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Connecting to Cascades

This summer, a group of 31 of India’s top undergraduate students visited Cascades as part of the Mitacs Globalink Industry Conference. Created by Mitacs – a national research organization focused on developing the next generation of innovators – Globalink introduces Canada as a world-leading research and innovation destination to top undergraduate students from around the world.

Each summer, Globalink students undertake a research project with a Canadian university which allows them to experience state-of-the-art research facilities, Canadian society and build friendships with local students.

The students are selected via rigorous criteria and matched with professors at Canadian universities.  This summer was the first time the program was available in Quebec, with students placed at École Polytechnique, ÉTS, McGill and Concordia University.  In addition to the funding provided by the universities, several students were sponsored by CRIAQ (Consortium de recherche et d’innovation en aérospatiale au Québec).

The aim of the Mitacs Globalink Industry Conference was to expose these students to the high-calibre R&D that occurs within the province, to entice them to return to pursue graduate studies and, eventually, careers in their areas of interest. Students met with entrepreneurs and government dignitaries, participated in professional skills workshops, and toured important industries in the Montreal area.  Cascades was chosen as one of two Quebec companies to visit because its large-scale manufacturing abilities are committed to ecologically-responsible and sustainable development.  Roger Gaudreault, Corporate director - Scientific development & Innovation, coordinated the company’s first English-speaking tour, along with the expert guidance of Lise Lemay.  Roger spent the entire day with the students, answering their questions ranging from future career opportunities to the life-cycle analysis of green products.

 “It was an enjoyable day and an intellectual delight spending time with these bright students and Mitacs Globalink team” commented Mr. Gaudreault.

Students enjoyed the tour of the R&D facility and appreciated being able to see the plastics and paper plants in action. The students were impressed with Cascades’ facilities as well as the beautiful grounds and adjacent Parc Marie-Victorin, where a closing dinner was held.

Sandipan Manna, a 4th year Computer Science & Engineering undergraduate student from Jadavpur University said, “When we all arrived in Canada, we saw there was a focus on environmentally friendly products and processes. I was curious to know who was involved in some of these initiatives. My question was answered when I visited Cascades on the 3rd day of the Mitacs Globalink Industry Conference. It is really interesting to see how they recycle used materials, made the different papers, plastic products. It’s also surprising to see how innovative they are. Their presentation on the technology they adopted was superb, it showed how eco-friendly they are.”
 
One student shared that he didn’t know it was even possible to link his research interests to a practical business application. Opportunities to see first-hand the connection between research and innovation in industry are very limited in India.  As a result, the students developed a new perspective through this introduction to a business where all three work hand-in-hand.  In many cases, Mitacs is not only impacting their academic studies, but also impacting their life choices at an important time when they are deciding about their academic futures.

Many of the Globalink students have expressed their desire to return to Quebec for post-graduate studies.  During this time they would be able to engage in internships with industry via Mitacs’ Accelerate programme, which would share the cost with the industrial partner.  These students and Cascades have already shown interest in pursuing this option, thanks to the positive impressions they had during their visit.  

Thank you to Cascades’ team for making this day memorable for these visiting students.