Vancouver, BC — As Canada moves forward with its ambitious plan to become an innovation powerhouse, a national organization is already attracting top young talent from around the world this summer.
More than 1,200 international students are at 55 Canadian universities this summer helping to solve tough innovation challenges through a unique summer internship program called Mitacs Globalink. They come from countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Tunisia, and Ukraine and are each spending 12 weeks working under the direction of Canadian professors and working alongside local researchers. Their research, which covers a wide range of sectors, is intended to foster international research links and help boost the national economy.
Some of the groundbreaking projects under way include:
- Work to make companion robot ASUS Zenbo — a 50-centimetre tall robot on wheels with a round body, neck and touchscreen ‘face’ but no extremities, that is intended to provide company for at-home seniors and people living alone — able to understand spoken commands and facial cues, and over time, grow empathy (Ontario Tech University, Oshawa).
- A first-of-its-kind terrorist detection tool that uses three-dimensional computer simulation to accurately detect the precise locations in large urban cities that are likely to be selected by lone wolf terrorists wishing to harm the most people at a public gathering, so that security professionals can be better prepared (Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops).
- Breakthrough substances capable of fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, responsible for food poisoning in people and animal loss on agricultural farms (Université Laval, Quebec City).
- Identifying potential problems causing decline in honeybee populations, a serious ecological and economic issue being observed around the world (Université de Montréal, Montreal).
- Creating unique virtual reality interactive experiences and problem-solving exercises to enable students to immerse themselves into dangerous or far-away “worlds” as part of their technical training at educational institutions (MacEwan University, Edmonton).
- Other leading-edge research such as: an investigation of the challenges facing self-driving cars on highways, such as speed and distance syncrhonrization, traffic, weather, daylight and other disturbances; the development of a new breed of human-compatible industrial robotics that are more nimble-fingered than previous generations; work to develop a one-of-a-kind ‘brain’ that is capable of managing, controlling and optimizing resources on a rooftop farm; a look at the potential risk associated with the use of microplastics in baby products; and, the development of wireless biosensors that can be used in wound dressings and smart bandages to monitor a patient’s health during recovery from illness or injury.
Since 2009, Mitacs has matched 5,000 senior undergraduates with Canadian faculty through its Globalink research internships initiative. To further strengthen international research collaborations, Mitacs Globalink now offers two-way mobility opportunities between Canada and international partner countries for both undergraduate and graduate students. The program promotes Canada as a top destination for research opportunities and showcases Canadian research expertise around the world.
“The Canadian government continues to invest in improving Canada’s innovation performance and grooming new research talent, and Mitacs is proud to play a key role in these efforts,” said Alejandro Adem, CEO and scientific director of Mitacs. “By providing students with quality research experience, programs like Mitacs Globalink are proving to effectively promote innovation across all industry sectors,” he said.
- Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions at home and around the world.
- Working with more than 65 universities, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. Open to all disciplines and all industry sectors, projects can span a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, business processes, IT, social sciences, design and more.
- Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of Manitoba, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Quebec, as well as university partners.
- In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with the following international partners to support Globalink: Universities Australia; Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo; China Scholarship Council; Campus France; German Academic Exchange Service; Mexico’s Government of the State of Guanajuato, EDUCAFIN, and Tecnológico de Monterrey; Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche scientifique, des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication de la Tunisie and Mission universitaire de Tunisie en Amérique du Nord; and Ukrainian-Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko.