Saturday, June 27, 2009

Princess Culture Marches On

There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago re-examining the whole girls' "Princess Culture" phenomenon, which I think strikes a particular cord right now (economic recession, the start of wedding season, etc., etc.). Written by Megan Basham, the article explores both the puffy gowns and tiaras princess culture, as well as the many luxury items and merchandise that have attached themselves to the princess phenomenon in title only (think Paris Hilton versus Cinderella, but as nodes along the same bubblegum pink continuum). As Basham writes:
Call it trickle-down narcissism. Today, even as the economic crisis continues, many middle-class parents aspire to give their daughters the best of everything, "the best" meaning the most expensive. A quick tour around suburbia will show princess-themed bedrooms (the rhinestoned-and-feathered kind, not the cartoon-character kind) and ostentatious birthday parties, as well as pedigreed dogs being toted in designer bags by 10-year-olds. Maintaining a diva daughter has become one more way to one-up the Joneses.

The article goes on to describe recent research and a new book by Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, which tracks the rising egotism among college students...particularly among young women. Twenge's research found that "college-age women are developing narcissistic traits at four times the rate of college-age men", a trend she attributes at least in part to the many ways in which the "princess phenomenon" surfaces within girls' lives. Here, she seems to be referring to a sort of "trickle down" effect of princess culture into parenting practices which Twenge says can be described as "princess parenting"...the over-indulgence of daughters who are lavished with luxury goods and "unrealistic praise. Parents not only tell girls they are the prettiest and smartest but also train them to see themselves as the center of their worlds through clothes and accessories."

It's an interesting study, though it's a bit hard to swallow when contrasted with all the research and stats showing the continued prevalence of body image issues and low self esteem among young women and girls (I suppose the phenomenon she describes involves only a very particular subset of young women). Still, the connections between princess-style narcissism and subjectivities of consumption is fascinating, by which I am referring to the bit about girls being taught that they are the "centre of the world" but also that their position as such is mediated through (or even dependent on) the consumption and display of commodity goods (clothes, accessories, etc.). This whole idea of expressing "uniqueness" and worth through the display of luxury goods certainly does seem to tie in with the whole ideology behind "princess culture", which even in its more "traditional" form of dressing up in Disney store-bought princess gowns has become deeply intertwined with conspicuous consumption.

Dan Cook talked a bit about this last year (for e.g., check out this interview with Cook in follow up to a talk he gave on the subject), and it looks like his current research might be focused on unpacking the Disney Princess phenomenon specifically. According to Cook, the rampant popularity (and $$ success) of the Disney Princesses line is still growing, and Disney Princess merchandise is now a $4 billion industry, much of it focused around “lavishness and ultra-femininity". I've written a bit about the criticisms around the hyper-feminine ideals promoted by the Disney Princesses before, which you can read more about by following the links provided in this post from last year. You should also read this excellent piece written by Shannon Prince for Racialicious, which discusses Tiana, from the upcoming The Princess and the Frog, who is both the newest addition to the Disney Princesses line and the first African-American Princess. Prince's essay provides a thoughtful, critical analysis of both Tiana and the Princesses in general, and addresses many of the issues that have been raised around the Disney Princesses by both academics and feminist activists.

OR, for a completely different perspective, check out this article from Australian news source The Age.

I like that princess culture is starting to get some good critical inquiry from the likes of Cook and Twenge. The initial reactions were, well, a bit reactionary, and seeing as the phenomenon doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon, some good unpacking of what it means and how it functions within girls' lives is really key. Another great example of this emerging academic trend is Miriam Forman-Brunel's (who wrote Made to Play House, a fantastic history of the commercialization of girls' doll play) recent historical overview and critical analysis of princesses in girls' culture, co-authored with Julie Eaton and entitled "The Graceful and Gritty Princess", which appeared in a recent issue of the American Journal of Play.

