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
Application Procedure and Tips
In early August, the MITACS portal calls for application. With over 2000 projects to choose from, you have to choose the best 7 projects to apply considering your skill sets and project requirements. You need to provide with a letter of recommendation from a Professor you have already worked for. You also have to carefully fill the application form showcasing your interest in research. If selected in the first round, you might be contacted by Professors who would take interviews and final decision comes around December. For some, it can be as late as February.
I got selected in the first round selections i.e in early December. I had to look for accommodation, book tickets and apply for a VISA in the remaining 4 months. I would recommend an offline application of VISA considering the delay in the online process. It is always good to book tickets with sufficient layover, and accommodation near your institute. In my project, I deployed wireless sensor nodes consisting of various sensors interfaced with Raspberry pi communicating over a multi-hub mesh network, continuously streaming data to a database and also displaying graphically on a website. My work is being currently displayed on the official website of the lab. We were partially funded by MHRD, so we made sure we kept our bills. P.S: learn cooking before you board your flight.