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Posted June 12 , 2013

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Innovation

World’s Brightest Young Minds Posted at Waterloo Universities this Summer to Help Solve Complex Research Challenges

Waterloo – They’ve proven to be some of the brightest young minds in their countries – including India, China, Brazil and Mexico – and now they’re in Waterloo, stationed at two universities, with one goal in mind: to help solve complex research challenges facing this country.

Eighteen international students are working under the direction of professors at University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University throughout the summer on projects ranging from electric vehicle design to search engine code analysis to plant biology and sustainable living. They’ve been brought to Canada as part of a program called Mitacs Globalink, a unique 12-week research internship, in an effort to attract talent to this country, foster international research links and boost the economy.

In what’s being called a “reverse brain drain,” the program provides the students with hands-on experience through research lab work, meetings with local business leaders, and on-site company visits to witness first-hand the leading-edge research being conducted here. Media are invited to join some of Waterloo-based students in their research labs.

"The Mitacs Globalink Program attracts very bright international undergraduate students to Waterloo, students who are eager to learn and quickly get up to speed on a problem and conducting research," said Kevin Lamb, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. “This program also expands the diversity of our research environment, enriching the experience for all."

In the global race for talent, Canada currently ranks sixth in international student recruitment – behind the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France – with economic activity generated by international students pegged at about $7.7 billion annually, according to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. “Mitacs Globalink seeks to put Canada on the academic map as a compelling, first-rate research and education destination,” said Arvind Gupta, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs.

Nationally, 285 students are being posted in 32 Canadian universities this summer as part of the Mitacs Globalink program, which is now in its fifth year. The program started in 2009 with only 17 students.

For Aritra Sasmal, a 20-year old student from India who has been working at the University of Waterloo since early May, the Mitacs Globalink program provides an unprecedented opportunity to experience hands-on research. “I am gaining so much from this experience that I would definitely consider coming back to Canada to do my Masters and PhD degree,” said Sasmal, whose research involves modeling ocean and atmosphere dynamics, focusing on special waves within the ocean called "breathers" in order to better predict their behavior – work that will help understand mixing of water and nutrients on the continental shelf, and is of benefit to the oil and fishing industries, among others.

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