Research-Creation BLUE Intern

at Building 21

BLUE: Beautiful Limitless Unconstrained Exploration

Employer : Building 21 at McGill University

Application deadline: Friday, September 27th 2019

Position type: Internship 

Number of internships available: 6

Job Title: Research-Creation Intern

Job function: Develop one’s personal original, creative and rigorous academic project in order to acquire the knowledge and skills so think beyond the acknowledged, the recognized and the comfortable. 

As an aspect of the internship, students will also be asked to help organize or host B21 events and take on some administrative tasks.

This is not for credit

Upon hiring, students will meet with the staff from Building 21 to find a supervisor (either a B21 staff member or a McGill faculty member).

Desired majors: All

Desired degree level: Open to all levels (Bachelors, Masters, PhDs and Post Docs)

Eligibility: Open to all McGill students who are in good academic standing and to students who have graduated from McGill during the previous semester.

Please note: Students who have already been employed by Building 21 or received a fellowship from Building 21 are not eligible.

Description: Develop a project or process that doesn't fit within conventional research domains, one that crosses discipline boundaries and explores unconventional ideas, patterns and solutions.

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Some potential examples:

·     How can we use augmented reality to teach philosophy?

·     How can we reinvent democracy?

·     Can we use bacteria’s quorum sensing to create poetry?

·     Can physics equations explain human’s need for art?

·     Can we reinvent website design to enhance intelligence?

·     Can we power the whole world without any waste products, or feed the whole world without harming any animals, plants or ecosystems?

·     Is our sense of the beautiful, and of aesthetic different when free floating in the space station?

·     How do we prepare for true General Artificial Intelligence?

·     What could we learn about medical education by looking at dancers?

Students will also be asked to help Building 21 organize events, and take on some administrative tasks related to Building 21.


From October 7th to December 13th (10 weeks)


Work Location:

Building 21, 651 Sherbrooke W

Job Details

  • The student will be required to work in Building 21.

  • Presence in Building 21 is mandatory.

  • Students will develop a project in collaboration with the B21 staff.

  • Students will be required to meet with their supervisor once a week. 

  • Students will be required to draft a mi-term summary of their project/findings and to develop a plan as to how to complete their project.

  • During the first two weeks of the internship, students will be required to draft a plan as to how they will intend to develop their project. To do so, they will be given a series of approaches and structures on how to best time-manage their project. Once students have decided on a specific approach, they will be expected to follow their plan. 

  • Each week, each student will be required to participate in lightning talks (short 10-minute presentation) to summarize their project’s progress, get feedback, suggestions and comments. 

  • Students will also be introduced to a series of software (Mindmapping, 3D software, podcast, etc.) to enable them to develop their project. 

  • Students will be required to participate in 2-3 podcasts where they will have to answer a series of question on their project advancement. 

  • They will also be required to write a final 1000-2000 words summary of their project where they will have to list and explain their findings, and what they have learned through the course of this internship. 

  • Finally, each student will have to present their findings to the public at a special B21 exhibit at the end of the semester.


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  • For Canadian students or students who have graduated during the previous semester: 

    This is a full-time position (33.75 hours a week) @ $15/hour.

    Full time students will be expected to develop a long-term plan as to how their project will be concretely realized in the future.

  • For international students: 

    This is a part-time position (20 hours a week) @$15/hour. Canadian immigration regulations do not allow an international student to hold a full-time job on a student visa.

    Part time students will be expected to present their findings.

  • Salary:

    $15/hour x 33.75 hours a week x 10 weeks: $5062 for the full-time position. 

    $15/hour x 20 hours a week x 10 weeks: $3000 for the part time position.

    Salary will be paid every two weeks.


Application details

Students must submit their project proposal through this form.

Applications must ‘wow’ the selection committee. Applications can be submitted on whatever platform students feel will best highlight their ideas and personal strengths (video, text, music, filmed performance, unusual and original research work, etc.).

Please aim for maximum impact as opposed to length for our committee members. We strongly recommend keeping videos and similar applications to be viewed within 3 minutes.

The application should highlight the originality, boldness and creativity of the applicant and/or the idea submitted. We are looking for students who are passionate, engaged, autonomous and are obsessed with knowledge, and learning.

 Short-listed students will be called for an interview in which they will be expected to explain their rationale for applying, and their overall goals.


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For more information:

Ollivier Dyens, Co-director, Building 21

Anita Parmar, Co-director Building 21