Jan 3, 2017
Freshly-minted graduates Pradeep Singh (left in photo) and Atinderjit Singh (right in photo) are applying lessons learned from an industry project to kick start job searches in the energy sector.
The two students teamed up with Hamilton Community Energy Inc. (HCE) to explore possible next steps for a local district energy system that simultaneously produces electricity to feed the power grid and hot water to climate control nearby buildings. The challenge was to help HCE - a subsidiary of Hamilton Utilities Corporation - maximize the operational efficiency of its downtown Hamilton facility through a variety of cost-saving measures, including the capture and utilization of waste heat. The pair were assisted by Ankur Mehrotra, a recent W Booth graduate now consulting with Hamilton Utilities Corporation.
The students' report with recommendations, presented to faculty and HCE last month, lays the foundation for additional work to expand the use of district energy in central Hamilton and elsewhere. It will also help Pradeep and Atinderjit launch their engineering careers on an accelerated path to success. Survey results show that 92 percent of our alumni are employed in their field within six months of graduating.
A special thanks to Ron Harten and everyone at Hamilton Community Energy for continuing to provide our students with exciting learning opportunities tied to real world challenges facing our community and the world at large.
Dec 20, 2016
Cinnos Mission Critical Incorporated, a high-tech start-up that emerged from the W Booth School entrepreneurship program in 2014, announced this month that it has raised an additional $2.3 million to help build its next generation of products and expand globally. Equity financing was secured from the angel investor community in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) along with funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence. The Hamilton-based company, co-founded by W Booth graduate Hussam Haroun (pictured in foreground with faculty member Dr. Lotfi Belkhir), developed and commercialized the world's first modular data centre appliance that enables immediate deployment based on a unique pay-as-you-grow model. This proprietary technology offers customers a significant return on investment compared to traditional mission critical facilities while providing environmental efficiencies. "What fills me with pride is the visionary leadership of Hussam Haroun and how he was able to translate his W Booth School learning experience into one of the most promising start-ups in the GTHA," said Dr. Belkhir. He also credits the efforts of Karen Grant, Executive Director of the Angel One Investor Network, a not-for-profit organization with more than 90 high net worth members interested in contributing to the success of start-ups in Hamilton and surrounding communities. CLICK HERE to view a video about Cinnos.
Dec 14, 2016
Term I of our Innovation Studio course ended on a high note earlier this month with a public showcase event at Hamilton Central Library in the city's downtown core. It was hosted by W Booth graduate student Happy Patel (pictured) and provided a stage to profile five select student projects now in development under the supervision of W Booth School faculty:
Lumaflo Solutions | Lead Student: Matthew Schonewille
Empowering people with professional photography skills using adaptive software technology.
East Hamilton Conservation Area | Lead Student: Chris Boothe
A regional approach to storm water management.
Arvocart | Lead Student: Dayo Olakulehin
Making your airport experience smooth, comfortable and enjoyable.
Electrical Infrastructure | Lead Student: Hank Xue
Monitoring the integrity of electrical transmission infrastructure using Internet of Things technology.
Windermere Basin | Lead Student: Harshal Patel
Addressing environmental issues at Hamilton Harbour.
The program also included a talk by Frank McKeown, Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, that presented the story of FreshInsights Consulting, a not-for-profit enterprise devoted to helping recent graduates develop marketable skills and secure employment with local firms.
The evening wrapped up with a panel discussion on school-work transition resources in the Bay Area community. We thank panelists Beth Gibson, Project Consultant with Industry-Education Council of Hamilton and Claire Green, Manager, Marketing and Partnerships at Burlington Economic Development Corporation, for sharing their knowledge and recommendations with our students.
We also thank Hamilton Public Library for the use of their auditorium and attendees who invested time to encourage, challenge and cheer on our students - your involvement is greatly appreciated! We look forward to having you join us at our next showcase event in Spring 2017.
Dec 4, 2016
Students enrolled at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology regularly benefit from experiential learning that takes place beyond the university campus. "It's an important part of all we do to help students equip themselves with the skills, knowledge and networks needed to create value in the world," said W Booth Community Engagement Coordinator Salman Bawa. "And there are countless external learning opportunities available to us."
One example is the annual HIVE X Conference hosted by Hamilton HIVE, our city's go-to resource and network that empowers emerging leaders and young professionals. This year's conference took place in November at The Cotton Factory, a 19th century industrial complex reimagined as a creative community for small start-ups with big aspirations. An enthusiastic group of our graduate students attended, including Simrat Singh Thandi and Happy Patel (pictured).
The agenda featured a host of speakers, presentations and interactive workshops devoted to topics ranging from innovation and entrepreneurship to philanthropy and business-building. A recurrent message was the significant role recent college and university students play in the ongoing economic and cultural transformation of Hamilton and the surrounding region. Young people who remain in this region - including our graduates - are tomorrow's wealth creators, taxpayers and civic leaders.
Our students mixed with more than 350 other delegates and participated in small group activities, including an exercise to pitch proposed solutions to innovation challenges and a fun introduction to salsa dancing. Congratulations to the conference organizers and thank you for being so welcoming to the W Booth School. We look forward to joining you again next year.
