Mitacs and Scotiabank
Partners for the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund
2023 Internship Application Guide

Established in 1999, Mitacs is a not-for-profit (NFP) organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions at home and around the world. For more than 20 years, Mitacs has worked with over 100 universities and academic institutions, thousands of companies, not-for-profits, and federal, provincial, and territorial governments to build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. One of these partnerships is with Scotiabank. 

In January 2021, Scotiabank launched ScotiaRISE, a 10-year, $500 million initiative to promote economic resilience among disadvantaged groups. Through ScotiaRISE, Scotiabank will support programs and partner with organizations across its footprint that provide the tools people need to improve their education and employment prospects, adapt to changing circumstances, and increase the likelihood of financial success.  

In its first year, ScotiaRISE provided almost $26 million in community investments across +200 organizations within Scotiabank’s geographic scope, enabling support for people who needed it at more than 358,000 critical moments in time. 

To help foster economic resilience, ScotiaRISE will invest in three important focus areas across the geographies where Scotiabank operates:

  1. Education: Increase high school graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment, in order to increase employment prospects, life opportunities, and full participation in the economy.
  2. Inclusion: Help newcomers to feel at home faster and secure meaningful employment, in order to support their contribution to the prosperity and social fabric of their communities.
  3. Employment:  Remove barriers to career advancement for underrepresented groups, to help enable their financial success.

To further the understanding of economic resilience, Scotiabank and Mitacs have created the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund (SERRF). This three-year partnership will focus on research needed to advance economic resilience in communities across Canada.

This partnership will provide funding for collaborative research projects between Canadian not-for-profit organizations and researchers at Canadian academic institutions. Projects will be selected for support via a competitive process led by Scotiabank and funding will be deployed via the Mitacs Accelerate program as student internships.

The objectives of SERRF are to: 

  • Reduce financial barriers for Canadian not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) and charitable organizations to access talent from academic institutions in order to provide insights related to the economic resilience of Canadian communities 
  • Support the next generation of problem solvers to ensure that students are actively engaged in innovative, useful, and relevant community research 
  • Strengthen relationships between Canadian NFPs and academia through collaboration and knowledge sharing 
  • Increase the number of researchers representing the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community  
  • Continue to inform Scotiabank’s social impact strategy to ensure that it invests for impact

SERRF Research Themes 

Through this initiative, the partnership will solicit research applications that support the three key themes below:

1. Accelerate newcomer integration

Demonstrate successful and rapid newcomer integration, enabling financial self-reliance and contribution to society. Canada’s prosperity and economic resilience are closely tied to the number and success of its immigrants, and as such, should be the primary focus of the research study and not as that of a support mechanism or benefit.

Proposed research projects will explore the experiences of newcomers to Canada (in the past three years) including immigrants, refugees, and temporary foreign workers to help fast track meaningful employment for newcomers to the country. Integration essentials might include language, culture and life skills, training and help qualifying for and finding employment, and support networks.

2. Increase high school graduation and post-secondary participation

Secondary and post-secondary education increases employment prospects, life opportunities and the likelihood of financial success.

Proposed research projects will target disadvantaged populations, including Canadian Indigenous communities and at-risk youth to ultimately facilitate a higher rate of high school graduation and post-secondary participation. Post-secondary education is defined broadly, to include university, college, and trades programs.

3. Remove barriers to career advancement for disadvantaged groups

Help disadvantaged people and groups overcome obstacles rooted in sexism, racism or homophobia and other forms of bias and discrimination to gain an employment foothold and to progress in their careers. 

Proposed research projects should be focused on one or more equity seeking groups that face obstacles of sexism, racism, or homophobia (e.g., people with disability, Indigenous, veterans, LGBTQ, women, and BIPOC). People with a disability and people that identify as Indigenous are areas of particular focus in our portfolio in 2023. The project should determine how to remove barriers to meaningful employment and find solutions to career entry and advancement.

Proposed research projects must include three partners: the intern, the academic supervisor, and the partner organization. All partners must be identified at the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage. If an EOI is selected to submit a Mitacs Accelerate proposal, the partners must remain consistent between application stages and cannot be changed.

Project eligibility criteria 

  • Must align with one of the SERRF research themes outlined by Scotiabank
  • Described project must be feasible within the four-month project timeline

Intern eligibility criteria  

  • Full-time graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Mitacs partner colleges and universities in Canada
  • Students must have a supervisor at their academic institution who is willing to supervise them on this project and administer the funds through the institution
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students over the age of 18
  • The intern cannot be a current employee of the partner organization
  • All academic disciplines

Academic supervisor eligibility criteria

  • The academic supervisor must be at the same institution as the intern 
  • The academic supervisor must be eligible to hold tri-council funding at their institution 
  • All academic disciplines 

Partner organization eligibility criteria

  • Registered not-for-profit or charitable organizations operating in Canada  
  • The partner organization cannot be a post-secondary institution  
  • The partner organization cannot be a federal or provincial government agency  
  • The partner organization must be an active partner on the project—providing mentorship/on site work experience to the intern for a minimum of 25% of the time for the duration of the project 
  • The partner organization must be willing to be named in future success stories and knowledge dissemination activities related to the project 
  • If the application is successful, the partner organization must commit to funding the partner contribution toward the student intern’s stipend ($3,750 plus tax—see financial mechanics tab). This contribution will be invoiced in cash and cannot be in-kind support. 

Project partners and the scope of work outlined in the proposal must be eligible to participate in the Mitacs Accelerate program. For more detail about eligibility, please see the Mitacs Accelerate program website. If you are uncertain of your eligibility, please contact the local Mitacs Advisor for your university or college.  

SERRF project funding is administered by the academic institution at which the intern is a registered student. All project funding will flow to the institution and be allocated to the intern stipend and direct cost of research associated with the project.

