Mitacs partners with Digital Health and Discovery Platform to launch innovative program

Interdisciplinary training program avails up to $2 million to produce skilled Canadian workers

Montréal, QC — Today, the Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP) announced a new national program to boost the skills and expertise of researchers working in the health innovation and digital technology sectors of Canada’s knowledge economy. Mitacs is pleased to be the first organization to announce participation into the new DHDP Catalyst Program.

In partnership with Mitacs, the DHDP lead institutions — the Terry Fox Research Institute and Imagia — will offer applied research grants totalling up to $2 million through the program. The funds will be used to support up to 160 innovation internship opportunities for graduate students This pan-Canadian, interdisciplinary cross-training program intends to produce skilled workers for Canada’s economy in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The DHDP Catalyst Program is a national mobilization and skills development program to engage key stakeholders, foster collaboration, share learnings, and trigger new projects. Mitacs and DHDP will fund projects that bring together health researchers, data scientists, and industry partners to foster scientific innovation and technology development in Canada. The initial focus is on oncology and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

This program will supercharge the development of innovative and interdisciplinary training internships that will directly contribute to the development of highly qualified personnel. Through work-integrated learning and advancement of state-of-the-art innovation, the health and digital technology sector will experience key benefits.

The Catalyst Program is open to graduate researchers working with a faculty member (who is eligible to hold Tri-Agency funds) at any Canadian university or faculty at Canadian colleges. Applications must include one Canadian partner (including for-profit and not-for-profit partners) as a collaborator or research sponsor. Internships will be based on the Mitacs Accelerate program funding structure. For more information, and to apply, please visit the DHDP Catalyst Program page


The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Our Government is investing in training the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers that will embrace artificial intelligence in driving health innovation. This will bring knowledge to the Canadian economy and foster technology development across our country.”

Shelley Epstein, Vice President Corporate and Public Affairs, Imagia

“It is a very exciting time for the DHDP as we launch our first funding competition to build dual domain expertise in Canada. This program is vital to develop AI specialists with an appreciation for the life sciences as well as inspire clinical, scientific researchers and new talent to explore the innovative potential of AI and machine learning to advance science and healthcare. We need to prepare for the full-scale deployment of DHDP appliances and that also means increasing AI data readiness within DHDP member institutions and beyond.”

Bryce Pickard, Executive Director, DHDP

“This new training program is designed to fuel Canada’s knowledge economy and to position the country as a world leader in artificial intelligence. The DHDP is pleased to join forces with Mitacs in creating a blueprint on training for the next generation of AI and health science experts. Being able to announce this initiative during Canadian Innovation Week gives us the opportunity to share how this program aligns with our innovative vision to make precision medicine and personalized clinical care available to all Canadians.” 

John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Mitacs is pleased to be the first DHDP partner to announce the Catalyst Program. This important new initiative provides opportunities for Canada’s highly qualified personnel to apply their research to the challenges facing society. We are honoured to be trusted by our partners to connect precisely the right talent with the need for innovation.”

About the DHDP:

  • The DHDP takes a pan-Canadian approach, leveraging a collaborative network of key experts and partners, to deliver a cutting-edge technological infrastructure coupled with a world-leading policy framework.
  • The DHDP creates a ‘network effect’ to accelerate innovation and commercialize new products and services that contribute to Canada’s knowledge economy.
  • Ultimately the DHDP will improve health outcomes for Canadians through the advancement of precision medicine.
  • Established in August 2020, the Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP) is supported by the Government of Canada through a Strategic Innovation Fund investment of $49 million.

About Imagia:

  • Imagia, an AI healthcare company, develops digital medical innovations that improve the health of cancer patients and those afflicted with other high-burden diseases.
  • Through its collaborative ecosystem, Imagia EVIDENSTM enables hospitals, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and diagnostic companies around the world to access and utilize healthcare data while preserving data privacy.
  • Headquartered in Montreal, Imagia’s mission is to unlock the potential of data across all organizations to achieve collaborative, medical breakthroughs.

About the Terry Fox Research Institute:

  • The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), established in 2007, invests in world-class, collaborative cancer research teams and partnerships.
  • Together with its research and funding partners, TFRI is working to inspire the transformation of cancer research in this country by bringing together leading cancer research and treatment organizations in Canada and empowering them under the framework of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network.

About Mitacs:

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

For applications and partnership enquiries, contact: Gabriel Garcia Curiel, Account Manager, Mitacs |