Nov 15, 2016
Excitement is building in the lead up to our school’s Fall Innovation Showcase on December 8 from 6 pm to 8 pm at Hamilton Central Library auditorium. The main purpose of this annual event is to celebrate the progress and accomplishments of our current class of graduate students in a dynamic forum open to community partners and the general public.
Selected students will present novel ideas now in development to help address complex innovation challenges in theme areas ranging from transportation and energy to water and climate change. Guests will be invited to offer feedback with the goal of helping our students learn, grow and make connections.
The program will also include an opening talk by Frank McKeown, Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, on the origins and success of FreshInsights Consulting - a unique initiative to help recent postsecondary graduates transition to local employment. The evening will close with a panel discussion on the topic of "School to Employment Transitions in a Changing World."
This is a free community event. Light dinner and refreshments served. A special thanks to Hamilton Public Library for again welcoming us into their beautiful facility.
CLICK HERE to learn more and register.
Nov 14, 2016
The W Booth School's tradition of hosting special guest lecturers continued this month with a visit by Professor Dan Galai (pictured), Dean Emeritus of the School of Business Administration, Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He drew on his extensive and varied experiences in the worlds of higher education, business and the arts to serve up practical advice on how to create value from the commercialization of ideas.
Key themes included the importance of early analysis to identify audience needs, interdisciplinary teamwork and perseverance. In addition, he strongly encouraged budding designers and entrepreneurs to protect their intellectual property while fostering loyalty.
Professor Galai also offered his insights on how Israel - a small Middle Eastern country the size of New Jersey with a population of eight million people and myriad constraints - has become synonymous with "start-up nation." He pointed to a host of factors ranging from public policies that support high tech education and training to the availability of venture capital and flows of international talent. His central message: Israel's reputation for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship has evolved over time from one success story to the next.
A special thanks to the Office of International Affairs at McMaster University (Ni Jadon and team) for arranging this inspiring lecture. We also extend our appreciation to Professor Galai for contributing to the W Booth teaching and learning experience.
Oct 28, 2016
Our Innovation Studio is in full swing and making an impact. This school-wide graduate course is where students learn how to pursue value creation through the practice of thought leadership, interdisciplinary initiatives and community-building. It provides a forum for students to interact with all our faculty members and key support staff in a casual and creative setting. The studio also welcomes guest facilitators from the community and wider university.
This week, for example, Dr. Jennifer Long (pictured), an Assistant Professor with the Bachelor of Technology Program within the W Booth School, delivered a workshop to help students bridge cultural divides by applying principles of effective interpersonal communication. Through playing Barnga - a simulation activity based on a simple card game - students learned that despite many similarities, people from different cultures encounter the world in different ways. This workshop, along side other course content, is designed to prepare cross-cultural student teams to engage with a variety of community stakeholders in the context of tackling complex innovation challenges.
Oct 20, 2016
From October 4-6 2016, the Great Lakes Public Forum brought key leaders from Canada and the United States to Toronto, Ontario Canada to discuss topics important to the restoration and protection of Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health, and to celebrate the Great Lakes. The event is an opportunity for stakeholders share ideas and vision for the future of this important and unique region.
Watch Dr. Krantzberg on TVO's Agenda with Steve Paikin and "The Effects of Global Warming on the Great Lakes" at: http://bit.ly/2ex8iwp
The Great Lakes Public Forum, occurring once every three years, provides an opportunity for the United States and Canada to discuss and receive public comments on the state of the Lakes and binational priorities for science and action; and provides an opportunity for the International Joint Commission to discuss and receive public comment on the Progress Report of the Parties. Dr. Krantzberg's research involves improving the understanding of how science can innovate effective public policy, and she has been engaged in the binational efforts under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which calls for the Public Forum, for more than 20 years.
To learn more about the Forum, including topics of discussion and invited speakers, view the Detailed Program (PDF, 880 Kb).
Faculty of Engineering introduces the "new" Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology
July 1, 2016
Remy Audel (left) and Callan Yan (right) graduated from Automotive and Vehicle Technology (B. Tech) this month and started the M.Eng. Design in January 2016.
Two McMaster powerhouses of practice-oriented engineering have come together to form one new school.
On July 1, the Faculty of Engineering's Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice, which offers graduate programs, and its School of Engineering Technology, home to the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Partnership, will become The Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology.
Walter G. Booth, a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and 1962 Faculty of Engineering graduate gave generously to McMaster, the only university willing to take a chance on his non-traditional route through the post-secondary education system.
The new W Booth School will bring together its existing strengths in practice-oriented engineering teaching and learning at both the undergraduate and graduate level to support McMaster's international reputation.
Retiring from his post as W Booth School of Engineering Practice Director, Dr. Art Heidebrecht said he is confident that the W Booth School will thrive under this new model.
"We are providing engineering education that is in line with industry and community needs. The unparalleled technical skills of Bachelor of Technology undergraduates and innovative capacity of our Master's students is a winning combination," Heidebrecht said.
W Booth students at the graduate and undergraduate level are connecting with the community, spending time in the lab, or working collaboratively with industry as part of their education. The unique program specializations focus on the cross-section of technology and society; in small classes, students work closely as groups to find creative solutions for a changing world.
