Summer research internships in Germany

What did you do last summer? For 4th-year engineering students Mohammed Elshaer and Jonathan Hamilton, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They were Lakehead's first participants in the RISE-Globalink summer research internship program in Germany. The program offers Canadian undergraduates in all STEM fields the opportunity to apply to research internships at universities across Germany. Internships are held during the summer, usually between students' 3rd and 4th year. (There is another program for graduate students, DAAD RISE Professional, for STEM-related internships with German companies like Siemens, BASF, or Merck).  Successful applicants are funded by Mitacs with a $6,000 award.

Mohammed´s internship was at the Nuremberg Campus of Technology at the Technische Hochschule Nürnberg. As part of the interdisciplinary research group “Human Centric Ambience,” his work focused on ways that smart building technology can contribute to human health. He also contributed to preparing and submitting a literature review for publication, learning about research publishing in the process. For his internship, Jonathan worked with the Hybrid Energy Technologies research group at the Institute of New Energy Systems, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt. In Germany, the electric power grid must integrate energy inputs from multiple renewable sources such as solar, wind, and biogas, which results in fluctuations that need to be smoothed to ensure a stable power supply.  Jonathan worked on modelling controls for the electrical distribution grid. 

Both men emphasized that the benefits of the experience extended well beyond the learning gained from the research projects. For example, neither had previously considered graduate study or research as a potential career path. But now, they are both considering graduate school and are open to research-related careers. “Seeing how they worked, it brings you a new view point, different from Canada," said Jonathan. “It was not just the research – it was about becoming more well-rounded, an open-minded engineer.”

Both agreed that the experience expanded their horizons, and they would strongly recommend the program to other students.

Applications are currently being accepted for Summer 2020, for both the undergraduate and graduate internship programs in Germany, with a deadline of December 15, 2019. To see internship descriptions and apply online, you need to register on the DAAD website and log in to the portal at

For more information about the program or how to apply, please contact Jill Sherman,