Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 28, 2002

School of Engineering wins prestigious NSERC chair

The University of Guelph's School of Engineering has received a unique and prestigious Chair in Environmental Design Engineering worth some $2.5 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), MP Brenda Chamberlain announced today.

The five-year chair will be held by engineering professor Warren Stiver and will involve using the community of Guelph as a living, dynamic design lab. "We will be looking at how the community of Guelph affects the environment," Stiver said. "We will be bringing those problems into the classroom, into our research labs, where we will work to develop effective solutions and ways to implement them." The goal is to expand and improve Canada's capacity in all aspects of design engineering and unite efforts from various educational institutions, industry, government and the private and public sectors.

"We are delighted and proud that professor Stiver has won this prestigious national chair," president Mordechai Rozanski said during a celebratory event held at the university that was attended by Chamberlain and NSERC President Tom Brzustowski, Rozanski said the chair will bring together the best and brightest in the field of design engineering, uniting them for a common goal: transferring knowledge to improve the quality of people's lives. We are very grateful to Tom Brzustowski and NSERC for this wonderful award." Brzustowski added: "This is a dynamic program that truly brings town and gown together. The University of Guelph has put together a fascinating and highly innovative program that I am sure will inspire similar ventures elsewhere in Canada."

Alan Wildeman, Guelph's vice-president (research) said that by definition, design engineering is the process by which raw scientific knowledge is captured, synthesized and encapsulated into useful products and services. "Design engineers are the enablers of innovation. The researchers involved in programs launched by this chair will be the people who take an invention and turn it into an economical and safe product that meets all people's needs."

NSERC is funding 16 engineering design chairs across the country, with five of these chairs focusing on environmental design engineering. These 16 chairs together with a new Canadian Design Engineering Network will link all engineering schools in Canada to help promote and facilitate design education. Guelph's Environmental Design Engineering Chair is worth an estimated $2.5 million once matching provincial and local funds are included. Guelph will be hiring an additional three faculty members to join numerous existing faculty in engineering and other departments across campus. It will also recruit additional highly skilled and qualified students, Stiver said.

One of the first initiatives will be the development of an Urban Systems Environmental Design Centre, which will use Guelph as a "case study" to develop innovative ways to address environmental problems. This will include coming up with solutions to minimize air, water and waste impacts from individual sources, and working with industry, institutions and the municipality to implement them. Stiver said Guelph is ideally suited to be part of this challenge partnership because of its diverse economic base, wide variety of industries and ins titutions, and residential areas that range from older neighbourhoods to new subdivision developments. "The city has also demonstrated a willingness to take risks for environmental motives with programs such as the Wet-Dry Recycling Facility."

Chamberlain added "Guelph is a community that is always willing to invest its best efforts in environmental innovation. The federal government fully endorses the partnership between this imaginative new research program and the city, and applauds their shared commitment towards a 'green community.'"

Although the chair is a five-year commitment with a renewal option, it's anticipated that the programs launched will be long-lasting, added Stiver. "There is a lot to be done over the next five years. In the end, the most valuable result will be highly skilled graduates with the capacity to minimize the environmental impacts of urban communities."

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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