Professor Profile: Professor Bozena Kaminska – SFU

Mitacs Accelerate helps SFU professor bridge the gap between research and industry

Originally from Poland, Dr. Kaminska moved to Canada in 1986 and held a professor position at Polytechnique de Montréal for fourteen years, before heading to the United States with her start-up company OPMAXX.  After the company’s acquisition, she returned to Canada and was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. She has been based at School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University since 2005.

Dr. Kaminska found Mitacs Accelerate as the perfect fit to advance her own research and apply it in an industrial setting.

“I’ve supervised many Mitacs Accelerate internships, more than I can remember. The program has been instrumental with helping me develop new applications for industry and engage with industry partners.”

Her research concentrates on wireless sensor networks, biosensors, medical devices, nanostructures and new energy systems.  Her latest Mitacs Accelerate project, a cluster of four interns from SFU, is helping BC Hydro develop new generation polymer-based solar cells and energy storage devices.  The thinner, lighter cells have the potential to power everything from small, handheld devices right up to large buildings with environmentally-friendly solar energy.  And they are much cheaper than traditional silicone solar cells.

Dr. Kaminska’s previous internships have helped with research into screening devices to detect early symptoms of heart disease, and the miniaturization of sensors for use in medical diagnosis.

“Mitacs bridges the gap between research and industrial application.  Working with an industry partner on a research project is much more beneficial for me than just doing academic research…it makes everything more real.   Student interns benefit a lot as they are exposed to the real world – it is great for their study.  It is applied research, focused on a specific outcome, rather than generic applications.”

Dr. Kaminska says the co-funding between Mitacs and the industry partner is a major attraction. 

“Funding for graduate student research is very difficult to get so the cost-shared arrangement between Mitacs and the industry partner is a huge benefit.  Companies are also more willing to take on a research project when they know half of it will be paid for by Mitacs.  The approval process is also very fast – much quicker than many other programs.”

“Mitacs has allowed me to push my research projects much further than I would have been able to without the funding and industry partner support.  I’ve introduced other professors to the program as well and many have taken up the opportunity to enhance their research work.”

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

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