I am Amandeep Kaur, a pre-final year B. Tech student at Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, New Delhi, India. I have been selected as a Mitacs Globalink Research Intern (GRI) by the University of Alberta, Canada. I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have the opportunity of working under the expert guidance of Professor Anup Basu. My project is titled "Ultrasound Image Processing " in which we will focus on quantification and selective removal of noise from ultrasound images. This project has a lot of potential to increase efficiency, lower costs, lead to better diagnoses and health outcomes. I will be researching and developing innovative deep learning techniques in the field of #medical image processing.

My journey with Coding Blocks started in July 2019, when I joined the Launchpad C++ course under the guidance of Pranav Khandelwal sir, the curriculum at CB gave me exposure to the coding environment. After successful completion of the program and guidance from Pranav sir, I decided to start my journey in the field of deep learning. By attending independent workshops conducted by CB and my university, I was introduced to the field of ML. From there I started building projects in the domain I was interested in which is healthcare. I owe my success to CB and my professors who motivated me to progress.

Alright! Buckle Up for the journey ahead!
The story begins right on August 9th, 2020 when I came across this opportunity of Globalink Mitacs research internship and I knew at once that this is the exact internship that would provide me with international research experience and a platform to showcase my technical capabilities. You must be wondering what exactly this internship is about? Will it be like summer school? Will I receive funding? Do I have to pay for the expenses during my stay? And the list may go on….

This is the blog through which I would try to answer most of your questions about this wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in Canadian universities and international labs while you are an undergrad student that too on a sufficient funding!

Canada - The Land Of Maple Leaf

Let’s answer the basic question:- What is Mitacs Globalink Research Internship?
As per their official site, “The Mitacs Globalink Research Internship is a competitive initiative for international undergraduates from the following countries and regions: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Mexico, Tunisia, United Kingdom, and Ukraine. From May to October of each year, top-ranked applicants participate in a 12-week research internship under the supervision of Canadian university faculty members in a variety of academic disciplines, from science, engineering, and mathematics to the humanities and social sciences.”[1]

In simple words, this is a great opportunity for a budding researcher like you to get international exposure and work on interesting and real-life scenario-based projects. The duration of the program is 12 weeks(May to October), and you shall work under a Canadian faculty member at the participating universities.

So what makes this internship prestigious?

Well following are the points:-

  • International exposure - This internship provides a cross-cultural environment wherein the intern would develop good communication skills as well as enhance their technical abilities.
  • Career boost - The internship in itself is prestigious and it is sure to make your resume shine. In addition to this, Mitacs also has great opportunities for MS and Ph.D. by offering fellowships, etc. [2]
  • Technical exposure - Being a GRI, you will have access to world-class research equipment, work on cutting-edge technologies, and publications.
  • Competitive - The top-ranked applicants from the countries mentioned compete together for this opportunity, thus the level of competition is high.
  • Stipend - If you get the opportunity to be an offline intern, Mitacs offers a good stipend value, which is enough for stay as well as if used wisely, for future plans.

This funding contains your travel, visa, and accommodation charges per day(roughly 6000+ CAD, may change as per the scenario)[3] (This time the internship will proceed in Virtual mode and the stipend differs based on the funding partner, in some institutes, it’s Mitacs + AICTE or Mitacs + Shastri-Indo Canadian institutes, check more on this.)

Interesting till now, right? Having goosebumps? Started imagining yourself as GRI’22?

C’mon, let's talk about the technical part now!

Check who is eligible for applying?[4]

  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of application
  • Be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or combined undergraduate/master’s program with one to three semesters remaining in their program as of Fall 2021
  • Apply to a minimum of three, maximum of seven, projects and ensure selections are from at least three different Canadian provinces
  • Be fluent in the oral and written language of the project (English and/or French)
  • Be available to complete a 12 consecutive week internship between May 1 and October 31.
Hope all the key points are ticked in your case! Let’s move forward!

Application process

Mitacs maintains its own applicant portal [5], initially, it may take a few seconds to load, so be patient. You need to register with your email id and password. Once you log in, you will be inside your application portal. Now the journey starts! I will try my best to make this procedure explanatory so that you do not encounter any difficulty, so follow each step along!

  • Person Details section - Here you will be asked details like full name(write as per passport), DOB, country of residence, and other basic details.
  • Educational Details section - Here you have to fill in your present educational background like university name, country, GPA, etc.
  • SOP - Talk about your technical experience, achievements, expectations from this internship, a bit about your future plan say if you plan to come to CA for further studies, how this internship can help you in growing. Weave an honest story with all these elements covered. In 100 words you need to make your application shine. Be extremely picky and specific as these 100 words need to speak for your personality as a whole.
  • Research Rationale - Here you can specify if you had interned previously on a research-based project or have industry exposure, what your research interests are, how are they relevant to the projects you have chosen, talk about publications if any. Be specific about what exactly you did in a research project, what were the results, in brief, the impacts your project made, etc.
  • MCQ based section - Answer honestly
  • Experience with Mitacs - In this, you need to specify where you got knowledge about this program, website, university portal, or in your case GRI alumni.
  • Letter of recommendation - Mitacs asks for 2 LoRs. It gives you 2 options for uploading:- Upload a combined pdf or provide the recommender’s details and then they would receive a mail to submit LoRs. So choose wisely from both the options. There are certain points that your LoR should cover, abide by them, let your profs know about these beforehand so that there is relevance to the questions asked and your LoR. This is an important factor that would stand as your pillar if you have worked under a prof, or attended a class actively. Do ensure if industry-based or only academic-based LoRs are allowed.
  • Projects - The most important part of your application. Let’s discuss this elaborately later in the blog.
  • Documents - You need to provide your CV and official transcripts(You need to apply to your home university for the same, it is a week-long procedure so make sure you acquire them asap before the deadline of your application, I had to go to my university in the pandemic to obtain one, make arrangements accordingly.)
  • SUBMIT your application and continue working on your research profile.

The most important section of your application: Choosing Projects!

Choosing right project is important

In this section, I shall elaborately talk about the techniques through which choosing a project would be easier for you, along with personal tips.

You can choose min 3 projects and max 7 projects with a restriction that no more than 3 projects be from the same province. (Background Knowledge: CA is divided into provinces like Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and others. So you can choose only 3 projects from say, Alberta, not more than 3).

Some key points to remember when choosing a project:-

  • Choose a project which resonates very well with your field of interest or you have experience with.
  • Carefully scan the projects by reading the description, student roles, and required skills, etc.
  • As it’s said “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, similarly, take time and research about the project you find interesting, read a paper or two to actually get the essence of what you are expecting from this project. (This will help you in your interviews)
  • Make a priority list (2-Ambitious, 4-target, 1- safe). Your project list will be like a rank list with 1st project your top preference and the last would be the least preferred.
  • Mitacs provides a good platform to choose projects by applying filters - keywords, province, host professor name, host university name, language(English/French).
  • Make sure to check the expected language of your project(English/French).
  • I would suggest making an excel sheet with a Project ID, description, and host university name. This will help you when you will be making your final decision.

Personal tip: If you have time, try to work under your faculty or do a research-based internship. This will help greatly with your profile. Publications in relevant fields would also make your profile shine. If you are a freshman, I would advise you to improve your coding skills and try as many technical fields as possible(Development, ML, IoT, cybersecurity, etc.)

Application procedure complete!

What happens now?

Your application will fall under one of these 3 categories.

  • Candidate Under consideration: Your application is forwarded to host professors of the 7 projects you have chosen, they will review and decide for the interview and other procedures.
  • Waitlisted: Your application is valid, but not yet forwarded to professors
  • NO longer consideration: Either your application has some issues or you are not eligible for the internship.

Review process:

Interview time!

Some professors ask for a skype interview, while others may ask for a research proposal, or give some task to be completed in a stipulated time. I was interviewed by 4 professors, one of them asked for a research proposal which was to be submitted in a week’s time. This task required me to read 2 research papers and answer questions related to the field. I am interning in the same university but under a different professor. (both of these projects were my target projects). The first wave of results comes in October-November. You are given the option of re-ordering your project list as well. The second wave of results comes in February-March. If you are successful, you would receive an offer letter.

My personal takeaways from this process are:-

  • Focus on polishing your research profile, do not wait for results.
  • Take each rejection with a positive attitude, find what flaws were left, and improve on them.
  • Patience is the biggest asset we need to keep.
  • Be honest in your application and interview process.
  • Expand your learning horizons at least in these 7 projects.
All the very best for your Mitacs Globalink Research Internship application and journey ahead!

Connect with me on LinkedIn here : https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandeep-kaur-81b677183/

References :

[1] https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/globalink/globalink-research-internship

[2] https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/globalink/globalink-graduate-fellowship

[3] https://www.quora.com/What-stipend-do-MITACS-Globalink-interns-from-India-get

[4] https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/globalink/globalink-research-internship

[5] https://globalink.mitacs.ca/