Discover Not-for-profit

Connect with the right talent to create meaningful change, find creative solutions
to community-specific challenges, and gain access to cutting-edge research for your project.

$ 0 B+
invested in R&D

0 +

0 +
SME partners

0 +
career-ready students

0 +
university researchers

0 +
international students

0 +
private sector hosts

funding partners

0 +
Mitacs advisors

Innovation and not-for-profits: a unique challenge

Not-for-profit organizations, charities, and social entrepreneurs often have different needs than their corporate counterparts. Budgets and lack of in-house research capacity can limit your ability to do the research you need. Mitacs can help to reduce those barriers so you can deliver the insights you need to drive short-term impact or long-term transformation. 

A group of people's hands gathered together in a circle, each holding a puzzle piece.
The Challenge

Bring in the expertise you need, when you need it most

Whether you are a charity, a not-for-profit organization, a hospital, municipality, or social enterprise you’ll face challenges that you don’t have the capacity to tackle. To fill those gaps, you may need new team members. Bringing in fresh eyes and specialized expertise for a project can help you to realize your objectives – within your budget and your timeline.

Bringing a qualified intern on board, whether it’s a college student, a university student, grad or postdoc, is a smart strategy, allowing you to tap into their knowledge and know-how while keeping your budget in check. It’s also a great way to boost your organization’s productivity and create a valuable work opportunity for students who are passionate about the challenges you face.

Developing the best solutions for your community

Working directly with the community you are serving is essential to delivering products, processes, and programs that create impact. Determining what those needs are demands time, energy, and care: consulting with community members, collecting information, co-designing solutions, tracking progress, and analyzing feedback.

Your organization should also be open to adjusting to the changing landscape and exploring the potential of new solutions to meet community needs. New insight and information can help you to increase your impact by adjusting what you do and how you do it.

Working with an academic partner can help you to collect the information and insight you need to better understand community needs and make better decisions about how to deliver on your mandate as effectively as possible.

Allocating the resources you need to be strategic

Exploring new ideas and initiatives requires funding and it can be difficult to find funders and donors who will provide for the overhead cost of research. The lack of ability to explore and learn from communities in a strategic way can cause many organizations to fall into a rut; delivering products, services, and programs in the same way year in, year out.

Understanding how to optimize your budget – to make it stretch further – identifying new funding streams available to you and knowing how to utilize that money in the right way at the right time are all important factors in supporting, enhancing, and accelerating your efforts.

Expanding your impact

Successful change makers cannot operate in a vacuum. Bringing about meaningful change means getting people onboard, collaborating with a range of stakeholders, and sharing knowledge and learnings with others who may be facing similar challenges.

Strong partner networks are essential to the effective operation of a not-for-profit organization. Tackling a challenge through an academic partnership can forge connections with new organizations and deliver fresh knowledge to your sector – knowledge that others can benefit from.

How Mitacs can help you

Access to Top Talent

Finding people with the specialized knowledge and skill sets your organization needs, and ensuring you have the right resources in place at each stage of your project, are paramount to your success. At Mitacs, our expansive business development team is ready to support you at every step along your unique roadmap, helping you to source and recruit highly skilled postsecondary researchers, who can help you solve challenges that are unique to your organizational needs.

Comprehensive Solutions, From Concept to Completion

Not-for-profit organizations face a diverse set of challenges that are deeply rooted in the specific context and community in which you operate. Research and development may be a useful tool at any stage of your journey and that journey may not be linear.

Regardless of what you hope to explore, Mitacs can help connect you to the support you need to effectively tackle tough challenges by leveraging best practices across any academic discipline.

Ready When You Are

Regardless of how you fund your organization, budget planning is a balancing act. Between grant cycles, yearend targets, and unexpected external surprises it can be difficult to find funding sources that you can plan around – especially for overhead costs like research and development.

Mitacs programs are open on a rolling basis and are non-competitive creating a dependable source of funding for academic collaborations. We are ready when you are to fund a small project, focus on a pressing need, build something bigger, potentially bringing together multiple partners to focus on a common challenge. It is never too early to connect with us in the process of planning how Mitacs can support your initiative.

Mitacs Expands Your Reach

Mitacs has the connections and relationships to create new opportunities and share your success. Whether it’s searching for skilled talent, establishing new partnerships, tapping into funding streams, or working with other like-minded organizations, Mitacs’s extensive network can help you accomplish your goals. Our well-established relationships with governments, incubators, international organizations, other not-for-profit organizations, and even the corporate sector mean that we have the partnerships and expertise you need to support your projects.

Mitacs in Action

Researchers team with maple-syrup producers and Agriculture Canada to identify — and thwart — the source of an off-putting flavour.

How do you ensure the residents in a “food desert” have access to healthy, affordable food? You shuttle it in on an AI-driven autonomous bus.

Canadian craft breweries get a much-needed research-driven marketing boost to help them better compete in the international beer market.

Optimizing social-media outreach helps spread awareness about the preservation of Garry-oak habitats in B.C.

The Metlakatla First Nation works with Simon Fraser University researchers to evaluate the impact of industrial projects on their territory.

Traditional food meets innovative farming to create a holistic solution to food insecurity in a B.C. Indigenous community.

Let’s start a new project together!

"*" indicates required fields

Commençons un nouveau projet ensemble!

L’astérisque "*" indique un champ obligatoire.


Whether it’s building Canada’s 5G network, developing artificial intelligence (AI) technology or advancing the scope of clean technology, Mitacs can help not-for-profit organizations evolve in a rapidly changing landscape.

A team of your innovators holding 3D printed elements

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.


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.

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 helps partner organizations boost their innovation potential through internships that tap into the expertise and insight of highly skilled students and postdocs.

Read More

Accelerate Fellowship


Accelerate Fellowships help partner organizations enhance their research talent through internships with top-level Master’s and PhD students.

Read More

Business Strategy Internship


BSI allows non-profit organizations of any size to tap into the expertise of top-ranked post-secondary interns in order to solve operational challenges, optimize their budget, and achieve their innovation goals.

Read More



Elevate facilitates two-year mutually beneficial research collaborations between partner organizations and highly skilled postdoctoral fellows.

Read More
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.