Mitacs Accelerate Professor Profile – Dr. Stephen Chen, York University

After completing his PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he worked at IBM before moving to York University to take up a position at the School of Information Technology in 2001 where he is now an Associate Professor.

Dr. Chen has supervised three post-doctoral fellows through Mitacs-Accelerate internships, each lasting for at least 12 months, and is in the process of applying for two more.  He credits Mitacs for helping him secure more funding for his diverse research goals.

Growing a healthy environment with native trees

Native trees are known to support local ecosystems much more effectively, providing a home and food source for local insects and wildlife.  But the exact benefit of using native trees has never been studied in Canada.

Improving earthquake safety with Mitacs-Accelerate

It is this knowledge that Kamloops-based firm West Edge Engineering Ltd. was looking for when they approached UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering.

There, they were teamed up with Engineering Masters student Konrad Duerr, through a Mitacs-Accelerate internship.

Konrad worked on implementing seismic hazard assessment computer software at West Edge, allowing the company to carry out earthquake risk assessments on buildings – something they had not been able to do before the internship.

Improving wheelchair safety

Airbags have been widely used to prevent injuries in automobile accidents for many years and Vancouver-based Mobisafe Systems Inc. has been examining ways to make wheelchairs safer using similar technology.

They approached the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, seeking academic research expertise on how to develop an “airbag” safety system for wheelchairs using a foam cushion.

Mitacs-Accelerate interns help navigate the way to revolutionary positioning software

But GPS has one major drawback which limits its use – it doesn’t work accurately indoors.  Because it relies on signals from satellites, accuracy is also compromised when trying to navigate between tall buildings in urban areas, or under dense foliage.

Calgary-based Trusted Positioning Inc. set out to change this by developing software that would allow for accurate and continuous positioning of a device in any location, be it inside, underground, or in the heart of a dense urban city.

Mitacs-Accelerate Professor Profile: Dr. Afzal Suleman

A professor at the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Suleman has been participating in the program since its inception, with more than 15 internships supervised so far.

“Because each project has an industry partner that is a for-profit company, there is a commercial element to it, so the research is more focused on industry needs and we get results much more quickly than if it was just academic research.  We can then identify other research issues and expand the project – we can go big.”

Mitacs-Accelerate on display for British Columbia’s technology industry

Ten BC  graduate student interns and their partner companies came together to exhibit the results of their Mitacs-Accelerate internships to the CEOs and venture capitalists of British Columbia’s technology community who were attending the BC Innovation Council’s A Dialogue…Building and Sustaining BC’s Technology Ecosystem.

Growing a brighter future with Mitacs-Accelerate

But one of the biggest costs greenhouse operators face is for the energy required to run their lighting systems.  Many greenhouses use inefficient electric lights to compliment light from the sun, particularly in winter.

GE Lighting Solutions, based in Lachine, Québec, sought to develop a new range of LED lighting applications for the greenhouse industry which not only cut down on energy use but also increase plant growth and yields.

Starting a research career through Mitacs Elevate PDF

His joint industry-academia Mitacs Elevate research project with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc, a leading global semiconductor design innovator, and the University of Toronto proved to be a winning experience.

Aydin developed a novel methodology to predict thermal transport in AMD’s high-end electronic devices – giving the company a competitive edge in product development and time to market – by studying how heat transfers in various electronic systems. Upon completion of his fellowship, he was hired on as a full-time employee at AMD Markham.

Lighting the way to an energy-efficient future

With the cost of electricity continuing to rise, businesses and homes are looking at increasingly innovative ways to reduce consumption and help the environment.

While energy-efficient light bulbs and heating systems are now commonplace, Vancouver-based Unity Integration Corporation (UIC) looked to develop other technologies to help cut energy use in buildings even further.

UIC turned to Mitacs-Accelerate and Simon Fraser University for expertise on how to turn their idea of a low-cost, energy-efficient sensor system into reality.

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