How It Works

Can we help your business thrive? Canadian organizations are being challenged as never before. Get help from outstanding students with your innovation activities through a four-month $10,000 or $15,000 internship. Your contribution? Only starting at $5,000 or $7,500.

Application submission

  • Prospective interns and/or academic supervisors apply to the program through the Mitacs Registration and Application Portal (RAP) and complete all sections of the application.
  • All participants (intern, academic supervisor, partner organization) sign off on the application through the RAP.
  • The lead applicant downloads the completed project proposal and ORS sign-off template and sends to the ORS or equivalent office for review and signature.
  • The lead applicant uploads the ORS signature page to the RAP and submits the application.  

Application review (approximately four weeks)

  • Mitacs receives the application and reviews against selection criteria while checking for eligibility and completeness.
  • Partner organizations are invoiced for their contribution upon application submission.
  • Applicants may be asked to revise their project proposal if sections are incomplete.

Project approval (approximately three weeks)

  • Project start dates cannot pre-date the Approval letter you receive from Mitacs.
  • Once the project is approved and all partner contributions have been received, award funds are released to the intern’s academic institution to be paid out to the intern.  

Project launch to completion

  • Project work should not start until the intern has received the funds from the academic institution.
  • Projects should be four months long or can be extended to six-months part-time for increased flexibility.
  • Note that projects are limited to two (2) years in duration. Participants are welcome to submit a continuation of the project in a new proposal for remaining project work they’d like to continue. 

Reporting and exit survey

  • All participants (intern, academic supervisor, partner organization) are required to complete an exit survey within 30 days of the project end date.
  • Academic institutions are required to submit a Financial Report to Mitacs once all project funds have been paid out.

Program Details

About the program

Please be advised that the Business Strategy Internship has limited availability. You are encouraged to contact your local Mitacs Advisor before drafting your application.

In partnership with Canadian academic institutions, Mitacs is pleased to offer the Business Strategy Internship (BSI). The award provides either $10,000 or $15,000 per intern to allow them to undertake a four-month internship project with a partner organization in Canada. Interns will work with their academic supervisor to co-design a project with their partner organization to work on the organization’s innovation activities, helping them improve their products, processes, or services. Throughout the internship, Mitacs provides online professional development courses to interns through our e-Campus, EDGE.

The BSI program aims to:

  • support innovation to generate knowledge and its transfer between academic and non-academic sectors
  • strengthen the innovation capabilities of partner organizations
  • support the creation and ownership of intellectual property in Canada
  • promote collaboration between sectors by reducing the risk for companies to engage in innovation
  • provide work-integrated learning and professional skills training to increase employability of post-secondary students
  • ensure and promote equitable access by underrepresented groups to foster inclusive innovation 

Innovation projects are expected to lead to change and improvements for the partner and/or community, through exploration, design, and implementation of improvements/efficiencies in business models, products, processes, or service delivery.

Details
 
  • The BSI program will provide an award of $10,000 per intern with the full amount of the award going towards intern stipend. The partner organization will contribute $5,000 towards the award.
  • Alternatively, partner organizations can select a $15,000 funding model where up to $5,000 of the funds can be used for eligible project costs (see Funding/Use of Funds section below) or to top up an intern stipend. Any combination of funding is allowed as long as the minimum intern stipend is $10,000 and the minimum partner organization contribution is $7,500.
  • Projects should be designed as four-month internships, however, they can be adjusted to six-month internships to provide flexibility to accommodate the intern’s other responsibilities.
  • Projects will be designed to address one or more business innovation components (i.e., marketing, operations, finance, intellectual property (IP), etc.) dependent on the needs of the organization.
  • Projects submitted to Mitacs will be adjudicated to ensure that the participants meet the necessary requirements and that the work outlined is eligible for the program.
  • Each project will require supervision from a supervisor at the partner organization and an academic supervisor or a point of contact appointed by the institution to oversee the work and the intern.
  • Interns are expected to meet weekly with both supervisors to report on the progress of their project. Virtual meetings are acceptable.
  • Interns and both supervisors will be required to complete an exit survey at the end of the program reporting on project outcomes, skills developed and providing feedback on the program experience.
  • Interns will deliver a final presentation to their supervisors summarizing the work at project completion.  

