Mitacs and Scotiabank.
Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund (SERRF).
For More Information
For full program details, please visit the Mitacs-SERRF program web-page.
Established in 1999, Mitacs is a not-for-profit (NFP) organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions at home and around the world. For more than 20 years, Mitacs has worked with over 100 universities and academic institutions, thousands of companies, not-for-profits, and federal, provincial, and territorial governments to build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. One of these partnerships is with Scotiabank.
In January 2021, Scotiabank launched ScotiaRISE, a 10-year, $500 million initiative to promote economic resilience among disadvantaged groups. Through ScotiaRISE, Scotiabank will support programs and partner with organizations across its footprint that provide the tools people need to improve their education and employment prospects, adapt to changing circumstances, and increase the likelihood of financial success.
To help foster economic resilience, ScotiaRISE will invest in three important focus areas across the geographies where Scotiabank operates:
- Education: Increase high school graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment, in order to increase employment prospects, life opportunities, and full participation in the economy.
- Inclusion: Help newcomers to feel at home faster and secure meaningful employment, in order to support their contribution to the prosperity and social fabric of their communities.
- Employment: Remove barriers to career advancement for underrepresented groups, to help enable their financial success.
To further the understanding of economic resilience, Scotiabank and Mitacs have created the Scotiabank Economic Resilience Research Fund (SERRF). This three-year partnership will focus on research needed to advance economic resilience in communities across Canada. This partnership will provide funding for collaborative research projects between Canadian not-for-profit organizations and researchers at Canadian academic institutions. Projects will be selected for support via a competitive process led by Scotiabank and funding will be deployed via the Mitacs Accelerate program as student internships.
The objectives of SERRF are to:
- Reduce financial barriers for Canadian not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) and charitable organizations to access talent from academic institutions in order to provide insights related to the economic resilience of Canadian communities.
- Support the next generation of problem solvers to ensure that students are actively engaged in innovative, useful, and relevant community research.
- Strengthen relationships between Canadian NFPs and academia through collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Increase the number of researchers representing the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community.
- Continue to inform Scotiabank’s social impact strategy to ensure that it invests for impact.
SERRF Research Themes
Through this initiative, the partnership will solicit research applications that support the three key themes below:
- Accelerate newcomer integration: Demonstrate successful and rapid newcomer integration, enabling financial self-reliance and contribution to society. Canada’s prosperity and economic resilience are closely tied to the number and success of its immigrants, and as such, should be the primary focus of the research study and not as that of a support mechanism or benefit. Proposed research projects will explore the experiences of newcomers to Canada (in the past three years) including immigrants, refugees, and temporary foreign workers to help fast track meaningful employment for newcomers to the country. Integration essentials might include language, culture and life skills, training and help qualifying for and finding employment, and support networks.
- Increase high school graduation and post-secondary participation: Secondary and post-secondary education increases employment prospects, life opportunities and the likelihood of financial success. Proposed research projects will target disadvantaged populations, including Canadian Indigenous communities and at-risk youth to ultimately facilitate a higher rate of high school graduation and post-secondary participation. Post-secondary education is defined broadly, to include university, college, and trades programs.
- Remove barriers to career advancement for disadvantaged groups. Help disadvantaged people and groups overcome obstacles rooted in sexism, racism or homophobia and other forms of bias and discrimination to gain an employment foothold and to progress in their careers. Proposed research projects should be focused on one or more equity seeking groups that face obstacles of sexism, racism, or homophobia (e.g., people with disability, Indigenous, veterans, LGBTQ, women, and BIPOC). The project should determine how to remove barriers to meaningful employment and find solutions to career entry and advancement.
Proposed research projects must include three partners: the intern, the academic supervisor, and the partner organization. All partners must be identified at the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage. If an EOI is selected to submit a Mitacs Accelerate proposal, the partners must remain consistent between application stages and cannot be changed.
Project Eligibility Criteria
- Must align with one of the SERRF research themes outlined by Scotiabank.
- Described project must be feasible within the 4-month project timeline.
Intern eligibility criteria
- Full-time graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at Mitacs partner colleges and universities in Canada.
