Mitacs continues to inspire Indigenous innovation in Canada
Vancouver, BC — As with many businesses throughout the country, Indigenous-owned companies and organizations have been faced with unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and other obstacles, preventing them from realizing their full potential. Mitacs is committed to working with and learning from Indigenous Peoples by creating equitable access to its programs so that Indigenous students, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations can continue to grow and thrive. Through the Indigenous Pathways initiative, Mitacs collaborates with Indigenous businesses and organizations — matching them with the right talent and resources to achieve their innovation goals.
The goal of the Indigenous Pathways initiative at Mitacs is to give an edge to Indigenous businesses and organizations looking to innovate by providing personalized funding and resources that meet their unique strengths and abilities while providing meaningful professional experience to Indigenous college and university students, and postdoctoral researchers.
Through this initiative, eligible organizations only contribute 25 percent of the cost of projects that have an Indigenous partner organization and/or an intern who is Indigenous. It aims to diminish the barriers to entry to the innovation economy by reducing the cost of collaborations between partners and academia.
Over the past year, Mitacs has collaborated with Indigenous Peoples on several projects that have been important to their communities. Among them:
As a result of the funding received from Mitacs, the Sanyakola Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focusing on Indigenous language revitalization, was able to put together a longer-term proposal and plan for the recovery of Kwak’wala, one of the many Indigenous languages that are currently endangered.
Our Data Indigenous, a one-of-a-kind mobile app that collects important survey data that Indigenous communities can use to address health and wellness concerns all while allowing them to retain ownership over the data collected, has been introduced in nine Indigenous communities across Manitoba and British Columbia. The project’s community outreach coordinator, Dr. Moneca Sinclaire, credits the success of the app in part to Mitacs and its assistance in finding a qualified industry partner.
In response to growing concerns from the Metlakatla First Nation about the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of multiple industrial projects within their territory, the Cumulative Effects Management Program was launched by the Metlakatla Stewardship Society and Mitacs researchers from Simon Fraser University to identify and track the impacts of industrial operations on important Metlakatla values. By sharing knowledge and resources to create a comprehensive database of community values, the collaboration provides mutual benefits for the research interns involved in the projects and the members of the Metlakatla First Nation.
Through the Indigenous Pathways initiative, Mitacs is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Indigenous innovation and research practices that benefit Indigenous communities and address issues that are important to the health and wellbeing of their residents.
Candice Loring, Director, Business Development Indigenous Community Engagement, Mitacs, Okanagan
“Through the Indigenous Pathways initiative, Mitacs is committed to legitimizing Indigenous knowledge systems, creating spaces, and providing equitable access for Indigenous researchers, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations to thrive in the innovation ecosystem.”
Dr. John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs
“Mitacs is thrilled to collaborate through Indigenous Pathways with Indigenous businesses and not-for-profit organizations, which will help to empower Indigenous innovation in partnership with academia. As we recover from COVID-19, we’re eager to work with Indigenous organizations and interns as they reach their innovation goals.”
Learn more about how Mitacs celebrates Indigenous innovation:
- Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.
- Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.
- How AI and immersive technology are being used to revitalize Indigenous languages | CBC News
- Saving Canada’s Indigenous languages | CTV News
- Researchers in B.C. could help save one of the world’s most complex Indigenous languages | Globalnews.ca