In the last couple of years, Canada’s Atlantic salmon farms have faced a surge of parasitic sea lice, making them susceptible to infections or killing entire stocks. Globally, the spread of sea lice now costs up to $1 billion dollars in lost revenues annually.
“Consumers and companies alike are looking for safe and natural ways to keep their products fresher for longer,” says Natasha, CEO of Chinova Bioworks. “But labels full of unpronounceable, artificial ingredients can turn consumers off. It was important to me to create an alternative to the chemical preservatives normally found in food and beverage products.”
While conceptualizing the product, Natasha was searching for someone to take it to the next level — and she knew that Mitacs was available to help fledgling companies like hers.
So she began a Master of Professional Communications at Royal Roads University. Now, thanks to a Mitacs internship, Alina is helping the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) enlist the public’s support to save endangered woodland areas.
A few years later, that opportunity has allowed Joel to build a career for himself, and make developments that have benefitted the company and Canada’s agricultural sector.
“It was hardcore research,” says Joel, looking back on his internship. “Not just gathering data, but also looking at the results, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations directly to the general manager. It was more like a project as a professional than as an intern, and it definitely gave me a foot in the door.” Joel’s internship also led to the company filing a patent on some of his work.
To help tackle this environmental issue, Mitacs intern Oldooz Pooyanfar, a graduate student from Simon Fraser University’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, is working on a ‘smart’ system that monitors the health of honey bees and their hives. Once installed inside a beehive, her integrated monitoring system allows beekeepers to observe and track the health of their colonies. The device uses microscopic sensors and microphones to pick up sounds and vibrations emitted by bees and can also be used to observe the temperature and humidity of each hive.
After hearing about Mitacs’ Globalink Research Internships through her department head, she set her sights on Canada and submitted her application.
Hayfa’s interest in research abroad soon found her in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where she’s studying algae in order to learn more about the health of the province’s lakes and rivers. Her research project, based at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), uses a new mathematical approach to evaluating the microscopic organisms in fresh and salt water.
Boost Environmental Systems is working to safeguard water quality around the world through the commercialization of a novel approach to treating dairy farm manure and sewage sludge. Called IMPACT, the breakthrough technology is solving urgent problems facing the worldwide agricultural and wastewater treatment industries and is positioning Canada as a frontrunner is clean tech solutions for sustainable waste management.
Consumers may not be aware of what’s recyclable in their communities, and common items like milk cartons may end up in landfill. In fact, some recycling is buried regardless of its “recyclability,” and the relative size and commonality of milk cartons means they alone can take up a significant amount of space in a landfill.
Under the guidance of Professor Michael K.C. Tam in the University of Waterloo’s Department of Chemical Engineering, I have been developing novel nanocomposites based on sustainable nanomaterials that can remove wastewater contaminants. Prof. Tam’s laboratory specializes in the design and development of novel functional materials based on eco-friendly nanomaterials and polymers.
Enter InteliRain. The Alberta start-up has its sights set on solving inefficient outdoor sprinklers that waste water due to poor design. The company’s intelligent sprinkler systems only water the lawn or fields, while avoiding sidewalks.
However, when InteliRain CEO Cam Cote realised that wind was thwarting the efficiency of his sprinklers, he turned to University of Alberta mathematician Yile Zhang to develop an innovative solution through a Mitacs internship.