Program guide

Program Overview

Program Overview

Through Mitacs Accelerate, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from over 50 universities apply their specialized expertise to business-related research challenges. Armed with the very latest tools, techniques, and innovations, the intern (a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow) brings a new perspective to the problem faced by the industry partner.

  • Interns spend approximately half of the time on-site with the industry partner; the remainder is spent at the university advancing the research under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.
  • Open to all disciplines and all industry sectors, projects can span a wide range of areas, including: manufacturing, technical innovation, business processes, IT, social sciences, design, and more.


University & Intern

  • No deadlines: applications are accepted at any time
  • Application process: simple, easy, and quick; typically approved within four to six weeks
  • Not a competition
  • International students and Post-Docs are eligible
  • Real-world exposure: interns and faculty apply the latest tools and innovations to real issues.
  • Funding provided to support the intern’s research



  • Peer-reviewed: ensures high quality research
  • Industry-friendly: Mitacs and the university manage all administrative and financial   issues; intern is not a company employee
  • Increased innovation: gain novel solutions to challenging problems
  • Projects may be eligible for SR&ED tax credits, Mitacs provides matching funds to the  projects
  • Mitacs can help companies access university expertise


Scalable projects

  • Accelerate Standard: Scalable in 4-month internship units
  • The Mitacs Accelerate internship program is scalable in its design. Projects can range from a single four-month internship unit to multiple units combined together to accom­modate larger projects.
  • Cost-shared model with Mitacs, through the support of federal and provincial govern­ment funding, matching the industry partner contribution dollar-for-dollar.
  • Each four-month internship unit can be stretched to a maximum of six months to allow for part-time participation.


Accelerate Clusters: Option for larger projects

  • Mitacs Accelerate clusters are an alternative for larger research projects involving multiple Graduate students and/or Post-doctoral Fellows.  Applicants may apply once for an Accelerate Cluster involving a minimum of three interns, at least six 4-month internship segments, and a minimum of one industrial partner.  
  • Cost-shared model for Clusters features improved leveraging on industry contributions.
  • Scalable for even larger projects, accommodating multiple universities and industry partners if warranted, in projects that can span several years.


  • Each 4-month internship project receives $15,000 in direct funding, with the partner organization and Mitacs each providing $7,500
  • Longer projects are possible as multiples of 4-month internships on a case-by-case basis where there is a strong justification to do so
  • Larger and longer projects are also possible. Please see the “Clusters” section below
  • Internship funds are limited to supporting the direct costs of research as directed by NSERC.  A detailed description of eligible expenses is available here
  • The $15,000 will be provided to the intern’s academic supervisor as a research grant
  • It is required that the intern receive a stipend of a minimum of $10,000 of the total grant per 4-month internship
  • Any funds over and above the intern stipend will be used to support research related to the internship
  • If the partner funds received towards the internship are being matched by a federal source (e.g. NSERC CRD grant), please inform program administrators in the proposal to ensure that the same industrial contribution is not matched by two federal sources of funds. Please note Mitacs Accelerate cannot match funds received from granting agencies like NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC or funds received from Universities. For any questions, please contact us.
  • The intern must be a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow enrolled at a Canadian university
    • Eligible PDF’s must (1) have completed all requirements of his/her first doctoral degree no more than five years before the application submission date; and (2) be officially accepted for post-doctoral studies at a Canadian university.  
  • The intern need not be a Canadian citizen; foreign students and permanent residents are eligible
  • The intern, academic supervisor and partner supervisor will meet at the initiation of the internship to agree on the research plan
  • The intern will undertake a research project which has the potential to lead to, or supplement, the student’s thesis in the case of a graduate student or to further the PDF’s research program
  • The intern will remain a student of their university while (s)he is an intern and shall not be an employee of the partner organization
  • Students may complete up to 2 internship segments (4-6 months each) during a Master’s degree, and up to 6 during a PhD.  Post-doctoral Fellows may complete a maximum of 6 internship segments
  • All Accelerate applications are externally reviewed by subject matter experts and review outcomes are provided to the applicants (approval or request for proposal revision) within approximately 6 weeks (for single applications) from the submission of a complete proposal. Note: funds are awarded to proposed projects that have successfully passed peer review and since completed work cannot be reviewed, we are unable to award completed internships. Applicants who choose to begin prior to application approval do so at their own risk.

Accelerate Cluster projects

An Accelerate Cluster project consists of a set of related internships.  They are undertaken by a team of 3 or more interns addressing a larger research goal. The Cluster can be made of multiple universities, multiple professors and multiple partners but the overall project must be a single cohesive research plan.