Eligibility

Please be advised that the Business Strategy Internship has limited availability. You are encouraged to contact your local Mitacs Advisor before drafting your application.

Partner organizations must be one of the following: 

  • a for-profit corporation in Canada
  • an incorporated not-for-profit (NFP) organization in Canada
  • Eligible NFPs include charities, economic development organizations, industry associations, social welfare organizations, health organizations, foundations, and research centres/institutes.
  • a municipality
  • a hospital

Please contact the Mitacs Advisor for your region to check eligibility for NFP partners prior to application or if you have any questions about the eligibility criteria listed above.

*Important note *
BSI interns are not allowed to have any position of ownership, employment, or influence over the daily operations at the partner organization. BSI interns with close family relationships or intimate relationships with academic supervisors or employees of the partner organization are not allowed.  

Any other Conflicts of Interest (COIs) (for example, involving the academic supervisor and the partner organization) must be disclosed to Mitacs during the application process and will be reviewed by Mitacs’s COI committee. Please refer to the Mitacs Conflict of Interest Policy under Terms and Conditions. 

If a COI exists, we suggest that you contact the Mitacs Advisor for your region prior to starting an application to ensure that you are eligible for the program.

How to Apply

Partner organizations can connect with their local Mitacs Advisor to discuss applying for BSI program funding.

Interested parties can apply directly through the Mitacs Registration and Application Portal (RAP):

  • The proposal template will be provided through the RAP.
  • You can also download the template for review prior to submission.  
  • BSI interns cannot have a Conflict of Interest (COI); projects with intern COIs will not be approved.
  • Any COIs involving the academic supervisor and the partner organization must be disclosed to Mitacs during the application process and will be reviewed by the Mitacs COI committee. Please refer to the Mitacs Conflict of Interest Policy for more information.
  • If a COI exists, we suggest that you contact the Mitacs Advisor for your region prior to starting an application to ensure that you are eligible for the program. 

When applying through the RAP 

  • Please watch these videos for how to apply through the RAP.
  • The project start date listed in your application should be at least six weeks later than your submission date to allow Mitacs the appropriate time to process your application.
  • Your project start date will be confirmed in your Outcome Letter once your project has been approved.
  • If you start a project before receiving funds from Mitacs, you do so at your own risk. Mitacs will not reimburse for work completed prior to receiving funding.

If you have any questions about the Business Strategy Internship (BSI) program, please email the Business Strategy Internship team.

Application
All Files.zip
Mitacs Terms, Conditions & Policies
All Files.zip

Program Administration

Mitacs invoices a partner organization upon submission of their BSI proposal. Upon receipt of the partner’s contribution, Mitacs forwards the award to the Canadian academic institution. No funds will be released to the academic institution until the invoice has been paid and the proposal is approved. Mitacs has no control over when funds are administered by the academic institution. If you have questions about your BSI award after Mitacs has released funds, contact your academic institution’s Office of Research Services (or equivalent).

Project Start Date Requirements 

Accelerate and BSI projects must begin after their research review is complete and approval has been granted. Generally, projects should start within one year of the receipt of research approval. 

Accelerate and BSI internship units should not start until both the research review approval has been obtained AND the partner organization funds have been received at Mitacs. Individual internship start dates will not be confirmed by Mitacs staff until the receipt of the partner funds.  

Project End Date Requirements     

Participants will be notified as the end date of their project is approaching and must request an extension to Mitacs. 

Accelerate and BSI project end dates can be extended by one year past the original projected end date. If any internships within a project have not been completed within this time, including units without a named intern (TBD units), those internships may be subject to cancellation. 

Applicants can adjust internship start dates with named interns as long as the project is completed by either the original end date in the approved proposal or the extended end date granted by Mitacs. 

These rules do not affect current policies regarding when the funds of an individual internship unit can be spent. 

Mitacs takes no position on intellectual property (IP). 

IP is to be shared between the academic institution, its researchers, and the partner organization according to the academic institution’s IP rules, unless a separate agreement is negotiated.

Mitacs can facilitate IP discussions with any Canadian academic institution. The following academic institutions have their own IP policies for Mitacs projects. For other institutions, please contact your Business Development representative.

Note that these IP agreements may not apply to joint applications with other funding organizations.

