Apply to Become a Member

Whether you’re building an immersive installation for a design competition or you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a great product idea, one of our two program streams will help you design, prototype and build your concepts.

If you’re not ready to incubate your own idea but want some experience, please click here to learn about becoming an associate member.

Member Benefits

Experiential Learning

Hands-on design fabrication experience enriched by industry mentors, technicians and peers.


Access to state-of-the-art and traditional fabrication technologies, enhanced with training and workshops.

Fabrication + Office Space

Access to fabrication spaces and shared office space.

Networking Opportunities

Connect with institutional and industry partners, professionals, cultural institutions and more.

Media Recognition

Exposure, publicity and press coverage at industry and academic events.

Access to Awards and Funding

Opportunities through industry, government and institutional grants, funding and awards.
DFZ Members include Ryerson students, alumni, and entrepreneurs from the wider community who are paired with mentors or other members to complete design/fabrication projects including commercial products/prototypes and services, tech startup companies, design businesses, installations and exhibitions, and competitions. To learn more about the resources, space and technology available to members click here.

Select a Program Stream

Startup Companies

If your goal is to develop a business, our Startup Company program will help give you the resources you need to take your business from concept to commercialization.

Ideal applicants will be working on creating hardware, products or an innovative service including commercial or consumer products like housewares, robots, furniture, wearables, lighting, transportation devices and much more.  Related fields include engineering, architecture, industrial design, interior design, sculpture, and new media.

Experimental Projects

If your goal is to explore built form without commercial objectives, our Experimental Project Program (EPP) will help give you the resources you need to design, fabricate, and install your ideas.

Projects could be design competitions, temporary or permanent installations of any scale, 3D work that is often site-specific, and visual and immersive installation art.  Related fields include architecture, interior design, sculpture, and new media.


Application Process & Admission Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by our Admissions Panel using the following criteria:

  • Degree of innovation – 30%
  • Potential impact (social, technical, or economic) – 25%
  • Team capacity (skills, resources, time) – 20%
  • Fit with the DFZ and resources –  20%
  • Feasibility of the funding strategy – 5%

Suitable applicants will be contacted within one week of the application deadline and asked to present their project proposal at the next DFZ Pitch Day (see schedule below).  Successful candidates will then be invited to attend the New Member Orientation Session.

In the event that a startup is not accepted, the Admissions Committee will provide the candidate with feedback as to why and make suggestions for further work on the concept or places they may go for support.

Startup Company: Admission Schedule

Applications to the DFZ are accepted six times per year (in January, March, May, July, September, and November).  The schedule for the next admission cycle is outlined below.

  • Application Deadline:  July 10, 2019
  • DFZ Pitch Day:  July 23, 2019
  • New Member Orientation Session:  August 1, 2019

For more time-sensitive proposals, please email us to discuss your project.