Mitacs and Scotiabank
Partners for the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund
2021 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. 

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by the purpose: "for every future", Scotiabank helps customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products, services, and community investment. In 2019, Scotiabank contributed nearly $100 million globally through donations, sponsorships and other forms of assistance. 

This year, Scotiabank is aligning its community investment toward the single issue of economic resilience. Based on our new strategy, economic resilience is comprised of three progressive goals for individuals and communities. 

  • Inclusion:  Broad access to, and participation in, economic opportunities
  • Stability:  The ability to maintain financial well-being through uncertainty and challenge
  • Mobility:  The ability to improve economic and financial circumstances 

Scotiabank wants to increase economic resilience to help individuals reach their desired goals to create a more inclusive world for everyone. Scotiabank will help disadvantaged people and communities adapt to change and overcome barriers and challenges to their full participation in the economy. Our goal, by 2030, is to commit $500 million to support economic resilience and the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in society. 

To further the understanding of economic resilience, Scotiabank and Mitacs have partnered to create the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund (SERRF). This $300,000 partnership over three years will support research to advance economic resilience in communities across Canada. 

The objective of SERRF is to: 

  • Support the next generation of problem solvers to ensure that students are actively engaged in innovative, useful, and relevant community research
  • Enable Canadian NFP organizations and charitable organizations to access talent from academic institutions in order to provide insights related to the economic resilience of Canadian communities
  • Narrow the gap between the need for academic research and community impact
  • Strengthen relationships between Canadian NFPs and academia through collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Reduce financial barriers for Canadian NFPs to access research expertise
  • 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  

Successful and rapid newcomer integration enables financial self-reliance and contribution to society. Canada’s prosperity and economic resilience are closely tied to the number and success of its immigrants. 

Proposed research projects will target newcomers to Canada (in 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 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 marginalized groups 

Disadvantaged people and groups experience barriers to career entry and advancement more frequently than others. This is both unjust and unproductive. 

Proposed research projects will be targeted to support women, BIPOC, and other equity seeking groups (e.g., persons with disability, veterans, LGBTQ, etc.) to determine how to remove barriers to meaningful employment, reduce the gaps in leadership representation, and find solutions to career entry and advancement. 

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 researchThe research being conducted is filling a gap in knowledge across the ecosystem related to one of the three key themes outlined above 
  • The knowledge gained will be impactful to the charity/NFP sector and beyond with 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 project creates a meaningful experience for the eligible intern to apply their skills in a non-academic environment and broaden their network 

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
  • All academic disciplines 

Partner organization eligibility 

  • NFP or charitable organizations operating in Canada 

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 Accelerate program website. If you are uncertain of your eligibility, please contact Rebecca Bourque ( or Sarah Fairlie (

Contributions from SERRF will flow to the academic institution at which the intern is registered and will provide up to $15,000 to eligible interns to complete a four-month internship based on the research themes above. 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 eligible intern stipend for the project. For projects in which the intern identifies as BIPOC, the intern will receive an additional stipend top up of $5,000. 

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 $8,750*
Project partner(s) - charity or NFP organizations named in the proposal  $3,750**
Project expenditures  
Eligible intern stipend Minimum $15,000
Direct costs of research Maximum $5,000***

*Scotiabank’s contribution is derived from $3,750 for project costs plus a top up of $5,000 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.

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.  

Download the EOI form here.

Please send your completed EOI form to Rebecca Bourque.

Deadline for submission of EOIs: February 11, 2021 

EOIs will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts and the persons having submitted the highest ranked project opportunities will be invited to proceed to Stage 2 - Mitacs Accelerate proposal. We appreciate all parties that may submit an application; however, only those selected for progression to the full proposal will be notified. 

Stage 2- Mitacs Accelerate proposal  

Successful projects from Stage 1 will be invited to submit a Mitacs Accelerate application.  

Applicants will be connected with a member of the Mitacs team to support application development and final submission.  

Mitacs Accelerate proposals funded under the SERRF initiative should be submitted for review no later than March 15, 2021. Persons who fail to submit their Accelerate proposal by March 15, 2021 may risk losing the SERRF contribution to their project. 

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: 

Rebecca Bourque, MSc, Account Manager, Mitacs


Sarah Fairlie, Business Development Director, Social Innovation, Mitacs