Program guide

Program Overview

Mitacs Elevate is a two-year training program for postdoctoral fellows, in which participants lead and undertake an industrially relevant research project.  During this time, fellows receive experiential training in R&D directly through their industry-academic research collaboration and leadership training and business acumen through the program’s training curriculum. With a suite of skills development workshops and activities unique to Mitacs Elevate, fellows learn about communication, leadership & management and other critical business skills relevant to R&D management careers in academia and industry. These training opportunities complement fellows’ specialized expertise and ensure they are ready to lead large-scale research projects throughout their careers.

During the fellowship, fellows apply these skills within a real-world industry environment as they work on a two-year research project with their partner organization and university faculty supervisor, typically spending half of the fellowship with each. Depending on the nature of the research, Mitacs may consider applications where fellows spend less than half of their time with the partner organization, with appropriate justification.

In addition to their research project, fellows spend from one to two days per month participating in training activities. Throughout this time, fellows have multiple opportunities to connect with fellow PhD graduates in their cohort, as well as industry representatives, potential employers and workshop facilitators.

 

Mitacs Elevate – Who is Eligible?

Postdoctoral Fellows and Faculty:

Mitacs Elevate is expanding its national reach! Due to the support of the Federal government, Elevate is now open to all Mitacs Full, Associate and Honorary university partners, as well as non-member universities across the country.

The Elevate program operates with a combination of three funding sources: federal, provincial and industrial funds. Dedicated provincial funding varies from province to province. As a result, financial contributions may be required and vary depending on the applicant’s province and university partnership level:

  • Elevate is available to all Mitacs Full and Associate partner universities with no additional contribution required.
  • Elevate is open to all universities in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, because Mitacs has dedicated provincial funding for the program, with no additional contribution required.
  • For Mitacs Honorary partner universities and non-member universities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, PEI and Newfoundland, academic supervisors will be required to contribute $20,000* per year of the fellowship in lieu of provincial funding.

If you wish to apply but are unable to secure $20,000 in lieu of provincial funding, please contact elevate(at)mitacs.caBased upon the quality of proposals received from applicants in this category, Mitacs may fully support up to two exceptional fellowships, with no required contribution from the applicants. These will be awarded on a competitive basis.

If you are unsure of your university partner status or provincial funding status, or require further clarification please contact elevate(at)mitacs.ca.

Postdoctoral fellows may apply for Mitacs Elevate fellowship if their date of graduation from a PhD program is no more than 5 years prior to the proposed start date of the research project.  Fellows who have had a break in their career due to military service, illness, or family leave may be considered as exceptions and must be approved in advance of proposal submission. If this situation applies to you and/or you have any questions, please contact Mitacs at elevate(at)mitacs.ca.

All fellows who successfully enter into the Elevate program are responsible for ensuring that they meet the PDF eligibility criteria at their host institution and that they will hold a PDF status for the entire duration of the Elevate fellowship (i.e. 2 years).

Fellows who have held a Mitacs Accelerate award as a Masters, or PhD student are eligible to apply. Applicants may also apply if they have held no more than 3 internship units of Accelerate funding (1 year equivalent) support at the postdoctoral level.  Postdoctoral fellows who have already held a Mitacs Elevate award are not eligible.

Mitacs Elevate is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international applicants. The fellow must be based at a university located in the same province as the partner organization for the duration of the fellowship. Applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to apply; however, the majority of grants will be targeted towards the following provincial priority areas:

Alberta:

  • Renewable and clean energy technology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Health
  • Water
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Biosciences, specifically Soil Sciences, Agronomy, Silviculture, Plant Genomics/Plant Biochemistry, Microbiology, Carbohydrate Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Combustion Chemistry and Environmental Science

Nova Scotia:

  • Forestry
  • Oceans
  • Mining
  • Agriculture


Partner Organizations:

Partner organizations interested in participating in a Mitacs Elevate fellowship must be a Canadian for-profit company or the Canadian business location of a foreign-owned for-profit company. They should be potential end-users of the research, with a vested interest in the results.

Organizations not eligible to participate as industry partners include:

  • Funding agencies
  • Government agencies or municipalities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • University-based research centres (including university hospitals)
  • Companies located outside of Canada.

Still have questions about eligibility? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions. 

