Internship programs help spark innovation for students, industry

Internship Programs Help Spark Innovation for Students, Industry

Internship programs help spark innovation for students, industry

Students throughout the province are benefiting from a provincial investment of $10 million in internship programs that connect budding researchers with industry partners to solve real-world problems.

“Research internship programs are giving our students and researchers the skills, knowledge and experience they need to advance our knowledge-based economy and build the best B.C.,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “These students are doing innovative work that will support technology, health and business sectors, so that everyone can prosper and thrive. Partnerships between students, industry and our post-secondary institutions are helping to support a strong, sustainable 21st-century economy.”

The investment promotes innovation in British Columbia by funding internships through Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that builds partnerships between undergraduate and graduate students and researchers, post-secondary institutions, and industry and community partners. Mitacs interns are able to apply their expertise to challenges that are affecting business and communities today, in fields such as technology, health, business and engineering.

“Our $10 million investment in Mitacs will advance B.C. innovation by providing students with unique opportunities to apply their research in the real world,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “Whether finding ways to make bicycle helmets safer or understanding how to meet future food needs, B.C. students participating in Mitacs internships are unlocking new discoveries to improve people’s lives and expand our economy.”

One example is the work of Mitacs post-doctoral intern Myriam Juda. Her research aims to improve patient outcomes at Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction by syncing artificial lighting to natural rhythms of the sun and the body.

“Being able to work collaboratively with BC Hydro, SFU and the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction has helped me bring my research to a real-world problem.” says Juda.  “My hope is that by making the environment more supportive for recovery, we can improve patient outcomes.”

Juda is partnering with the centre, Simon Fraser University’s department of psychology and BC Hydro, to explore whether improvements to the physical environment – specifically matching lighting to circadian rhythms – can help make the physical environment more conducive to recovery.

Mitacs has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 19 years. Mitacs works with 60 post-secondary institutions, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments to build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.

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