"The coming together of the two Schools makes perfect sense," says School of Engineering Technology Acting Director Dr. Dan Centea. "The possibilities to build on already existing pathways for undergraduate to graduate studies are immense. W Booth School graduate programs are a popular choice for our B.Tech. alumni because of the similarity in program themes and approaches."
Ishwar K. Puri, McMaster's Dean of Engineering, said the joining of the two schools is a significant step in building capacity and resources for students.
"The New Booth School will foster synergies between our existing undergraduate and graduate programs and will leverage our strengths in engineering practice," Puri said. "I'm confident the school will thrive under this new model and I look forward to the many successes of the school's students and faculty members in future."
The opportunities for student collaboration between undergraduates and graduates in the School have already begun to blossom and will continue to grow over time. For instance, Callan Yan, a B.Tech. alumni now in his second term of the M.Eng. Design program, is part of a team working on autonomous vehicle technologies. They are designing an electric vehicle as part of their graduate level studies that will be used in the future as learning tool for future B.Tech students.
The W Booth School will continue to operate out of the Engineering Technology Building, with a satellite location at the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre for undergraduate studies in Automotive and Vehicle Technology and an incubator space for new Master's graduates in the School's Don Pether Centre within McMaster Innovation Park.
Starting in fall 2016, a series of 400/600 level courses will be offered to allow B.Tech. students to gain advanced credit in graduate school later on. In addition, proposed changes to the M.Eng. Manufacturing Engineering program that would broaden the scope of topics to more closely match B.Tech. fields of study are also under discussion.
While the administrative structures of the departments have changed, and a new Director appointed, the programs themselves remain distinct. Students can still pursue undergraduate degrees in seven Bachelor of Technology disciplines and five Master's degree programs
Welcome to our new director of the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology
June 30, 2016
Mo Elbestawi, new director of Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology
On July 1, 2016, Mo Elbestawi will become director of the newly-established school, which brings together McMaster University's School of Engineering Technology and its undergraduate Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.) programs and the former W Booth School, which offers graduate degrees in engineering practice in areas such as design, public policy and entrepreneurship. Formed as of July 1, the school is part of the university's Faculty of Engineering.
Elbestawi has had a storied career at McMaster University, including Dean of Engineering, Chair of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute, Vice-President Research & International Relations and, most recently, director of MacAUTO.
"I am both honoured and excited about being selected as the Director of the School for Engineering Practice and Technology (SEPT)," Elbestawi said. "A key focus for me will be to build on the top priorities of the Faculty and the work of my predecessors to ensure the highest possible standard of quality teaching and learning experience for students and a strong emphasis on strategic partnerships with industry. I look forward to working with the SEPT team and students to help it evolve to the next level of excellence."
Outgoing W Booth School Director Art Heidebrecht said he's confident the newly- formed school will find success under Elbestawi's leadership. Elbestawi served as Dean during the inception of the original Booth School, which was established in 2005, and also is the founder of the B.Tech program in 1998.
"I've appreciated having had the opportunity to serve as the Director of the Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice for the past two years," Heidebrecht said. "It has given me a lot of satisfaction to contribute to the education of our students and work with faculty and staff and colleagues to achieve the merger for the new School. Mo's experience and his long term commitment to practice-focused engineering education will be important in enabling the new School to be successful."
Dan Centea, Acting Director of the School of Engineering Technology, said he was honoured to have worked with dedicated faculty members and staff who tirelessly support more than 1,200 students in seven programs.
"I have known Mo since 1997 and I am convinced that his exceptional qualities will help him lead the school to achieving even greater success and recognition," Centea said. "I truly look forward working with him in the coming years to enhance the Bachelor of Technology programs within the new School of Engineering Practice and Technology, contributing to the ongoing successes of McMaster University."
Ishwar K. Puri, McMaster's Dean of Engineering, said he thanks both Heidebrecht and Centea for their exceptional and visionary leadership.
"The contributions of both Art and Dan were crucial in the creation of the new Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology," Puri said. "With Mo's appointment, I'm confident that we've found the right leader who will build upon their work and position the school for resounding future success."
The school is named for the late Walter G. Booth, a McMaster Engineering alumnus who donated funds in 2003 to support a new post graduate innovation and entrepreneurship program and the building to house it: the Engineering Technology Building.
"I wish to congratulate McMaster Engineering on its newly merged Walter G. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology," said Catherine Booth, daughter of the school's namesake, the late Walter G. Booth. "My father was a proud supporter of innovation, entrepreneurship and improving the student experience. I'm glad to see this tradition continue under the leadership of the school's new director, Mo Elbestawi. I wish Mo well in his new role."
June 20, 2016
By Saif Syed
McMaster Engineering & Public Policy students at Stanton Dairy Farms (May 2016)
At McMaster University, the W Booth School of Engineering Practice provides many opportunities for experiential learning, an extremely valuable approach to help students understand real-life application of their studies outside the classroom. W Booth School students engage with community and industry partners to practice skills and concepts they are developing in their master's programs, with a goal of designing innovative solutions to complex problems.
