Three years ago, Girish Nivarti was one of the superstar science undergrads from India who came to B.C. through the first Mitacs Globalink program to experience the world-class research going on at British Columbia universities.
This September, Nivarti is returning to the University of British Columbia to start his master's degree, after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur with the best mark in his class for his honours thesis in mechanical engineering.
Nivarti chose UBC over schools like MIT and Stanford because of his Globalink experience, which paired the mechanical engineering student with Kendal Bushe, a UBC assistant professor who is one of North America's most highly respected combustion researchers. Bushe will also supervise Nivarti's graduate work.
The Globalink program, sponsored by the Province, was pioneered in B.C. three years ago. It introduces B.C. as a world-leading research and innovation destination to top undergraduate students from other countries. Students undertake a research project and connect with local industry. Globalink ensures B.C. is top of mind for international students choosing graduate schools, while enhancing relationships between post-secondary institutes and industry in B.C. and other countries. The program has been adopted across Canada.
B.C.'s Globalink students also are given a taste of life on the West Coast, from mountain biking to kayaking, as well as tours of some of the sophisticated research facilities operated by industry and post-secondary institutions. Today, for instance, some of this year's Chinese students are visiting a secure nanotechnology lab at UBC to see nanofibres being electrospun, rolled and collected to make "yarn" that will eventually be made into everyday items like car struts.
In the past three years, nearly 100 students from India, plus 18 from China, have taken part in the program. Now the first group of Globalink students have graduated - and like Nivarti, some are choosing B.C. universities to continue their education.
When he was in B.C. in 2008, Nivarti studied methane-based combustion, a low-pollution alternative to gasoline. It was part of a project that simulated combustion in automobile and aircraft engines, providing researchers with clues to improve engine efficiency and decrease emissions. Engines are then built based on the results.
Nivarti will focus his master's studies on mathematics-intensive subjects that will help him better understand the theory behind fluids and their combustion.
- Mitacs is a national research organization dedicated to developing the next generation of innovators with vital scientific and business skills in partnership with companies, government and academia.
- Globalink is one of several programs developed and run by Mitacs, which has received $14.7 million from the Province since 2007.
- The program, which costs about $15,000 per student, is also funded by Western Economic Diversification.
- In science and technology, industrial and academic collaboration go hand in hand. For Canada and India to build stronger industrial ties, such academic collaborations are extremely important.
- This program not only gives students from India a chance to work with B.C. researchers, but also helps build relationships between universities in both jurisdictions.
- India is already one of the world's research and innovation powerhouses, and was ranked by the Economist as one of the world's two top locations for investments aimed at innovation.
- India is the world's 13th largest economy and is predicted to be the fourth largest by 2025 and third largest by 2050.
- Between 1999 and 2008, the value of British Columbia's total exports to India more than doubled.
- India's companies are expanding their interests overseas (between US$13 billion and $19 billion in the past few years, expected to reach $30 billion a year by 2014). They represent a growing source of investment and strategic partnerships for B.C. companies in priority sectors like life sciences and information and communications technology.
Mitacs Globalink: http://www.mitacs.ca/globalink
B.C.'s trade relationship with India: https://trade.britishcolumbia.ca/Export/Markets/AsiaPacific/Pages/IndiaMarket.aspx?Section=Export
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation