Mitacs internships diversify economy and create jobs in Alberta

Edmonton, AB – The Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, the Honourable Don Scott, joined Mitacs CEO, Alejandro Adem along with students, university representatives, and business leaders for a roundtable in Edmonton on March 3.

The discussion, hosted by Mitacs, examined the importance of connecting Alberta companies with universities for research internships and skills training in order to stimulate the economy and job growth.

Since 2008, the Government of Alberta has invested $3.6 million in Mitacs’ Accelerate program, which has supported 562 internships. Mitacs has successfully leveraged the Province’s investment to create $9 million in projects, thanks to industrial and federal contributions.

Among the attendees was Jamie Yuen, a former Mitacs Accelerate intern and University of Alberta graduate, who started his own company after a four-month internship with Calgary-based BMI Technologies. Jamie’s research focused on building a wireless sensor system that tracks the location and use of forklift fleets across North America. His system is less expensive than similar older technologies, is easily scalable, and allows users to get reports through a web browser.


Honourable Don Scott, Minister, Innovation and Advanced Education
Justin Riemer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation and Advanced Education
Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs
Kirk Rockwell, General Manager, Basic Research , Alberta Innovates – Technology Future
Lorne Babiuk, Vice-President Research, University of Alberta
Donna Romyn, Acting Associate Vice President Research, Athabasca University
Walter Dixon, Associate Vice-President Research, University of Alberta
Breanne Everett, Orpyx, Calgary
Prashant Kumar, Enerkem, Edmonton
Cristian Scurtescu, SmileSonica, Edmonton
Wendy Welte, ATB Financial, Edmonton
Michael Lipsett, professor, University of Alberta
Eleni Stroulia, professor, University of Alberta
Godfrey Okeke, former intern, alumnus, University of Alberta
Edward Wang, former intern, alumnus, University of Alberta
Jamie Yuen, former intern, alumnus, University of Alberta
Khobaib Zaamout, former intern, alumnus, University of Calgary


Dr. Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“The roundtable showcased the highly qualified pool of talent that is poised to have a significant impact on Canada. Specifically, strong collaboration between businesses and post-secondary institutions will improve performance in learning and training, and place Alberta at the forefront of innovation.”

Dr. Lorne Babiuk, Vice-President Research, University of Alberta

“Mitacs provides our students/postdoctoral fellows with industry experiential learning opportunities. By connecting them to potential future employers, Mitacs helps transition them from the academic environment to the workplace. Industry employers benefit by having access to well-trained employees who bring new skills and help make organizations more innovative and productive.”

Dr. Michael Lipsett, Mechanical Engineering professor, University of Alberta

“Mitacs is unique amongst funding agencies in actively brokering industry-academia relationships for knowledge translation and commercialization. Accelerate is an important program. Universities have the opportunity to do immediate relevant research, students get great jobs, and companies become more innovative.”

Jamie Yuen, former Mitacs Accelerate intern; University of Alberta alumnus; and current President, Copperstone Technologies Inc.

“Having connections at the University of Alberta and through Mitacs Accelerate has been instrumental to creating a launch pad to start our company. The Accelerate program has provided me with great networking opportunities — I’ve developed good relationships with key contacts.”

Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO and President, Orpyx

“The testing that the Mitacs Accelerate program has enabled us to pursue is critical in the validation of our product. As an early-stage start-up, every dollar counts. It has undoubtedly enabled us to maximize our financing and push our corporate timeline ahead. Beyond this, the funding supports a critical transitional area between academia and industry that is often overlooked by traditional funding sources.”

Quick facts:

  • Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 15 years.
  • Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.
  • Mitacs’ Accelerate program connects graduate students with industry partners for research internships supervised by faculty. In 2013–2014, Mitacs supported 2,240 Accelerate internships.
  • 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.


For information about Mitacs and our programs, see