Investing in research for economic equity

The Team

ScotiaRISE and Mitacs

The Challenge

Remove barriers to economic advancement and increase access to opportunities for individuals, households, and communities across Canada

The Solution

By providing funding and opportunities for students to engage in research, the partnership between Mitacs and Scotiabank is helping to drive economic growth, social inclusion, and sustainable development through the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund—an initiative launched as part of the Bank’s ScotiaRISE program

The Outcome

The Mitacs-Scotiabank partnership has so far deployed funding for two rounds of projects. The third and final round is expected to be the largest and most successful round in the partnership’s history

Mitacs is supporting student researchers and promoting lasting innovation through its Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund, an initiative launched as part of the ScotiaRISE program.

Mitacs and Scotiabank are working together to increase access to opportunities across Canada

COVID-19’s unbalanced toll has highlighted the need for removing barriers to entry and increasing opportunities for all Canadians to participate in and strengthen the economy. To address this need, Mitacs and Scotiabank collaboratively launched the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund (SERRF) through ScotiaRISE, the Bank’s 10-year, $500 million community investment initiative to promote economic resilience among disadvantaged groups. SERRF aims to promote greater economic equity through academic research.  

Initially launched in 2020, the SERRF officially began deploying funding and support in 2021, investing in projects focused in three key areas:  

  • Increasing high school graduation and post-secondary participation 
  • Helping newcomers integrate faster by fast-tracking the way to meaningful employment 
  • Removing barriers to career advancement for disadvantaged groups 

“We have a long history of working with Scotiabank as a community partner on Mitacs-funded research, but mostly on projects that addressed their challenges as a bank, like cybersecurity and data analysis, for example,” explains Sarah Fairlie, Senior Advisor, Business Development at Mitacs. “When they were looking to include a research component to their community support programs, it was a natural choice, I think, to collaborate with them on their ScotiaRISE initiatives. Now in its third year of operation, I believe the SERRF program is on track for its most successful round yet.” 

“Reducing financial barriers to meaningful research in the not-for-profit sector leads to a better understanding of the role these important support programs play in contributing to economic resilience,” says Maria Saros, Scotiabank’s Vice President and Global Head of Social Impact. “We are proud that the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund, as part of our ScotiaRISE program, is helping not-for-profit organizations and researchers access insights that help them to improve the delivery and impact of their programs in communities across Canada.” 

Mobilizing knowledge and maximizing impact 

TechGirls Canada is the hub for Canada’s women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). With funding from SERRF, the not-for-profit lab has been able to continue conducting social science research about women’s labour market participation in STEM fields. Committed to helping create conditions of success that enable women of all ethnicities, ages, and abilities to thrive, through SERRF, TechGirls has been able to focus on knowledge mobilization, an aspect often overlooked in research projects. As part of their mission to present their findings in accessible and compelling ways, the Mitacs and ScotiaRISE-funded intern at TechGirls created a short film on the results of the project. 

The Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that addresses equity and opportunity for the Black community in business, employment, education, and economic development. To maximize the impact of their scholarship programs, the BBPA brought on a Mitacs and ScotiaRISE-funded intern to help them understand how they could adjust their programming to better support the students they were looking to help. Their SERRF-sponsored research found that while the monetary support awarded to a scholarship recipient was important, the organization’s wraparound support such as the provision of necessary supplies or tuition coverage was equally significant.  

The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO) is a community-based multi-service agency that works to strengthen quality of life through services, engagement, partnerships, and advocacy. As part of their Mitacs and ScotiaRISE supported research, TNO sought to examine factors that impact the success of secondary school students in communities with relatively high newcomer and immigrant populations, such as Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park in Toronto. Utilizing interactive techniques including word cloud polls and focus groups to collect data, the SERRF has played a crucial role in allowing TNO to update and improve upon the resources and aid they provide to students living in these areas.  

An important alliance 

The partnership between Mitacs and ScotiaRISE is an important step towards building a more innovative and resilient Canada. By working together, this alliance has already begun addressing barriers that prevent marginalized communities from accessing financial services, developing models for Indigenous community-led research, and supporting women in STEM to move into meaningful career pathways in Canada. It has also made it easier for community organizations facing challenges acquiring funding to access the support necessary to conduct highly important research.  

About Scotiabank 

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: “for every future”, we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of over 90,000 employees and assets of over $1.3 trillion (as of January 31, 2023), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Scotiabank

SERRF is currently accepting applications until April 5, 2023. 

Mitacs’s programs receive funding from valued partners across Canada. We thank the Government of Canada, 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 supporting us to foster innovation and economic growth throughout the country. 

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities:

Mitacs Team
Mitacs Team

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