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.
Winnipeg-based Cypher Environmental is determined to put an end to the choking dust clouds on unpaved roads seen every day across rural and Northern Manitoba.
Though the problem may seem a minor visual blight, the impact is great: heavy trucks barreling down unpaved roads are at greater risk of rollover from the unstable ground; and nearby lakes and streams can suffer nutrient depletion, killing the natural wildlife.
Now, a new local resource — college research interns — combined with modern technology, will help Anaconda drill into a new solution for developing the placer mine.
Supported by Mitacs, students from College of the North Atlantic are helping the company find a cost-effective mining process to extract gold from Deer Cove, while leaving the natural habitat largely intact. It’s the first Mitacs project in Newfoundland to pair college interns with industry.
This summer, Nathalia Soares Covre, a Mitacs intern from Brazil, is helping the modelEAU team develop a digital model of an innovative wastewater treatment process. This new process reduces the discharge of nitrogen into lakes and rivers so that plant operators can work to reduce the impact of urban wastewater on local ecosystems.
Led by Professor Filiz Koksel, the team, including Maria Arzamendi, a Mitacs Globalink intern from Mexico, is developing strategies to reduce food waste by using bakery by-products to create high-protein, fiber-rich snacks.
The researchers are combining leftover bread crumbs from a bakery with pulse flour, which is flour from legume crops, and using a novel technique to manipulate the food structure during processing. The local ingredients are resource efficient, environmentally friendly, and nutritional.
In the last couple of years, Canada’s Atlantic salmon farms have faced a surge of parasitic sea lice, making them susceptible to infections or killing entire stocks. Globally, the spread of sea lice now costs up to $1 billion dollars in lost revenues annually.
“Consumers and companies alike are looking for safe and natural ways to keep their products fresher for longer,” says Natasha, CEO of Chinova Bioworks. “But labels full of unpronounceable, artificial ingredients can turn consumers off. It was important to me to create an alternative to the chemical preservatives normally found in food and beverage products.”
While conceptualizing the product, Natasha was searching for someone to take it to the next level — and she knew that Mitacs was available to help fledgling companies like hers.
So she began a Master of Professional Communications at Royal Roads University. Now, thanks to a Mitacs internship, Alina is helping the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) enlist the public’s support to save endangered woodland areas.
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.
To help tackle this environmental issue, Mitacs intern Oldooz Pooyanfar, a graduate student from Simon Fraser University’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, is working on a ‘smart’ system that monitors the health of honey bees and their hives. Once installed inside a beehive, her integrated monitoring system allows beekeepers to observe and track the health of their colonies. The device uses microscopic sensors and microphones to pick up sounds and vibrations emitted by bees and can also be used to observe the temperature and humidity of each hive.