Bojan Ramadanovic, a postdoctoral fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences (IRMACS) Centre at Simon Fraser University, specializes in mathematical modeling of complex social systems, including the spread of disease and delivery of healthcare. Through Mitacs-Accelerate and working under his academic supervisor, Dr. Alexander Rutherford, he partnered with pharmaceuticals company Merck Canada Inc.
Originally from Poland, Dr. Kaminska moved to Canada in 1986 and held a professor position at Polytechnique de Montréal for fourteen years, before heading to the United States with her start-up company OPMAXX. After the company’s acquisition, she returned to Canada and was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. She has been based at School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University since 2005.
Dr. Kaminska found Mitacs Accelerate as the perfect fit to advance her own research and apply it in an industrial setting.
The idea had its fair share of skeptics at the time, but also some influential champions within the NCE. In 1998, after reviewing a slate of about 80 applicants, the NCE selection committee decided that four would become Networks of Centres of Excellence, including the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems or Mitacs.
Mitacs was created to overcome three main hurdles facing the academic community and the very people and sectors that could benefit most from advanced mathematical and statistical techniques, tools and methodologies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.