International Minerals Innovation Institute

The Government of Saskatchewan is providing $400,000 in funding to support internships in science, technology, engineering and math through Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia.

This funding is expected to leverage about $2 million in federal and industry funding and in-kind support.  This investment supports up to 68 research internships for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Saskatchewan industries and up to 33 international student research opportunities through the Mitacs’s internship programs.

Since 2007–08, $12.9 million has been invested by all funding partners in Mitacs programming in Saskatchewan including $2.96 million provided by Saskatchewan since 2007.

“Mitacs programs allow interns to apply their education and research skills, while at the same time gain valuable experience that benefits our industries and province,” Advanced Education Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said.  “As Minister of Advanced Education and Minister for Innovation Saskatchewan, I am pleased that Mitacs provides synergies between post-secondary education and research and innovation.”

Mitacs presence in Saskatchewan is producing innovative results for industries and making an economic impact on the province.  For example, Nutrien partnered with Mitacs and the University of Regina to access top research talent to produce safety technology for their potash mines.  The resulting collaboration produced a new computer algorithm that more accurately identifies hazardous zones in the roof of a mined-out room, giving workers advanced warning, so that they can remediate the zones in a timely manner.

The algorithm is being incorporated into a prototype Ground Penetrating Radar imaging system to be installed on tunnel boring (mining) machines, with Nutrien looking to expand their collaborations with the university to further advance the technology.  Those advancements will be shared with the potash mining industry in Saskatchewan.

“Partnering with Mitacs and the University of Regina has given us access to top talent and new ideas that will enhance our safety technologies used at Nutrien mines,” Earth Science Nutrien Director Craig Funk said.  “We believe that building relationships with universities contributes to our industry leading safety performance and Mitacs makes it seamless for everyone involved.  In the mining industry, we freely share our safety advancements, so we will ensure that this technology is available to other potash companies as well.”

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