Recently, a small group of graduate students in McMaster's engineering and public policy program took a field trip to learn how government policies affect Canadian businesses. They visited Stanton Farms in Ilderton, Ontario, an expansive dairy farm which houses over 3,000 cows, and the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada plant, where they manufacture over 1,000 Corollas and Lexus RX models daily.
At the first stop, energy consultant Garry Fortune led students on a tour of the Stanton dairy farm which, they noticed, had a very homey atmosphere for such a large facility. It was clear this farm values innovation as the Stanton Brother built and now operate a bioenergy facility on the farm. This bioenergy facility uses a technology called anaerobic digestion, which converts cow manure into a new energy source. The farm uses it to not only power the dairy facility, but provides energy for 800 homes in the surrounding area. The bi-products are also sustainable, as they provide fibre bedding for the animals and a liquid nutrient for crops that is non-toxic. Aqua Greens is a recipient of the 2015 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence presented by the Province of Ontario.
Next the group travelled to Cambridge, where they explored Toyota’s manufacturing plant, which, with the plethora of robots surrounding them, seemed somewhat reminiscent of a sci-fi movie. Known for generations of leading innovation, Toyota has embraced robotic technology to increase safety and efficiency for the employees on the manufacturing assembly line. Behind these technologies, however, there are numerous public policies that affect not only employees but all Toyota owners and other stakeholders on the road.
Interestingly, students learned how the same policy could impact these two businesses differently even though they belong to completely separate industries. For example, financial incentives to use renewable energy sources in production are available to companies like Toyota when they use solar or wind power. However, the dairy farm method of converting cow manure into energy is not considered an approved source that would qualify the business for the same incentives.
Designing policy is not easy. Government policies can have a profound impact on the operations of businesses in Canada, so policy makers must understand what makes a policy work or not. When you consider these examples, it becomes easier to understand which incentives appeal to businesses, and how policies can be designed to benefit a range of industries. Primarily, it is important to reflect on all possible outcomes of specific policy implementation to support the needs of industry, the economy, and the environment. Through excursions such as this one, our W Booth graduate students are prepared for the reality of challenges they will face in the future as successful public policy makers.
April 4, 2016
Philanthropist, engineer and entrepreneur Walter Booth often said McMaster University took a chance on him.
The higher education stalwart credited McMaster’s first dean of engineering, John Hodgins, and professor, Jim Siddall, for mentoring him when he needed it most. It made him loyal to McMaster.
In turn, generations of McMaster engineering students are benefitting from Booth’s generosity and commitment to the institution, particularly to the W Booth School of Engineering Practice, the school that bears his name.
Booth, a strong supporter of McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering and higher education, died peacefully on April 2. He was 81. He was the beloved husband of the late Marilyn Booth, and father of Catherine, Kevin and Alison and grandfather of five.
March 28, 2016
On Monday, April 4, friends, family, mentors and local community members are invited to attend an Innovation Studio Community Check-In held to showcase projects now in development by graduate students enrolled in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University.
Attendees will be welcome to ask questions or offer feedback. Presentations will range in themes from health promotion and safe drinking water to energy conservation and transportation. The common denominato r is the application of human-centred design principles to help address the issues of our day. It's all part of our students' efforts to tackle significant challenges and to deliver value that has an impact on our world.
Special guest Project Executive Ross Rosier from IBM Canada will share his inside view on the mission and vision of the just-announced centre for healthcare innovation opening in downtown Hamilton later this year. The centre — a partnership between IBM Canada and Hamilton Health Sciences designed to improve health outcomes and create high quality jobs — will help area hospital clinicians, researchers, academics and entrepreneurs accelerate the development and commercialization of new healthcare innovations.
Monday, April 4, 2016 from 6 pm to 8 pm
Hamilton Central Library Auditorium
55 York Boulevard, Downtown Hamilton
FREE Event | Light Dinner and Networking
March 21, 2016
Dr. Gail Krantzberg
If you were tasked with inspiring Ontarians to see themselves as guardians of globally magnificent bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes, where would you start? For Gail Krantzberg, it takes more than facts. Even when it's a staggering statistic such as 40 million people get their drinking water from the Great Lakes, the largest fresh water surface on the planet. Krantzberg says you need to ignite the passion of the people who live along the shores of four of the five Great Lakes through arts, music, and cultural events that will shape the future of what the Great Lakes could and should mean to Ontario.
"It's majestic and awe-inspiring when you see this place where we live; the Great Lakes are like a chain of jewels that can be seen orbiting our planet from outer space," says Krantzberg, a professor with McMaster's W Booth School of Engineering Practice. "You wake up to the beauty and power of it all!"
On Tuesday, March 22, in honour of World Water Day 2016, the inaugural meeting of the newly created Great Lakes Guardians' Council will meet in Toronto and Krantzberg has been asked by Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray to be there.
As one of North America's foremost experts on the Great Lakes ecosystem and sustainability, Krantzberg has more than three decades of experience in environmental science and freshwater management. Her extensive list of appointments and achievements surrounding Great Lakes governance is impressive; her background with the Ministry of the Environment and the Great Lakes Regional Office of the International Joint Commission have positioned Krantzberg as a core contributor to the protection of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin.
