April 30, 2019

University of Calgary announces partnership with Mitacs

Collaboration agreement provides new international research opportunities for students

University of Calgary’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dru Marshall and Mitacs’ CEO and Scientific Director Alejandro Adem have signed a three-year collaboration agreement that will provide up to $5.4 million in funding to University of Calgary students and students from other countries to pursue international research opportunities.

Pictured above at the signing between UCalgary’s Dru Marshall and Mitacs' Alejandro Adem are standing, from left: Angelo Nwigwe, Oba Harding, Ed McCauley, Andre Buret, Janaka Ruwanpura and Heather Clitheroe.

“This initiative creates new opportunities for students to conduct international research that complements their academic studies and research careers, enriches their world perspective and improves their leadership, problem-solving and cross-cultural skills,” says Marshall. “The partnership will benefit 200 University of Calgary students and 100 incoming international students in each of the next three years.”

Senior undergraduate students, graduate (master's and PhD) and postdoctoral fellows from the University of Calgary are eligible to apply for international research opportunities in Australia, Brazil, China, European Union member countries, Israel, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Tunisia, United Kingdom and the United States.

Students from Mitacs partner and eligible countries will pursue research opportunities at UCalgary. Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that works with 60 universities, 4,000 companies, and federal and provincial governments to build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.

“As we at Mitacs celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are delighted to work with the University of Calgary to facilitate international research exchange. The Globalink program promotes bilateral research collaboration and facilitates student mobility that may otherwise be inaccessible,” says Alejandro Adem. “Students benefit tremendously from this unique opportunity combining research with professional development. Their experience will help our economy grow well into the future.”

Stephen Schroeder, who is finishing his undergraduate degree in geology, is one of the many students who have benefited from a Mitacs program. He spent the last two summers doing paleoclimate research at the Heidelberg University in Germany, studying the chemical composition of the oceans to learn more about what the climate was like 24 million years ago, and how Earth's climate might change in the future.

“I would not have been able to pursue this unique research opportunity without Mitacs’ support,” says Schroeder. "One opportunity led to another that enabled me to pursue further research as an undergrad here at the university, where I'm currently working to publish a paper on my findings."

"This agreement will boost the number of UCalgary students enjoying an international learning experience and help us achieve our International Strategy goals,” says Dr. Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international).

The program offers 12- to 24-week placements, research opportunities in a wide range of disciplines and a $6,000 award per student. Application information is available on the Mitacs Global Research Award web page

Great initiatives are sometimes driven by chance. In this case, two UCalgary alumni, Heather Clitheroe, Faculty of Science and Angelo Nwigwe, Mitacs, volunteered for the Alumni Weekend Homecoming game last September, connected afterward and thought how to increase research opportunities for students, since both worked in the international area. Things evolved toward this great partnership with the help of Janaka Ruwanpura, who got involved.  

The agreement supports one of UCalgary’s strategic priorities of integrating the university with the community through collaborative partnerships and will provide enhanced opportunities for students and researchers to interact, create and explore ideas that continue to drive research excellence and innovation in Calgary and abroad.