Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has supported research-based innovation for more than 20 years. Mitacs programs provide opportunities for UBC graduate students and trainees to collaborate with industry, non-profit and government partners on ‘real world’ problems and innovation challenges. Partners get valuable access to research expertise and high-quality personnel in addressing these issues.
In 2019/20, UBC engaged in more than 400 distinct research projects supported by Mitacs funding, with a combined budget of more than $13m. Typical Mitacs projects see partner cash contributions matched by Mitacs.
Establishing a Mitacs Project
Projects for Mitacs programs are generally co-developed by external partners in collaboration with UBC students and trainees and their supervising professor, and submitted to Mitacs. Terms and conditions for all Mitacs programs, for both UBC and the partner, are described on the Mitacs website. Acceptance of the Mitacs terms and conditions is a condition of funding. More information on the process for each of the Mitacs programs can be found on the Mitacs website.
Intellectual property (IP) and Mitacs Projects
There is usually no need for any direct agreement between UBC and the company supporting the Mitacs project (the “Mitacs Partner”). However, the University recognizes that Mitacs Partners often desire to have certainty around their rights and access to intellectual property (IP) developed during the Mitacs project.
During Mitacs-funded research if a University faculty, staff, or student is an inventor of technology, their contribution is owned by the University. In most cases UBC will assign IP developed during Mitacs projects to the partner at no cost. These instances are outlined below and covered by new express IP agreements.
After consultation with our industry partners and members of the research community, UBC has updated its practices to provide straightforward express IP agreements to provide IP-certainty for our industry partners. Please contact the UILO if you have any questions. Please note that Express IP Agreements are NOT available for NSERC Alliance – Mitacs projects.
The UBC Mitacs Express IP Assignment Agreement
Through this agreement UBC will pre-assign any intellectual property developed during a Mitacs Project to the Mitacs Partner if all of the following conditions are met:
- The UBC research team approves of this assignment and does not have any conflicts of interest relevant to the Mitacs Project or Mitacs Partner;
- The Mitacs Project is not part of an existing sponsored research project at UBC; and,
- The Mitacs Project:
- is based on existing IP owned or controlled by the Mitacs Partner; and/or,
- will not make material use of any UBC facilities or resources (i.e. the Mitacs Project will take place entirely in Mitacs Partner facilities)
The UBC Mitacs Express IP Option Agreement
In cases where the above conditions are not met, UBC will provide the Mitacs Partner with an option to obtain a license to intellectual property that is developed during the Mitacs Project. The UBC Mitacs Express IP Option Agreement provides the Mitacs Partner with:
- A non-exclusive, fully paid up, license to make, use and sell (but not sublicense) products and services based on any IP (including data, results, and know-how) that is developed during the Mitacs Project.
- A time-limited option to obtain an exclusive, royalty-bearing, license for IP generated during the Mitacs Project.
These Express IP Agreements will be automatically generated upon the company completing the questionnaire below. Once signed by the Mitacs partner they should be sent to the UILO for signature and return.
It is expected that a Mitacs Partner will not provide any confidential information to UBC interns, or their supervisors, who are involved in a Mitacs Project. In the event that a Mitacs Project requires the exchange of confidential information, the University’s standard Non-Disclosure Agreement must be used. Access to this template is restricted to those with a valid UBC campus wide login.
Any deviations from the University’s standard Non-Disclosure Agreement template may lead to delays in completion. Such deviations will only be accepted if they are material, reasonable, and appropriate for the project, these must be discussed with and appropriately signed by the UILO.
A conflict of interest arises when the members of the research team at UBC, or their direct relatives, have a pre-existing relationship with the Mitacs Partner company. This may include their owning shares in the company, being employed by the company, or having other financial interests in the company through consulting agreements or other forms of agreement. Any such relationship must be disclosed to the University in both the Research Project Information Form submitted to the UBC Office of Research Services and as part of a UBC faculty member’s conflict of interest declaration. Any conflicts of interest will inform the UILO’s review of any intellectual property agreement associated with a Mitacs Project.
The University must be free to publish the results of all research, including results from Mitacs Projects, per the requirements of UBC Policy LR2 (Research). No restriction or delay on a student’s thesis defense or publication is permitted.
In certain situations existing funding that has been received by UBC from a research partner may be eligible for matching by Mitacs funding programs. Mitacs’ terms and conditions require that the Mitacs Partner’s contribution to the Mitacs award are sent to Mitacs before being disbursed to the Investigator via UBC. Therefore, the UBC Investigator should be aware that the transfer of funds from UBC to Mitacs will be treated as an expense, subject to the full costs of research. Mitacs may charge additional taxes and fees on top of the matched funds.
Please answer the following questions to obtain a link to generate the appropriate intellectual property agreement for your Mitacs project. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Express IP Agreements are NOT available for NSERC Alliance – Mitacs projects.