"It is a real honour to be invited to the Council," Krantzberg says of the council "It is really exciting to be at a table where Great Lakes ministers, First Nations and Métis representatives, as well as municipal politicians, will not only look at the challenges and concerns, but at how to prioritize opportunities for action and inspire people to see themselves as fundamentally connected to this ecosystem."
Other invited Council partners include representatives of the farming community, conservation authorities, industry, environmental groups, the recreation and tourism sectors and the science community.
Established by the Great Lakes Protection Act 2015, the Great Lakes Guardians’ Council is a forum to improve collaboration and coordination among Ontario’s Great Lakes partners. Murray is convening this task-force style group of technical experts to address critical problems and to envision the future of the Great Lakes. He is leading the discussion on identifying priority areas that need action and finding funding sources for the projects.
Krantzberg admits the common approach for environmental task groups is to say, "We've been addressing these problems, but there’s more work to be done." She suggests, however, we also look at what there is to celebrate.
"Let's create awareness not so much about the negative environmental issues, but the positive aspects of what the Great Lakes are and that we are part of them. For instance, let's create more films that take your breath away like the IMAX Mysteries of the Great Lakes."
It’s time for us to get connected to these majestic waterways that significantly impact our lives a council of guardians is an excellent step toward that.
February 12, 2016
In the photo (L to R) are Craig Petten, student team members Kris Cuachon, Robert Van Gemeren and Ali Sheikh, and Aqua Greens volunteer Alex Barber. Absent are students Melissa Houghton and Vinod Choudhary.
The W Booth educational model begins with a discovery phase; a deep dive into a particular innovation challenge in search of a definable problem that calls out for a solution. In the case of one of our graduate student teams, the challenge is reducing barriers to the growth of Canada's budding aquaponics industry.
Aquaponics is a form of water farming built on a self-contained ecosystem in which fish (often tilapia) provide the nutrients that feed plants which in turn purify the water. Earlier this month, the team travelled to suburban Mississauga northwest of Toronto to tour Aqua Greens, a 3,000 square foot aquaponics operation that specializes in tender greens -lettuce, basil, arugula, dandelion - for local restaurants and grocery stores.
The team enjoyed an open and wide ranging conversation with company co-owner Craig Petten focused on lessons learned from "bootstrapping" a sprawling system of fish vats, pumps and pipes, planter trays, grow lamps and multi-storey racking. The discussion helped the students validate a potential business opportunity: designing and manufacturing a suite of purpose-built, modular products for the aquaponics sector. This takeaway has formed the inspiration for a multi-disciplinary project required for graduation and perhaps an entrepreneurial start-up down the road. Reflecting on the tour, the students were impressed by Aqua Greens' commitment to mentorship, information sharing and community building. They aim to return the favour by signing on as shop floor volunteers. Aqua Greens is a recipient of the 2015 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence presented by the Province of Ontario.
February 10, 2016
The fifth floor of McMaster's Engineering Technology building was buzzing with activity and conversation Monday evening when over 20 special guests from private and non-profit organizations visited the W Booth School Innovation Studio. Community members presented big picture challenges and opportunities they face in their industries and sectors, offering undergraduate and graduate students insights into potential project themes to address in the coming months.
For the first time, the W Booth School of Engineering Practice has extended beyond its walls to welcome undergraduates as Innovation Studio participants in a cohesive community of graduate students who are curious, creative and wh o have a passion for leading change. In a new "Leadership for Innovation" course instructed by Dr. David Potter, these students are given the chance to work at a master's level on real-world applications of technical learning from their undergraduate studies. This course is complemented by the incubator-style experience called Innovation Studio, which is at the core of the School's master's programs in Engineering (or Technology) Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Engineering Design and Engineering & Public Policy.
Water Leadership students meet a range of water experts interested in partnering on projects.
The initial phase of the Innovation Studio process is discovery-based: students research issues that appeal to their desire to lead positive change and to their passion for using technology to do so. In order to define problems or challenges, interdisciplinary teams are mentored by faculty as well as community partners as they interview stakeholders and explore possible solutions. As the problem is defined, the students later move to building a creative solution to deliver; they explore complex issues or challenges and develop creative ideas that add value to society in the form of new product or process designs, public policy recommendations or startup businesses.
The community roundtable was greatly appreciated by the large group of students, who were able to rotate through various 'stations' throughout the evening. Attendees enjoyed engaging, curiosity-driven conversations as the guest experts shared problem statements and provided a deeper look into the current trends in water, education, transportation, health, energy and the environment, urban planning and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Guests attended the roundtable from Ericsson, Waterlution, the Bay Area Restoration Council, the Halton Food Council, Flyte Studios, McMaster's Centre for Teaching and Learning and Institute for Transportation and Logistics, the McMaster President's office/United Nations University, Sustainability Professionals Network, Burlington Hydro and the City of Hamilton representatives from transportation, public health, landscape architecture and Hamilton Water.Many of the community partners remarked how amazed and impressed they were by the level of knowledge, eagerness, and structure in thoughts they could perceive from the students.
"It is obvious how much research and interest they have in the subject [of IoT], the type of questions and items raised are of people who have worked in the business for a while," said Ana Caprita, a visitor with the Ericsson delegation. "Well-coached and helped they can go far and bring a lot of value and pride to the university and themselves."
Ericsson's Technology Solutions Director, Haitham El-Hanafi discusses the future of the Internet of Things to inspire students to consider the possible applications.
Why would the community and industry partners want to guide student teams through the Innovation Studio process? Dr. Robert Fleisig believes the payback goes beyond giving back through mentorship. He suggests that exploring new options, new ideas and ways of doing things might not be possible for organizations or companies who lack the resources to do so.
"Or perhaps it's not even part of their mandate to explore certain issues or big questions - but they would certainly like to be able to do so. Our students can offer time, in-depth discovery and definition of the characteristics of a complex problem and come up with creative recommendations or solutions that keep the full range of stakeholders in mind," said Dr. Robert Fleisig.
Students will report back to the roundtable guests in the coming weeks on the paths they have decided to take with their innovation challenges. The relationships will grow between students and community as project themes are selected and mentorship relationships are cemented around a common goal of exploring unlimited possibilities. This is just the beginning of many great ideas to come.
January 25, 2016
Innovation Studio continues to evolve and grow as a signature component of the W Booth educational experience. This January, two dozen McMaster students (undergraduate and graduate) from outside our school signed up for the studio. They come from a range of faculties, including health sciences, engineering, and arts and science, and have eclectic interests. Many are enrolled in either the McMaster Engineering and Management Program or the McMaster Water Leadership Program.
"These students help make our studio even more diverse and dynamic," said W Booth professor Robert Fleisig, faculty lead for Innovation Studio."It's all part of a focused effort to create an interdisciplinary learning environment conducive to helping tackle complex innovation challenges facing our world."
Overall, 36 students are enrolled in the current installment of Innovation Studio. In the weeks ahead they will form teams, interact with stakeholders and learn how to apply advanced skills in leadership, innovation and design thinking - three hallmarks of the W Booth program.
January 11, 2016
Our school's pursuit of real-world innovation challenges took a team of graduate engineering students to the Township of Wainfleet on the shores of Lake Erie southeast of Hamilton. A group of W Booth students spent a half day last November with the township's septic inspector Trevor Imhoff gathering background information on a local boil water advisory that has been in effect for close to a decade. Municipal water and sewer services do not exist in the township, so residents rely on private wells and on-site sewage disposal. Yet significant bacterial contamination present in groundwater sources poses an ongoing health risk.
The student team, under the supervision of university faculty, will work with Trevor and his township colleagues on a study to explore the feasibility of implementing a community-wide, decentralized waste water treatment facility. The study and accompanying recommendations will include a survey global best practices and leading technologies, an investigation of costs and possible funding models, and advice on a potential pilot project. Work will also extend to anticipating how the introduction of a treatment facility might be received by local ratepayers. "It has all the elements of a human centred design challenge," said W Booth faculty member Dr. Robert Fleisig.
Watch this news page for more updates on our current cohort as they develop creative solutions for complex problems we call "Innovation Challenges".
Dec. 11, 2015
Engineering and Public Policy student, Maham Sadiq, presenting in Innovation Studio's Community check-in
Excitement was in the air at this year’s WBooth School COMMUNITY CHECK-IN hosted by Hamilton Central Library on Wednesday, December 2. McMaster graduate students provided interim updates on real-world challenges they are tackling in Innovation Studio, an initiative of the W Booth School of Engineering Practice.
This public showcase provides an opportunity for students to present work in progress through the Innovation Studio, our school's open platform for tackling complex engineering-related challenges in partnership with community stakeholders. It's a chance for students to sharpen their communication skills and the broader public to provide feedback and encouragement.
Student volunteer Melissa Houghton acted as Master of Ceremonies and introduced a sampling of project briefs that covered theme areas ranging from energy conservation and safe driving to low impact development and support for newcomers to Canada. The event finished on a high note — a concise presentation by the $2,500 first place winners of this year's Spectrum Stand Up Pitch Competition, Ahmed Elmeligi and Jacob Jackson. These two W Booth students are developing a wearable technology that can detect early indicators of a potential stroke.
"It's wonderful to see all of our students taking risks and growing as leaders," said professor Robert Fleisig, faculty lead for Innovation Studio. "These public interactions are a big part of the W Booth learning experience."
November 26, 2015
Congratulations to McMaster Engineering graduate students, Ahmed Elmeligi and Jacob Jackson, who won $2,500 for 1st place in Spectrum's 2nd annual STAND UP Pitch Competition on November 25th . In the first round of the Spectrum competition, 24 undergraduate and graduate students tried out with a one-minute pitch to a panel of judges. The competition was fierce, and according to the judges, picking finalists was a difficult task, but they were able to narrow it down to 12 worthy finalists.
The following week, over 150 people gathered for the annual pitch contest, which is designed for students who wish to explore creative ideas for a business, product or social enterprise. Competitors pitched for two minutes on a wide range of startup business concepts from a microbrewery to educational software, a robotic arm, social apps and a balloon-based alternative to traditional satellite technologies.
Of the 12 finalists, Elmeligi and Jackson, students of the W Booth School of Engineering Practice, earned top prize with their startup concept HINT, which stands for Healthcare Innovation in Neurotechnology. They are developing a wearable technology that can monitor for early indicators of a potential stroke, and alert patients, care-givers or doctors. As students in the Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, the winning pair attribute their pitching success in part to their training at the W Booth School.
