Attracting & retaining international students: Canada is on the right track

OTTAWA, ON – Canada must raise the profile of its research and innovation excellence around the world if it is going to attract top international students, said panelists at a forum today in Ottawa.

The panelists, part of the Mitacs Globalink Symposium – Canada as an International Innovation Destination, focused on two key issues. Firstly, how Canada is perceived abroad by top international students and secondly, what initiatives exist already in Canada to attract and retain international talent.

“The key to Canada’s economic success is ensuring that we have the highly-skilled workforce required for today’s knowledge jobs,” said Arvind Gupta, CEO & Scientific Director of Mitacs. “This event provided concrete ideas on what we need to do to attract the world’s best and brightest to Canada and this will provide a blueprint for Mitacs as we move forward and expand the Globalink program.”

This summer, over 250 top undergraduate students from India, China, Brazil and Mexico will be in Canada through Mitacs Globalink, placed at 28 universities from coast to coast.

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, opened the event by speaking about the government’s recent efforts to support research and innovation and to attract international talent.

“There are tremendous opportunities for researchers from around the world to build partnerships, conduct research and develop their skills in Canada,” said Minister of State Goodyear. “Our government is furthering Canada’s science and technology advantage by ensuring that we attract the brightest minds in the world through investments in research and by commercializing promising ideas.”

Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, delivered closing remarks and announced $8.753M in new funding for Mitacs Globalink as well as Mitacs programs Elevate and Accelerate.  “This investment will support business development and international competitiveness while creating jobs and economic growth in Western Canada,” said Minister Yelich.

Mitacs Globalink brings top international undergraduate students to Canada for summer research internships which give the undergrads a unique glimpse into the research and innovation landscape at Canada’s universities and the spectrum of graduate studies opportunities available.

“For fifty years, the US has been attracting talent from premium schools worldwide, including students from the Indian Institutes of Technology,” said Vinod Munshi, President, Indian Institute of Technology Alumni Association of Canada (IITAC). “Canada is now on similar journey; it has excellent universities, a vibrant society and a good student visa and work permit policy. Engaged governments and universities, together with organizations like Mitacs and IITAC, will make Canada the preferred destination for international students.”

“I really want to come back to Canada, perhaps for my Masters or my PhD,” said Fernanda Gomez de Mendoça, a Mitacs Globalink student from Brazil undertaking an internship this summer at University of Montreal. “I will never forget this life-changing experience through Mitacs Globalink”.

Globalink is the unique Canadian international internship program of Mitacs, a national research organization which offers training and research programs for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows.

For a list of the panelists who took part in the Globalink Symposium, click here