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About Mitacs

March 19, 2013

Mitacs just received $35 million in additional funding for graduate students and postdocs.  The video is the recording of the information session that they delivered at SFU.

What is Mitacs?
MITACS was created in 1999 as a Network of Centres of Excellence. SFU was an early home for it — co-founder Arvind Gupta was a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics. In 2003, it launched the Accelerate internship program, with just 18 students and in 2010, they had over 1200 internship placements. (Some more history and a Mitacs timeline.)

Around 2011, they rebranded from MITACS to Mitacs. With the loss of the uppercase letters (which originally stood for "Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems") went their primary commitment to science and techology programs. 

Today, their strategy is to "support national innovation by coordinating collaborative industry-university research projects with human capital development at their core." They are no longer limited to scientific/technology projects and in fact, are actively looking for ideas that come from social sciences and humanities researchers and involve industry partners. (It ties in rather well with SFU's goal of "Engaging the community" / "Engaging research" / "Engaging students").

Note: A decade of reputation-building is hard to overcome. Most of their industry partners are still science/technology based and many people on campus still think that they're not applicable to social science and humanities researchers.

Programs and news discussed in the video

  1. Provincial Commercialization Voucher Program – all disciplines, all grad students and post-docs (application deadline March 15)
  2. Mitacs PhD Industry Fellowship – PhDs, and Masters continuing on to be PhDs (application deadline March 27) 
  3. New numbers, no lifetime limit: (i) Masters can do 2 internships; (ii) PhD another 6 internships; and post-docs another 6. Total: 14 
  4. New funding commitment from Federal Govt: $35M over 5 years! 

For more information

Mitacs Step
Mitacs will also be offering their popular Step workshops at Burnaby and Surrey through the rest of this year. Watch their Upcoming Workshops page for details as they get scheduled. (Sneak peek: We should have Business Etiquette, Time Management and Proactive and Practical Communications coming up in late May/early June on the Burnaby campus.)

See also: PhD student turns to Mitacs Step to help share his research ideas and patent eco-friendly prawn traps, featuring SFU PhD student Brett Favaro.

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