Applying Step skills in the real world

PhD student uses new communication and team building skills to grow start-up video company

As a PhD student in Western University’s department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Gurjeev’s research focuses on uncovering molecular mechanisms that predispose low birth weight babies to increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in adult life. Gurjeev knows the importance of informing the public on such important health discoveries, and this is why he has partnered with Kukuzoo Studios, a newly formed video animation company, to develop highly engaging animated videos that will educate the public about exciting scientific discoveries in Canada.

As a graduate student, and Kukuzoo Studio’s new research media director, Gurjeev needed to learn how to effectively build a team of like-minded individuals with various expertises. He turned to two Mitacs Step workshops, team building and effective communication, to develop the business skills he was lacking. “Mitacs Step workshops educate graduate students on how to effectively put into practice the soft skills acquired during their graduate research experience, which is critical for excelling in future endeavors. The workshops provided me with insight on the importance of effective communication, collaborative mindset and other vital aspects of team building that will undoubtedly prove essential for my success at Kukuzoo Studios.

After implementing the skills he learned at both workshops, Gurjeev has seen a real change in his team. “I’m proud to see my team at Kukuzoo becomes even more committed to the goal of educating the public about scientific breakthroughs. It’s exciting to see where we can go from here.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario for their support of the STEP training internship in this story. Across Canada, the STEP program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities:


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