Funding announced for internship program that partners research with industry

Published on February 7, 2017

Dr. Balakrishnan Prithiviraj, who will oversee the research side of this new project, says combining research with industry is the key to success.

CORNWALLIS, N.S. – Nova Scotia’s provincial government has announced funding for internships in research and innovation aimed at creating work opportunities for Nova Scotia students and companies.

It was announced Feb. 6 at Acadian Seaplants in Cornwallis that $705,000 in funding will create 170 internships over the next three years. Sixty of these internships will take place at Acadian Seaplants, in partnership with Dalhousie University and the Mitacs Accelerate Program.

The company, which processes seaweed to create products for numerous agricultural and chemical uses, has a long history of partnering with researchers to deliver cutting-edge products.

It currently employs 30 researchers, including 12 with PhD’s.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan chats with two interns during a tour of Acadian Seaplants Limited.

©Communications Nova Scotia

President and CEO JP Deveau said his company “sees research as a way of life,” and that partnerships between industry, government and research institutions are key to “working together to create technologies we can export around the world.”

Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, also attended Monday’s event, speaking about creating opportunities for recent university graduates.

“Hiring people that we invest in early… will help create a better Nova Scotia,” she said.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan and J.P. Deveau, president and CEO of Acadian Seaplants Limited, during a tour of the company's facility.

©Communications Nova Scotia

Dalhousie professor Dr. Balakrishnan Prithiviraj, who is in charge of the program’s interns and their research, said it’s “humbling to see the academic pursuit combined with industry,” and that this partnership will benefit both researchers and companies.

Two of his interns, Dr. Pushp Sheel Shukla and Dr. L.R. Gunupuru, attended the event. They are excited to collaborate with the company to develop new products and their new careers.

“I want to look into how this can continue helping plant productivity, which can then help with global food security,” said Gunupuru.

Prithiviraj said it’s also a great opportunity for post-doctorate fellows to have a large and direct impact. The research will be used by Acadian Seaplants to develop new technologies and products, which will then be shipped globally.