Other sources of interest include a "Disney Princess Watch" initiated by Parents for Ethical Marketing, through which you might want to check out this recent photo exhibit by Dina Goldstein entitled Fallen Princesses. The project, as Goldstein describes, aims to "place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The '...happily ever after' is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues." Her work (as you will see) is directly inspired by the Disney Princess line, and engages directly with both the imagery and themes promoted by the Disney Princess' films and associated cultural/consumer products. It pushes the envelope a bit, but that's a good thing, isn't it? Goldstein writes that in coming up with the scenarios for her photos, she "began to imagine Disney's perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues." I find the Belle and Jasmin photos particularly memorable...at once shocking and cliche, which is a difficult mix of feelings to evoke.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Virtual Worlds Law at NYLS State of Play

I was in the midst of semi-live blogging about today's State of Play VI conference, when I noticed that Greg Lastowka is already doing a darn thorough job of it over at Terra Nova. Since there's no need to reproduce his notes, I'll just provide you with some highlights and some of my thoughts on what's gone on so far today...see comments section (below) for (possibly) more updates later on.

Biggest highlight so far has been the fact that nearly every speaker so far has mentioned kids' rights and legal/content trickiness in their talks to some degree. Raph Koster's keynote (which largely centered around his current project, Metaplace, a ugc virtual worlds building platform/community, which seems pretty neat) had a bit about kids, the problems (logistical and ethical) of restricting minors, or trying to. He also raised a pretty provocative question re: how "big" does a virtual space need to be to qualify as a world...he gave the example of The Little Prince, whose planet is tiny, but a world nonetheless...which I really liked since I've often struggled with defining (or defending) some of the kids' vw's I look at as truly qualifying as "VWs"

This morning, I also attended the session on virtual worlds law, "Current Legal Issues for Virtual Worlds". Here, Roxanne E. Christ presented a historical typology of UGC, which was a little sketchy, but I liked her categories (if not the categorizations of sites/activities that went with them) - "user-moved content" (space shifting, content shifting, customization), "user-shared content" a.k.a. peer to peer (e.g. napster, grokster, etc.), "user-mashed content" a.k.a. bricollage (YouTube, Jaydiohead, but in here she also talks about sites like Veoh, which stream and allow individuals to post and stream content, but don't actually store files or allow for download...are they protected under Safe Harbour clause of the DMCA?, etc.); and "user-created content". Included in this last category are virtual rooms (like Metaplace), machinima, "mini-me's". She says that the UGC revolution is coming - virtual goods as property, user rights in ugc, the eula as the law, and the ownership and use of player data are all current and ongoing issues of relevance here. In terms of the idea of the EULA as law, Christ says (wow...that is so strange to write in a blog post) that this is probably not realistic - there are already cracks in this system, and it raises the issue of minors contracts. (e.g. she mentions that in California, which has the "Jackie Cooley Law" passed in response to the abuse of child actors in the 1940s, minors contracts are voidable, etc. and so in the case of kids' the EULA can't be the law). She suggests that resolution to this issue might be piggybacked onto privacy laws/policies (which already delineate special rights for kids under 13 years, as well as a special set of responsibilities for sites and data brokers dealing with child users). She even listed the issue of the "capacity of minors to contract" as #1 on her list of top 5 issues that need to be resolved now in relation to UGC. Agreed!

On the same panel, Sean F. Kane (who spoke about drafting better, more comprehensible EULAs) - also addresses minors and the issue of "who is accepting it" as a huge question when dealing with minors, complications between parents and kids, age and consent. He and his panel mate should discuss the ethical and legal problems with suggesting that parents can sign for their kids and provide verifiable adult consent through, say, credit card verification. This might cover some bases, but really doesn't deal with the extra challenges presented by children's own rights of ownership and consent (or at the very least to be protected from exploitation and from adults mismanaging their rights and making decisions that may not be in their interest). Examples such as the "Jackie Cooley Law" [**need to find a link to verify spelling, etc.**) raise the huge importance of approaching children's rights and parents' rights as intertwined but also separate.

Speaking of UGC, mash-ups, etc., I finally had the opportunity to see Brett Gaylor's brilliant, fun, awesomely soundtracked, RIP: A Remix Manifesto...on the planeride here, of all places. Shout to to Air Canada (for the first time ever) for including such innovative selections in its Canadian film section. You can watch it for free online. And show it to your students. Or remix it yourself and add more/new content. very cool.

But anyway, I should get back to conferencing like a good delegate. In the meantime, check for updates on Terra Nova, as well as the NYLS State of Play website (currently down, but should be back up and running soon) for video of the keynotes and at least some of the panels.

