Speeding Towards Canada’s 5G Network

Montreal/Ottawa, February 11, 2020 — Canada’s 5G future is driving forward at full speed thanks to the crucial ingredient — talent. Baking this recipe is Mitacs, which provides a collaborative innovation model for industry leaders that connects them with academic research to help solve their critical R&D challenges.

Mitacs — a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation — is working to connect research talent with 400 internships within several projects under the ENCQOR 5G network, a public-private partnership between the Governments of Canada, Quebec and Ontario, and industry leaders Ciena, Ericsson, Thales, IBM Canada and CGI.

Interns from academic institutions such as École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), McGill University, Concordia University, Polytechnique Montréal, Université du Québec de Montréal (UQAM), Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Laval University, Université de Sherbrooke, Carleton University and University of Ottawa are being contracted to work on the various projects, with a large percentage going on to secure full-time employment.

The ENCQOR 5G network is working to advance the always-on Internet connection required to support 5G initiatives such as smart cities, e-health, e-education, autonomous vehicles and on-demand entertainment.

For example, Mitacs is supporting Ciena’s Self-Optimizing Fabric (SOF) research ecosystem — the first Ciena research program to launch under the ENCQOR 5G network — by enabling the company to tap into the cutting-edge expertise of 20 Mitacs Masters and PhD-level researchers from Canada, the U.S. and international locations for the next three years. The industry-academia collaboration is focused on assessing the demand implications of a fully connected, intelligent future and will study the need for new paradigms to support network planning, design and operation in a world where lines are blurred between humans and machines.

“In the extremely competitive 5G landscape, it’s crucial that we tap into the best researchers and develop young talent in strategic areas,” Benoit Pelletier, Ciena’s Director of Business Development and Head of ENCQOR 5G, explained. “Mitacs puts us in touch with highly qualified individuals who match the research profile we’re looking for.”

“Mitacs is an integral part of research and development teams — we understand where our partners’ pain points are and help them identify which part of their research roadmap is conducive to partnering with academia,” said Mitacs Chief Business Development Officer Eric Bosco, adding that once a match is secured, the Mitacs team manages the collaboration to ensure it runs smoothly for both the company and researcher.

Former Mitacs intern Yousra Omran, then a PhD candidate at Laval University, was one of the first Mitacs interns to join Ciena full-time in 2014, just two months into her internship program. An electrical engineer, Omran started out in an entry-level role to advance the company’s next-generation land and submarine network technology and advanced quickly, most recently taking on the role of Senior Manager, Global Software Upgrade Team.

“As a researcher, I see things from different angles and Ciena recognized that as an advantage right away,” said Omran, who is looking forward to working with future Mitacs interns in her new role. “Sometimes the ‘wheel’ may be running fine, but I naturally look for ways to make it run better.”

“We’re pushing our country’s innovation agenda forward while achieving very high goals that position Canada as global 5G leader,” Omran added.


About Mitacs

Celebrating 20 years of connecting research with industry to solve business challenges, Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada. Working with more than 100 post-secondary institutions thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Quebec, and every other provincial government. For more information on Mitacs, visit www.mitacs.ca.