Mitacs contributes to Social Sciences and Humanities discussions at Congress 2015

Ottawa, ON – Yesterday at Congress 2015, Mitacs participated in two panel discussions where key themes were experimental learning and collaborative research. Organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships.

The first session, Innovation in Learning, was hosted by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. The Big Thinking lecture explored practicing innovation in learning and multi-disciplinary approaches outside normal learning dichotomies.

During his opening remarks, the Governor General said “In this era of big, complex research problems, it seems that multidisciplinary research should be encouraged, if not become the norm. When it comes to learning, however, Canada has an advantage. Our educational system is known for excellence and for equality of opportunity, and our future well-being will be determined by our ability to renew that advantage for the 21st century.”

His Excellency’s talk was followed by a panel discussion led by Stephen Toope, President, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, along with several other leaders:

  • Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs and
  • Allan Rock, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Ottawa;
  • Gilles Patry, President and CEO, Canadian Foundation for Innovation;
  • Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ontario College of Art and Design; and
  • Miao Song, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Concordia University.

The second session, Capitalizing on Research: From Idea to Impact, was hosted by Mitacs and examined the power of collaboration and the value of sharing research with the greater public. Specifically, they considered how academic discovery can lead to tangible outcomes and societal benefits. The panel was led by Valerie Walker, Director of Policy, Mitacs and included Mitacs alumni and partners:

  • Teresa Branch-Smith, PhD student, University of Waterloo;
  • Philip Beesley, Professor, School of Architecture, University of Waterloo;
  • Renee Jackson, PhD candidate, Concordia University; and
  • Angelique Mannella, CEO, Decode Global.


Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Congress showcases the role of social science and humanities research in contributing to Canada’s innovation and productivity challenges. Through industry-academia collaborations, we can help bring research to the public at large, address complex issues, and provide graduate students and postdocs with opportunities to broaden their professional skills and experience.”


To learn about Congress 2015, visit

For information about Mitacs and our programs, see


Photo credit: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall. ©Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada represented by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, 2015.