Indian undergrads impress Canadian varsities

The 105 brightest students, moslty from eight IITs, are taking part in three-month research projects in computer science, engineering, mathematics and business  at 14 Canadian universities.

They are here under the Globalink internship programme instituted by the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS)  - a Canadian research network that links industry and international students with Canadian universities.

The aim of the internship programme is to woo undergraduate Indian students to come to Canada for their graduate studies.

"We had 17 Indian students at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser Universities here in Vancouver and the University of Victoria in Victoria last year. The programme was very successful, and we decided to raise the number to 105 this year. The students were very satisfied,'' Megan Mercer, director for MITACS Globalink, told IANS.

Of these students, 49 have been assigned to the same three universities in Vancouver and Victoria - the capital city of British Columbia province where Indians constitute about seven percent of the provincial population of 4.4 million.

While Deepak Krishnamurthy is with Simon Fraser University on a project to produce a fuel cell that will fit in the palm of your hand, Avirishu Verma is with the University of Victoria researchers who are looking at ways to help software engineers use social media to write code together.  Kashyap Jataprolu is at the University of British Columbia here doing research on new technology that will relay wireless communications flawlessly despite interference from rain, fog or snow.

"Through this  international partnership, we are helping to develop the skilled scientists and technologists needed by both our countries, while forging new research links with one of the world's most dynamic economies,'' said Iain Black, provincial minister of small business, technology and economic development, welcoming the Indian students.

"Indeed, our pilot Globalink programme was so successful that this year we have tripled the number of top science and engineering students coming here from India to work with BC (British Columbia) researchers,'' he said.

Added Arvind Gupta, scientific director of MITACS , "We need to put BC (British Columbia Province) on the radar of the tens of thousands of future entrepreneurs and scientists from India who travel abroad to countries like the US or UK for graduate studies every year.

"Our message to international students is that Canada has world-class universities that provide superior education and innovative collaborative research opportunities as well as world-class companies interested in working with these students to help commercialize their ideas into the new products of tomorrow.''

About 85 per cent of the undergraduates who were here last year under the Globalink programme say they are interested in coming back to Canada for their graduate studies, according to MITACS which also plans to send Canadian students to India for research work.

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