Research organization wants ideas to beat virus pandemic

A national research organization is calling on businesses to knock on its door if they have an idea to help combat COVID-19. Mitacs, a government-funded organization that designs research and training programs, is offering to help fast-track any idea if it can help in dealing with the pandemic.

“Our team is committed to supporting the development of innovative solutions for Canada and the world,” said John Hepburn, chief executive of Mitacs. “

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In response to federal and provincial government announcements of funding for coronavirus research, our 80 business development experts nationwide are poised to guide [small and medium enterprises] through the process and give them access to the talent and tools needed to succeed.”

Mitacs’ initiative will help expedite coronavirus-related projects by securing government funding, accessing resources for research, development and equipment, and hiring post-secondary interns, to develop each idea. Part of the program will see Mitacs cover 75 per cent of a post-secondary researcher’s salary ($15,000) for a four-month internship.

“This increased funding leverage is unprecedented in Mitacs’s 20-year history,” Hepburn said.

Mitacs is already helping Canadian researchers with projects ranging from improved facial masks to a COVID-19 vaccine, he said. The organization’s business development team is also serving as connectors for calls for highly needed specialty equipment, including 3-D printers and ventilators.

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