If a project is selected to receive SERRF funding, Mitacs will invoice the partner organization identified in the Expression of Interest (EOI) for their contribution to the project ($3,750 plus tax).  Mitacs will not release SERRF funding to the academic institution until the Mitacs Accelerate project is approved and the invoice from the partner organization has been paid.

Contributions from SERRF will provide up to $15,000 to eligible interns to complete a four-month internship. The named student on the successful research proposal will receive a $10,000 stipend and up to $5,000 in expenses related to the direct costs of research. Any unallocated research costs during the four-month term of the project will be used to increase the intern stipend for the project.

For projects in which the intern identifies as BIPOC, the intern will receive an additional stipend top up of $1,500 thereby increasing the minimum intern stipend to $11,500.

Project administration and eligible expenses will follow the Mitacs Accelerate program model with one of the two contribution structures outlined below:

Project contribution structure — Type 1 

Research projects that tackle one of the SERRF research themes outlined above will be funded as per the model below: 

Project funders Financial contribution (cash)
Mitacs $7,500
Scotiabank $3,750
Project partner(s) — charity or NFP organizations named in the proposal  $3,750*
Project expenditures  
Eligible intern stipend Minimum $10,000
Direct costs of research Maximum $5,000**

*The project partner will be responsible for covering the cost of GST/HST ($3,750+GST/HST)
**Unallocated research costs will be allocated to increase the eligible student intern stipend for the project 


Project contribution structure — Type 2 

Research projects that tackle one of the SERRF research themes outlined above and are led by a student intern that self-identifies as BIPOC will be funded as per the model below:  

Project funders Financial contribution (cash)
Mitacs $7,500
Scotiabank $5,250*
Project partner(s) — charity or NFP organizations named in the proposal  $3,750**
Project expenditures  
Eligible intern stipend Minimum $11,500
Direct costs of research Maximum $5,000***

*Scotiabank’s contribution is derived from $3,750 for project costs plus a top up of $1,500 for the eligible student intern leading the research project who self-identifies as a member of the BIPOC community
**The project partner will be responsible for covering the cost of GST/HST ($3,750+GST/HST)
***Unallocated research costs will be allocated to increase the eligible student intern stipend for the project 

Submitting an application to the Mitacs–SERRF partnership internship program is a two-stage process. Projects must successfully pass through both application stages to receive SERRF funding. 

Stage 1— Expression of Interest (EOI) form 

Applicants will develop and submit an EOI. EOIs will be evaluated to assess project/applicant eligibility and fit with the intent of the SERRF initiative (see eligibility tab). All project partners should be engaged in the EOI development process. Interns and supervisors should confirm with their institution that they are eligible to apply for the program and receive this research award.

Download the EOI form here.

What makes a strong proposal?

Factors critical to a successful SERRF application are as follows:  

  • Inclusion of members of the target community, ideally those with lived experience, throughout the development and implementation of the research 
  • The research being conducted is filling a gap in knowledge across the ecosystem related to one of the three SERRF research themes 
  • The knowledge gained will be impactful to the charity/NFP partner and the partner has the intention to disseminate the results of the research 
  • Presence of an experienced academic supervisor at the intern’s institution to help guide the development of the project, and ensure research rigour and adherence to academic standards
  • The proposed project shows active engagement with the partner organization and creates a meaningful experience for the eligible intern to apply their skills in a non-academic environment and broaden their network 
  • The described project represents a discreet scope of work that can be completed over a 4 to 6-month timeline 

You can submit your EOI via email by sending the completed form in Microsoft Word format to

Deadline for submission of EOIs: Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 12:00 p.m. (PT) 

EOIs will be reviewed and ranked by Scotiabank. The top- ranked EOIs from each SERRF research theme will be invited to proceed to Stage 2 — Mitacs Accelerate proposal.

Please note that Stage 1 of the application process for the SERRF is a highly competitive process with limited funding. Only the most highly ranked EOIs will be invited to submit a full Mitacs Accelerate proposal in Stage 2.

If an EOI is not selected to move to Stage 2 of the SERRF application process, the project may still be eligible to apply for the Mitacs Accelerate program through the standard funding stream without the financial contribution from Scotiabank.

Stage 2 — Mitacs Accelerate proposal  

Successful projects from Stage 1 will be invited to submit a Mitacs Accelerate proposal with the additional funding contribution from SERRF included in the project budget.

View Mitacs Accelerate proposal package here

Complete Mitacs Accelerate proposals funded under the SERRF initiative willshould be submitted to their Mitacs BDAdvisor. The deadline for full application submission to Mitacs will be included in the invitation to submit a full proposal to Mitacs.  

Full Accelerate proposals undergo a peer review process to ensure that all projects meet Mitacs Accelerate program criteria and follow best practice for research in their chosen discipline. This review process will take approximately eight weeks from the time of submission.  

All SERRF projects that meet Accelerate program criteria at the full proposal stage will be approved for funding — the adjudication of projects at the full proposal stage is not a competitive process.  

Project reporting

In addition to the standard Mitacs Accelerate report, intern recipients of SERRF funding will be required to participate in a project reporting process to be administered by Scotiabank.


Stage 1 — Expression of Interest SERFF program launch February 13, 2023
Expression of Interest submission deadline April 5, 2023 
Notification of EOI review results and  invitation to Stage 2 Spring 2023
Stage 2 — Full proposal  Mitacs Accelerate proposal deadline June 2023 — date TBC in invitation to full proposal stage
Mitacs Accelerate peer review Approximately 8 weeks 
Project execution   Project start September 2023
Project execution Four to six months 


More information about the Accelerate program and what to expect when you are submitting a Mitacs Accelerate project can be found on the Mitacs website. For questions pertaining to this partnership or application process, please contact: