The inaugural Mitacs Awards ceremony was held on Wednesday evening to recognize the amazing contributions young researchers participating in Mitacs programs aimed at fostering research and innovation, as well as forging stronger bonds between academia and businesses across Canada.
Following a keynote speech by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Mitacs highlighted and rewarded five of the most meritorious among the hundreds of young researchers who take part in its programs each year.
“I thought I might benefit from learning a little bit more about the business environment, but I didn’t have very high expectations about the workshops themselves,” El Saadany says. It turned out his expectations were to be exceeded by far. In the end, El Saadany took part in half a dozen different Mitacs Step skills development workshops.
What sets the Step workshops apart, El Saadany thinks, is first and foremost the quality and professionalism of the presenters. However, the content has also proven very useful to him.
Optimization techniques, an emerging innovation, can serve as one of the tools for financial institutions and companies to find better solutions and improve decision-making. With this focus, Mitacs Elevate Fellow Oleksandr Romanko created an industry-academic event called ‘Optimization in Finance and Risk Management’.
Held in Toronto just this past month, the 2-day workshop aimed to bridge the gap between academic research in optimization and practical financial and risk management applications of optimization techniques.
Each summer, Globalink students undertake a research project with a Canadian university which allows them to experience state-of-the-art research facilities, Canadian society and build friendships with local students.
Ankita was one of 200 top international students that undertook 3 month research projects over the summer at universities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
When NexLev took on the challenge of automating the operation of wastewater treatment plants for communities in Northern Saskatchewan, Iskra explains, “we needed a mathematician, but not just any mathematician. We needed someone with the latest, cutting-edge knowledge in fields such as fuzzy logic, modeling, probability theory and Monte Carlo simulation. The problem was this type of person is extremely difficult to find and also very costly.”
This September, Nivarti is returning to the University of British Columbia to start his master's degree, after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur with the best mark in his class for his honours thesis in mechanical engineering.
Nivarti chose UBC over schools like MIT and Stanford because of his Globalink experience, which paired the mechanical engineering student with Kendal Bushe, a UBC assistant professor who is one of North America's most highly respected combustion researchers. Dr. Bushe will also supervise Nivarti's graduate work.
Badlani, whose main academic interest lies in the field of robotics, had applied to four different projects to participate in the Mitacs Globalink program, and his second choice was the project he ended up working on.
Through the support of Mitacs Accelerate, John Ashley Scott, a professor of biochemical engineering at Laurentian University, and Greg Ross, associate dean of research at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine were able to assemble a multi-disciplinary, multi-company research venture undertaken by seven Mitacs Accelerate interns. Involving both a school of process engineering and of medicine this project investigates the potential use of microalgae to produce carbon-neutral fuels and develop pharmaceuticals from microalgae grown on marginal land.
One of the most talked-about biomedical breakthroughs of 2010, this new development offers hope to sufferers of blood and immunological diseases, such as leukemias, who are often unable to find a suitable donor.
“Ideally, under further development, we hope to be able to grow mature blood cells for patients from their own skin, lessening the likelihood of rejection,” Eva said.