$5M to move research from lab to patient bedside

Over 150 graduates and post-doctoral fellows to break boundaries in innovation to better serve Canadian patients

Toronto, ON – July 27, 2012 – Mitacs and the Techna Institute of University Health Network have signed an unprecedented memorandum of understanding to deliver at least 80 Mitacs-Accelerate 4 month-long internships per year. This 5 year agreement will result in the support of at least 150 high caliber graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, focusing on the development of technology to address health care needs.

The agreement—valued at over $5 million—will be co-funded by industry partners and the Mitacs-Accelerate internship program. The research projects receiving support will be focused on expediting the translation of innovative solutions from the development stage to their application in the health care system to benefit patients. The projects will draw on Techna’s existing and emerging translation-oriented partnerships with private-sector enterprises.

Mitacs-Accelerate is a national internship program that connects companies with university based graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in order to grow Canada’s knowledge economy and create new jobs. Managed by the Techna Institute, each project will build research collaborations between academia and the health industry. The innovative technologies will fall within the five Techna Core centres of excellence: Informatics and Communication Technologies, Guided Therapeutics, Nanotechnology and Radiochemistry, Photonics, and Design and Engineering for Health.

“We are very excited by this association, which will bring together private sector partners with our researchers to facilitate the translation of health technology. Mitacs-Accelerate internships will help our students and fellows gain valuable on-site research experience with leaders in industry. This is an excellent fit with Techna’s mandate and capabilities.” says Techna Director Dr. David Jaffray.

“The Government of Canada invests in Mitacs’ internship programs to develop up-and-coming researchers with key scientific and business skills and provide them opportunities to apply their talents to tackling challenges faced by Canadian firms,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. “Canada’s long-term economic competitiveness depends on supporting business-related research and development that drives innovation.”

“These internships will offer our next generation of researchers a powerful learning experience within the health sector and an opportunity to build lasting relationships with leading edge companies,” said Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.  “I congratulate Mitacs and The Techna Institute on this important partnership.”

“This partnership between Mitacs and the Techna Institute is what Ontario and Canada need to expedite new medical innovations from the lab to the bedside for the benefit of Canadians,” said Dr. Arvind Gupta, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs. “Up-and-coming researchers will have the opportunity to apply their skills from theory to real-world application, while companies will gain a competitive advantage by accessing high quality, research expertise.”

About The Techna Institute

Techna is an institute of the University Health Network, in partnership with the University of Toronto, focused on the accelerated development and exploitation of technology for improved health. The Techna Institute is designed to shorten the time interval from technology discovery and development to application for the benefit of patients and the health care system. It stimulates and facilitates the innovation cycle through a continuum of clinically-driven innovation, technology & process development, and translational research. www.technainstitute.com

About Mitacs Inc.

Through unique research and training programs, Mitacs is developing the next generation of innovators with vital scientific and business skills. In partnership with companies, government and academia, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource – its people. For more information, visit www.mitacs.ca.



Megan Airton-Cindric
Director, Communications
Mitacs Inc.

John Robertson, PhD
Techna Research Communications Officer
Research Communications
University Health Network