NOVONIX Battery Technology Solutions
Recruiting and retaining skilled, work-ready talent to fuel home-grown battery production
Perhaps no other industry is seeing the same kind of explosive growth and competition for top tier talent as battery science. As the battery boom surges, companies like NOVONIX look to develop relationships with highly skilled graduate students with hope of their evolution into full-time hires.
An ongoing relationship with Mitacs has delivered long-term employees, the creation of a vital internal department, a specific product innovation, and space for the organization to focus on scaling.
“We’d had co-op students before, but we thought Mitacs would be a good way to fund postdoc students closer to being ready for the workforce, and thus more likely to be hired full-time once an internship program was over,” says Ryan Fielden, Manager, Internal R&D at NOVONIX Battery Technology Solutions.
“Drawing from a pool of academically experienced post-graduate students sets Mitacs apart against other student internship programs.”
Drawing from a pool of academically experienced post-graduate students sets Mitacs apart against other student internship programs
With three postdocs currently interning at NOVONIX and many more having come through the program already, Fielden is quick to point out that their internal R&D team was a direct outcome of Mitacs, which, through funding partnerships with organizations like Nova Scotia Business Inc., covered at least 50 per cent of the innovation internships.
“Our very first Mitacs intern project was the creation of an internal R&D team,” he explains. “We wanted to take something that was conceived and developed during the interns’ work and prove it out at scale. Our cathode synthesis work that continues today was a direct result of the work done by Mitacs research students.”
NOVONIX’s cathode proprietary synthesis technology is well-positioned to become a part of supporting the expected significant growth in the cathode market for the lithium-ion battery industry, with a focus on long life applications such as energy storage systems and electric vehicles. Mitacs students continue to contribute to the cathode material synthesis work, tackling fundamental aspects of the materials being synthesized, allowing NOVONIX senior leaders to focus on growth.
“Because of Mitacs programs, we were able to establish and grow a team of scientists and engineers for our own cathode synthesis work in our internal R&D team,” says Fielden. “Finding and acquiring key talent remains a critical hurdle to overcome in the innovation and R&D space in Canada – particularly in battery science. Without government funding and support, our talented minds will flock to the United States and beyond. Canada must be able to compete at the global scale.”
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