Mitacs Accelerate Canadian Research Funding for Business Innovation Projects

Innovative companies on the verge of technological breakthroughs could often benefit from the support of outside researchers. Whether it helps to improve the research and development cycle, or simply speeds time to commercialization, accessing research talent significantly supports project outcomes. Although many innovative firms have difficulty finding top research talent, Canadian government funding programs can help.

The Mitacs Accelerate program is uniquely positioned to help innovative companies complete research projects. Through the program, firms work with local universities to establish a research partnership; once connected with a professor, companies get in touch with Master’s and PhD students that can provide further support on project deliverables. Interns support the company over a four- to six-month period and must spend at least half of this time at the business’ office or site.

Mitacs Accelerate offsets research intern costs by up to $7,500 per four- to six-month placement. Companies can hire multiple interns and work with interns over multiple internship units as necessary for the project.

There are two ways to kickoff a Mitacs Accelerate project, including contacting a Mitacs Business Development Manager to find a suitable research partner. Alternately, companies can coordinate their project with a local post-secondary institution. If there is a good fit for work with a professor and their students, the professor and company will develop a joint project proposal and submit directly to Mitacs for funding.

What are Mitacs Accelerate Research Grants?

Mitacs Accelerate is a Canadian research funding program designed to support research and development projects performed by businesses and non-profit organizations. Through the program, companies access one or more research interns to support innovative projects. During the project, interns split their time between the company’s office and the post-secondary institution.

In addition to the research talent, businesses are entitled to research grants that offset $7,500 or more. Funding is compounded for each research intern hired.

Each four- to six-month internship unit is extended a $15,000 research award, of which Mitacs pays half and the business covers the other half. For six or more units with three or more interns, companies can contribute $6,000 per project unit, which receives a $13,300 research award. Mitacs’ funding contribution, in addition to the company’s contribution, are sent to the post-secondary institution partner for researcher wages and flex funds.

During the research project, companies are required to supervise on-site research and sign a final report that includes project results and experiences. At this point, companies can leverage the project’s results as intended. Intellectual property (IP) rights to the project’s results are negotiated between the professor and company during the initial stages of the project and must be adhered to upon completion.

Mitacs Accelerate Funding for Research Projects: Applicant Eligibility

A wide range of Canadian entities may apply for Mitacs Accelerate. Research grants can be provided to:

  • Incorporated, for-profit businesses within Canada;
  • Select non-profit organizations; and
  • All industries and sectors within the Canadian economy.

Industries with Successful Mitacs Accelerate Applicants

Past participants of the Mitacs Accelerate program have come from a variety of industries throughout Canada. These include:

  • Technology;
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT);
  • Environmental Sciences and Technology;
  • Sustainability and the Environment;
  • Healthcare;

  • Mining;
  • Agriculture & Agri-Food;
  • Forestry;
  • Biotechnology; and
  • Water.

Mitacs Funding for Research and Development: Project Eligibility

All eligible applicants that have an internal technical challenge may apply for Mitacs Accelerate. Projects are assessed based on technical merit and ability to effectively use the skills of graduate student researchers.

Successful Mitacs Accelerate Funding Applicants

Many companies have already accessed Mitacs Accelerate to grow their research and development capabilities:

  • Mercedes-Benz refined quality control measures in fuel-cell manufacturing;
  • Durston Honey Farms created new beehive monitoring and record-keeping systems;
  • Canfor measured historical water levels to forecast how climate change might affect demand for natural resources; and
  • Two Hat Security developed a new algorithm that detects negative messages posted online. This will help to cut down on cyberbullying and other online threats.

How to Apply for Mitacs Accelerate Canadian Research Funding

There are a couple of ways Canadian innovators can kick-off the Mitacs Accelerate research process:

  1. Institution Known: Applicants that have already met with a post-secondary institution may work collaboratively to frame the project and send Mitacs a request for an application. Once received, partners can complete and send back to Mitacs for approval.
  2. Institution Unknown: Applicants can contact a Mitacs Business Development Manager to discuss the project’s fit, identify potential research partners, and develop a proposal.

Applications typically take six weeks to be approved. Upon approval, applicants may begin working with the professor and their interns.

Posted: September 5, 2018. Updated: January 30, 2019.

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Jeff holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.

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