 

Elevate 2-Year Fellowship - Funding Breakdown

Successful applicants who have secured a partner organization receive a Mitacs Elevate award of $57,500 per year for two years for a total award of $115,000, as well as the mandatory R&D management training curriculum ($15,000 non-cash value over two years); a minimum stipend / salary of $50,000 per year is allocated to the fellow and up to $7,500 is allocated to research costs. Mitacs follows tri-council guidelines with respect to the use of funds towards eligible research costs. Awards are typically forwarded annually as a lump sum of $57,500 to the supervising faculty member, to be held as a research grant at their home university, pending Mitacs receipt of the following:

  • the $25,000 annual partner contribution
  • in lieu of provincial funding, documentation that a $20,000 annual contribution will be made available to the fellow (for applicants at Mitacs Honorary or non-member universities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, PEI and Newfoundland). If you are unsure of your university partner status or provincial funding status, or require further clarification, please contact elevate(at)mitacs.ca.
  • any necessary documentation such as a Declaration of Conflict of Interest; Environmental Impact Assessment; permits or licenses; University Research Ethics Board report; University Animal Care Committee report; biohazards review report; and/or other documentation as appropriate.

Questions about funding for Mitacs Elevate?  Please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

R&D Management Training and Professional Development

Mitacs Elevate is the only postdoctoral fellowship in Canada with a R&D management training plan for PhD graduates. Throughout the two-year fellowship, fellows spend approximately one to two days per month exploring a variety of leadership, business and R&D management topics that are relevant to Canada’s current professional climate, with instruction from industry leaders. Training activity topics include project management in the R&D environment, technology and innovation management, communication management, among others.

Training opportunities are offered throughout the year and across the country whenever possible, and are delivered through a combination of virtual and in-person mechanisms to accommodate fellows’ schedules. Fellows are also given access to the Elevate online learning portal, which will serve as an online resource for materials and communications related to the program and tracks fellows’ progress throughout their fellowship.  Mitacs makes every effort to ensure that fellows are able to participate either in-person or remotely; however, they may be responsible for limited travel costs, including commuting.  In addition to the professional development and R&D management training provided by Mitacs, fellows may also receive on-site training and networking opportunities through their partner organizations.

As the professional development component is a feature unique to Mitacs Elevate and a critical part of fellows’ skills training and Mitacs program objectives, attendance at program workshops is mandatory for all participating fellows. Attendance is monitored by Mitacs and a failure to attend training & development sessions may result in reduction or withdrawal of funding.

If you are interested in undertaking a research project without a corresponding professional development component, you may wish to apply for a Mitacs Accelerate project.  For more information, please visit the Mitacs Accelerate website or contact a Mitacs Business Development representative in your region.

Adjudication

All Mitacs Elevate fellowship proposals undergo a two-stage review process: an administrative review to confirm program eligibility, followed by an external review based on peer assessment of the research project proposals.

Peer assessment criteria are grouped into two (2) broad categories: the technical merit of the proposed research project; and the excellence of the proposed fellow.  For these categories, Mitacs seeks arm’s length expert reviewers to answer the following questions:

A. Technical merit of the proposed project

Does the proposed research project significantly contribute to the advancement of knowledge or the development of new applications, and is there an appreciable element of novelty?
Are the objectives achievable, given the current state of the art and the expertise of the project team?
Are the methods and techniques appropriate for the objectives?
Is the proposed project at an appropriate level for a postdoctoral fellow?

B.  Excellence of the proposed fellow

Relative to other researchers at the same career stage, how productive has the proposed fellow been to date (e.g. publication record, patents, etc.)?
Are there any outstanding achievements (e.g. high-impact research results, awards) by the proposed fellow?

 

 

Expectations of Mitacs Elevate Participants

Postdoctoral Fellow

A Mitacs Elevate Fellowship is a comprehensive program with a range of components designed to provide advanced training to enhance the professional and R&D management skills required for the fellow’s chosen career. As such, during the tenure of the award, the fellow is expected to:

  • Work with and receive mentorship from their academic supervisor at the university
  • Spend approximately 50% of the fellowship working at the industry partner site on a research project of mutual interest
  • Work with Mitacs personnel to develop and implement a personalized training program to enhance their future career
  • Spend from one to two days per month on training and/or networking activities
  • Attend mandatory professional skills & R&D management training events facilitated by Mitacs and complete follow-up activities through the Elevate online learning portal
  • Participate in the Mitacs Ambassador program as appropriate
  • Submit all signed, required documentation by Mitacs and its funding partners, including, but not limited to, mid-term reports, final reports, and surveys.