"We discovered the problem that our enterprise is trying to solve by using the customer development model taught in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program," stated Jackson. "The advice and mentorship of the faculty has made all the difference in building our confidence in our presentation skills."
The W Booth School is not only proud of our students' achievements, we congratulate all of the top Spectrum competitors: Andrei Tichenkov, an undergraduate from Computer Engineering, who placed 2nd winning $1,000 with Amaze, a Web-based platform that connects performers with event planners.
Finally, Jacob Brodka, an undergraduate from Life Sciences, placed 3rd with his pitch for Lookie and won the People's Choice award, totaling $1,000 in prizes. Lookie is an application that will analyze your posture and warn you if your neck has been poorly positioned for too long; it also allows you to compete against friends by determining whose posture is healthier.
Pitching great business ideas comes naturally to some, while others enjoy being a part of the excitement as supporters in the audience. Watch for the next big pitch event, the Spectrum Student Startup on March 31st where $100,000 in prizes will be awareded. Applications will open for students in mid-January at http://spectrum.mcmaster.ca.
Oct. 20, 2015
Sandy Manners (pictured), director of Corporate Communications with Guelph Hydro Inc., was among the subject matter experts who took part in an Innovation Studio roundtable event at the W Booth School earlier this month. The purpose of the event was to provide students with access to working professionals with practical experience related to select theme areas such as energy, water, transportation, infrastructure and human health, to name a few. Our guests interacted with small groups of students and engaged in conversations on exciting opportunities awaiting next generation engineers. "It was a chance for students to explore big 'what if' questions in a supportive learning environment," explained professor Robert Fleisig, faculty lead on Innovation Studio. "It's all part of helping students choose complex innovation challenges they'll address throughout the remainder of the academic year."
The other guest experts were:
Alexandra Brodka, Hamilton Burlington Trails Council
Don Curry, City of Hamilton, Public Health
Christopher Cutler, City of Hamilton, Office of the Mayor
Dr. Nicholas Kevlahan, McMaster University/Hamilton Light Rail Initiative
Paul Kuttner, Innovate Marketing
Tim Li, Meal Exchange
Alfonso Principato, City of Hamilton, Economic Development (Advanced Manufacturing)
Kayam Ramsewak, MTE Consultants Inc.
Peter Topalovic, City of Hamilton, Transportation
Ward Wilson, MTE Consultants Inc.
Oct. 7, 2015
W Booth student Bob Yang, pictured with Clifford the Big Red Dog, was quick to sign on as a volunteer for this year's seventh annual Telling Tales family literacy festival on September 20 at Westfield Heritage Village northwest of Hamilton. This free outdoor event is organized by local Rotary clubs and myriad partners, including Hamilton Public Library. It attracts more than 7,000 people and provides a fun platform for storytelling, relationship-building and child development. "I really enjoyed connecting with the community, meeting new people and learning about Canadian culture and heritage," recalls Bob, a Chinese citizen who arrived in Hamilton in late summer to join the class of 2015-2016. Off-campus leadership opportunities are a big part of the W Booth experience and we thank the organizers of Telling Tales for welcoming our involvement.
Oct. 7, 2015
Samih Abdelgadir (pictured), president of the Mission Critical Rack Division at Cinnos Incorporated, captivated attendees at this year's W Booth Fall Showcase held at Hamilton Central Library on September 16. Cinnos, an innovative leader with cutting edge modular data centre solutions, grew out of a student project at the W Booth School in 2013. It was among the seven exemplary projects featured at the showcase event. "Our goal was to honour achievement and expose this year's student cohort to the high level of work emerging from our school," said Robert Fleisig, a permanent teaching professor in the W Booth School and the faculty lead for Innovation Studio. Other projects in the event program touched on themes ranging from energy production and conservation to storm water management and complete streets. Special thanks goes to our event moderator Hermain Kazmi - a 2015 W Booth graduate - and faculty and staff for contributing to this community celebration.
Sept. 24, 2015
Early September was a busy time as we welcomed a new class of 80 graduate students to the W Booth School. Orientation activities were facilitated by faculty, staff, guest speakers and students (current and recent graduates) and included social events, informal presentations, role playing and games.
The highlight was an afternoon spent together at the ALTITUDE team development and leadership facility on campus. This ten acre outdoor site has a 50 foot tall climbing tower and a variety of other features designed to foster team building, creative problem solving and communications skills.These skills are foundational learning outcomes at W Booth and essential for leadership and innovation in the practice of modern engineering. A special thanks to everyone who participated in our W Booth orientation days - it was a great beginning to the 2015-2016 academic year.
July 24, 2015
This week W Booth held a summer BBQ at Dundas Driving Park for a relaxing afternoon of food, games and socializing. Attendees included W Booth students, faculty, staff, mentors and community partners.
We would like to thank everyone who was able to attend the BBQ, it could not have been a success without you. A special thanks goes out to Deborah McIvor for her tireless work in organizing this event and bringing the W Booth community together.
A dropbox folder with pictures from the event can be found here.
