January 22nd, 2016
If you haven’t considered the possibility of using interns to grow your business, it’s time to think again, and think smart. Interns have the drive to solve your hardest problems with their fresh insights and external perspectives. You can save your organization money by using interns, and if the relationship proves successful, you might even have your next fulltime employee. With the proper guidance, interns can help your organization accomplish its major objectives.
The Mitacs Accelerate Program helps connect talented individuals from academia with ideal partners in the industry. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from over fifty universities use their specialized skills to help solve business-related research challenges. They use the most recent innovative tools and techniques to do so.
Interns spend approximately half of their time working with the industry partner; the rest of the time they spend conducting advanced research under their faculty supervisor’s knowledgeable guidance. All disciplines and sectors can apply for this funding opportunity. Projects can have a focus in technical innovation, business processes, manufacturing, IT, design, social sciences, and many more.
Mitacs Accelerate is now open to both for-profit and not-for-profit (NFP) organizations, as of January 2015. These include charitable organizations, economic development organizations, and industry associations, for instance. All partner organizations should be Canadian, or a foreign-owned organization operating in a Canadian location. Their intern should be at this location for at least half of their internship.
All projects must prove their economic or productivity benefits. This might include new jobs, better productivity for a common process across the entire industry, or lowering the costs of goods and services.
Mitacs supports partnerships for university-based research projects and university-industry research collaborations. Research should fall within the following categories:
Broadly applicable results that can benefit others in the sector. Results should be publishable so they can be shared in peer-reviewed channels, and they should be unique. They should create results of interest to the partner organization in question, but they should also create results that can be applied elsewhere. Mitacs does not fund projects working from the industry standard. They are looking for innovation, not the status quo.
New innovation. All projects should help answer a question that was not previously known, or they should create a technique or an answer to an existing problem with a process or function. All applicants must be clear with their goals and highlight the unique aspects of their project. This research must be in line with well-identified gaps that need improvement that other members of the research community also agree on.
Research should be cumulative. All research should build on the results of previous efforts, and this is no different for Mitacs applicants. Ideas should thus not only be novel, but also build on the most updated tactics and strategies. Student interns should already have a firm grasp on the existing literature—most of their internship should focus on building new ideas, not learning old ones.
Results are rewarded. It might be enough to develop a novel approach and publish results on these findings, but Mitacs emphasizes the importance of having a new artefact to show from this research. Applicants must clearly identify how they plan on evaluating the success of their project, and whether they can successfully construct what they propose.
Appropriate levels of research. All interns should be able to work on the project in question. If they don’t, you need to re-evaluate the project’s goals. Consider what work an undergraduate, Master’s, or PhD student can reasonably conduct during their time with the organization.
Available funding amounts
Internships should run for at least four months. Longer projects are also possible, as long as they happen in four-month intervals. In special cases, some projects receive larger and longer funding. Each internship project receives $15,000 in direct funding. Mitacs and the partner organization each provide half of this amount. All internship costs must be directly tied to eligible research expenses, as outlined by NSERC.
Don’t think of an internship simply as a cost-saving solution. You are dealing with the future of your organization here! You can help make sure that future is bright by bringing in the necessary external expertise to get your project where it needs to be. Contact INAC Services if you are interested in the Mitacs Accelerate Program. Our team can help get you started today.