UBC Blusson QMI Postdoctoral Fellow Matthew Mitchell has received the 2023 Mitacs Award for Commercialization for spearheading over a dozen innovative research and development projects in advanced optical package prototyping with Canadian and international commercial partners.

In congratulating the winners, Mitacs CEO John Hepburn reflected on Mitacs’s 25-year history of providing Canadian innovators with opportunities for experiential skills development through strategic partnerships between industry, government, and academia.

Image: Matthew Mitchell, Postdoctoral Fellow at UBC Blusson QMI, Mitacs Award Ceremony in Ottawa, Ontario. Image supplied.

“Mitacs is honoured to play a pivotal role in empowering industry leaders across Canada to foster game-changing ideas, and we couldn’t be more pleased to celebrate their significant achievements with these awards,” Hepburn said.

Blusson QMI Investigator Jeff Young said Matthew has performed as a seasoned research leader since his arrival at UBC.

“Matthew’s extraordinary efficiency in the laboratory, creative mind, and seemingly limitless energy have allowed him to make far-reaching contributions to several diverse research projects. His affable personality makes it easy for students and colleagues to approach and take advantage of his vast knowledge and insight,” said Young, who co-supervises Matthew’s research with Blusson QMI Investigator Lukas Chrostowski.

Matthew joined Blusson QMI as a postdoctoral fellow in 2020. He began his Fellowship with Mitacs and the photonics technology company Dream Photonics in 2022. He now leads the Photonics Integration Team at Dream Photonics.

“The Mitacs Accelerate Fellowship has allowed me to focus on commercializing the research that I was doing at Blusson QMI and help companies around the world prototype their devices with access to state-of-the-art equipment at the institute,” said Matthew.

“The award means a lot to me – prior to starting my Mitacs program at Dream Photonics, I had no experience in commercializing my research or developing a business. Winning this award provides reassurance that I am on the right path and that the work we are doing will have an impact.”

Mitacs Fellows are tasked with addressing complex challenges through a one or two-year research project with a partner organization and a professional development curriculum that prepares them for success as leaders in research and industry.

“Canada excels at undertaking innovative research and working in niche areas that add great value to the supply chain. The area I am focused on is advanced photonic packaging and integration, which I think is a good example of this,” Matthew said.

“Here, we take components that are manufactured by large foundries in the US and Asia and enhance their function by integrating exotic materials and components with those building block pieces. This is something that requires less capital investment compared to building a foundry, but does require highly qualified personnel – the training of which is something we excel at in Canada.”

Image: Matthew inspecting a fiber-array to chip sample that was photonic wire bonded in Blusson QMI’s cleanroom. An optical microscope is used to qualitatively examine the device after bonding, before any subsequent processing steps. Image by Emily Mitchell.

During his studies at Blusson QMI, Matthew gained expertise in using cutting-edge equipment at the institute’s Advanced Nanofabrication Facility (ANF) – notably the photonic wire bonding tool, garnering global interest in solving optical packaging bottlenecks through innovative technologies.

“We now have clients around the world who are interested in demonstrating and testing photonic wire bonding as a solution for their optical packaging needs. This technology has the potential to solve photonic packaging challenges for the industry.”

UBC’s Advanced Nanofabrication Facility (ANF) at Blusson QMI serves as a premier device manufacturing hub, uniting academia, industry, and government to bolster BC’s standing in next-generation quantum devices and technologies.

“I would like to thank my mentors at UBC, including Lukas Chrostowski, Sudip Shekhar and Jeff Young. I would also like to thank Paul Barclay at the University of Calgary and my partner Emily and family for supporting me outside of work,” Matthew said.

The Mitacs Award for Commercialization recognizes the work of a student or postdoctoral fellow for an idea brought from research that is now available on the market (or has strong support that it is soon to be commercialized). Matthew received the award at a ceremony hosted by Mitacs on November 22, 2023 in Ottawa, Ontario.

UBC Vice-President Research & Innovation Gail Murphy congratulated Matthew on receiving this exciting commercialization award.

“This [award] recognizes Matthew’s outstanding work – supported by Mitacs – that is enabling UBC spin-off company Dream Photonics to translate advanced research in quantum matter into the next generation of materials and applications,” said Murphy.

Learn more about other UBC award winners here.


Media contact: Shahrzad (Zad) Abbasi | 604 360 6761 | shahrzad.abbasi@ubc.ca