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Posted: November 23, 2021

New Global Skills Opportunity project to help Canadian students gain career-boosting research experience in Latin America


Students from Lakehead University, Vancouver Island University, Carleton University, École de technologie supérieure (ETS), and Memorial University, as members of the Canada and Latin America Research and Exchange Opportunities (CALAREO) Consortium, will be gaining global skills through the newly launched CALAREO International Research Mobility Experience (IRME) Project.

The Government of Canada’s Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) program is awarding the IRME project a consortium grant worth $799,299 to support an estimated 138 students for international research placements.

This research mobility opportunity will unlock students’ endless potential through life-changing global skills and experiences. This offering has been made possible by the Government of Canada’s new Global Skills Opportunity program.

The CALAREO IRME Project will be administered by Lakehead University and Carleton University on behalf of the consortium. Opportunities include 12-week research internships for Canadian undergraduates in collaboration with Mitacs, which is contributing up to $240,000 in additional funding.

The program will also offer short-term research internships and fund several faculty-led programs, with a contribution of $40,000 from CALAREO.

Partners in Latin America include six universities in the state of Querétaro, México, and Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge (CCYK), a 31-university consortium in Colombia, which will work with CALAREO members in Canada to strengthen systems and supports for students and offer research placements.

“The CALAREO International Research Mobility Experience will be a transformative project that will allow students from our member institutions to experience life-changing international research opportunities,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Chair of the CALAREO Consortium.

“We thank the Government of Canada and Mitacs for financial support for this program. International research collaborations are extremely important to tackling the large challenges for society today. Through this program we will be able to start those collaborations and opportunities for our undergraduate students,” he added.

Global Skills Opportunity is a national outbound student mobility program that is expected to enable more than 16,000 Canadian college and undergraduate-level university students from across the country to acquire the global skills that employers want and the Canadian economy needs.

A key component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy, Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada.

While open to all Canadian post-secondary students, the national program targets groups for whom international experiences have traditionally been less accessible — specifically Indigenous students, students from low-income backgrounds, and those with disabilities. It also aims to diversify destination countries where Canadian students pursue international learning.

Compared to similar countries, fewer Canadian students – only about 11 percent of university undergraduates and three percent of college students – participate in work or study abroad experiences during their studies.

This new program just might change that. By empowering post-secondary institutions to implement innovative solutions to barriers to participation, Global Skills Opportunity will expand the horizons of Canadian students from coast to coast, and improve Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage.

“Global Skills Opportunity is breaking down financial, social and logistical barriers that have prevented too many underrepresented students from participating in global study and work opportunities,” said Paul Davidson, President, Universities Canada.

Through this ambitious and groundbreaking program, thousands of young Canadians will have transformational experiences abroad. Their newfound global perspective and skills will inform the way they live and work for decades to come,” Davidson added.

For more information:

Contact:  Jill Sherman, calareo.research@lakeheadu.ca

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