16,000 +

research and innovation projects funded

$858M +

invested in the last 10 years

$250M

invested in 2019-20

33,000

researchers in our network

6,000 +

industry partners

117

post-secondary partners

6,000 +

international research internships

1,450 +

professional skills courses

22,000 +

training participants
Case Study

Research talent paves way

for mining success

Takeaways

  • Challenge: Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien wanted to improve safety in its Saskatchewan potash mines.
  • Solution: Nutrien partnered with Mitacs to recruit top-tier researchers from the University of Regina to develop solutions.
  • Outcome: The researchers successfully created an algorithm to identify potential hazards, which helps workers deploy the appropriate safety measures. 

Canadian fertilizer company Nutrien was exploring its options for improving worker safety in its Saskatchewan potash mines. Seeking an “out of the box” solution, the company partnered with Mitacs and the University of Regina to recruit top research talent — Tokini Briggs, Victor Okonkwo and Professor Raman Paranjape — who would develop new technology to solve Nutrien’s safety challenges.

We believe that building relationships with universities contributes to our industry-leading safety performance and Mitacs makes it seamless for everyone involved. — Craig Funk, Director of GeoServices & Land, Nutrien.

The successful collaboration resulted in the creation of a new computer algorithm, which identifies potential hazards in the mined-out cavern roofs and allows workers to execute the appropriate safety protocols in a timely manner.

“Partnering with Mitacs and the University of Regina has given us access to top talent and new ideas that will enhance our safety technologies,” says Craig Funk, Director of GeoServices & Land at Nutrien.


Craig Funk, Director of GeoServices & Land at Nutrien

Nutrien is also incorporating the research team’s algorithm into a prototype for a new ground-penetrating radar system that will be installed on continuous-mining machines and used in potash mines across Saskatchewan. As well, Nutrien is continuing its research collaboration with the University of Regina to explore advancing the technology further and will share its enhanced-safety innovation with other mining companies in the province.

“We believe that building relationships with universities contributes to our industry-leading safety performance,” Funk says, “and Mitacs makes it seamless for everyone involved.”

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Mitacs Team

Mitacs’s website content is created by people throughout our organization, united in their passion for innovation and eager to share their perspectives with others in the innovation ecosystem. 

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for over 20 years. Working with over 100 post-secondary institutions, more than 6,000 companies and not-for-profit organzations, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. 

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