Transforming Canada’s innovation ecosystem – Mitacs launches bold Strategic Plan

Vancouver, BC – Canada’s leader in developing the talent and partnerships that power innovation has released a bold, forward-thinking vision. Mitacs’s new Strategic Plan aims to build a stronger post-pandemic economy by connecting higher education knowledge and talent to all sectors of the economy.

It’s a mission that has grown and evolved over Mitacs’s 20-year history, but the core approach has stayed constant: developing talent through innovation internships where students and postdocs apply their academic skills to solving real-world problems across the continuum of innovation.

Over the past year, Mitacs has explored new possibilities through engagement with staff and stakeholders and reflection on core values and a possible expanded role in driving industrial and social innovation. The result is a vision to build a stronger innovation ecosystem through student internships, partnerships, and networks.

“Our new strategy is an ambitious plan to help create a better, more inclusive Canada by driving increased innovation in collaboration with post-secondary institutions, industry, and community,” says CEO John Hepburn. “It’s also about creating international networks that benefit Canadian innovation.”

The plan’s five strategic directions for the years ahead present a roadmap for Mitacs to achieve transformational impact in the Canadian innovation ecosystem and beyond.

1. Strengthen Canada’s innovation ecosystem

Mitacs will optimize its business intelligence, data analytics, and trend-forecasting capacity to expand its role as a trusted advisor to clients and stakeholders; support global connections for Canadian researchers and entrepreneurs and strengthen Canada’s priority strategic areas and emerging industries; and mobilize knowledge generated by the Mitacs model as actionable intelligence and leadership for stakeholders and policy-makers.

2. Advance a continuum of innovation

Mitacs will increase productivity and investment in innovation through expanding the Mitacs platform beyond R&D to support innovation projects from inception to commercialization and adoption; increase innovation employment in the Canadian economy; and catalyze growth of emerging sectors and industries.

3. Deploy bright minds for a better future

Mitacs will attract, train, retain, and provide opportunity for domestic and global talent to be deployed into Canada’s innovation ecosystem to mobilize knowledge and effect change; increase opportunities for the next generation of innovators to find skilled employment; and partner with Canada’s post-secondary institutions to embed innovation training and experiences in education.

4. Drive inclusive innovation by design

Mitacs will enable underrepresented groups to fully participate in the continuum of innovation by creating sustainable pathways and reducing barriers for diverse organizations and students; strengthen Indigenous innovation and participation by reducing barriers, ensuring equity of access to programs, and respecting traditional knowledge and ways of working; and increase social innovation by broadening the types of innovation Mitacs enables and ensuring the impact is inclusive by design.

5. Empower organizational excellence

Mitacs will build and maintain high-performing teams by enabling a positive physical and mental work environment, leadership development, and strong collaboration; promote a values-driven culture that inspires creativity, purpose, and potential; advance purposeful action on EDI; and increase operational agility and mobilize Mitacs’s business intelligence by investing in digital transformation and infrastructure which demonstrates a focus on achievement and enables Mitacs’s vision and mission.

Accountability and measuring achievements against target outcomes are key elements of the Strategic Plan. Mitacs commits to sharing progress in the implementation of this new vision with clients and stakeholders as important milestones are reached.

Mitacs will launch the new Strategic Plan at an event in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 23, with partners in government, academia, and industry, and Mitacs Board of Directors and leadership. The launch event will be followed by the 2021 Mitacs Annual Awards, a celebration of the bright future of Canadian innovation.

The full Strategic Plan is available at

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.