08/12/2013 02:56 EDT | Updated 10/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Canada helps Quebec grads leave the 'ivory tower'

Science and engineering graduates in Quebec are getting help from the Canadian government in entering the workforce.

A $1.6-million grant was unveiled today by Canada’s Science and Technology Minister in Montreal.

The money will go towards researchers in medical physics at Laval University and McGill University, through a program that helps develop skills needed for the marketplace — the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE).

"In addition to basic science, they're going to learn other thing like project management, sometimes the business end of this. They'll be interning in the private sector and learning how to translate those ideas into skills to make contributions to the private sector," said Minister Greg Rickford.

Professor Jan Seuntjens, the director of the medical physics program at McGill, says students will be able to train on high-tech equipment that's available only in the private sector, such as the latest in cancer detection technology.

"Expertise can be at university, but there is very good expertise at companies as well. And so why not take advantage of it? Why have this ivory tower mentality where you're not linking the two together?” Seuntjens said.

The grant is one of 15 initiatives - and $24 million of funding - that will be invested in universities and institutions across the country over six years through the CREATE program.