Mitacs: Building Innovations From Idea To Impact

Small Business Canada

Since its founding in 1999, Mitacs has had a dynamic evolution. Established initially to focus on applied and industrial research in mathematics, they have grown to support a wide range of disciplines, from STEM to social innovation. 

They have broadened their undertaking to include college and undergraduate students, new graduates, and postdocs. In addition, they have expanded their network to businesses, hospitals, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations of all sizes and sectors. 

They have over 400 employees and regional hubs in Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, making them an integral part of Canada’s innovation ecosystem. 

Empowering Canadian Innovation

Mitacs supports Canadian innovation by forming effective collaborations that resolve their most pressing issues. Through their work, they create meaningful change to improve the quality of life for all Canadians by driving economic growth and productivity. 

Mitacs connects the corporate sector with the top post-secondary schools to address organizational difficulties in Canada and internationally for power research and development.

For the past two decades, Mitacs has provided funding for ground-breaking research, opened doors for graduate students, and assisted businesses in attaining their objectives, yielding benefits that have boosted the Canadian economy and its impact.

Developing Creative Solutions

Mitacs is a driving force in the Canadian innovation ecosystem. They build a world-class, diverse community of innovators through their collaborative model, attracting and deploying top talent to the industry and matching needs with expertise to develop ambitious solutions to real-world challenges. 

Mitacs does a wide range of work, from building partnerships to developing talent. Over the years, they have assisted organizations in reaching their business goals, funded cutting-edge innovation, and created job opportunities for students and postdocs. 

They serve as the primary channel between the private industry and post-secondary institutions, promote domestic and international partnerships, create initiatives that address organizational problems, and boost the country’s innovation capacity.

Mitacs is the platform that helps you accomplish your goals, including analyzing the impacts of your projects or developing innovative products or processes. They guide you through the process, connect highly qualified researchers with the organizations, municipalities, hospitals, and not-for-profits that require them, and provide money for projects up to 55%.

Building A Robust Team

Mitacs is dedicated to building and supporting new partnerships under their robust leadership and with over 100 Mitacs Advisors across the country. 

CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs, John Hepburn, is an experienced academic researcher, professor, and research administrator. In addition, he is an Executive level (VP) of research administration at the University of British Columbia and CIFAR, the international research organization. 

Hepburn is an academic expert in chemistry and physics, particularly chemical physics and laser science. His formative training in Canada and the USA led to an academic research career that stretched across three countries: Canada, the USA, and France. 

He took office at Mitacs just one month before the COVID-19 lockdown. Through his initiatives, he led the Canadian not-for-profit in fostering growth and innovation by solving business challenges with research-based solutions. Even during the unprecedented time of COVID-19, John ensured he was overseeing the development of new initiatives that support economic resilience. 

The Mitacs initiatives and internships address global challenges to deliver solutions for cleantech, pandemic preparedness, and food security, to mention a few. This is made possible by integrating Canada’s talent pipeline of highly skilled professionals with industry to produce data-driven ideas.

Mitacs is creating the next generation of innovators with essential scientific and business skills through innovative research and training initiatives. In addition, Mitacs is promoting a new economy through collaboration with businesses, the government, and academia by utilizing the most important resource in Canada: its citizens.

Along with having a main office in Vancouver, Mitacs also has regional offices in important cities like Montréal, Ottawa, and Toronto, as well as Mitacs Advisors, spread across 45 cities in the nation.

Mitacs is passionate about developing the next generation of researchers who will work to fuel Canada’s knowledge-based economy. For more information, visit their website at

Innovations in research are creating new opportunities for the Canadian economy. To read more on these topics, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

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