Mitacs–Innovation PEI partnership empowering Island companies to grow, innovate, and make impact

11/07/2022
Mitacs connecting local businesses with highly skilled talent and academic experts to drive innovation in clean tech, agri-food, bioscience, and beyond – with provincial support

Charlottetown, PEI — Innovation PEI and Mitacs are making it easier for businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and other Island organizations to access highly skilled talent, innovate, and scale up or expand their operations. 

Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization, builds collaborative partnerships between Canada’s private sector and post-secondary institutions to drive innovation. Through its one-of-a-kind approach to talent matching, Mitacs enables organizations to tap into academic expertise and specialized college and university talent to help develop cutting-edge technologies, increase productivity, solve complex challenges, and design new or improved products or services. 

In a renewal of their longstanding partnership, IPEI has invested $400,000 over two years to make Mitacs programs and funding accessible to businesses, not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, and healthcare facilities across Prince Edward Island. This investment is already having an impact. 

  • In one project supported by the Mitacs–IPEI partnership, Summerside-based auto repair shop Upcycle Green Technology has brought on two engineering undergraduates from the University of Prince Edward Island to design an efficient heat recovery and thermal management system for electric vehicles. The skilled student engineers, with the expertise of their academic supervisor, are now working to build a reliable temperature control system that will bring Upcycle one step closer to commercializing its prototype electric trucks, which are built from converted gas-powered cars — and which have the potential to reduce both carbon emissions and scrap waste. 
  • IPEI’s investment has also enabled Mitacs to support local clean tech manufacturer Aslan Renewables in its mission to harness energy from a wide range of carbon-neutral sources — including through hydroelectric turbines in PEI wastewater infrastructure. Through Mitacs, Aslan recruited a student of UPEI’s Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering to provide the critical data modeling and analysis required to optimize the system’s layout, streamline its implementation, and maximize energy output. 

One of the most significant barriers to growth — for organizations and the Canadian economy — is the need for qualified talent. As demand continues to increase, Mitacs’s strategic talent development, attraction, and retention programming can help Prince Edward Island, and all of Canada, remain productive, competitive, innovative, and growing. 

Together, Mitacs and Innovation PEI are building a strong skilled workforce pipeline on the Island, connecting local companies with top talent and research funding, and supporting home-grown innovation to drive economic prosperity, enhance Islanders’ wellbeing, and generate positive impact across the province. 

Quotes: 

Tash Ismail, Chief Business Development Officer, Mitacs 

“Perhaps because we all believed someone else was going to fix things, our society has been collectively complacent. We now find ourselves in a time where a billion crabs go missing, two-thirds of our planet’s wildlife is lost, and extreme weather events are becoming the norm. Our planet and our communities face ever-increasing perils. In this lies an opportunity for Canadian innovation to do things differently, to build things better, and to become the architects of solutions rather than waiting for answers. That’s the mission of Mitacs: to create change by harnessing the power of innovation. We see that same resolve in Islanders to discover and design new solutions for everything from climate change to literacy to disease treatments. We are excited and optimistic about our renewed partnership with Innovation PEI. With the generous support of the Government of Prince Edward Island and IPEI, our team will continue, in collaboration with our industry and post-secondary partners across the province, to deliver real impact.” 

Hon. Bloyce Thompson, Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture and responsible for Innovation PEI 

“Government is proud to work with Mitacs to provide innovative ideas, research solutions and highly trained talent to local businesses across the province. This valued partnership strengthens both the growth of our labour force and provincial economy. Together, we’re focused on building a prosperous future for Prince Edward Island.” 

Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown 

“The sustainability of Prince Edward Island's economy depends on diversification and innovation. This is driven by collaboration and the attraction and engagement of talent. The work of Mitacs is aligned with the priorities of the Federal Government in this regard. This partnership will help build an economy that works for everyone.” 

Natal Antonini, Founder and Mechanical Engineer, Upcycle Green Technology 

“It is very important for us at Upcycle to work together with universities and colleges, and with the talent coming out of higher education. Mitacs makes this crucial collaboration possible. It’s a win-win situation: students gain valuable workforce experience, post-secondary institutions stay in tune with the needs of the market, and companies get access to skilled talent in a flexible and affordable way – and benefit from a new vision for the world through the eyes of the students.” 

Andrew Murray, Founding Partner, Aslan Renewables 

“As renewables have become an important part of global climate safety initiatives, so too must they be integrated into our economies and communities. Since beginning to work with UPEI in 2020, Aslan has worked hard to develop a research community that supports our mission of integrating hydro into our existing industries, workflows, and lifestyles. The work that we have done with UPEI and Mitacs represents a critical step in that process and has been invaluable to our mission. We're thrilled that Mitacs has recognized the important work going on in this sector and within our UPEI community.  

Quick facts: 

  • Each Mitacs project is a partnership between at least one post-secondary student, postdoctoral fellow, or recent graduate; at least one college or university faculty supervisor; and at least one industry partner, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, healthcare facilities, and municipalities. 
  • Mitacs’s range of work-integrated learning programs provide college and university students, postdocs, and recent graduates with invaluable opportunities to establish their professional networks and gain real-world experience in their fields. 
  • Mitacs’s expansive network of post-secondary researchers, 50/50 funding model, and hands-on support from on-the-ground innovation experts enable local organizations to access highly skilled talent and specialized expertise in a flexible, scalable, and affordable way. 
  • 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, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon. 

 

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Media contact

Adam Austen
Manager, Communications
514-705-8355 | aausten@mitacs.ca
Mitacs
Jacqueline Mason
Director, Communications
514-247-0542 | jmason@mitacs.ca

Mitacs