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The Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP) and Mitacs team up to launch innovative interdisciplinary training program of up to $2M to produce skilled STEM workers for Canada’s economy


Montréal, May 19, 2021 - Today we are announcing a new national training program to boost and enhance the skills and expertise of highly trained personnel working in the health innovation and digital technology sectors of Canada’s knowledge economy. 

The DHDP lead institutions, the Terry Fox Research Institute and Imagia, in partnership with Mitacs, will offer applied research grants totalling up to $2-million through the new DHDP Catalyst Program. The funds will be used to support up to 160 internship opportunities to graduate researchers, working with a faculty member of any Canadian university, whose applications are selected for funding by DHDP and meet all Mitacs eligibility criteria. This pan-Canadian, interdisciplinary cross-training program aims to produce skilled STEM workers for Canada’s economy. 

The DHDP Catalyst Program is a national mobilization and skills development program to engage key stakeholders, foster collaboration, share learnings and trigger new projects. The DHDP will help fund programs that bring together health researchers, data scientists and industry partners to foster scientific innovation and technology development in Canada. Our initial focus is on oncology and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

This program will supercharge the development of innovative and interdisciplinary training internships that will directly contribute to the development of highly qualified personnel through work-integrated-learning and advancement of state of the art innovation, through which key benefits to the health and digital technology sector will be realized.

“It is a very exciting time for the DHDP as we launch our first funding competition to build dual domain expertise in Canada,” said Shelley Epstein, Imagia Vice President Corporate and Public Affairs. “This program is vital to develop AI specialists with an appreciation for the life sciences as well as inspire clinical, scientific researchers and new talent to explore the innovative potential of AI and machine learning to advance science and healthcare. We need to prepare for the full-scale deployment of DHDP appliances and that also means increasing AI data readiness within DHDP member institutions and beyond.”

The investments by our partners, like Mitacs, in training programs, R&D initiatives, and industrial internships will also develop a deep pool of expertise, with STEM graduates that have multidisciplinary exposure, including AI, health-related topics, as well as in some cases entrepreneurship and business exposure. 

“Mitacs is pleased to be the first organization to announce participation into DHDP’s Catalyst Program. This important new initiative provides opportunities for Canada’s highly qualified personnel to apply their research to the challenges facing society. We are honoured to be trusted by our partners to connect precisely the right talent with the need for innovation,” says John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs.

“Our government is investing in training the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers that will embrace artificial intelligence in driving health innovation. This will bring knowledge to the Canadian economy and foster technology development across our country,” says The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The Catalyst Program is open to applicants that are graduate researchers working with a faculty member at any Canadian university (who is eligible to hold Tri-Agency funds) or faculty at Canadian colleges. Applications must include one Canadian partner (including for-profit and not-for-profit partners) as a collaborator or research sponsor. Internships will be based on the Mitacs Accelerate program funding structure. For more information, and to apply, please visit 

“This new training program is designed to fuel Canada’s knowledge economy and to position the country as a world leader in artificial intelligence. The DHDP is pleased to join forces with Mitacs in creating a blueprint on training for the next generation of AI and health science experts,” says Bryce Pickard, DHDP Executive Director. “Being able to announce this initiative during Canadian Innovation Week gives us the opportunity to share how this program aligns with our innovative vision to make precision medicine and personalized clinical care available to all Canadians.” 

About the DHDP

The DHDP takes a pan-Canadian approach, leveraging a collaborative network of key experts and partners, to deliver a cutting-edge technological infrastructure coupled with a world-leading policy framework. The DHDP creates a ‘network effect’ to accelerate innovation and commercialize new products and services that contribute to Canada’s knowledge economy. Ultimately, the DHDP will improve health outcomes for Canadians through the advancement of precision medicine. Established in August 2020, the Digital Health and Discovery Platform (DHDP) is supported by the Government of Canada through a Strategic Innovation Fund investment of $49-million.

About Imagia

Imagia, an AI healthcare company, develops digital medical innovations that improve the health of cancer patients and those afflicted with other high-burden diseases. Through its collaborative ecosystem, Imagia EVIDENSTM enables hospitals, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and diagnostic companies around the world to access and utilize healthcare data while preserving data privacy. Headquartered in Montreal, Imagia’s mission is to unlock the potential of data across all organizations to achieve collaborative, medical breakthroughs. 

About the Terry Fox Research Institute

The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), established in 2007, invests in world-class, collaborative cancer research teams and partnerships. Together with its research and funding partners, TFRI is working to inspire the transformation of cancer research in this country by bringing together leading cancer research and treatment organizations in Canada and empowering them under the framework of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network. 

About Mitacs

Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada along with 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 Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.

For further information: For TFRI: Kelly Curwin,, cell:778-237-8158, office: 604-675-8223; For Imagia: Shelley Epstein,, 514-451-6343; For DHDP: Bryce Pickard,; For Mitacs: Gabriel Garcia-Curiel,


We are now accepting LOI Applications for the DHDP Catalyst Program.

LOI Deadline: June 18, 2021.

For further information about the Program, and to apply, visit this page