All submitted Business Strategy Internship (BSI) applications are reviewed for project quality, eligibility, and completeness. You will be notified by Mitacs if your application is ineligible or incomplete within four weeks of submitting your application. Please refer to the submission checklist below for more information.

Mitacs will also assess the benefits of the proposed activity in terms of the economic and societal impact of the project; the development and deployment of talent; and the establishment and support of collaborations. A project does not need to demonstrate benefits under every category (project, talent, and collaboration) since a weakness in one category can be compensated by strengths in another. However, projects that demonstrate little or no benefit across all categories will not be approved by Mitacs. 

In addition to assessing the benefits of a project, each project will also be reviewed to ensure that it does not pose any unmanageable risks in the categories of feasibility, loss of talent or international assets from Canada, economic and national security risks, and adverse effects on humans, animals, and/or the environment.  Projects involving high risk must demonstrate correspondingly high benefits to Canada and appropriate risk mitigation measures to justify approval by Mitacs. 

While the selection process is not currently competitive, if funding does become limited, Mitacs will prioritize approval based of the potential cumulative benefits on the proposed activity. 

Submission Checklist 

Requirements for all projects

  • The description of the why (background), the what (objectives), the how (approach), and the when (timeline with deliverables)

Requirements for all collaborations

  • Objectives must be aligned with the knowledge, skills, expertise and needs of all involved.
  • Each party’s roles and responsibilities must be clear to all signatories on the application.
  • Each party’s expectations on deliverables, priorities, and time sensitivities must be clear to all signatories on the application.
  • Agreement on intellectual property rights, ownership, and royalties must be clear to all signatories on the application.

Requirements for all internships 

  • A structure is in place to provide academic support that is appropriate to the level of the intern(s).
  • There must be sufficient support / supervision from the internship host.
  • There must be sufficient capacity at the internship host to manage the planned number of interns.

Requirements for all projects involving Indigenous peoples or communities 

  • These must have the support of the affected communities and those who have rights or a stake in the endeavor.
  • Indigenous communities should have been involved in shaping the project from inception, and Elders and Knowledge holders should have been directly engaged.
  • There must be clear agreement on Indigenous communities’ access, use, and governance of resulting knowledge and data.
  • The project team must demonstrate the capacity to engage with Indigenous communities or partners in line with appropriate guidelines, principles, and policies. For more information please refer to our Indigenous Research Policy (found in the downloadable General Mitacs Terms, Conditions & Policies zip file in the How To Apply section).

Project

Examples of how a project can demonstrate the potential for economic and societal impact include, but are not limited to: 

  • creating or commercializing Canadian technology / intellectual property
  • discovering new and broadly applicable knowledge
  • enhancing Canadian productivity by developing new and improved processes
  • supporting the entry of Canadian businesses into new domestic / international markets
  • developing new business models for Canadian companies
  • improving public services (e.g. transportation infrastructure, utilities, healthcare) in Canada
  • contributing new solutions to community challenges in Canada
  • addressing social or environmental issues important to Canadian society
  • advancing new approaches to include under-represented groups in the knowledge economy
  • working towards a more equal and equitable Canada
  • implementing evidence-informed strategies to address a specific challenge

Talent

Examples of how a project can demonstrate the potential for supporting the development of a talented and skilled population include, but are not limited to: 

  • interns gaining specialized technical skills through access to and training on the use of specialized equipment and facilities
  • training interns in research skills
  • training interns in interdisciplinary teamwork
  • training interns in community-based methodologies
  • training interns in entrepreneurial / professional skills through structured activities
  • creating opportunities for interns to apply their knowledge / skills and solve industry / real-world problems
  • re-skilling / up-skilling interns to pursue new and emerging opportunities in Canada
  • placing interns in positions (at Canadian companies or organizations) appropriate to their training / skills
  • interns being introduced to new professional experiences / environments / contacts / networks in Canada
  • supporting individuals from under-represented groups in the knowledge economy

Collaboration 

Examples of how a project can demonstrate the anticipated benefits associated with collaboration include, but are not limited to: 

  • bringing people together to solve problems through complementary skills and expertise
  • sharing access to data, facilities, instruments for mutual benefit
  • exchanging knowledge among academia, industry, communities
  • moving tacit knowledge into practice through interdisciplinary teamwork
  • supporting long-term relationships among academia, industry, communities
  • establishing new collaborations among academia, industry, communities
  • attracting foreign investment, talent, and innovative companies to Canada
  • creating partnerships with communities that are under-represented in the knowledge economy
  • linking Canadian researchers to prominent research groups globally

Responsibilities

As a Mitacs participant, you must review the Participant Expectations (found in the downloadable General Mitacs Terms, Conditions & Policies zip file in the How To Apply section). Additionally, participants in the Business Strategy Internship (BSI) program have the following roles and responsibilities.