Update: Afternoon
The afternoon panels have had quite a different tone from the morning sessions...I've attended the industry panel ("Beyond the Magic Circle", which focused on how intangible and affective digital-game based reward systems can be used as motivators for participation in various communities and/or activities...many of them corporate, it seems), and am now in the midst of the "Economies and Economics" session featuring heavy hitters Julian Dibbell (!) and Edward Castronova (!). An an entire panel on virtual economies and economics might sound dry, but what it really comes down to is property, user struggles, democratic rationalization (in some cases), in others, commercialization of play, and some higher level discussion of the blurring of play and trade. In a sense a great follow up to the discussion on Huizinga's magic circle, in particular the one that took place on the backchannels during the panel and Q&A (in fact, Dibbell states as much himself near the end of his panel intro).

First up, Stephanie Rothenberg, a mixed media artist whose work explores user experience, labour and labour issues, and most recently the academic research of Castronova and Dibbell - how cool is that! Rothenberg presented a piece she created with Jeffrey Krausse, which exhibited at last year's Sundance Film Festival, called Invisible Threads, which uses a virtual sweatshop based in Second Life within an installation piece that people could then interact with "irl". The exhibit aims to explore and represent invisible labour flows, making conceptual and tangible connections between goldfarming (which produce immaterial goods out of real labour) and material sweatshops (which produce material goods out of "hidden" or suppressed labour), as well as "playing" at being a labourer (which seems to be the experience of many of the participants who became labourers in the installation piece virtual sweatshop. (She also recommends checking out this film http://www.sleepdealer.com)

Next up, Margaret Wallace from Rebel Monkey, the game design company behind a new virtual world for tweens CampFu. Wallace's talk provided a rare inside look at the discourse, rationale and strategies behind micro-transaction model vw's aimed at kids. She talked about "monetizing engagement", and all the different ways that their company sees user engagement translating into RMT transactions (e.g. Users play together, which makes them want to buy virtual items to show off/communicate to each other; players form teams and make friends, which might make them want to buy gifts for other players, etc.). Like SO many (too many) kids' vw's these days, the game basically offers players the option of playing games or shopping, or else chatting and interacting with other players (community building, social networking, chatting, some collaborative play).

With a look and feel similar to Nicktropolis or BarbieGirls (though with more sophisticated graphics). Wallace describes the game as currently limited to a "sharded experience" environment (i.e. a series of "rooms"...cool term!), but the company plans to switch to a "scrollable world" design in a few months. Wallace reports that even among the players, much of the chat is focused on the goods themselves - avatar customization as fashion statement. Again, like most kids' games, CampFu self-describes as "free-to-play", but really what we're looking at here is a micro-transaction model, in conjunction with a velvet-rope marketing strategy (i.e. we'll let you "in" for free, but you can only access the good stuff if you pay for it). They even have a segregated "two currencies" system, which Wallace claims was designed to "offer opportunities to everyone to participate" - both those who pay and those who don't or can't. There's a currency that you pay for with real-world or "hard" money, and then there's a "tickets" system. Tickets are the rewards won by playing the mini-games, and can only be used to purchase consumable items (items that expire after a certain number of uses). Th currencies - that you pay for. The tickets are described to be aimed at increasing engagement (and time spent in the site), to "engage players whether they buy or not", as well as "introduce players to virtual currencies" and currency systems, idea of virtual items collection and shopping, in the hopes of fostering future behaviours. Velvet rope + pedagogy of consumption...yikes.

But CampFu doesn't want to miss out on other, more subtle ways of extracting exchange value out of their players. Players can also earn the "FuCash", the game's virtual currency by filling out surveys and "special offers" (not sure what those are)...so it looks like becoming uninformed participants in market research is the only way to get the FuCash required to buy avatar clothes and other coveted items, other than to buy it with real world money. Wallace showed some graphs demonstrating player participation (although not overall numbers), showing that since the site launched in Feb.09, the average session duration rose from an average of 21 minutes to over an hour (as of May 09). I wonder how their business model is working out, where kids are getting their FuCash (if any) or if they're just using the free components for a novel place to socialize...we'll see.

Andrew Schneider of RMT (Real Money Trading) says that today's black market for virtual items (for real money) has surpassed $2 billion in gross transactions worldwide.

