Top international students choose Canada as research and study destination

Vancouver, BC – Mitacs Globalink is attracting the world’s top students to Canada in a “reverse brain drain,” a survey released this week determined.  Bringing top talent to Canada is essential in order for the country to compete in the global marketplace for business partnerships and opportunities.

The survey revealed Mitacs Globalink is contributing to an enhanced reputation for Canadian research, international collaborations, and talent retention. Every year, Mitacs’ Globalink program matches hundreds of top-ranked international undergraduate students with Canadian professors for 12-week research internships.

Past students reported overwhelmingly positive experiences during their Globalink research internship.  Ninety-five percent of participants spoke positively about their experience in Canada and encouraged peers to consider Canada for research, internships, and/or employment. A full 70 percent of Globalink interns who have since enrolled in a university degree in Canada have applied — or will apply — for permanent residency.

Key impacts:

Putting Canada on the map as a research destination

  • 75% of students said that the availability of the Globalink program was the top factor influencing their decision to come to Canada. Without Globalink, only 7% would have come to Canada
  • 77% have successfully convinced at least one fellow student or friend to come to Canada for a research internship

Attracting talent to Canada

  • Participants of the Globalink program were more than twice as likely to pursue further studies in Canada (22%) compared to the control group (9%) of equally qualified applicants who did not complete a research internship in Canada
  • 91% of past interns currently studying in Canada said their participation in the program convinced them, or reinforced their decision, to pursue further studies in Canada

Fostering research collaborations

  • 65% of Globalink interns intend to develop, or have already developed, collaborations with Canadian researchers
  • 71% stayed in touch with their host professor and  56% maintained contact with other researchers from the internship

Developing highly qualified personnel

  • 67% of Globalink interns feel more employable and have improved their professional skillset
  • 71% of the interns strongly felt their experience has had, or will have, a significant impact on their careers


Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs
“Mitacs Globalink seeks to put Canada on the academic map as a compelling, first-rate research and education destination for top talent. This survey reveals Mitacs is creating strong international research links to Canada that will foster long-term opportunities for our country.”

Mrinal Mandal, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta
“Canadian research thrives on international students. The students benefit from seeing Canadian research at the highest level, and Canadian researchers benefit from working one-to-one with these bright international minds in their own labs.”

Wenyao Zhao; 2012 Mitacs Globalink Research Intern; 2014 Master’s student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto
“I knew I made the right decision by coming back to Ontario for my Master’s. The research opportunities, the hands-on faculty instruction, and the top-notch laboratory facilities are second to none.”

Survey Background:

The first-ever Mitacs Globalink longitudinal survey tracked outcomes of participation in the internship program for students from eight countries worldwide, reaching out to over 1200 Globalink research interns. A further 3,400 eligible program applicants who did not complete a research internship in Canada were also contacted as a control group for comparison. Overall, 498 former Globalink interns and 290 applicants completed the survey, giving response rates of 40 percent and 9 percent respectively. Mitacs is committed to developing ways to measure the impacts from its programs for the benefit of the Canadian public.


Mitacs Globalink longitudinal impact survey