ll need to know about (e.g., application forms, invention disclosures)
  • Links to relevant university policies



A business accelerator is similar to an incubator, but instead they serve young companies that have progressed past the earliest stages of business formation. Accelerators help startups scale up and usually commit to mutually agreed upon milestones on a time specific basis.

Angel Investor

Typically, an angel investor is an individual who provides their own money as capital for a new business venture in exchange for equity in the company. 

Additional reference: National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) Canada


For the purposes of this website, commercialization describes the process of transforming university inventions with commercial potential into products, services or solutions that can be introduced to the marketplace. Commercialization is the role of the industry partner. 


A business incubator is a space for early-stage companies to access specialized resources that will help them develop their products and services for the market. Typically, incubators are supported by a network of partnering organizations and young companies are required to apply for admittance. 


Innovation Ecosystem

The term innovation ecosystem refers to a network of organizations, people, and programming (e.g. government agencies, the private sector, universities, investors, etc.) whose cooperation is critical to mobilizing innovation for the benefit of society and a region’s economic development. 

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.

From the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 


The threshold question in determining inventorship: is who conceived the invention? Unless a person contributes to the conception of the invention, they are not an inventor.

From the USPTO Office


An invention is a new solution to a technical problem and can be protected through patents.

From the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)


A license (or license agreement) is the legal permission required for an industry partner to use patent-protected Dalhousie IP within their own business operations. 


A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.

From the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer (or tech transfer) is accomplished through licensing patented intellectual property to corporations and/or the creation of a startup company.

Tech Transfer Central

Venture Capitalist

A venture capitalist (VC) typically works for a venture capital firm. VCs don’t use their own money to invest in new businesses. Rather, they manage a fund that contains money pooled from various sources, such as investment or pension funds. VCs invest in businesses with an expectation of a healthy return on investment (ROI) through equity in the company. 

Additional reference: Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA)