Mitacs - Own the Podium: Partners for Innovation in High-Performance Sport Research 2017-18


Mitacs and Own the Podium (OTP)


Innovation in High-Performance Sport Research

For More Information

Call for Letters of Interest


The purpose of the current partnership between OTP and Mitacs is to build on the momentum gained through OTP’s high-performance sport research initiative supporting Olympic and Paralympic podium performances. A contribution to Canada’s success in Vancouver, London, Sochi, and Rio was including talented graduate and post-graduate researchers in order to solve sport performance questions about how we could ‘Own the Podium.’ These interns will be the conduit between the Canadian national teams, sport institutes, and universities to bring together a winning equation for future Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The results will impact podium performances and will also contribute to healthy and active lifestyles across the country.

OTP and Mitacs developed a partnership through Mitacs’ Accelerate and Elevate programs, which support the brightest PhD and Postdoctoral Fellows conducting research in high-performance sport. These interns share their time between academic, industrial, and sports facilities tying together the major elements of the Canadian sport-research ecosystem.

  • All projects must have clear potential for economic impact to Canada and therefore must likely include a Canadian for-profit partner, where the intern will spend at least 25 percent of his/her time.
  • The three major research areas related to OTP targeted Olympic and Paralympic sports are:
    • Human performance: Including, but not limited to, training methodologies, recovery protocols, performance nutrition, sport psychology, biomechanics, and sport analytics.
    • Sports engineering: Including, but not limited to, equipment fabrication and customization, aerodynamics, ergonomics, and performance technology.
    • Proactive sports medicine: Including, but not limited to, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and return to podium.
  • Projects must be aligned with both a Canadian Sport Institute (CSI) and a collaborating Canadian University.   The CSI may be directly involved in the research and will also be in a position to potentially provide opportunities for subsequent employment in continued high performance sport research.
  • Graduate programs for consideration must also be aligned with the long-term performance research strategies of OTP’s targeted Olympic and/or Paralympic National Sport Organizations (NSO).
  • Projects aligned with NSOs that are categorized as having podium potential for 2018, 2020 and 2022 will be given preference.

Please see the Call for Letters of Interest in the For More Information section above to learn more about the goals of the program.


  • Fully funded R&I program that supports both short and long-term initiatives through Canada’s very best sport scientists, engineers, health care providers, and graduate students;
  • Support for targeted universities–institutes–private sector research groups, which possess the capacity, capability, and passion to drive innovative sport research directly linked to Olympic and Paralympic Sport;
  • PhD/postdoctoral-funded program that supports critical innovative young researchers to align with OTP’s targeted sports in solving performance-based research questions;
  • Development of a streamlined business framework, which expedites research contracts, finances, and implementation of project work plans;
  • Creation of strategic R&I think tank groups (sport engineering, physiology/psychology, performance analysis);
  • Development of succession plans for world-class sport scientists, and world-class health care providers focused on proactive injury prevention; and
  • Building-in a constant interaction with and translation towards the Canadian sports user communities (e.g., high-performance athletes, coaches, sponsors, etc.) both during and after the research projects.

Funding Availability

PhDs: Funding for up to three years (part time) can be requested, for a total value of $30,000 per year (which includes $5,000 per year, which is flexible and can go towards project expenses or an intern stipend)

Post-doctoral candidates: Funding for up to two years full time, for a total value of $55,000 per year, including $5,000 per year, which is flexible and can go towards project expenses or a fellow’s salary. 


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

Applicants submit Letters of Interest (LOI) directly to Dr. Jon Kolb at

Internal Deadline

FULL APPLICATION Invitees Only: Successful applicants from the LOI round will be invited to submit full applications in the Mitacs Accelerate stream. These applicants must submit a complete application package (including all participant signatures and intern CV) along with a signed OR-5 form to 

External Deadline

FULL APPLICATION Invitees Only: More details about the full application process will be available to successful applicants from the LOI round. A complete application must be emailed to Rebecca Bourque:

How to Apply

Please send a Letter of Interest (max. two pages) to: Dr. Jon Kolb The Letter of Interest must include the following:

  • A high-level description of the proposed research
    • What performance gaps are being addressed/What are the anticipated deliverables?
    • Projected timeline
    • Impact on OTP targeted Olympic and Paralympic high-performance sport(s)
    • What level candidate is suggested? Are they already identified?
  • Existing or proposed partners
    • National sport organization
    • Private sector business
    • Other relevant parties (e.g. CSI, NSO)
  • Potential for economic impact to Canada
  • The Letter of Interest must be accompanied by two Letters of Support: One from the Canadian Sport Institute/Centre connected with the project and another from the OTP targeted Olympic or Paralympic sport benefitting from the outcomes of the project.

OTP appreciates all the parties that may submit an OTP/MITACS application; however only those selected for support will be notified. Successful applicants from the LOI round will be invited to submit full applications under the Mitacs Accelerate stream due by April 15, 2017.

For Questions, please contact

Dr. Jon Kolb:

Office of Research

Carolyn Osborn, Director, Grants & Contracts
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52935

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