Clusters start off with a minimum of 6 internships – with no upper limit

  • To form a cluster a minimum of $36,000 ($6,000 per internship) is needed from the industrial partner, which is matched with $44,000 from Mitacs
  • This base funding allows for 6 individual internships provided to a minimum of 3 participating graduate students or post-doctoral fellows.  Each internship must receive a stipend of $10,000.  The additional $20,000 is available to the research team for research support and equipment costs.
  • Each additional $6,000 contributed by the industrial partner supports an additional internship (stipend = $10,000), and a further $3,333 to the research team as research support and equipment costs.
  • Each cluster will be assigned a Mitacs Business Development staff member to assist with developing a full project proposal, and to manage the proposal milestones to completion.
  • Accelerate Cluster projects are subject to all other policies and guidelines in effect under the Mitacs Accelerate program.  
  • Please speak to a business development representative for more information.


Partner Eligibility

Partner Eligibility

Under the Mitacs Accelerate program, partner organizations should be Canadian for-profit companies, or a Canadian business location of a foreign-owned for-profit company.

Organizations which are not eligible to be partners include:

  • Funding agencies
  • University-based research centres
  • Foreign companies

There are no pre-defined limits on the number of Accelerate internships a company may sponsor. However, should a partner organization wish to submit applications in excess of 25 internships in any one fiscal year (April – March), applications must be reviewed by MITACS to ascertain the availability of funds. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Prospective partners should discuss their requirements with a Business Development representative. Click here for a list of Business Development representative in your area.

Expectations of the Intern

Expectations of the Intern

  • Read the Mitacs Accelerate Code of Conduct
  • Develop a research plan in partnership with an academic supervisor and a supervisor from the partner organization
  • Spend approximately 50% of his/her time during the internship on site with the partner
  • Spend a minimum 25% of the time during the internship at the university, receiving direction from the academic supervisor on the best techniques or methodologies to apply  to the research
  • Organize monthly status meetings with the academic and partner supervisor
  • Provide updates on the status of the project to Mitacs as necessary
  • Ensure confidentiality of partner information as specified in the research program
  • Prepare a final report (Please right click and select “Save link / Target as" to download the Final report template) at the conclusion of the project which details the research performed, its results and any recommendations
  • Complete an exit survey within one month of the completion of the internship
Expectations of the intern's supervisor

Expectations of the intern's supervisor

  • Assist the intern in developing the research plan in conjunction with the partner
  • Provide ongoing direction and research support to the intern
  • Participate in status meetings as necessary during the internship
  • Take fiduciary responsibility for the internship grant, including ensuring appropriate expenditures consistent with the objectives of the program
  • Complete an exit survey within one month of the completion of the internship
Expectations of the partner supervisor
  • Assist the intern with identifying the appropriate research issues and developing a research plan in conjunction with the academic supervisor
  • Ensure the company’s contribution is forwarded to Mitacs
  • Provide support to the intern in his/her dealings within the partner organization
  • Ensure that the intern’s activities at the partner site are limited to those specified in the research plan
  • Complete an exit survey within one month of the completion of the internship
Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

All parties involved with the Mitacs Accelerate program are bound by the intellectual property terms of the university where the intern is enrolled. Please find below links to the intellectual property terms for certain universities:

For all other institutions, the program’s policy is to take no position in the intellectual property created by the projects and internships that are funded. Intellectual property is left to be shared between the university, their researchers and the sponsoring company according to the intellectual property rules of the host university, unless a separate agreement is negotiated between the university, their researchers and the sponsoring company.

Mitacs policy is to take no position.

Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest

The Conflict of Interest Policy is intended to enable Mitacs participants to recognize and disclose situations that may be open to question and to ensure that such situations are appropriately resolved.

Individuals participating in Mitacs such as members of the Board of Directors, Research Management Committee Members, Research Review Committee Members, officers, employees, researchers and interns are required to disclose any financial interest or position of influence, as described in Section 2.0 of the Mitacs Conflict of interest Policy, in any business in the same area of interest as Mitacs, other than that of their main employer.

In addition, where there is an ownership or operational relationship between an investigator and the partner company, Mitacs may request details on the investigator’s involvement with the company, and evidence that the organization is under the effective day-to-day management control of someone other than the Mitacs investigator, as well as evidence that the academic interests of the students and postdoctoral fellows are protected. This request may come at the beginning or during the course of the project. Mitacs deals with each case individually.

Mitacs Environmental Review Policy

Mitacs Environmental Review Policy

Mitacs will ensure that the research it supports promotes sustainable development and is conducted in a way that respects and protects the environment. To do this, Mitacs  is committed to paying careful attention to environmental considerations in its decision to fund  any research project. Ultimate responsibility for environmental considerations rests with the Mitacs Board of Directors which may, at its discretion, assign this duty to a subcommittee.

Click here for the Mitacs Environmental Review Policy

Mitacs Internship Travel Subsidies Program

Mitacs Internship Travel Subsidies Program

Travel subsidies are available to support travel as required by interns who are participating in the Accelerate program. The funds are intended to offset travel costs as necessary for interns to interact onsite with the partner organization for the purposes of collaboration and furthering research.

