Mitacs announces year-end highlights for 2017–18

Vancouver, BC – Mitacs announced its year-end highlights today for the period ending March 31, 2018.

Last year, the organization delivered almost 8,000 internships to help reach its goal of 10,000 work-integrated placements by 2020–21. Of those, Mitacs supported 6,740[1] research internships with industry in Canada and 1,159 international research collaborations, representing $123.5 million[2] in funding for building research innovation networks for the country’s businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Major achievements

Mitacs partnered with the awardees of the Government of Canada’s $950M Innovation Superclusters Initiative. Mitacs will support all five superclusters from across the country — Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, Protein Industries Supercluster, Ocean Supercluster, SCALE.AI Supercluster, and Digital Technology Supercluster — by connecting partners within each and by supplying research talent.

Mitacs longitudinal studies with Accelerate supervisors and interns showed 66 percent of industry projects are being commercialized, 36 percent of the interns were hired by their partner companies, and 11 percent of interns started their own companies.

Mitacs celebrated its 5000th internship in Quebec with Humanitas Solutions, and David St-Onge, a robotics researcher at Polytechnique Montréal. His work allows field workers to pilot drones through unsafe zones to connect with people in remote locations.

Mitacs’s first-ever Chief Information Officer, Catherine Chick was appointed to oversee the information and communications technology (ICT) strategy and operations that are working to meet the demand of program growth, perform robust analyses of program outcomes, and provide timely and efficient reporting for stakeholders.

The annual Mitacs Awards was held in Ottawa to celebrate five researchers for their groundbreaking research on cancer cells, sleep patterns, counterterrorism, and oil recovery. Mitacs also recognized industry and research supervisors for their leadership and contributions to Canadian innovation.

Mitacs held the 2017 Entrepreneurship Awards in Toronto, honouring six program alumni whose entrepreneurial achievements demonstrate leadership and innovation in Canada. The award categories were Outstanding Entrepreneur, Global Impact, Social Entrepreneurship, Change Agent, and Next 150 Entrepreneur. 

Building on the success of last year’s Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, Mitacs placed 21 faculty and postdoctoral researchers in nine Government of Canada departments and agencies and eight ministries of the Government of British Columbia. These fellowships, along with our Policy Hackathon, allowed for relationship-building between researchers and policy-makers and support evidence-informed policy development.

The Mitacs Board of Directors, which is made up of business and academic leaders, welcomed two new members:

  • Dr. Amiee Chan, President and CEO of Norsat
  • Dr. Patrick Deane, President and Vice-Chancellor of McMaster University

Program highlights

By working closely with private, not-for-profit, and public-sector partners, Mitacs is increasing opportunities and capacity in Accelerate, Elevate, Globalink, and Canadian Science Policy Fellowship programs, as well as our Career Connect pilot and Indigenous Engagement strategy. These programs contribute to innovation and productivity in Canada and abroad.

  • Mitacs Accelerate connects companies and not-for-profit partners with interns, who apply their specialized expertise to research challenges.
    • Mitacs supported 6,562[3] Accelerate internships with 1,565 industry and not-for-profit partners across all sectors, disciplines, and provinces
  • Mitacs Elevate provides research management training to academic fellows as they collaborate with companies and not-for-profit partners on complex research projects.
    • Mitacs awarded 178 Elevate fellowships
    • 11 Leadership in Innovation retreats were held for Elevate fellows across Canada. Additionally, the fellows participated in 11 professional development workshops as part of their training curriculum
  • Mitacs Globalink facilitates bilateral research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students between Canada and partner countries.
    • In 2018, 782 undergraduate students from nine countries came to 45 Canadian universities as part of the Globalink Research Internship program. They worked on 12-week research projects supervised by Canadian faculty members. This is up from 574 undergraduate students in the 2017 cohort
    • As part of the program, 529 of the interns participated in eight online professional development workshops, such as Cross-cultural Team Communication, Managing Project Timelines, and Becoming a Graduate Student in Canada
    • 176[4] Mitacs Globalink Graduate Fellowships were awarded to former Globalink Research interns who returned to Canada for graduate studies
    • 12 students from Canada travelled abroad to conduct research internships with foreign companies
    • 386 Globalink Research Awards were provided to senior undergraduate and graduate students for international research collaborations. Among them, 321 students travelled from Canada abroad and 65 international students came to Canada
  • Mitacs Training provides professional skills training to graduate students and early-career researchers. Two hundred sixty-five workshops were delivered to 4,686 participants.
  • The Indigenous Engagement strategy has provided an opportunity for four Northern Saskatchewan Métis and First Nations communities to access policy research. The project, headed up by the University of Saskatchewan in partnership with Mitacs and Western Economic Diversification Canada, pairs researchers with students from the communities. Their goal is to set up an Indigenous-owned, revenue-generating, research and policy development company.
  • Mitacs launched a pilot program, called Career Connect with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada. The pilot provides new grads with the opportunity to address environmental challenges in the private sector.

Partnerships highlights                                                                                                            

Mitacs announced a new partnership with United Way locations across the country to study social inclusion in Canadian communities. The project is addressing themes including social isolation, access to services, strong neighbourhoods, diversity, and employment for excluded groups. Researchers will develop strategies to mitigate these issues, as they can have a lasting impact on employment and health outcomes.

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

Mitacs expanded the Globalink program into the US, the UK, and all members of the EU, and also signed two-way mobility agreements with the following organizations:

Mitacs receives ongoing funding support from the Government of Canada, as well as from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and the Government of Saskatchewan.



[1] This number reflects ISED-reported units. It differs from financial statement performance due to the difference in reporting requirements for ISED terms and generally accepted accounting principles.

[2] As above.

[3] As above.

[4] As above.