Canadian Manufacturing

Rapid funding for SMEs with solutions to fight COVID-19

Mitacs announces initiative to speed up application process, access to research talent for SMEs

April 2, 2020  by CM Staff

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Mitacs — a not-for-profit organization that says it solves business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions — announced that it would help small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) expedite coronavirus-related projects by securing government funding, accessing resources for research, development and equipment, and hiring post-secondary interns, within days.

“Our team is committed to supporting the development of innovative solutions for Canada and the world,” said John Hepburn, CEO and scientific director of Mitacs, in a prepared statement. “In response to federal and provincial government announcements of funding for coronavirus research, our 80 business development experts nationwide are poised to guide SMEs through the process and give them access to the talent and tools needed to succeed.”

The team assists SMEs in answering government calls-for-proposals by helping to complete Mitacs funding applications. Mitacs also says it matches and connects businesses with top researchers at Canadian universities and colleges according to the skills and expertise required to develop each particular solution.

College interns have been added to the mix in order to support project development with activities such as coding, prototyping, monitoring cell cultures, managing data, and creating visual presentations of modelling. Incorporating college students in the R&D process will help commercialize products, services, and technologies, according to Mitacs.

For SMEs looking to hire a post-secondary researcher for a four-month internship to help develop COVID-19 solutions, Mitacs will cover 75% of the intern’s $15,000 salary. Businesses with qualifying COVID-19 projects during this period will contribute $3,750 for a four-month internship, with the remaining cost of $11,250 covered by Mitacs through government and other funding sources.

Mitacs says it has already deployed resources to mobilize Canadian researchers to develop solutions for projects ranging from improved facial masks to a COVID-19 vaccine. The organization’s business development team is also serving as connectors for calls for highly needed specialty equipment, including 3D printers and ventilators.

“It is our hope that this initiative will give SMEs the support needed to provide highly needed solutions at this unprecedented time,” Hepburn said.


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