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January 2015

Where are they now? Former intern leads a new generation

As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary, Dr. Christina Semeniuk knew that finding funding for her research in environmental sciences would be challenging. With considerable competition for a limited number of grants, Christina turned to Mitacs Accelerate as a new source of funding.

Christina’s Accelerate project, under the supervision of Dr. Danielle Marceau and Dr. Marco Musiani, developed a computer model to assess the impact of natural resource development on Alberta’s caribou population. With nearly two years of research experience on the project, Christina gained a first-hand understanding of the working climate for resource-extraction companies.

“The opportunity provided by Accelerate was two-fold,” she says. “I not only secured long-term funding for my research, I was able to connect with an industry partner. That direct experience with industry isn’t always available to postdocs.”

Four years after her Accelerate internship in 2009, Christina was hired as an assistant professor with the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. She credits Accelerate with giving her a particular advantage in her field:

“In environmental science research, it’s common that researchers secure funding from a variety of sources, industry being a significant one. Existing industry experience, like what I gained through Mitacs Accelerate, is a favourable attribute when looking for employment.”

Christina now uses Accelerate to support the training and development of her students, and she can testify to the program’s value to students and professors alike: “Having grants like Mitacs Accelerate enhances our capabilities. Their links with industry go a long way in ensuring the continued success of our students, and in turn, our own as professors.”

As part of a highly collaborative team of Canadian researchers in academia and government led by Dr. Grant Gilchrist, Christina and her colleagues recently worked with Mitacs Business Development representatives Justin Moores at Carleton University and Jillian Hatnean at the University of Windsor to secure Mitacs Accelerate funding.  This funding will support two postdoctoral fellows and eight graduate students, who will explore the distribution of seabirds in the Arctic in relation to resource activities in the region. “I’m so pleased that Jillian is available as a resource for my university. Our collaborations have been incredibly fruitful so far and I look forward to continuing my collaboration with Mitacs well into the future.”
 


Where are YOU now?
 

We want to share your Mitacs story. Contact Robyn Dugas at rdugas(at)mitacs.ca to get started or learn more.