Edward Castronova, in addition to telling us that no one has to use his term "synthetic worlds" when speaking to him about vw's, reasserted the need for some form of official, formal, hopefully democratic delineation of economic relationships within virtual worlds, one that defends user rights as well as those of corporations. It's an old argument, esp. coming from him, but one that certainly needs continued reiteration, particularly now that vw's have become so pervasive...while still using basically the same corporately-biased EULAs and IP (and governance) claims that have dominated the market since he first wrote about all this in 2002. I really liked his tempered delivery, acknowledging the importance of economic recuperation, but also reminding us that market downturn isn't justification for ignoring player rights...hinting that it's in fact further indication that EULA reform (although he doubts that EULAs can provide what they need to, he also thinks its more likely that this type of thing would happen in the market than initiated by governments) and an alternative (player-driven?) discourse for establishing/regulating vw laws and social (incl. economic) relationships is exactly what's called for given the exploitative relationships that so often emerge when corporations are left to regulate themselves. Or at least, that's what I got from it.

And then, in Q&A, Jim Bower, the founder of Whyville zinged the entire panel by championing "kids as the future" of responsible governance and democratically-articulated covenants, pointing to the large Kafai-led project on Whyville players (including this article on cheating in Whyville and "Stealing from Grandma", written by Deborah Fields and Yasmin Kafai, which is fantastic). He also admitted that Whyville is actively and purposefully "training" its players in civic responsibility, which Castronova had a really hilarious and zinging response to, though props to Bower for admitting that his vw is not some neutral, innocuous or so-called "safe" haven, but rather a very ideological and discursive system (social and technological) where players are indeed learning all kinds of rules and norms, not just from the explicitly pedagogical tools, but everything else as well (each other!). Also, funny that no one pointed out that CampFu is putting just as much effort into training its players, in how to want and believe in virtual currency systems and subjectivites of consumption.

Anyway...Awesome!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What New in the Kids' Games Market

There have been so many great games and exciting announcements pertaining to kids' gaming culture (and the kids market) lately, especially now that this year's E3 has come and gone, that the thought of trying to digest (let alone dissect) it all can be more than a little overwhelming. That's why I've put together this thematic Guide to What's New... in various segments of games culture, focusing on those projects and announcements I find most relevant to kids or that have particularly caught my eye these past few weeks. The list is by no means exhaustive, and it's likely already out of date it's taken me so long to put it together, but my hope is that it will still be useful to some of you, for catching up on new developments and flagging things for follow-up.


What's New in...Console Games
So much of the biggest big news from this year's E3 involved console games (see Buzzstudy's analysis of the Top E3 Announcements according to online buzz, and the updated version they sent to Kotaku), including a number of interesting, exciting or otherwise noteworthy announcements and developments that relate directly to kids' games/gaming cultures. Here's a quick run-down:

A new (collaborative!) 1-4 player Super Mario Brothers

A more expansive and expansion-friendly Wii Sports Resort

Super Mario Glaxy 2

Beatles Rock Band (it's rated "T" but who are we kidding...that hasn't stopped the previous Rock Band titles from spreading like wildfire among the under 13 set. It seems parents don't object as much to "mild language" in lyrics as they do to hyper violence...go figure)

But just in case they do...they're launching a new LEGO Rock Band as well...bizarre!

From Media Molecule, more news about their sequels to the award-winning LittleBigPlanet, with LittleBigPlanet 2 and (which was first way back in October) and LittleBigPlanet PSP. More on that property below.

Not ready to put the property to bed quite yet, Ubisoft will be releasing TMNT: Smash Up, based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In addition, earlier this month Warner Brothers finally confirmed the widely-accepted-as-true rumor that it is teaming up with LEGO (once again) to collaborate on a Harry Potter tie-in (once again), this time in game form. The much anticipated LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is expected to be released sometime in 2010.

You might also want to check out this "Top Ten Kids Games Announced at E3" List published in The Industry Standard.


What's New in...MMOGs
There's been a ton of online buzz about SOE's kid-oriented MMOG Free Realms, which launched in late April (2009). In addition to a recent article in Wired magazine, you should check out this article in the New York Times, this blog post by Izzy Neis (whose move to Twitter has left me with an empty hole in my daily blog roll that no one else could ever hope to fill), and this ongoing (?) thread started by Greg Lastowka on Terra Nova. And, you know, try it out for yourself - it's free and even has a "Quick Play" feature...possibly designed for critics and academics ;)

In other news, FusionFall just keeps on trucking. You can now follow their progress through an online Developer Diary, which is pretty useful for tracking changes and industry discourses about the evolution of the game, community, technology, etc.

