Funding for NSERC’s CREATE program in the industrial stream
More than $1.6 million for a unique applied research program on wireless network
In the 21st century digital economy, developing smart wireless applications such as smart homes, offices, hospitals, vehicles, power grids, or cities requires multidisciplinary training as yet unavailable in any educational program in Canada. Professor Sofiène Affes with INRS’s Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre is teaming up with top-notch researchers from five Montreal universities and ten industry partners to launch the PERSWADE (Pervasive and Smart Wireless Applications for the Digital Economy) program so as to prepare students for new technology challenges, new application-specific integration issues, and a new industrial culture in the field of wireless networks and systems and its smart applications. The only one and very first of its kind, this interdisciplinary program is receiving upwards of $1.6 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), out of a budget of $3.8 million for 2013–2019.
Open to electrical engineering students from all levels of five participating universities—INRS, ETS, Polytechnique, Concordia University, and McGill University—the new program dictates that 20% of research time be spent in an industrial environment. The 210 students participating in the program for the next six years will benefit from cutting-edge internships, lectures and workshops on topical industry issues like the sustainable economy, intellectual property, standardization, and more industry-oriented research projects that address interdisciplinary wireless integration challenges in the digital economy.
For Professor Affes, getting industry partners involved in the program was critical. NSERC funding paved the way for partnerships with multinationals like Ericsson and Huawei, as well as Industry Canada, Hydro-Québec’s IREQ, and six other businesses among the most active in the sector. “Participating companies already plan to hire 120–140 program graduates over the next few years,” says Affes. This training program is a great added-value for students in terms of experience, knowledge, and skills. They’ll be ready to contribute to the growth, innovation, and competitiveness of a large number of Canadian businesses.” Open to other partnerships, the PERSWADE program will count on the involvement of new industrial collaborators in the near future.
Drawing on the expertise of faculty from its Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre, INRS is heading up this innovative program—the first in Canada to explore smart wireless communications and its pervasive applications in all industrial sectors of the 21st digital economy. ♦
Partners of the Pervasive and Smart Wireless Applications for the Digital Economy (PERSWADE) program
Co-applicants to NSERC’s CREATE program
University of Ottawa
Hydro-Québec’s research institute (IREQ)