Fouad ElgindyMany university students work at part-time or summer jobs on campus while attending classes. In some cases, those jobs provide the foundation for their future careers.

That was the case for Fouad Elgindy, who was studying physics at the University of Guelph when he found a part-time job at the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, based at U of G and a former a grant recipient of the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program.

“The network connected researchers from all disciplines across Canada,” says Elgindy. “It opened my eyes to the power of collaboration in research.”

After graduation, Elgindy continued on with the network, and three years later, he moved from being part of a grant recipient team to working with the government program providing the funding. Today he’s senior program manager with the Networks of Centres of Excellence.

“Every week is different,” he says. “One week I will meet with a group based out of Hamilton developing imaging probes for cancer diagnosis, and the next I will be in Vancouver with a group focused on international collaborative research.”

Elgindy currently manages five different networks across Canada; one involves researchers and businesses in both Canada and India.

“I’m working with people to understand the science behind their research and help them create strong applications,” he says. “I also need to be able to find good reviewers for the applications — people who can dig deep into the science and determine if a grant request is appropriate. My U of G education was excellent preparation for this work, as it gave me a solid understanding of science and research.”

This wasn’t the career path Elgindy originally planned. He initially enrolled in engineering, but by the end of his second year, Elgindy knew it wasn’t a good fit.

He transferred to Conestoga College, where he earned a two-year diploma as an electrical engineering technician, and then returned to U of G to complete a B.Sc. in physics.

In his spare time, Elgindy also works as a grant consultant and he’s turned his passion for photography into a part-time business.

Elgindy and his wife, U of G grad Samantha Boardley, recently purchased a heritage house in Prince Edward County that “needs a little bit of work,” so renovations take up his extra time.