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Credit: Courtesy of Sunnybrook Research Institute

This team of Ontario researchers, one of whom has participated in two Mitacs projects, recently isolated the COVID-19 virus

The new initiative, which includes access to Mitacs business development experts, covers 75 percent of post-secondary interns’ salaries

These are tough times for small and medium-sized businesses in B.C. and across the country. But if you’re an SME with an idea that could contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a new program can help you spring into action. 

Mitacs, a government-funded national nonprofit that aims to foster growth and innovation in Canada by using research solutions from academic institutions to solve business challenges, has launched an effort to aid SMEs in speeding up coronavirus-related projects. Within days, companies will be able to secure government funding; access resources for research, development and equipment; and hire post-secondary interns.

“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 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.”

Besides helping companies complete Mitacs funding applications, the group will match and connect them with top researchers at Canadian universities and colleges. As Hepburn points out, bringing students into the research and development process will help commercialize products, services and technologies faster.

To that end, the financial support that interns can access is substantial. If an SME hires a post-secondary researcher for a four-month internship to help find solutions to the pandemic, Mitacs will cover 75 percent of their $15,000 salary.

For more details on the new Mitacs program, click here.