The partner organization provides guidance and mentorship to the intern throughout the project. The partner organization is responsible for:

  • providing $5,000 or $7,500 in funding prior to the project start date
  • funding required depends on which funding model is chosen
  • working with the intern to develop an innovative project that responds to current business needs
  • submitting their contact information including invoicing information through the RAP as part of the application process
  • signing off on the project proposal
  • completing a Mitacs Exit Survey

Mitacs is responsible for:

  • reviewing all submitted project proposals for eligibility and completeness, as well as adjudicating projects to ensure quality
  • project selection criteria can be found in the application template as well as in the Adjudication section above
  • invoicing the partner organization and managing the flow of funds to the academic institution who will pay the funds to the intern
  • providing participants with an Outcome Letter and an Award Letter confirming acceptance to the program, project start dates, and the funding amount

NOTE: Projects should not start until the academic institution has received the funds from Mitacs and has made arrangements to pay the intern. Interns that start prior to receiving the funds do so at their own risk.

Mitacs BSI internships require the active participation of the intern, professor, and partner organization. All participants should attempt to fulfill their project obligations.

If all parties are in agreement, a project or individual internship may be terminated. If one party wants to cancel the internship without other parties’ agreement, s/he must first notify them in writing and allow 30 days for resolution of outstanding issues.

Any funds remaining after a cancelled internship must be returned to Mitacs.

FAQs

Yes, this program can support international students registered at a participating academic institution. Academic institutions are considered employers of the intern and should determine any eligibility issues regarding visa restrictions prior to submitting the project to Mitacs. Projects cannot be completed remotely from another country.

Recent college and university graduates (any level) are eligible, at the discretion of the academic institution, for 2021-22 and 2022-23. The eligibility for recent grads for BSI follows the same rules as Accelerate:

• Must have status at the academic institution
• Internship must start within two years of graduation

Normally, recent graduates are eligible for one 4-6-month internship, but they may do up to three depending on the needs of the project and the discretion of the academic institution (some institutions may only allow one post-graduation internship per person).

All program expectations remain the same: the intern must have an academic supervisor and split their time between the academic institution and the partner organization.
For assistance in determining your eligibility as a recent grad, contact a Mitacs representative or write to pilots@mitacs.ca.

BSI interns are not allowed to have any position of ownership, employment, or influence over the daily operations at the partner organization. BSI interns with close family relationships or intimate relationships with academic supervisors or employees of the partner organization are also not allowed.

Any other COIs (for example, involving the academic supervisor and the partner organization) must be disclosed to Mitacs during the application process and will be reviewed by Mitacs’s COI committee. Please refer to the Mitacs Conflict of Interest Policy (found in the downloadable General Mitacs Terms, Conditions & Policies zip file in the How To Apply section) for more information.

If a COI exists, we suggest that you contact the Business Development representative for your region prior to starting an application to ensure that you are eligible for the program.

Yes. The internship is four months in duration but can be stretched over six months to accommodate the intern’s other responsibilities.

To participate in any Mitacs program, it is preferred that interns have full-time student or postdoctoral status at their academic institution. However, part-time students are also eligible for internships that do not include international travel, provided that the following conditions hold:
* They have student status at the academic institution for the duration of the internship
* They are covered under the institution’s insurance, the same as full-time students
* The institution can pay the intern a salary or stipend from the Mitacs grant
* The intern can commit to the project for the appropriate duration (BSI internships are four months and may be spread over up to six months to accommodate other commitments)

All application information can be found in the Mitacs Registration and Application Portal (RAP). Applicants should ensure there are no conflicts of interest in their proposal prior to submitting to Mitacs.

