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Everything You Need to Know About Mitacs’ Research Internship Programs

Everything You Need to Know About Mitacs’ Research Internship Programs
on February 19, 2014
Everything You Need to Know About Mitacs’ Research Internship Programs

Mitacs is a national non-profit organization focused on developing Canada’s next generation of innovators and researchers. Basically, they bring industry and academia together to provide additional training and expertise for post-secondary students and to help industry partners innovate.

In 2013, Mitacs:

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  • Funded +1700 industry based research collaborations

  • Partnered with +900 companies (44% of which are SMEs)

  • Partnered with 53 universities across Canada and placed 6,300 students

  • Stimulated $10.4 million private sector investment in programs


Mitacs offers four different programs, but for the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on their premiere research internship programs: Accelerate and Elevate.

How do the internships work?

As a company or industry partner, you can work with Mitacs to temporarily hire a grad student or postdoctoral fellow to help with your research & development. Mitacs and the University manage all of the administrative and financial issues for the short-term placement, and you get the opportunity to work with up-and-coming talent. You have the ability to develop the next generation of innovators.

I. Accelerate

a. Accelerate – Standard Internship

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  • This is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative program that pairs grad students and post-docs with eligible organizations in their industry of choice.

  • The intern spends about half of their time working on a specified research project and the other half continuing their studies.

  • Internships durations range from 4 months and up.

  • Mitacs provides $7.5K and the industry partner (that’s you!) matches that amount for a total of $15K (min $10K stipend and $5K for project expenses)

  • Applications are accepted throughout the year, and projects can begin at any time: Standard Mitacs Accelerate internship (Allow 6-8 weeks for processing)


b. Accelerate – Clusters

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  • Similar to above, however you can hire multiple interns at a time for medium to large-sized projects.

  • At a minimum, you can work with 3 interns and provide 6 internship segments.

  • At a minimum, Mitacs provides $44K and the industry partner contributes $36K to total $80K. This works out to six 4-month internship segments ($60K total) and $20K for project-related expenses.

  • The program is scalable and Mitacs will contribute an additional $22K for each additional $18K put forward by the industry partner.

  • Applications must be submitted by your Business Development representative.


c. Accelerate – InDev (Pilot Program)

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  • Multi-disciplinary program that pairs grad students and post-docs with eligible organizations who are focused on significantly improving new products, processes, materials, systems or services. This internship program are not designed for research projects.

  • Mitacs provides $3.5K and the industry partner contributes $7.5K for a total of $11K (min $10K intern stipend and $1K for project-related expenses.)

  • Ongoing application process: Mitacs Accelerate InDev internship (Allow 2-3 weeks for processing)


II. Elevate

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  • Two-year post-doctoral fellowships that connect new PhDs with companies while providing valuable skills training.

  • Mitacs provides $32.5K and the industry partner contributes $25K to total $57.5K. This works out to $50K for the post-doctoral’s salary and $7.5K for other project-related expenses.

  • Additionally, Mitacs offers $20K inkind professional training to the fellow for industrial success.

  • Applications must be submitted by your Business Development representative during the next call for applications, tentatively scheduled for the end of March 2014.


How can my company benefit from participating in the internship programs?

These programs are a highly effective way to offset hiring and recruitment costs. As you read above, a portion of the internship is paid for by the Mitacs program. Mitacs also has a partnership with IRAP where they will cover a portion of an eligible company’s contribution to hire an intern (IRAP approval is required and funds are available on a limited basis). Another benefit of working with Mitacs is that some industry projects are also eligible for SR&ED tax credits! Win-win!

What type of organizations are eligible to provide internships?

The Mitacs eligibility criteria is one of the most flexible we’ve discovered in the innovation funding space. To be eligible, you must be a company of any size with offices or facilities in Canada. This can be domestic or foreign-owned, as long as the intern can spend time on-site and collaborate. Organizations can include: utilities, university spin-offs, first nations development corporations and industry associations. There is a special call for hospitals, NGOs, municipalities, government agencies.

However, to apply for the Accelerate InDev pilot program, partner organizations should be Canadian for-profit companies, or a Canadian business location of a foreign-owned for-profit company. These types of organizations are not eligible to be partners: Not-for-profit entities; Funding agencies; University-based research centres; and Foreign companies.

What’s the SR&ED advantage?

As we mentioned above, some projects may be eligible for SR&ED tax credits. Depending on the project specifics, the company could claim their portion of the expenses towards the internship and project-related costs.

Bonus: click here to download this 20-page SR&ED Guide to learn everything you need to know to prepare a successful claim.

Where can I find more information?

This blog post was meant to highlight two of Mitacs’ internship programs. To learn more, please visit www.mitacs.ca or contact a representative directly:


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  • Naeema Bhyat, nbhyat(at)mitacs.ca, 403.478.3101 (Calgary & temporarily Edmonton)


British Columbia

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  • Oba Harding, oharding(at)mitacs.ca, 604.616.5594

  • Sang Mah, smah(at)mitacs.ca, 778.999.2892

  • Laurence Meadows, lmeadows(at)mitacs.ca, 778.878.0130

  • Havind Sehmi, hsehmi(at)mitacs.ca, 250.893.0771 (Vancouver Island only)


For other provinces, you can find your representatives here: https://www.mitacs.ca/accelerate/contact-us

Additional Resources

Mitacs Year in Review: https://www.mitacs.ca/sites/default/files/year_in_review/Mitacs_YiR_2013_EN.pdf


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