Mitacs and KBHN partner to fund $140,000 in COVID-19 research internships

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families have faced unprecedented challenges in accessing supports from a home base.

Navigating this new normal has called for new ways of delivering services and supports. To fast-track solutions, Mitacs and Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN) have partnered to support community-based research to mitigate the challenges frontline organizations face in the provision of services and supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are delighted to announce that Mitacs and KBHN, in collaboration with community partners, have awarded seven projects and their investigators the necessary funding to pursue such research. Across these seven projects, nine internships have been awarded for a total of $140,000 for critically important research. Recipients of the Mitacs-KBHN awards are:

  • Vivian Lee, York University with Autism Ontario
  • Jackie Guy, University of Western Ontario with Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance
  • Maude Champagne, Queen’s University with ABLE2 (formerly Citizen Advocacy Ottawa)
  • Ashish Seth and Jessica Kohek, University of Calgary with Cerebral Palsy Association – Alberta
  • Wendy Mitchell and Rosslynn Zulla, University of Calgary with Pacific Autism Family Network
  • Vanessa Fong, Simon Fraser University with ACT – Autism Community Training
  • Buse Bedir, University of Victoria with Child Development Foundation of British Columbia

Each project receives a $20,000 stipend allotment provided by Mitacs, KBHN, and community partners.

This funding will support four- to six-month internships. Each will offer graduate students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to gain experience in working with community-based organizations, businesses, and frontline service-delivery agencies on COVID-19-related research, with an emphasis on services and supports for children with a neurodevelopmental disability and their families.

Please join us in congratulating the awardees on successful applications. To learn more about each project, click here to read their abstracts.


Nicky Lewis, CEO, KBHN and Dr. James Reynolds, KBHN Chief Scientific Officer

“Kids Brain Health Network remains committed to mobilizing the knowledge generated through research into practice — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where families and organizations continue to face increased barriers to access and delivery. This collaboration with Mitacs encourages solution-focused thinking that will ultimately improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.”

John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Mitacs is proud to partner with Kids Brain Health Network to accelerate the development of research-based solutions for children affected by neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. Important innovations depend upon mobilizing researchers to work with community-based organizations and businesses. Thanks to the funding support of the Governments of Canada and the provinces, together we will develop the necessary solutions that will help children and their families.”

About Kids Brain Health Network:

  • Since 2010, Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN) has been supported by the National Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Program. The NCE is a Canadian government initiative, which funds partnerships between universities, industry, government, and not-for-profit organizations to create large-scale research networks with the overarching goal of delivering socio-economic benefit to Canada.
  • As a not-for-profit research network, KBHN researchers work to develop and implement innovative solutions and services with the potential to improve the lives of children living with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. In doing so, they collaborate with community, industry, government and non-profit partners and everyone who can play a role in advancing knowledge to improve outcomes for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.

About Mitacs:

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.
  • 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, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.