INTERN DIARIES : Research through MITACS Globalink Program
Team MM | Sep 04, 2018
Department of biotechnology and biomedical engineering
Interned at: Ecole de Technologie Superieure, Montreal, Canada
Procedure and details of applying:
I applied for the internship through the MITACS scholarship program. The application starts in August. The application form requires you to fill all your personal details along you’re your research rationale and your research background. There is a bulk of projects to choose from, you have to select seven different projects from them according to your choice of preferences. It is always appreciable if you choose projects related to your research field. Once you submit the application form, after about a month you will get a mail regarding your status i.e., rejected, waitlisted or candidate under consideration.
- If you are waitlisted, your status may get updated to the candidate under consideration.
- If your status is the candidate under consideration, you may get emails from the professors for skype interviews along with dates. (If you get emails from more than one professors, you may choose afterward from amongst the professors.)
After the interview process is over, the final results for the first round of selection are declared during the second week of December. The results of the second round are declared later in January. I would advise you, people, to choose your projects wisely and write every single detail of your research experience.
The project which I was working on was based on the optimization of hydrogels for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration. The research laboratory was in the research center of a hospital - CHUM. The hydrogels were made of chitosan and other gelling agents and optimized using different tests.
The work culture there is very different. Everyone there including the Professors and the fellow students are very approachable and helpful. One will definitely get a very good exposure and an excellent learning experience in these laboratories.
The scholarship amount by MITACS is more than enough for your trip. Accommodation can be arranged through Facebook forums or through university residence. Apart from academics, you will have a nice exposure to a very different culture at Canada and the experience will be really great.
Department Computer Science and Engineering
Interned at: University of New Brunswick, Fredericton
Application Procedure and Selection Tips
This internship comes under the MITACS Globalink Internship. It is an off-campus process. This internship is purely Research-based. The portal for the same opens in or around July. You have to fill in your basic details in the portal. Along with, it requires to fill up the projects you are interested in (choosing 7 projects from a list of 2 lakhs requires detailed and thorough investigation). A good CGPA above 8 is fair enough and is the first selection criteria. Then, filling up details such as "Research Rationale", "Previous Research experience" is the most important factor that counts for the selection.
The results come out in two waves. Once in November, another in January.
Each wave of results shows the following to the students:
1. The candidate under Consideration: Selected for the next round which is the interview round.
2. Waitlisted: May or may not be selected for the interview. Have to wait for the second wave of results.
3. Not selected: Unfortunately, the application is rejected.
Once the candidate is under consideration, he/she may or may not get a call for an interview. The interviews are conducted directly by the Professor you have applied to. There may be 0 or more interviews. The interview round along with your CV is the most important factor.
The results for the final selection to the internship in the first wave are out in December. Similar rounds follow for the second wave. The final results are out by February.
I am working in an NLP based project that required me to perform Machine Translation on a low-resource language of Canada- Mi'kmaq language. It included working with Neural Nets to predict words in a sentence translated from another language. I cannot give any more detailed description as it is still in progress.
Apart from the academic viewpoint of this internship, I have gained a lot of exposure. The way of living here is a lot different. People tend to work very hard during the weekdays. Weekends are for outings and parties. A lot of adventure follows too. Hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, paragliding makes up most of their weekends. The work culture is very enthusiastic. Everyone, be it senior or a junior is a friend to you. The guidance and motivation that you get for your work and future endeavors is a hands-down the best I have had received. In and all, you become a MITACS scholar which comes under the most reputed scholarships across the globe. The pay that you receive is enough for you to stay lavishly and even saving at the end of 3 months.
Department of Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering
Interned at: Carleton University, Ontario
In the last week of August, there came the call for application for the MITACS Global research Internship Programme. The portal provided more than 2000 projects from a number of professors from Universities spread over 10 provinces in Canada. The task was to choose a minimum 3 and maximum 7 projects from the given list, that matches my field of interest and skills. There were 3 Write-ups to be written within 200 words :
- Research rationale. 2.Notable achievements. 3.Statement of purpose.
Further, there was a requirement of 2 reference letters from professors I had previously worked for.
Procedure of selection:
First, there was a screening of students who met the criteria put forward by MITACS with respect to Grade point(min 8 CGPA) and the number of semesters remaining before graduation(max 3). All the screened students got a mail mentioning that our application was under consideration. Within Nov 30, our chosen project’s professors had interacted and interviewed us over skype or call. We were allowed to rearrange the priority of the projects based on the interviews. If there was a match between a professor’s priority and our priority, a matching project was assigned to us. On 6th December, all the selected students got an email which asked us to either accept or decline the internship.
There was a craze of foreign internships at the beginning of the 3rd year. Every student’s dream was to bag a foreign internship. My dream was to make my life a masterpiece.MITACS being the early bird in the application procedure, We put in all our efforts to make sure our application was selected. The most tiring job was to screen just 7 projects from a wide range of about 2000 projects. It took days of brainstorming to cut it down to 50 then 20 and finally 7. It was very important to choose the best-fit projects and to write the SOP and research rational with an ornamental touch. I had requested Prof.S.K.Das for my first letter of reference and the other was obtained from Prof D B Phatak from IIT Bombay. I submitted my application on 18th September and did not have any high hopes considering the participation of students from 7 countries over the world.
After a month or so, I received a mail saying my application was under consideration and I would be contacted by some professors for interaction. Soon after I was contacted by Prof.M Ibnkalha with whom I had a short discussion regarding my skills and his requirements. On 6th of December, I got a mail saying I was matched with a project and was going to spend the summer at Carleton University Ottawa. The entire process of finalizing dates, booking tickets and applying for VISA started and I was asked to go through few materials regarding Wireless sensor networks before reaching there.
On 4th of May, I reported at the Internet of things Lab of Carleton University. I was assigned my mentor and project. My project dealt with Wireless sensor networks for smart building applications. It involved the deployment of various sensors at different parts of Carleton and acquiring and processing of the data wirelessly. I used to work 5 days a week, 6 -8 hours a day with flexible working hours. We used to have weekly meetings on Thursday with the entire lab. As the project proceeded, I realized the amount of research those people were doing was enormous. They had equipment that was world class. I also had the opportunity to meet many delegates from various countries who visited our lab. The moment of awe was when I gave a demo of my project in front of French President Mr. Emmanuel Macron and his wife who paid a visit to Carleton. I also volunteered at Data Day 2.0 and also worked as a member of the IEEE Young professionals Ottawa chapter. 11 weeks at the university taught me patience, perseverance and created a zeal to work. Apart from this, MITACS had arranged for various fun events that we were invited to. Our mentor had invited us for a board game night for familiarising with other MITACS interns at Ottawa. We further paid a visit to the mighty and beauty Niagara falls, 1000 islands, Montreal and Toronto.
Towards the end of the project, I realized how I had evolved as a person. I was stronger and independent. Adopting to a new place wasn’t easy, but this opportunity taught me the art of living and handling situations politely. I wrapped up my project 2 days before the end date, prepared a report and also made a presentation before bidding goodbye to the University. and I realized that my masterpiece has just begun.