Universities must be Full, Associate, or Honorary partners of Mitacs. Colleges/CEGEPs/polytechnics must be provincially or territorially recognized PSE-degree granting institutions with a signed Mitacs Funding Agreement.

Yes. Applicants may include up to 10 interns on one proposal, provided that each intern’s role is clearly laid out. The academic supervisor and/or co-supervisor attached to the proposal should be able to reasonably supervise the number of interns listed, which would include weekly meetings with each intern to discuss project progress.

To progress through the application process, all the participant contact details (Intern, Academic Supervisor, Partner Organization) must be entered into the portal before moving on to the Internship Budget and Schedule screen. If an error message appears when moving through the application, applicants should go back to the previous screens and make sure that all relevant fields have been filled out.

We are often making changes to the RAP, which means that browsers may be holding on to an older version of the system after we make an update. Anyone having issues with application downloads or glitches in the system should try the following:

* Clear your browser history and cache.
* Try using a different browser (RAP works best with Chrome and Edge).
* If neither of these strategies work, please submit a ticket to support.mitacs.ca

Project start dates cannot pre-date the Approval letter applicants receive from Mitacs. Project work cannot start until applicants have received funds from their academic institution. Funds will not be released to academic institutions until after Mitacs has received the funds from the partner organization. Partner organizations must pay their invoices to Mitacs before any funding can be released.

Before work on the project starts, Mitacs needs to receive funds from the partner organization. Interns cannot start working on their project until after they receive the funds from their academic institution.

There is no stated limit to the number of internships an academic supervisor can support, however, there are practical limits to how much time is reasonably available in their schedule to manage multiple internships. Academic supervisors and/or co-supervisors are expected to provide hands-on guidance to interns as they move through the project.
* It must be realistic for the academic supervisor to provide or arrange for appropriate academic supervision for all interns they are listed as supervising.
* The academic supervisor who signs the proposal may choose to involve other qualified individuals at the academic institution, such as program or research staff or senior graduate students and/or postdocs, in the hands-on supervision of interns.

* Interns and academic supervisors and/or other qualified individuals at the academic institution must meet on a regular basis to discuss project progress and any challenges.
* The academic supervisory role and support for the intern must be detailed in the project proposal. If additional individuals will be part of the supervisory team, please describe the responsibilities of each team member in the project proposal.
* The academic supervisor must be involved in the development of the project proposal with the intern and the partner organization and must sign off on the project through the Registration and Application Portal.

Both academic supervisors and co-supervisors listed on the project must be eligible as per the guidelines laid out in our Eligibility section.

In-person interaction at the partner’s location is required when feasible, but we recognize that due to pandemic restrictions, many organizations and academic institutions began working virtually as much as possible, and that this mode of work may continue in some fields as part of the new normal. If the partner organization does not have a physical location where the intern can interact with their staff, an internship may still be eligible, but Mitacs expects the proposal to describe the nature of the planned interaction (whether it will be in-person, virtual, or both) with all parties (the academic supervisor and the partner organization).
* Which parts of the project will be conducted on site at the partner organization and/or at the academic institution?
* Describe the interaction with and supervision by employees of the partner organization. If the interaction will be virtual, how will the fellow be exposed to the activities and culture of the partner organization (e.g., team meetings, company events, virtual coffee chats, training activities, etc.)?
* Provide details of the resources (physical or virtual) and expertise to be shared by partner staff.

Mitacs follows Tri-Agency Financial Administration guidelines for use of funds. Refer to Mitacs’s Use of Funds Policy (found in the downloadable General Mitacs Terms, Conditions & Policies zip file in the How To Apply section) for details of eligible expenses for Mitacs programs.

If you have any questions about the Business Strategy Internship (BSI) program, please email the Business Strategy Internship team.

All participants (interns, academic supervisors, and partner organizations) will be required to complete an exit survey within 30 days of the end of the project date. Academic institutions will be required to complete a Financial Report and submit to Mitacs outlining the awards paid out. Intern final reports are not required for this program.

Mitacs takes no position on intellectual property (IP). IP is to be shared between the academic institution, its researchers, and the partner organization according to the academic institution’s IP rules, unless a separate agreement is negotiated.

Mitacs can facilitate IP discussions with any Canadian academic institution. The following universities have their own IP policies for Mitacs projects:

Note that these IP agreements may not apply to joint applications with other funding organizations.