Accelerating innovation in times of pandemic




Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization, fosters economic growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions. For more than 20 years, Mitacs has been dedicated to helping businesses achieve breakthrough results, supporting essential talent acquisition, and preparing researchers for rewarding careers.

Committed to leveraging Canada’s artificial intelligence strengths, Mitacs works directly with AI centres and companies in the country and internationally. Thanks to this enduring work, the organization drives innovation amidst the challenges that affect Canadians, including COVID-19.

From humanitarian crises to pandemics: AI to the rescue
During his deployment at a Red Cross field hospital in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Dr. Abdo Shabah saw the potential for greater use of technology in emergency health interventions. Upon his return, he founded Humanitas Solutions, a company that designs ways to increase security and protect human life. Now, Humanitas is adapting its technology to the COVID-19 context.

Humanitas has been partnering with Mitacs since its beginnings, having invested in more than 100 internships. Currently, 10 Mitacs research interns — supervised by faculty from Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, and HEC Montréal — are applying AI and edge computing to improve the coordination of various elements in a hospital system. Humanitas’s solutions are already being integrated into pandemic management within a hospital in Montréal.

AI drives solution for COVID-19 vaccine
When Gurudeeban Selvaraj and Satyavani Kaliamurthi came to Canada for the Mitacs Globalink Research Award, they had no idea they would be creating both a preventative vaccine and a drug to address the century’s biggest pandemic.

With the onset of COVID-19 and travel restrictions to their home in China, they found themselves remaining in Canada for an extended period. Their Mitacs fellowships enabled them to conduct research at the Centre for Research in Molecular Modeling (CERMM) at Concordia University in Montréal, supervised by Professor Gilles Peslherbe.

By using a new methodology that integrates AI and large-scale structural modelling of the virus, they comprehensively studied the virus’s main enzyme, which allows it to multiply in the human body. With this, they began developing a new drug to combat COVID-19 and working to identify other drugs to be repurposed to fight the disease.

Partnerships propel AI solutions across the country
As a pioneer in Canada’s AI ecosystem, Mitacs is involved in multiple collaborations and works to build strategic partnerships between trailblazing institutions and top research talent. Learn more about some of Mitacs’s AI projects in Quebec with nationwide impact:


CANN Forecast uses AI to identify pipes at risk of breaking

CANSCAN secures shipping containers using AI


About Mitacs
Mitacs can help businesses and not-for-profit organizations connect with precisely the right research talent — experts in AI — to drive innovation.

Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada along with the Government of Quebec, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.

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