NRC IRAP: Nearly $250K in IRAP Funding for VoxNeuro

VoxNeuro has received financial support from the National Research Centre’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to accelerate the company’s commercialization of the world’s first objective cognitive health assessments. The assessments use EEG-based neuroimaging to diagnose brain injuries in new ways.

VoxNeuro received nearly $250K in Canadian research grants for technology that helps identify specific areas of the brain that have been impacted by an injury.

VoxNeuro’s technology informs and accelerates rehabilitation programs for patients. The technology is based on the work of John F. Connolly, Chief Science Officer and co-founder of VoxNeuro. Dr. Connolly was the first person to demonstrate that a patient misdiagnosed as in a vegetative state, with no consciousness, was actually fully conscious but with near-complete physical paralysis. Dr. Connolly’s work in rehabilitating this patient provided the foundation for VoxNeuro’s solution in diagnosing brain injuries. The company’s flagship Assessment Centre is located at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

NRC IRAP Funding Supports Innovation in Brain Health

VoxNeuro will use the awarded IRAP funding to build scalable infrastructure for its existing assessment system, create jobs, and accelerate the company’s ability to make a significant impact on how brain injuries are managed across Canada and the world.

VoxNeuro’s technology differs significantly from current methods of assessing patients with brain injuries for cognitive functioning, where a clinician sits with the patient, asks questions, and subjectively scores the responses. VoxNeuro’s solution instead uses EEG (electroencephalogram) testing to locate problems related to electrical activity in the brain. Assessors place small discs with thin wires attached on the patient’s scalp; these wires then send signals to a computer to track results.

By providing information about specific areas of brain function (language comprehension, working memory, etc.), VoxNeuro’s patient reports empower clinicians to make informed decisions and track rehabilitation with precision. The technology is based on more than 25 years of academic research.

The $249K in IRAP funding for technological innovation will support research and development and bolster VoxNeuro’s global growth.

VoxNeuro opened its first assessment centre in Hamilton early in 2019, and the company plans to scale across Canada and the US over the next 18 months. VoxNeuro’s team integrates its assessment systems into clinics and hospitals, and already has a growing list of clients.

NRC IRAP: Funding for Technological Innovation

The Industrial Research Assistance Program, administered by the National Research Council of Canada, provides Canadian research grants to reduce the risk for companies looking to develop or adopt new technology. Up to 3,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Canada receive IRAP funding each year.

NRC IRAP provides funding to offset up to 60-80% of eligible labour and consulting costs, to a maximum of $10M.

Companies work with Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) to conceptualize projects prior to applications for funding. Projects must be innovative, with strong economic impacts.

Recent IRAP-awarded projects include $1.87M for Multi-Health Systems (Toronto, ON) to pursue digital transformation projects, $750K for Acasti Pharma (Laval, QC) to test its drug candidate for battling cardiovascular disease, and $85K for VITALITY Products Inc. (Vancouver, BC) to develop innovative plant- and algae-based natural health products.

If your company is interested in learning more about IRAP and whether this program is the right fit for your research and innovation projects, please download Mentor Works’ IRAP vs. SR&ED slide deck.

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Sunnie holds a PhD in English from Dalhousie University, and has published her writing in several academic journals, as well as in magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She combines years of experience as a professor in English with practical experience in the private sector as a trainer in writing and analytical thinking.

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