- Students must have a supervisor at their academic institution who is willing to supervise them on this project and administer the funds through the institution.
- Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students over the age of 18.
- The intern cannot be a current employee of the partner organization.
- All academic disciplines.
Academic Supervisor Eligibility
- The academic supervisor must be at the same institution as the intern.
- The academic supervisor must be eligible to hold tri-council funding at their institution.
- All academic disciplines.
Partner organization eligibility
- Registered not-for-profit or charitable organizations operating in Canada.
- The partner organization cannot be a post-secondary institution.
- The partner organization cannot be a federal or provincial government agency.
- The partner organization must be an active partner on the project—providing mentorship/on site work experience to the intern for a minimum of 25% of the time for the duration of the project.
- The partner organization must be willing to be named in future success stories and knowledge dissemination activities related to the project.
- If the application is successful, the partner organization must commit to funding the partner contribution toward the student intern’s stipend ($3,750 plus tax). This contribution will be invoiced in cash and cannot be in-kind support.
Project partners and the scope of work outlined in the proposal must be eligible to participate in the Mitacs Accelerate program. For more detail about eligibility, please see the Mitacs Accelerate program web-page. If you are uncertain of your eligibility, please contact Emily Gordon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Contributions from SERRF will provide up to $15,000 to eligible interns to complete a four-month internship. The named student on the successful research proposal will receive a $10,000 stipend and up to $5,000 in expenses related to the direct costs of research. Any unallocated research costs during the four-month term of the project will be used to increase the eligible intern stipend for the project.
For projects in which the intern identifies as BIPOC, the intern will receive an additional stipend top up of $1,500 thereby increasing the minimum intern stipend to $11,500.
4 month internship.
Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.
If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.
Applicant submits full application directly to Mitacs representative.
How to Apply
Submitting an application to the Mitacs–SERRF partnership internship program is a two-stage process. Projects must successfully pass through both application stages to receive SERRF funding.
Stage 1: Expression of Interest (EOI) form (due November 15, 2021 by 12:00pm ET).
- Applicants will develop and submit an EOI. EOIs will be evaluated to assess project/applicant eligibility and fit with the intent of the SERRF initiative (see eligibility tab). All project partners should be engaged in the EOI development process. Interns and supervisors should confirm with their institution that they are eligible to apply for the program and receive this research award.
- The EOI form can be downloaded from the Mitacs-SERRF program web-page.
- Please send your completed EOI form to Emily Gordon (email@example.com) who will make the final EOI submission on your behalf. EOIs will be reviewed and ranked by a panel of subject matter experts in a competitive process led by Scotiabank. The top ranked EOIs from each SERRF research theme will be invited to proceed to Stage 2. Please note that Stage 1 of the application process for the SERRF is a highly competitive process with limited funding. Only the most highly ranked EOIs will be invited to submit a full Mitacs Accelerate proposal in Stage 2.
- If an EOI is not selected to move to Stage 2 of the SERRF application process, the project may still be eligible to apply for the Mitacs Accelerate program through the standard funding stream without the financial contribution from Scotiabank.
Stage 2: Mitacs Accelerate proposal (due March 1, 2022 by 12:00pm ET).
- Successful projects from Stage 1 will be invited to submit a Mitacs Accelerate proposal with the additional funding contribution from SERRF included in the project budget.
- Complete Mitacs Accelerate proposals funded under the SERRF initiative should be submitted to Emily Gordon no later than March 1, 2022, 12:00 p.m. (ET). Applicants who fail to submit their Accelerate proposal by March 1, 2022, may risk losing the SERRF contribution to their project. Please note that the University of Guelph, Office of Research Services (ORS) must sign the proposal and this process can take up to 2 weeks. Therefore, it is highly recommended that proposals are submitted to the ORS by February 15, 2022.
- Full Accelerate proposals undergo a peer review process to ensure that all projects meet Mitacs Accelerate program criteria and follow best practice for research in their chosen discipline. This review process will take approximately 8 weeks from the time of submission.
- All SERRF projects that meet Accelerate program criteria at the full proposal stage will be approved for funding – the adjudication of projects at the full proposal stage is not a competitive process.