Mitacs announces year-end highlights for fiscal 2014–15

Vancouver, BC – Mitacs, a national non-profit research and training organization, announced its year-end highlights today for the year ending March 31, 2015.

Last year, Mitacs invested $61.4 million by supporting almost 3,200 research internships, trained over 6,000 students and postdocs, and facilitated 700 international research collaborations.

Major achievements

The Government of Canada’s Budget 2015 announced an additional investment of $56.4 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to support industrial research internships for graduate students through Mitacs Accelerate. The new funding will support an additional 6,000 internships over four years, effectively doubling the program by 2020.

Mitacs extended funding to not-for-profit organizations (NFP) and Crown corporations. Eligible projects are assessed for economic or productivity orientation, such as creating jobs, reducing costs, or increasing productivity. To date, 38 NFP projects are funded with 96 internships. This announcement allows for more research projects in the social sciences and humanities.

The first-ever Mitacs Entrepreneur Awards recognized four outstanding Mitacs alumni for leadership and innovation in launching or growing a company:

  • First place ($20,000): Richard Beal, former Mitacs Elevate fellow and founder of COFOVO Energy in Ottawa, ON
  • Second place ($15,000): Guillaume Brault, former Mitacs Accelerate intern and founder of Inova Source from Laval, QC
  • Third place ($10,000): Neesha Desai and Kit Chen, former Mitacs Step participants and co-founders of Alieo Games in Edmonton, AB
  • Honourable mention ($1,000): Clayton Hiles, former Mitacs Accelerate intern and founder of Cascadia Coast Research from Victoria, BC

At the 4th annual Mitacs Awards, five researchers, professor Alan Fung of Ryerson University (Toronto, ON), and partner Trojan Technologies of London, ON were acknowledged for significant contributions to research and innovation — and for creating stronger bonds between academic and business across Canada. The winners were selected among the thousands of Mitacs participants over the last year.

Partnerships with Carleton University (Ottawa, ON), University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus (Kelowna, BC), University of Calgary, and Western University (London, ON) introduced four new Business Development Specialist roles. This team works to advance key industry-academic research partnerships.


Program evaluation

Mitacs evaluation team completed three evaluations projects to measure program outcomes.

  • A Mitacs Accelerate longitudinal intern survey tracked outcomes, including skills development, highly qualified personnel retention, and job creation.
    • 46 percent of former research interns who now work in the private sector were hired by their partner company
    • 14 percent of employed interns have started their own company
    • The creation of up to 200 jobs annually can be attributed to the Mitacs Accelerate program
  • A Mitacs Accelerate longitudinal business partner survey discovered the impacts of the program on R&D investment, innovation, and business outcomes.
    • 66 percent of companies indicated that the project results have or will be commercialized
    • 35 percent of companies identified new markets as a result of the project
    • 40 percent of companies invested $100,000 or more of new money into R&D as a result of their Accelerate experience (including 10 percent that invested more than $500,000)
  • Mitacs launched a Globalink longitudinal survey in order to understand the long-term impacts of the program. The results will be released in Fall 2015.


Program highlights

Mitacs programs contribute to an innovative and productive country. This year, we launched our new Converge program and saw significant growth for our established Accelerate, Elevate, Globalink, and Step programs.

  • Mitacs Accelerate connects companies/partners with graduate students and postdocs, who apply their specialized expertise to business research challenges.
    • Last year, Mitacs supported 3,198 Accelerate internships with more than 700 partners in all sectors and disciplines
    • The largest project — valued at $2.19 million — is a collaboration between Trojan Technologies of London, ON and researchers from McMaster University (Hamilton, ON), University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB), University of Regina, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, and Western University (London, ON)
  • Mitacs Converge connects small- to medium-sized Canadian businesses and university researchers to global supply chains, customers, and export markets.
    • The first Converge research collaboration was initiated this year, establishing a five-year partnership between CNRL, EcoVision, and University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB) researchers. This partnership provides $985,000 in funding and work to improve restoration of natural resource extraction sites.
  • Mitacs Elevate provides research management training to postdoctoral fellows as they collaborate with companies/partners on complex research projects.
    • Last year, Mitacs awarded 110 Elevate fellowships
    • As part of their training curriculum, Elevate fellows comprised 401 attendees at more than 135 Mitacs Step professional development workshops
  • Mitacs Globalink offers two-way student mobility opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students between Canada and select partner countries.
    • 468 undergraduate students from eight countries came to 51 Canadian universities as part of the Globalink Research Internship program. They each worked on 12-week research projects supervised by Canadian faculty
    • 63 Mitacs Globalink Graduate Fellowships were awarded to former Globalink Research Interns who returned to Canada for graduate studies
    • 165 Globalink Research Awards were awarded to senior undergraduate and graduate students for international research collaborations. Among them, 156 students travelled abroad and 9 international students came to Canada
    • Five students from Canada travelled abroad to do research with foreign companies/partners with support from the Globalink Partnership Awards
  • Mitacs Step provides professional skills training to graduate students and early-career researchers. The program delivered 283 professional skills workshops to 6,023 participants.
    • Workshops included Foundations of Project Management, Essentials of Productive Teams, Discovering the Entrepreneur Within, and Skills of Communication

Partnerships and government highlights

Mitacs signed agreements to collaborate with these organizations:

Mitacs signed 10 international two-way mobility agreements for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs with these organizations:

Mitacs received ongoing funding support from the Government of Canada, the Networks of Centres of Excellence’s Industrial Research and Development Internship Program, the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, Western Economic Diversification, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ and FRQNT), and the Government of Saskatchewan.