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At Mitacs, we embrace your innovation challenges, build ROI into your R&D strategy, think globally, and connect you with the right expertise for the right project at the right time

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mitacs advisors

The Innovation Challenge

Assess, Access and Build
the Right Team

Launching a new project often means racing to hire the expertise you need right away. But there are ways of accessing the people you want, and the communities they are part of, before you post a job. Bringing on board a qualified intern — a graduate student or postdoc — means you get an expert at the beginning of your project, providing you with insight into the kind of qualities you’ll eventually need.

By building that approach into your overall innovation strategy you not only get the benefit of the intern’s knowledge, you also reduce your risk knowing that when you do post a role, you are targeting the right audiences and asking for the right expertise.

Your Customers Know What They Need—Do You?

All your customers need solutions to their challenges, but do you know what those challenges are? One key piece of advice is to involve your customers when launching new initiatives. That’s the antithesis of what some companies do, which is to create a product, then determine whether there is a market for it.

By regularly integrating your market — whether they are internal or external — into your R&D strategy, you’re able to understand what their needs are at every stage, allowing you to develop the right solutions. That means checking in frequently with your customers to track the process, test ideas, and collect data. It requires being agile enough to adjust your project to refine the product, tweak the process, and efficiently manage the budget.

Spending Smartly Beats Spending More

Research and development, according to The Conference Board of Canada, “improves only when businesses start spending more.”

Just spending money, however, does not make you innovative. Spending it smartly and constantly re-evaluating does.

Putting processes in place to ensure you are continually getting information and feedback means you can adjust your budgets as you go, ensuring your capital is being spent in the most efficient way. Spending smartly is also understanding that there are methods of making your budget go further. Both government and non-government sources have funds available to support your research and innovation projects, so it’s important to know what is out there to assist you at the right time in your process.

Build An Ecosystem That Works

Overcoming challenges isn’t just a series of unrelated tasks. All the players in the ecosystem — the talent, the market, the financing, stakeholder buy-in — must be integrated into your overall strategy. The Harvard Business Review puts it simply: “Strategically aligned enterprises have a much better chance of winning in today’s challenging business environment*.”

To do that, you need to make sure that no one works in a silo; that you have a cohesive strategy and that your entire organization — HR, R&D, and finance — understands it.

Externally, too, your ecosystem must be connected: from your talent search to your academic partnerships to your funding quest – all need to be seamlessly integrated. And the final key piece? Make sure your internal strategies and your external strategies are aligned.

*How Aligned Is Your Organization, HBR, February 2017

How Mitacs can help you

Solving the Talent Challenge

Finding the right people with the knowledge and skill sets to solve your innovation challenges is key to your success. But talent alone is only part of the solution. Ensuring that you have the right people in place at each stage of your innovation roadmap is critical. At Mitacs, over 100 advisors are ready to support you at every stage of that roadmap, helping you identify the right academic expertise and recruit highly skilled talent.

From Concept to Completion, Mitacs Embraces Your Innovation Challenges

Innovation is more than simply developing new ideas to launch new projects. Indeed, innovation comes in many forms: product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation and organisational innovation — all of these are important signposts on your roadmap. At Mitacs, we can help guide you at every stage of your project to aid you in achieving your business goals.

Expand Your Budget, Reduce the Risk

Depending on the scope of your projects, investment in R&D can run from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars and one way to leverage that investment is to seek funding. Mitacs can help. No matter the size of the project, Mitacs can work with you to ensure your budget goes further. And the bigger the budget, the more efficient the process becomes, while your contribution is reduced to 45% of the total cost of the project.

At Home or Abroad, Mitacs Expands Your Horizons

Innovation is a collaborative process and Mitacs has the connections you need — domestically and internationally — to help you expand your innovation ecosystem. From talent search to academic partnerships, from your funding quest to knowing who and what is available, Mitacs’s networks can help you achieve your innovation goals. Our relationships with governments, incubators, international organizations and key companies in every sector mean that no matter your focus or discipline, we have the partnerships and expertise to support your research projects.

Mitacs in Action

Mitacs’s research collaborations connect organizations with the skilled talent they need, and foster mutually beneficial partnerships between industry and academia.

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Mitacs’s Project Innovation Experts
Lenny Freilich
Account Manager
Western Canada

Lenny Freilich brings over 40 years of experience working within the high-tech industry to his role at Mitacs. With a background in data analytics and machine learning, high performance computing, and cybersecurity, he has held senior corporate and business development roles with Blackberry/RIM, Creo/Kodak, and IBM Global Services, as well as Product Management roles with Fujitsu Global. Lenny has also held partnership development roles with the University of British Columbia and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Lenny has worked in Canada, the U.S., Israel, Indonesia, India, and Belgium.

He completed an MBA and MSc (Computer Science) at the University of Toronto.

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Sherry Zhao
Senior Account Manager
Western Canada

As the Senior Account Manager, Sherry Zhao is responsible for working with major industry partners to support their innovation pipeline. A first-generation immigrant, Sherry believes deeply in the power of diversity and globalization: she serves on the UBC China Council, and as a steering committee member for the NEXT leaders initiative at the Business Council of British Columbia.

