Mitacs and Kids Brain Health Network partner to support children with disabilities during COVID-19

Vancouver, BC — In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the goal of promoting an inclusive response for those with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, a new partnership between Mitacs and Kids Brain Health Network provides leveraged funding to support interns working on challenges specific to this vulnerable population.

The Mitacs–Kids Brain Health collaboration provides new funding to support community agencies and businesses to work with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to conduct research to help children with neurodevelopment disabilities and their families. Goals include the transition to online service delivery, policy development and support, research and knowledge synthesis, and communications.

As a consequence of underlying health conditions, children with neurodevelopmental disabilities are at increased risk of severe complications due to COVID-19 restrictions. Reduced access to resources and prolonged social-distancing measures cause children with neurodevelopmental disabilities to face barriers to specialized care. Further, their families are finding it more and more difficult to access necessary supports. As a result, frontline service providers are challenged to ensure essential supports and services are available for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Mitacs and Kids Brain Health are partnering to implement innovative solutions for this vulnerable population. The partnership provides new funding to support community-based approaches that mitigate the challenges faced by children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.

These four-to six-month internships offer graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with an opportunity to gain experience in working with community-based organizations, businesses, and frontline service-delivery agencies.

For a finite period, and to expedite COVID-19-related research and development, enhanced leveraged funding is available from this special Mitacs initiative. An internship stipend of $20,000 is possible with a $3,750 contribution from the participating agency or business.

To qualify for the joint Mitacs–Kids Brain Health funding, projects must have an emphasis on community-based services and supports for children with a neurodevelopmental disability and their families. Priority will be given to projects that directly address one or more of the following thematic areas.

  • Early screening and diagnosis: Work with community partners and stakeholders to implement novel approaches to earlier recognition of developmental vulnerability.
  • Evidence-based interventions and treatment: Support the implementation of evidence-based interventions that target the functional needs of the child, and work with community partners to ensure that innovations are integrated effectively into policy and practice.
  • Family support: Work with community partners in identifying and providing the most effective strategies to support parents and caregivers to reduce family stress, improve communication, and access resources that help children and their families realize their full potential.



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

“Our collaboration with Mitacs is another example of the commitment of Kids Brain Health to work with partners to mobilize the knowledge generated through research into practice. COVID-19 has presented many challenges to both families and organizations in the delivery of supports and services across the sectors of health, education, community and social services. This initiative brings more resources for research innovation to find solutions that will ultimately improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.”

“KBHN also remains committed to training the next generation of researchers and health professionals to undertake cross-disciplinary research to generate new knowledge that will improve outcomes for children living with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families. This collaboration with Mitacs creates a space where trainees and researchers can collaborate with community partners to co-create and implement programs of research, intervention, and family support that improves the quality of life and outcomes for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.”

John Hepburn, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director

“Mitacs is pleased to partner with Kids Brain Health Network to accelerate the development of research-based solutions for children and their families affected by neurodevelopmental disabilities. By mobilizing researchers to work with community-based organizations and businesses across Canada, together, we will develop the necessary solutions that will help vulnerable populations.”


For information about Kids Brain Health Network and its programs, see

For Mitacs news including the following COVID-19-related releases:

  • Getting research talent to companies faster: new industrial postdoctoral funding to address COVID-19
  • Mitacs and AGE-WELL collaborate to fund innovation supporting seniors during COVID-19
  • College interns primed to accelerate Mitacs COVID-19 research projects
  • Mitacs links companies, organizations, networks, researchers for COVID-19 solutions


Quick facts 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 research network, KBHN engages and partners with community groups, not-for-profit organizations, industry, parents, clinicians, health professionals, provincial and federal governments, and everyone who can play a role in advancing knowledge to improve outcomes for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.


Quick facts about Mitacs:

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


To learn more, please connect with your local Mitacs Business Development representative: 


Media contacts:


ErinRose Handy

Manager, Communications

604-822-4476 |

Kids Brain Health Network

Dannielle Piper

Communications Coordinator

778-782-7281 |