And over at Disney, Pixie Hollow is continuing to impress, in no small part by generating actual profits and driving a wildly popular new Disney property. According to Virtual Worlds News, the player population has now reached the million member mark, and is the flagship of the Disney Fairies brand, which is currently worth about $2 billion (in global annual retail sales of ancillary products and media).


What's New in...Girlie Games
Same old, same old, as EA Announces the Girls Charm Club (as described in this Business Wire article), and the casual gaming market gears up for a "pink games" re-revolution (via YPulse). Always ready to throw her stylish hat in the mix, Barbie/Mattel also announced some sort of Digital Doll House project awhile back that would seem to fit well with these trends.


What's New in...Indie Games
Too much! But of particular noteworthiness is Nathan Jurevicius and TouchMyPixel's beautiful, slightly creepy, funny, kid-friendly (and free!) online game, Scarygirl. It's been attracting a lot of buzz too, as seen in this "Best of Indie Games" shout out courtesy of Tim W., and subsequent interview with Jurevicius conducted by Phill Cameron, over at Gamasutra. As Tim W. writes:
"Scarygirl is a completely free to play flash game which involves platforming, adventure, puzzle and even fighting-game style elements. The visuals are incredible and the content is absolutely expansive with over fourteen levels of gameplay to plow through."

Indeed!


What's New in...UGC Games
More Spore for Kids! Read news of upcoming, kid-targeted, Spore spin-off projects (for Nintendo Wii, plus a My Pokemon Ranch-style virtual pet-type game, Creature Keeper) over at Wired blog.

News from Kidscreen magazine that Media Molecule is looking for kids' merchandising opportunities and partnerships for its LittleBigPlanet property (centered around uber-cute Sackboy and friends).

Also, some very interesting news from Microsoft about a kid-friendly (and, one would hope, accessible) version of XNA called Kodu, which you can read about over at USA Today


What's New in...Gaming Technologies
Too much to list here, I'm afraid, what with Microsoft's Project Natal, the PS3 motion controller, and all the (seemingly) smaller Wii motion sensor upgrades. I recommend reading some of the many industry lists/summaries, etc., or to breeze through this compilation of E3 coverage and interviews, posted over at AdAge.


And as for What's New...With Me!
I'm off to NYC tomorrow to participate in the Grad Student Symposium at the State of Play Conference, hosted by New York Law School (in conjunction with the University of Southern California Network Culture Project at the Annenberg School for Communication, and with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation), and featuring multiple games scholars and designers that I'm simply dying to meet (and/or meet again). Should be an amazing and thought provoking few days, in one of my favourite big huge cities. Enormous thanks to Dan Hunter and Naomi Allen (and anyone else involved in the conference organizing team) for letting me tag along.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CFP Alert: Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television

Found this on the UPenn English CFP list, and thought it might be of interest to some - a CFP (deadline recently extended to July 15th) on scifi in kids' television and film. Very interesting idea, and it's true...there is a definite gap in the literature that this book could potentially fill quite nicely. Here are the details, reprinted from the UPenn site:
Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television (Deadline Extended to 7/15/09)
R.C. Neighbors and Sandy Rankin/University of Arkansas
contact email: childrens-scifi@hotmail.com

It has often been said that science fiction is a literature of ideas. Through the use of familiar tropes, such as spaceships, aliens, and ray guns, the genre uses the future (and sometimes the past) to comment on the present--on current social, cultural, and political ideologies. Likewise, media directed at children often focus on advocating or criticizing similar ideologies, sometimes for a didactic purpose. It is interesting, then, that so little has been said about the joining of these two genres--children's science fiction--particularly when dealing with the visual media of film and television.

Toward this end, the proposed essay anthology To Infinity and Beyond: Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television will attempt to fill this gap in scholarship. It will primarily deal with how children's visual media use science fiction to promote or discourage certain ideologies. However, essays on other issues dealing with science fiction in children's programming--such as the encoding of science fiction tropes in children's media, conversations between children's film/TV and adult science fiction, science fictional elements in other genres, and the growing popularity of science fiction in children's visual media, etc--will be considered. A publisher has already shown interest in the collection.

