Mitacs is committed to supporting research projects that have the potential to respond directly to the needs and priorities of Indigenous communities by making meaningful contributions in several key areas (e.g. reconciliation, public health, environmental sustainability, etc.). Indigenous Peoples are colleagues and rights holders in such projects, and Mitacs encourages both Indigenous-led research and Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaboration on innovative proposals concerning these subjects.

Inspired by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, the Assembly of First Nations’ principles of OCAP®, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Nunavut Research Institute’s Guide for Researchers, the Principles of Ethical Métis Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research, and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans - Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada, Mitacs has developed its own guidelines for Indigenous research projects. These apply to projects:

  • involving or impacting Indigenous communities
  • involving Indigenous or traditional knowledge or Indigenous cultural heritage
  • involving Indigenous people as participants in a research study

These projects are defined as Indigenous research projects by Mitacs, even if Indigenous research is not the sole focus of the project.

Additional criteria for research involving Indigenous peoples


Projects involving Indigenous people must be guided by the principle of “Nothing about us without us.” Specifically, Mitacs requires Indigenous research projects to meet the following requirements:

  1. Community support and respect. Proposals must evidence the support of Indigenous communities that may be affected by the project, or that have rights or a stake in the endeavour. Projects must also be explicitly developed in a way that is mindful, respectful, and reflective of each community’s cultural protocols, needs, and interests.
  2. Collaborative practices. Proposals must explain how Indigenous communities have been involved in shaping the proposed research plan from its inception, and how Elders and Knowledge Holders have been directly engaged. Proposals must detail all planned participation of involved and impacted communities throughout the research project.
  3. Access and use. Proposals must describe plans regarding Indigenous communities’ access, use, and governance of knowledge and data resulting from the research.
  4. Experience and expertise. Applicants must provide information about the team’s experience and/or expertise with Indigenous research and/or plans to address any shortages. If interns will work with Indigenous communities, information must be provided about the training, guidance, and mentorship they will receive from Indigenous communities and from academic institutional representatives.

In addition, Mitacs expects applicants to follow all applicable institutional policies regarding research with Indigenous communities and the guidance provided by Chapter 9 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada (TCPS 2).