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July 2012

Starting a research career on stable foundations

With a multibillion dollar investment loss by JP Morgan Chase fresh in the minds of investors and insurance professionals, the field of risk analytics has never been more important to the world’s still-fragile economies.

For Oleksandr Romanko of McMaster University’s Department of Computing and Software, a postdoctoral fellowship through Mitacs Elevate helped him to transition to the world of risk analytics when he was hired as a full time Research Analyst this summer by IBM.

Risk analytics is a relatively new venture for IBM, having acquired Ontario’s Algorithmics Inc. and another similar company in September of 2011. Software developed by these companies helps the banking, investment and insurance industries to calculate financial risk in their projects and to make attempts to eliminate or reduce such risks.

With his expertise in software development, business analytics and mathematical modeling, Oleksandr proved to be a good fit with Algorithmics as he worked closely with the company’s senior researchers and executives during his Elevate fellowship which began two years ago and ended in spring, 2012.

"We continue to be big supporters of the Mitacs Elevate program," says Ben De Prisco, Head of Research and Financial Engineering at IBM’s Algorithimics. "It represents an ideal program for us to get to know postdoctoral fellows and to see the many things they are capable of. It also serves as an excellent platform for many to transition from academia to practical real-world applications. We are extremely pleased with Oleksandr's contributions over the last two years and look forward to him having a long, successful career with us."

Oleksandr credits the Mitacs Elevate program with connecting him to his new employer saying, “My experience in working with the company was very exciting as I was working closely with them almost on a daily basis because of my Mitacs Elevate fellowship. Now, I am getting involved in a number of new projects and establishing networks within the company. I am very excited about working with a great team at Algorithmics! “

His advice to potential Elevate students? “A Mitacs Elevate fellowship is an excellent way to learn about your field of research but it’s necessary to go beyond your research project and explore the area you are working in. This can create additional opportunities for collaboration and future employment. “