Mitacs announces year-end highlights for 2016–17

Vancouver, BC — Mitacs, a national non-profit research and training organization, announced its year-end highlights today for the period ending March 31, 2017.

Last year, Mitacs delivered 4,261 research internships with universities and industry, trained close to 4,100 students and postdocs, and facilitated 738 international research collaborations — all representing $71.9 million in funding towards innovation projects.

Major achievements

Mitacs released Target 10,000: Talent, Ideas, Networks, a five-year strategic plan based on the founding principle of cooperative innovation. This model builds relationships based on shared objectives and brings together diverse research, business, and not-for-profit partners in collaborative projects that fuel discovery.

Mitacs programs will be supported by the following federal and provincial investments:

  • The Government of Canada’s Budget 2017 announced $221 million in funding over five years to renew and expand Mitacs programs. By 2020, the investment will help deliver 10,000 internships per year, and deploy top talent from Canadian post-secondary institutions to businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
  • As part of the Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy, the Government of Quebec announced an investment of $50 million over five years to support 12,500 research internships through Mitacs programs.
  • Through the BC Tech Strategy, the Government of British Columbia announced a $15 million investment over three years to support 2,880 research internships for university students through Mitacs.
  • As part of the province’s Career Kick-Start Strategy, the Government of Ontario announced a $15 million investment over three years for more than 3,000 internships and fellowships through Mitacs programs.
  • The Government of Nova Scotia announced funding that would increase their investment to $705,000 to help create internship opportunities for young Nova Scotians and encourage innovation through research and development through Mitacs.

Mitacs launched its inaugural Canadian Science Policy Fellowship cohort, which placed 11 faculty and postdoctoral researchers in federal government departments and agencies to support evidence-based policy development. These fellowships are building relationships between academia and policy-makers and giving Canada’s talented researchers the opportunity to explore careers in the public service. At a roundtable on Parliament Hill, the Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, was joined by Mitacs CEO, Alejandro Adem, and the fellows to discuss role and future of evidence-based decision making.

Several leaders in Canadian business, research, and innovation joined Mitacs’ board of directors:

  • Jacques Beauvais, Dean of Engineering at the University of Ottawa
  • Karen Chad, Vice-President Research at the University of Saskatchewan
  • Iain Klugman, President and CEO of Communitech
  • Santa Ono, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia
  • Anita Punamiya, CEO of Propel ICT
  • Kim Sturgess, Founder and CEO of Alberta WaterSMART

The six leaders join current Mitacs Board of Directors members: Diane Gray (new Chair), President and CEO of CentrePort Canada; Marie Rajic (Vice-Chair), Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Prairie Region of Hill+Knowlton Strategies; along with Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs; Sarah Bevan, Managing Director, President and CEO of UBS Bank (Canada); Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto; Philippe Gervais, Principle of Navigator; John Milloy, former Minister of Research and Innovation and former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities of the Government of Ontario; and, Gilbert Nolasco, Consultant of Cohérence RH.

Josette-Renée Landry, Mitacs’ Vice-President of Business Development, was named to the Institutes Advisory Board (IAB) for Health Innovation for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

A partnership between Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Mitacs marked its 100th internship supporting researchers with vital skills and training.

Mitacs announced a pilot initiative in partnership with the University of Toronto to support research projects with student-founded start-up businesses at over a dozen university incubators through the Accelerate program.

At Mitacs’ Policy Hackathon, policy professionals, academic researchers, and participants of the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, collaborated to explore ideas and solutions to the challenge of gathering and using scientific evidence in government policy making.

Program highlights

Mitacs programs contribute to an innovative and productive country. This year, there was continued demand for the established Accelerate, Elevate, and Globalink programs, as well as growing demand for the new Converge program.

  • Mitacs Accelerate connects companies and not-for-profit partners with graduate students and postdocs, who apply their specialized expertise to business research challenges.
    • Last year, Mitacs supported 4,079 Accelerate internships with 1,158 partners in all sectors and disciplines.
  • Mitacs Elevate provides research management training to postdoctoral fellows as they collaborate with companies and not-for-profit partners on complex research projects.
    • Last year, Mitacs awarded 182 Elevate fellowships.
    • Seven Leadership in Innovation retreats were held for Elevate fellows across the country. In addition, Elevate fellows participated in 53 professional development workshops as part of their training curriculum.
  • Mitacs Globalink offers two-way student mobility opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students between Canada and select partner countries.
    • 544 undergraduate students from nine countries came to 43 Canadian universities as part of the Globalink Research Internship program. They each worked on 12-week research projects supervised by Canadian faculty.
    • As part of the program, 298 Globalink research interns participated in 14 online professional development workshops, such as Cross-cultural Team Communication, Managing Project Timelines, and Becoming a Graduate Student in Canada.
    • 90 Mitacs Globalink Graduate Fellowships were awarded to former Globalink Research interns who returned to Canada for graduate studies.
    • 181 Globalink Research Awards were awarded to senior undergraduate and graduate students for international research collaborations. Among them, 160 students travelled abroad and 21 international students came to Canada.
    • 13 students from Canada travelled abroad to do research with foreign companies with support from the Globalink Partnership Awards.
  • Mitacs Converge connects small- to medium-sized Canadian businesses (SMEs) and university researchers to international supply chains, customers, and export markets.
    • To date, Converge has successfully paired over 60 Canadian researchers with local SMEs to conduct research and development for 13 multinational industry partners.
  • Mitacs provides professional skills training to graduate students and early-career researchers. More than 180 professional skills workshops were delivered to 4,083 participants.

Program evaluation

Mitacs’ completed two longitudinal surveys to understand the long-term impacts of the Elevate program and the impact of Mitacs’ professional skills development training for researchers.

Partnerships highlights

Mitacs signed agreements to collaborate with the following organizations and university partners for the delivery of university-industry internships through Mitacs’ programs:

Mitacs signed international two-way mobility agreements for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs with the following organizations:

Mitacs received ongoing funding support from the Government of Canada, along with Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and the Government of Saskatchewan.