The 2022–2023 school year marked a major milestone for our Faculty — we have now been at the leading edge of engineering innovation for more than 150 years.
The technologies that define our daily life, from automobiles to airplanes to mobile phones, had barely been imagined when U of T Engineering was founded in 1873. But over the past century and a half, engineering graduates created them through our time-honoured process: design, build, test and repeat.
We’re still doing that today. Over the past year, our researchers have made important advances in fields from sustainable transportation to housing, robotics and health care. Our students made headlines by winning the NFL’s Big Data Bowl, and by launching Canada’s first hybrid experimental rocket.
One thing that has changed is the face of engineering — and while our community is more diverse than ever before, we recognize that it still does not fully reflect the society that we serve. We are working to change that, and you will read about many initiatives designed to make our Faculty and our profession more diverse, inclusive and equitable in every section of this report.
At the gala event that launched our Defy Gravity campaign, we re-dedicated ourselves to addressing some of the most critical issues of our time. We promised to continue creating sustainable & thriving global communities, promoting healthy societies, designing intelligent machines for good and enhancing the development of the 21st century engineer.
I hope you enjoy this report, which highlights some of our favourite moments from the past year and anticipates the accomplishments yet to come. Today, we are better positioned than ever to shape the next 150 years — for our Faculty, across Canada and around the world.
– Chris Yip, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
From its origins in the School of Practical Science in 1873, U of T Engineering has been leading change and driving innovation for more than 150 years.
Our Faculty is the home of the first woman aircraft designer, the creator of the first electric wheelchair and the inventor of the revolutionary technology behind touchscreens. Today, we are still pushing the limits of technology and keeping ourselves at the heart of bold solutions for a better world.
Our 150 campaign — part of the University of Toronto Defy Gravity campaign — is described by four key pillars:
Creating sustainable & thriving global communities through technologies that meet the climate crisis head-on, such as new ways of harvesting solar power or bio-inspired solutions that reduce energy use in buildings
Read our stories and learn about the next 150
U of T Engineers don’t just accept the world as it is: we fix what’s broken, improve what works and explore entirely new ways of doing things. This is the spirit that has defined the Faculty for 150 years, and it is the sprit that will ensure we can tackle the biggest and most complex problems.
— Claire Kennedy (ChemE 8T9) U of T’s Defy Gravity campaign co-chair
Engineering For The World
In June 2023, fourth-year ChemE students Alton Rego (left) and Kim Watada (centre) travelled to London to compete in the finale of Imperial College London’s prestigious Climate Investment Challenge. The team, which also included University of Waterloo student Matthew Fucic (right), placed first in the Emerging Markets competition, besting 120 teams representing more that 20 countries.
Recent chemical engineering graduate Paul Chen (ChemE PhD 2T2) has used his Schmidt Science Fellowship to take up studies on nanomedicine at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Ann Arbor, U.S.A.
In June 2022, U of T Engineering’s self-driving vehicle team aUToronto, took the top spot overall in the first competition of the four-year AutoDrive Challenge™ II. The achievement continues an impressive winning streak for the team, which consistently placed first throughout the original four-year AutoDrive Challenge.
Benin City, Nigeria
Oseremen Ebewele (ChemE MASc candidate) draws inspiration from his father, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Benin. Today, Ebewele is studying phototrophic biofilm reactors, which can both capture pollutants and produce commercially valuable products, and is a recipient of an IBET Momentum Fellowship.
After completing her second year in industrial engineering, Jasmine Chahal spent the summer of 2022 at the National University of Singapore on an Engineering Research Exchange. Working under the supervision of Professor Tang Kok Zuea, she used machine learning and artificial intelligence to help develop an image recognition tool that can help pharmacists fulfill orders more accurately.
Recent graduate Josh Wicks (ECE PhD 2T3) and his supervisor Professor Ted Sargent (ECE) collaborated with researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (pictured) on a new catalyst that converts dissolved carbon into acetic acid, providing a new potential revenue stream for carbon capture and storage projects.
Professor Sebastian Goodfellow (CivMin, right) and his collaborators are using AI algorithms to analyze electrocardiograms, with the hope of detecting the early warning signs of junctional ectopic tachycardia (a type of heart arrhythmia). The team includes researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto and other pediatric hospitals, such as The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia and Rambam Health Care in Haifa, Israel.
Suraj Mayu, Bolivia
In early May, two members from the U of T Chapter of Engineers In Action — Luna Amador and Michelle Leon (both CivMin 2T2 + PEY) — traveled to Suraj Mayu, Bolivia to participate in the month-long construction of a new bridge. The site experiences flooding for approximately 150 days each year, and the newly constructed bridge will improve the safety and accessibility for approximately 950 community members by providing a reliable pathway to reach a school and a community health centre.
From May 2022 to July 2023, Ferdinand Tonby-Strandborg (Year 3 MechE, left) worked with automation engineer Jon Forbord (right) at Norsk Titanium, a company that uses a process called rapid plasma deposition (RPD) to produce structural titanium parts for the aerospace industry. He is one of 893 students who spent 12 to 16 months working in Canada or abroad through U of T Engineering’s PEY Co-op program.
San Juan Tlacotenco, Mexico
Mistelle Haughton (CivMin MASc candidate), Karlye Wong (CivMin PhD candidate) and Professor Ron Hofmann (CivMin) are collaborating with peri-urban communities in Mexico to field test solar-powered UV disinfection systems for rainwater harvesting. These systems have the potential to be more sustainable than the chlorine-based treatment that is currently the industry standard.
Professor Brokoslaw Lachowski (MIE) worked with Professor Michael Brudno (Computer Science) to launch a summer research program for students fleeing the Russian invasion and war in Ukraine. The initiative drew more than 400 applicants, 21 of whom arrived at U of T in May.