Topics of Particular Interest

Lilo and Stitch
Flubber
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Dexter's Laboratory
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Transformers
Land of the Lost
Lost in Space

Brain (from Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain)
We have already received many excellent proposals (including several over Doctor Who and the film Wall-E) and are looking for a few more to round out the collection. If interested in contributing to the collection, please send your CV and a 300-500 word abstract to R.C. Neighbors and Sandy Rankin (childrens-scifi@hotmail.com) by July 15th. (If a draft of the essay is already completed, please send it along with the other materials.) Graduate student submissions are welcome.

So many cool opportunities, so little time. Immediate ideas include Muppets from Space, Atomic Betty, Astro Boy, Futurama (which just got "renewed"!), Zixx Level Three and some sort of reworking of my co-authored paper with Neil Narine analyzing films depicting child gamers (which included quite a few sci-fi pics, The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, etc.). I'm not sure I'll have a chance to submit something, but it is nonetheless a very compelling idea for an edited collection.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Awesome Resource Alert: Open Thinking's massive list of online media/tech literacy vids

Wowza - talk about a treasure trove of valuable resources. Open Thinking is the personal and professional blog of Canadian academic Dr. Alec Couros, who is a professor of educational technology and media with the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. The site is a self-described "growing collection of personal reflections and resources" touching upon various issues relating to media and tech literacy, from democratic media to pedagogical tools, to critical media literacy and questions of citizenship and social justice. In addition to many incredibly useful posts and discussions of these (and other) topics, Couros has now posted an extensive listing of 80+ online videos relevant to teaching, researching and presenting on media and tech literacy....thematically organized, with summaries (!!!), and as far as I can see all up-to-date and active. Some of these have made the rounds, some are taken from traditional media channels, some are user-generated, all are worth a gander.

Here's the link - enjoy!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Opportunity for BC Academics (grad students and faculty)

In my search for funding and something to do now that the end of my thesis writing is finally in sight (well, in "end of summer" sight, but still!), I'm starting to think about new and different ways I might be able to apply my research and expertise. Our new grad chair recently mentioned the following, very interesting opportunity for collaboration with local companies called the MITACS ACCELERATE BC program, which brings together BC companies and academics on research projects of mutual interest. Here are the details:
The MITACS ACCELERATE BC program is currently accepting proposals from professors and graduate students/postdocs in any faculty or department for research projects conducted in collaboration with BC companies. This innovative internship program funds 4-, 8-, or 12-month research projects.

MITACS ACCELERATE is open to all university faculties and departments that train graduate students including Arts, Engineering, Humanities, Physical Sciences, Applied Sciences, Social Sciences and many more.

The MITACS ACCELERATE benefits for professors and grad students/postdocs:

* Provides an opportunity to apply expertise to challenging industrial issues
* Leverages your existing funding from industry
* Provides funding of a grad student/post-doc
* Provides a valuable career opportunity for grad students and postdocs
* Application process has limited paperwork; quick turnaround. Proposals are accepted at any time
* Foreign grad students and postdocs can participate
* Can help you to attract grad students and postdocs


Details:
The intern, under the supervision of a faculty member, spends approximately half of his/her time over a minimum four-month period onsite with an eligible BC partner (a company, industry association, not-for-profit or crown corporation) or in the field, developing a better understanding of a jointly-identified research problem of importance to the company. The balance of the intern’s time is spent at the university with a professor, developing a solution to the organization’s s challenge.

The company’s contribution of $7.5K per four-month internship unit is matched by MITACS, with funding support from the Government of BC and the Government of Canada. The intern receives a minimum of $10K of the $15K in funding, with the remaining $5K supporting other costs associated with the project.

Although internship proposals are accepted at any time, it is strongly recommended that for internships intended to commence Sep 1, 2009, proposals be received by MITACS by July 15, 2009. This will allow adequate time for peer-review and transfer of funds to the university. The MITACS business development team will assist you with the application process.

For more information, email internships@mitacs.ca...

There are a limited number of internships available with non-company organizations (including hospitals, government labs and agencies and not-for-profit societies), and with partners in other provinces. Please speak to a BC business development representative for more information before submitting a proposal.

For more information about the program (including past examples of funded internships) visit the MITACS ACCELERATE website.