Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Connecting business to graduate students

Yesterday's Ottawa Citizen had an article about a program that I've heard of before at University of Ottawa's Fostering Cleantech Collaborations event in June. The program is called Accelerate Canada organized by MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems, based in Vancouver). Here are a few snippets of info from the article:

Founded to encourage more math professionals to embrace innovation and tackle real industry problems, MITACS soon saw an opportunity to plug scientist of all kinds into commercial research. Accelerate now harnesses the intellectual horsepower of thousands of graduate students and connects them to real research projects at a price point that is hard to resist.

The beauty of Accelerate is it's made for companies of any size (Bombardier, IBM, Shell Canada and Manitoba Hydro are all clients), but priced for small businesses. A four-month internship costs companies $7,500 (federal and provincial governments chip in to match that amount, thus meeting Accelerate's fee of $15,000). For that price, a company gets help describing its project, links to the best sources of help, the services of a grad student for four months (including some expenses), and hands-on monitoring by a university professor.

The goal is to expose grad students to real-world research problems and develop scientific breakthroughs for Canadian business. Accelerate also ensures the students understand business by offering training in entrepreneurship, communications and project management.

So if you're interested in working for a company for a few months, get a professor to join forces with you and give MITAC a shout!