CO-Away: a digital tool to help northern communities address COVID-19

When the second wave of the Spanish flu hit Canada over 100 years ago, the effect was even more devastating than that of its first wave. In fact, 90 percent of the deaths happened in the fall of 1918, during the pandemic’s second peak.

A cold basement? A hot upstairs?

The traditional residential-building industry in Canada suffers from poorly designed ducts with undervented and over-vented areas causing large temperature variations, discomfort, and inefficiency. Most of the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in Canada work based on a single-zone design in which only one thermostat with a single temperature sensor turns the system on and off.

Turning the tide on groundwater contamination

Companies decide to start the mining of a particular uranium deposit based on many factors. One major consideration for mining is the presence of environmentally impactful elements such as arsenic, nickel, and cobalt by-products known as tailings and waste rock.

The Muskrat Hut

Also known as Wachusko weesti, the Muskrat Hut project aims to design a sustainable, locally sourced four-season prototype unit that comprises a composting toilet, shower/sauna, heat source, energy source (solar and wind), and a kitchen area.

Mitacs supports USask team developing unique harness to help save injured horses

“If this works, the potential impact will be huge because there are no long-term rehabilitation harnesses available on the market today,” said Dr. Julia Montgomery (Med Vet, PhD) at USask’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine, who leads the research.

The horse industry contributes more than $19 billion annually to the Canadian economy, according to a 2010 study by Equestrian Canada, and is responsible for more than 80,000 full-time jobs on farms and in horse racing and competitions.

Saskatchewan potash producer advances safety

So, when Nutrien, the world’s largest producer of crop inputs, services, and solutions was seeking some out-of-the-box solutions for a safety technology at their Saskatchewan potash mines, they turned to Mitacs to access top research talent.

The resulting collaboration with the University of Regina has produced a new computer algorithm that more accurately identifies potential hazards in the roof of a mined-out cavern—giving workers advanced notice so that they can deploy safety protocols in a timely manner.

Computer co-pilot helps you navigate changing streets

Now, one Mitacs intern is searching for a solution. Arvind Srinivasan is researching an algorithm that will integrate real-time changes into existing mapping programs. The new algorithm allows the app to seamlessly adjust your route — without interrupting the navigation. Normally, unexpected changes to the map require more processing power to integrate. The resulting algorithm is slower and less useful as a navigation tool.

Brewing up innovation

Barley production, however, has declined over the past 15 years, as Canadian farmers lose ground to international competitors. International beer producers have a thirst for new varieties but Canada’s adoption process is slower than competitor countries. Australia and Germany bring new varietals of barley to market in five to seven years. In Canada, the same two strains have dominated the market for the past 20 years. 

Seeding frenzy

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.

Blown away: Brazilian intern takes her research to Saskatchewan wind farms

Luanna’s in Canada as a Mitacs Globalink intern where she’s collaborating with Professor Wei Peng on a project to make wind power more efficient.

“Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had a love for renewable energy,” says Luanna. “When I read about this project, I jumped at the chance to take part in it and further my knowledge.”

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