Faculty Supervisor

The supervising professor is expected to: 

  • Provide ongoing mentorship and research support to the fellow
  • Meet with and provide research expertise to the industry partner, as appropriate
  • Assume fiduciary responsibility for the fellowship research grant, including ensuring expenditures consistent with program objectives & guidelines
  • Support the fellow’s professional training by allowing them to attend the mandatory Mitacs Elevate professional and R&D management training sessions
  • Attend relevant Mitacs Elevate program events
  • Provide appropriate financial reporting and program feedback to Mitacs, as required by its funding partners, including a mandatory online feedback survey within one month of project completion

Partner Organization

A primary contact at the industry partner must be identified and is expected to:

  • Assist the fellow with identifying appropriate research issues and developing a research plan
  • Ensure that the company provides in-kind support, including hosting the fellow
    on-site for approximately 50% of the research project (exceptions with justification can be a minimum of 25%); providing supervision and guidance on the project; and helping the fellow make connections within the company and/or industry
  • Support the fellow’s professional training by allowing them to attend the mandatory leadership & management training sessions
  • Attend relevant Mitacs Elevate program events
  • Ensure the company’s annual financial contribution is forwarded to Mitacs in a timely manner
  • Provide program feedback on the program to Mitacs, as required by its funding partners, including telephone or email surveys
  • Provide feedback on the fellow’s final report.

 

Program Deliverables

Fellows must submit a mid-term report upon request, prior to the end of the first year of research.  A template will be sent to all fellows no later than one (1) month prior to the report due date.
Please note that failure to submit a satisfactory report may result in a reduction or withdrawal of funding.

A final report must be submitted by the intern no later than one (1) month after the conclusion of the fellowship. The report must be written on a prepared template that will be sent to all fellows and should:

  • Be no more than three (3) pages in length
  • Summarize research goals, research techniques used, and research outcomes
  • Describe the fellow’s participation and experience in Mitacs led training activities 
  • Identify benefits for the partner organization
  • Identify future research plans.

An exit survey must be completed by all three fellowship participants: the fellow, the supervising professor, and the designated contact at the industry partner site.
Note: NSERC Form 300 or an equivalent Statement of Account must be completed by the fellow’s university and signed by the academic supervisor who received the internship grant.
 

Program Administration

Intellectual Property

All parties involved with the Mitacs Elevate program are bound by the intellectual property terms of the university where the fellow is appointed. Please see the links below to the intellectual property terms for the following universities:

For all other institutions, the Mitacs Elevate program’s policy is to take no position regarding the intellectual property created by the projects and fellowships that are funded.

Intellectual property is left to be shared between the university, its researchers, and the industry partner, according to the intellectual property rules of the host university, unless a separate agreement is negotiated between the university, its researchers, and the industry partner. Mitacs strongly recommends that any discussions pertaining to intellectual property and confidentiality – where relevant – be resolved prior to submitting the Mitacs Elevate proposal.

Conflict of Interest

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

Individuals involved with Mitacs and its programs, including members of the Board of Directors; members of the Mitacs Research Council; officers; employees; researchers; and interns are required to disclose any financial interest or position of influence, as described in Section 2.0 of the Conflict of Interest Policy, in any business in the same area of interest as Mitacs, other than that of their main employer.

Where there is an ownership or operational relationship between an investigator, student or postdoctoral fellow and an industry partner, Mitacs may request details on their involvement with the industry partner, evidence that the organization is under the effective day-to-day management control of someone other than the investigator, and evidence that the academic interests of 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.

Environmental Review Policy

Mitacs works to ensure that the research it supports promotes sustainable development and is conducted in a way that respects and protects the environment. 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.
 

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The Mitacs Elevate program is unique because it encourages postdoctoral fellows to refine their research skills while also gaining experience connecting with professionals outside of academia. I have been able to further develop my communication and project management abilities through the various workshops offered through Elevate and have had a chance to use these skills to plan conferences and symposiums. As a result of participating in Elevate, I am more prepared for a wider variety of professional positions. 

Reihane Marzoughi, Elevate PDF, University of Toronto

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