Sherry holds a PhD in chemistry from UBC, and a BSc from Peking University. Prior to joining Mitacs in 2014, Sherry worked at Genentech, in San Francisco, supporting the technology development for biopharmaceutical characterizations.

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Jillian Murray
Account Manager
Ontario

Windsor, Ontario-born and raised, Jillian Hatnean received both her B.Sc. Hon. Biochemistry with Thesis (2006) and her PhD. in Chemistry (2011) from the University of Windsor and specialized in organometallic catalysis. She then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship (2013) at the University of Toronto with a focus on catalytic hydrogenation using frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs).

Jillian has been with Mitacs since 2013 and is currently an Account Manager based in Toronto specializing in helping companies to develop research projects in biomanufacturing, life sciences, cannabis, and finance/risk management.

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Iman Yahyaie
Account Manager
Ontario

Iman Yahyaie received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, in Tehran, Iran. In 2007, he moved to Canada to start a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Manitoba and later joined the Centre for Chemical Innovation in Solar Fuels (CCI Solar) at Caltech as a research collaborator. Iman also completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying CMOS-compatible dynamic memory structures based on conducting polymer systems.

Since 2013, Iman has been part of the Mitacs team in different regions including Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario, fostering collaborations between the private sector and academia.

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Sarah Fairlie
Account Manager
Ontario

Sarah Fairlie is focused on supporting organizations and initiatives that deliver social benefit.

Prior to working with Mitacs Sarah developed and delivered funding programs in Ontario in a wide range of sectors from 5G Networks to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and helped to found and grow a social enterprise that secured over $1M in funding to educate communities about sustainable choices.

Sarah has a BSc in Atmospheric Environment and Air Quality from McGill University.

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Bernard Duval
Account Manager
National

Bernard Duval is a seasoned technology transformation management senior advisor specializing in disruptive technologies such as 5G, 6G, quantum communications, future networks, next generation internet and edge cloud computing. With a robust background spanning 20+ years in information technology, e-commerce and communication sectors, Bernard excels in negotiations and partnership building, driving business agreements and innovations projects to fruition.

Bernard has facilitated numerous collaborative research initiatives between the industry leaders and universities, demonstrating his commitment to advancing technological frontiers. His close collaborations with connectivity giants like Ciena, VMware, Ericsson, and Microsoft underscore his dedication in shaping the digital landscape.

Enthusiastic about inclusivity and social impact, Bernard is a pioneer in advocating for the incorporation of Indigenous leadership and social innovation within the technology innovation sector. He believes in the power of diverse perspectives to shape innovative solutions and drive meaningful change. This commitment has led him to actively seek collaborations that bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and technological advancements.

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Technology

Whether it’s building Canada’s 5G network, developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology or advancing the scope of clean technology, Mitacs can help businesses evolve in a rapidly changing landscape.

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Managing Innovation

At Mitacs, we support you throughout your innovation journey. From assessing your needs to deploying skilled post-secondary talent to finding the right solutions for your business, our team of advisors are here to help you succeed.

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Solutions

Executing your innovation strategy requires funds, networks, and markets — and the talent to accomplish all that. With over 20 years of experience in the innovation landscape, Mitacs can help you build capacity for research and development by connecting you to expertise not available in-house.

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Our Programs

Mitacs offers a variety of programs to maximize your budget and solve your organization’s research challenges with help from top-tier post-secondary talent.

Accelerate

Business

Accelerate helps partner organizations maximize their budgets, grow their research, and boost their innovation potential through internships that tap into the expertise and insight of highly skilled students and postdocs.

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Accelerate Fellowship

Business

Accelerate Fellowships help partner organizations optimize their budgets, enhance their research talent, and boost their innovation potential through internships that tap into the skills and expertise of top-level Master’s and PhD students.

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Accelerate International

Business

Accelerate International helps organizations optimize their budgets, enhance their research capability, and expand their innovation horizons through exclusive bilateral collaborations with interns and academic institutions in Canada and abroad.

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Business Strategy Internship

Business

BSI allows organizations of any size to tap into the expertise of top-ranked postsecondary students and recent graduates in order to solve business challenges.

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Elevate

Business

Elevate is an exclusive two-year opportunity that enables partner organizations to maximize their budgets, expand their networks, and achieve their innovation goals via access to the top-tier skills, insights, and talents of postdoctoral fellows.

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Mitacs Entrepreneur International

Business

Entrepreneur International offers a travel grant to Canadian start-ups that are housed in an incubator or accelerator linked to a post-secondary institution, enabling them to connect with host incubators abroad to explore business-development opportunities in international markets.

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Our Projects

Mitacs has fostered thousands of successful collaborations between organizations and researchers.

Open Projects

Work with top-ranked talent on collaborative research projects, and discover advanced solutions to your innovation challenges.

Completed Projects

Explore a range of successful Mitacs projects that led to game-changing discoveries, collaborations, and initiatives across Canada.