Click here for more details



External referees for internship proposals receive the following instructions and questions to guide their assessment of the proposal:

Please remember that the Mitacs Accelerate program is open to proposals from all academic disciplines. Please also note that this is a short project geared towards a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow as opposed to a faculty member, and should be judged as such. If you do not find the proposal satisfactory, we would appreciate, to the extent possible, constructive comments that would help improve the proposal.

  1. Is there sufficient information to review this proposal?
  2. Is the proposed internship a research project at a level appropriate to the student or PDF?
  3. Are the project objectives achievable within the scope and timeline of the internship?
  4. Are the proposed methodologies appropriate and sufficient to achieve the objectives?
  5. If the applicants indicated that part of the research would take place outside the normal lab or business environment, do you feel the described environmental impact should be reviewed by an expert in environmental impact assessments?
  6. Please provide any additional specific comments or suggestions you might have for the intern, such as references to other research or methods that could be helpful to them in carrying out this internship.
  7. If you have any internal comments for Mitacs staff and/or internal reviewers, please include those comments here.
  8. All Accelerate applications are externally reviewed by subject matter experts and review outcomes are provided to the applicants (approval or request for proposal revision) within approximately 6 weeks (for single applications) from the submission of a complete proposal. Note: funds are awarded to proposed projects that have successfully passed peer review and since completed work cannot be reviewed, we are unable to award completed internships. Applicants who choose to begin prior to application approval do so at their own risk.


Mitacs Accelerate Appeals Process

Applicants wishing to appeal the decision of the Mitacs Research Council (MRC) on their internship application may send a letter of appeal to the MRC Chair (Mitacs Associate Scientific Director) by email to mrc-chair(at) Appeals must be received within 90 days of the notice of decision and must include the original signed proposal.  Appeals are typically responded to within 5 business days. In extenuating circumstances, a further appeal may be made to the Mitacs Scientific Director.

Final Report & Exit Survey

Final Report & Exit Survey

A final report (Please right click and select “Save link / Target as" to download the Final report template) must be submitted by the intern no later than one month after the conclusion of the internship. The report should:

  • Be no more than 3 pages in length
  • Summarize research goals, research techniques used and a summary of research outcomes
  • Identify benefits for the partner organization
  • Identify future research plans

An exit survey must be completed by all three internship participants: the intern, the supervising professor and the industry partner.

Note: NSERC Form 300 must be completed by the intern’s university and signed by the academic supervisor who received the internship grant.

Responsibilities of Program Administrators (Mitacs)

Responsibilities of Program Administrators (Mitacs)

Mitacs will administer the Accelerate program. Its responsibilities will include:

  • Promoting internship opportunities to graduate students, companies and university faculty across Canada
  • Assisting interns with developing the research plan
  • Adjudicating internship proposals in partnership with an arms-length College of Reviewers
  • Collecting and managing funds from partners and funding agencies
  • Providing said funds to academic supervisors via their university’s Office of Research Services
  • Monitoring the overall success of the Accelerate program


Frequently Asked accelerate Questions

I am a student with a project idea but no industry partner. Can Mitacs help me find a company?

Mitacs works to connect industry with the most appropriate university expertise to solve challenges identified by the company.  With the large number of potential interns seeking industrial partners, Mitacs cannot offer individualized matching to a particular researcher however, you can consult our suggestions as to how to go about finding a partner company.

Can I complete my full internship at the University and interact with the company virtually?

Normally interns are expected to spend at least 50% of their internship with the company at their site(s).  If your host company is in a remote location or there are other unique circumstances that challenge the interaction, you may request flexibility for a lower ratio of interaction with the company.  Please consult with your business development representative while writing your proposal.  

Can I hold both an Accelerate and a tri-council (or provincially) funded studentship or fellowship?

Although Mitacs does not have any restrictions, many other granting agencies do not allow fellowship and studentship recipients to hold certain grants concurrently.  Please check with the relevant council or agency for current information regarding your specific grant prior to applying.

Can I do an internship with a research lab, NGO, Municipality, or Government agency?

The vast majority of Mitacs Accelerate Internships are funded in part by the national IRDI program, which limits industrial partners to privately owned or incorporated for-profit Canadian companies.  In some regions, there may be additional funding from other sources to support a limited number of partnerships with not-for-profit or government  entities.  Please contact a Business Development representative in your region to determine if such funding is available.

Latest accelerate News

Proteocyte Diagnostics initiates a Cost-Effectiveness Analysis with support from Mitacs
28 August 2014
Toronto, ON: Proteocyte Diagnostics Inc. of Toronto announced their collaboration with Mitacs Accelerate to conduct an economic evaluation of its predictive technology for the early detection of...

 Mitacs-Accelerate has been invaluable in establishing that link and in the process maybe dispelling some of the myths around academic work as well.  Because of Accelerate, I am able to bring what I think is cutting edge academic research knowledge to industry in a format that benefits both me and the partner companies.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Nathalie Prevost, Mitacs-Accelerate intern at Simon Fraser University with partner Vivity Labs Inc.

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