Halifax gets summer boost from world’s brightest young minds

Halifax, NS — Tourism in Halifax is getting a boost this summer with the infusion of 19 Mitacs Globalink interns — some of the brightest young minds in the world. They’re helping to bolster the economy by spending time in local labs, focused on helping Halifax researchers make ground-breaking discoveries and form global connections in a wide range of industries.

Mitacs Globalink is welcoming 565 top students to Canada this summer. Coming from Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Vietnam, they are working to solve complex issues under the direction of professors at 45 universities across the country.

In Halifax, projects are being conducted in areas including healthcare, the environment, agriculture, and technology, including the following research:

Developing a virtual parenting guide

Lisandra Oliveira, a 24-year-old student from Universidade Federal da Bahia in Brazil, is working with Dr. Patrick McGrath, Canada Research Chair and professor of Psychology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and Vice-President Research, Innovation and Knowledge Translation for the IWK Health Centre, to develop a web-based parenting program for families with developmentally delayed children. Complete with how-to videos and telephone coaches, the initiative is targeted at managing kids with disruptive behaviour and anxiety issues. Oliveira is scanning more than 6,700 pieces of literature on neuro-development disorders in an effort to ensure the program effectively guides parents on how to intervene for best mental health outcomes in a wide range of situations.

Making waves in environmental circles
Ramon Gonzalez, a 22-year-old student from Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico, is working under the direction of Rachel Chang, Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Science and assistant professor, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University. The project has Gonzalez focused on sea spray — the particles of water injected into the air when waves crash to the shore. Using a miniature simulated ocean and cloud chamber in a Dalhousie lab — filled with water samples collected from different parts of the ocean off the Nova Scotia coast — he is analyzing the likelihood of sea spray particles ultimately transforming into droplets that produce clouds and fog. With the ocean’s aerosol spray forming clouds considered to be one of the greatest unknowns on climate and climate change, this research is expected to provide insight into the environmental impact of the ocean on the atmosphere and ultimately enable systems to be put in place to separate human impacts on cloud cover from ocean sea spray.


Since 2009, Mitacs has matched more than 2,500 international students with Canadian researchers through the Globalink program.  According to a recent study that queried 560 Globalink interns, 95 percent spoke positively about their experience in Canada and encouraged friends to come to this country for research, internships or employment, while 65 percent intend to develop, or have already developed, collaborations with Canadian researchers.

The survey also revealed that 91 percent of respondents said their participation in the Mitacs Globalink program convinced them, or reinforced their decision, to pursue additional studies in Canada. More than 70 percent of interns enrolled in a new degree program in Canada have applied or will apply for permanent residency.

Funded by the Government of Canada and Canadian universities, the Mitacs Globalink program now offers two-way mobility opportunities between Canada and Mitacs partner countries for both undergraduate and graduate students.


Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“Mitacs’ Globalink program contributes to a stronger and more vibrant economy by building international research partnerships that support and stimulate Canadian innovation. Canada’s overall labour productivity lags significantly behind other western economies, a long-standing challenge that has a negative impact on both job creation and economic growth. To overcome this productivity challenge and bolster Canada’s global competitiveness, it’s essential to promote knowledge transfer through international connections and collaborative partnerships.” 

Rachel Chang, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University

“Having an international Mitacs intern like Ramon in our lab is wonderful as he has had experience in other international research groups and brings expertise that our lab does not otherwise have. I am definitely considering international collaborations resulting from this work now that Ramon is here.”