Government of Canada announces support for Mitacs Accelerate and Elevate in Atlantic Canada

 Halifax, NS – November 15, 2012 – The Government of Canada today announced its support for two programs that aim to address the shortage of highly skilled workers by placing young researchers in internship positions in some of Atlantic Canada’s leading research and development (R&D) organizations. Delivered by Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit research and training organization, the Accelerate and Elevate programs help select graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Atlantic Canada gain applied research experience while contributing to the success of the region’s R&D industry.

The government’s support was announced by Member of Parliament Scott Armstrong (Cumberland-Colchester- Musquodoboit Valley) on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie).

“Our Government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said MP Armstrong. “By investing in initiatives that help researchers and industry collaborate and carry out leading-edge R&D, we are helping to create a competitive and sustainable Atlantic Canadian economy while providing our best and brightest researchers the opportunity to gain vital, hands-on scientific and business skills.”

The Accelerate program provides interns with the opportunity to transfer their skills from theory to real-world application, while companies gain a competitive advantage by accessing high-quality research expertise. The Elevate program provides a foundation of cutting-edge research, business and scientific management skills to new PhD graduates while giving companies access to a highly qualified, uniquely trained pool of talent. Ninety-three Accelerate internships (graduate and PhD students) and 21 Elevate internships (PhD graduates) will be placed with universities and private sector companies in Atlantic Canada between 2011 and March 31, 2014.

Today’s announcement was held at Halifax-based Immunovaccine. A leader in the region’s biotechnology industry, Immunovaccine Inc. has previously co-funded Mitacs Accelerate internships.

“While the Mitacs programs provide critical benefits to Canada’s high-skilled workers of tomorrow, they just as importantly offer important advantages to companies like Immunovaccine,” said John Trizzino, Immunovaccine’s CEO.  “Our involvement with these programs affords Immunovaccine the opportunity to continually collaborate with leading academic researchers while assisting in the training and advancement of Canada’s next generation of scientists.  Ultimately, these programs play an important role in our ongoing efforts to develop the healthcare industry’s next-generation of vaccines for cancer therapy, infectious diseases and animal health.”

Mitacs supports innovation by coordinating collaborative industry-university research projects with human capital development at their core. Since 1999, Mitacs has been promoting academic-industrial R&D while supporting the development of future innovation leaders.

“As Atlantic Canada’s economy becomes more technology intensive, it needs now, more than ever, to ensure its talented, future innovators are given every opportunity to contribute,” said Dr. Arvind Gupta, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs. “By building bridges between academia and industry, young researchers will contribute to Atlantic Canada’s reputation as a business-friendly region where innovation drives economic growth.”

The Government of Canada is investing more than $1.2 million through ACOA’s Business Development Program to support the two Mitacs research internship programs.