Mitacs & Own the Podium: Partners for Innovation in High-Performance Sport Research 2018–19


Mitacs and Own the Podium (OTP)


Innovation in High-Performance Sport Research

For More Information

Own the Podium - Website


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, Rio, and PyeongChang was including talented graduate and postgraduate 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’s Accelerate and Elevate programs, which support the brightest PhD students and postdoctoral fellows conducting research in high-performance sport. These interns share their time between academic, industrial, and high-performance sport environments, 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 per cent of his/her time. 
  • The three major research areas related to OTP-targeted Olympic and Paralympic sports are:
    • Sport performance: Including, but not limited to, physiological preparation, performance nutrition, sport psychology, biomechanics and motor behaviour, 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, treatment, 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 2020, 2022, and 2024 will be given preference.


The Mitacs-OTP initiative is designed to address gaps that need to be overcome to perpetuate Canadian podium performances.

Factors critical to success are as follows:

  • 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 university-institute-private-sector research groups that possess the capacity, capability, and passion to drive innovative sport research directly linked to Olympic and Paralympic sport;
  • PhD/postdoctoral funded program that supports 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 tanks in performance-related themes;
  • Development of succession plans for world-class sport scientists;
  • Building-in a constant interaction with and translation towards the Canadian sports user communities (e.g., high-performance athletes, coaches, sponsors) 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 $80,000 (including $8,000, which is flexible and can go towards project expenses or a stipend top-up).

Postdoctoral candidates: Funding for up to two years (full time), for a total value of $60,000 per year (including $5,000 per year, which is flexible and can go towards project expenses or a stipend top-up)


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

External Deadline

LOI: Applicants must submit Letters of Interest (LOI) directly to Dr. Andy Van Neutegem at

Internal Deadline

Full Application (If Invited): Successful applicants from the LOI round will be invited to submit full applications to the Mitacs Accelerate/Elevate streams. These applicants must submit a complete application package (including all participant signatures and intern CV) along with a signed OR-5 form to a minimum of ONE week prior to submission/deadline to Mitacs. 

External Deadline

Full Application (If Invited): Successful applicants from the LOI round must submit a complete application package (including all participant signatures and intern CV) to Mitacs directly. 

How to Apply

Please send a letter of interest (max. two pages) to Dr. Andy Van Neutegem

The letter of interest must include the following:

  • A high-level description of the proposed research
    • What performance gap(s) is/are being addressed?
    • What are the anticipated deliverables or research objectives?
    • Projected timeline
    • Potential 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
  • 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 benefiting 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.


PDF icon Mitacs - OTP 2018-19 Application Guide196.99 KB
For Questions, please contact

Dr. Andy Van Neutegem:

Office of Research

Amy Bossaer, Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x58613

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