India's Brightest Students Expand Research Skills In B.C.

SURREY – Deepak Krishnamurthy has come from India to work at Simon Fraser University on a project to produce a fuel cell that will fit in the palm of your hand.

Avirishu Verma is in the lab with University of Victoria researchers who are looking at ways to help software engineers use social media to write code together.

And Kashyap Jataprolu is spending three months at the University of B.C. doing research on new technology that will relay wireless communications flawlessly despite interference from rain, fog or snow.

The three young men are among 49 undergraduate students from India’s best technology schools in Mumbai, Delhi, Kanpur, Madras, Pilani, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Chennai who are wrapping up internships at three of B.C.’s research universities.

“Through this  international partnership, we’re helping to develop the skilled scientists and technologists needed by both our countries, while forging new research links with one of the world’s most dynamic economies,” said Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development. “Indeed, our pilot Globalink program was so successful that this year we’ve tripled the number of top science and engineering students coming here from India to work with B.C. researchers.”

The Globalink program, supported by $337,500 from the provincial government, gives students an introduction to the world-class research going on in British Columbia. As a result, they are more likely to come here for graduate school and remain to work in the province’s knowledge economy, providing the highly skilled employees B.C. will need in the future.

Last year’s Globalink pilot brought 17 Indian Institutes of Technology students to British Columbia; this year, 105 students took part in the program here and in Ontario and New Brunswick, which offered Globalink programs this year for the first time. The federal government also contributed $337,500 to the program in B.C.

Globalink is run by MITACS, a national research network that connects industry and academia through internships and other programs.

“We need to put B.C. on the radar of the tens of thousands of future entrepreneurs and scientists from India who travel abroad to countries like the U.S. or U.K. for graduate studies every year,” said Arvind Gupta, scientific director of MITACS. “Our message to international students is that Canada has world-class universities that provide superior education and innovative collaborative research opportunities as well as world-class companies interested in working with these students to help commercialize their ideas into the new products of tomorrow.”

The 2010 MITACS Globalink program is funded by the Province’s Asia-Pacific Initiative, a key component in establishing British Columbia as Canada’s Pacific Gateway. The program’s goals include helping to develop and attract a labour force with Pacific Century skills. About 85 per cent of the undergraduates who took part in last year’s Globalink program say they are interested in coming back to B.C. for graduate studies.

Since 2007, the Province has also invested $10 million in MITACS Accelerate, a program that connects companies and other organizations with the research expertise in universities in B.C. and across Canada. In its first three years, the four-year program created 619 internships for B.C. graduate students in businesses and agencies, helping to find innovative solutions to ongoing challenges.

In the past nine years, B.C. has invested $1.8 billion in research and innovation. This funding has attracted another $1.3 billion in research funding from other sources.



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