July 13, 2015
The student team - Fizza Anwar, Pooja Chadee and Catherine Burrows (pictured left to right)
Under the supervision of McMaster's Dr. Dustin Garrick, a team of McMaster Engineering graduate students are actively contributing to the development of a multi-sector strategy to better manage storm water runoff flowing into our region's extensive watershed. It's part of ongoing efforts to remediate Hamilton Harbour and its surroundings. Recently the student team, comprised of Fizza Anwar, Pooja Chadee and Catherine Burrows participated in a meeting of the Urban Runoff Task Group chaired by Scott Peck, director, Watershed Planning and Engineering, Hamilton Conservation Authority. The team presented highlights of its work to-date on a project to explore alternative approaches to storm water management in connection with a mixed-use development coming to Piers 7 and 8 located in Hamilton's West Harbour precinct. This is one of many real-world challenges W Booth students are taking on as part of an 'Innovation Studio' process.
The student team comes from the Master of Engineering and Public Policy (MEPP) program at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice. The MEPP program is designed to train students with a background in science and engineering as leaders with an advanced understanding of the public policy process to drive positive change in technological, social and ecological systems.
"These students are making the most of an exceptional career development opportunity," says Garrick. "They're working on a site-specific project while contributing to a highly complex regional initiative. It's a perfect example of engineering leadership in practice."
Gavin Norman, manager, Waterfront Development for the City of Hamilton, is equally positive on the benefits of community-campus collaboration.
"Our team sees this as an excellent opportunity to share knowledge, leverage available resources and see first-hand how the W Booth School can assist the City in implementing our ideas for the waterfront," he said.
McMaster University's W Booth School offers professional master's programs, which provide students the opportunity to engage with leaders in the community to identify and address innovation challenges. The School's Innovation Studio provides a structure for students to bring those experiences back to the group, sharing what they have learned and exploring new ideas in a collaborative environment. Innovation Studio supports these masters' degree students in developing a deeper understanding of the impact that their work has within communities.
June 18, 2015
by Emily Reid
By 2025, it is estimated that there will be a $6.5 trillion economy surrounding the 'Internet of Things.' Our systems will be ever more connected, and data will be shared at a rate that is barely imaginable. In this rapidly evolving space, individuals who can innovate and collaborate on unique solutions are needed. McMaster Engineering is leading transformative research using the 'Internet of Things' to develop smart systems, and communities of the future.
The world is entering a new era in the way systems connect, interact and collect data. Working with partners in the community, students are researching topics such as wastewater treatment and construction site safety, and how the 'Internet of Things' can be leveraged to create Smart Cities. Smart Cities will require talented engineers who can work and communicate across specialties. McMaster prepares engineers for just this kind of role.
At McMaster's W Booth School of Engineering Practice, students and alumni are well-prepared to address the changing needs of society. For example, alumnus Alejandro Islas Lopez (M.Eng in Public Policy '13) has taken on a new role as an advisor for Mexico's Ministry of Communication and Transportation. Lopez will be right at the heart of developing communities of the future through a project called 'Mexico Conectado'. This project, a federal government program, will offer free Internet access in public places such as schools, hospitals, universities, governmental offices, and parks among others. As the Mexican federal government works with state and municipal governments to improve the quality of public services, Lopez will be a key communicator who will leverage information and communication technologies that would otherwise be unavailable without Internet access.
McMaster Engineering graduates like Lopez are able to create a visible impact through their training in how to address state of the art problems and find creative solutions. 'Communities of the Future' are becoming more than just a concept as we connect on multiple new platforms on a daily basis. These platforms will improve the way we communicate, how fast information is shared, and change the way society operates. There's an exciting future, and McMaster Engineering is right at the heart of it. Find out more in this video at http://ow.ly/OeI2k
June 9, 2015
Professor Vladimir Mahalec accompanied a group of students to the City of Guelph recently to tour facilities operated by Envida Community Energy, a subsidiary of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. Guelph, located 40km northwest of Hamilton, is known as a leader in local energy systems, including biogas, solar, district energy and combined heat and power.
The students enjoyed an inside look at two state-of-the-art assets: a combined heat and power facility serving the Hanlon Creek Business Park and the Galt District Energy System serving a cluster of buildings in downtown Guelph. These and other facilities are contributing to the city's award-winning Community Energy Initiative focused on ensuring Guelph consumes less energy per capita than comparable Canadian cities.
Students will apply lessons learned from the Guelph tour to a project underway with Hamilton Community Energy Inc. "It's very helpful to compare and contrast municipal experiences in designing and implementing community energy," said Dr. Mahalec. "Students are coming to understand the technical and political aspects of community change."
Our thanks to the Envida team, including Jen Thorne, Sandy Manners and Rob Hegedus, for welcoming W Booth to the beautiful City of Guelph.
Pushing the envelope: innovation in building science expo brings W Booth students together with industry experts
May 12, 2015
Engineering has existed for thousands of years, starting with the art of building structures, first highlighted when Imhotep built the stepped pyramid of King Zoser in 2550 BC. Today, engineers from all disciplines work collaboratively alongside architects, contractors and property developers to advance construction technologies, including those behind some of the world's most fascinating sustainable structures.
Recently, a team of W Booth School of Engineering Practice students were guests of our industry partner, Tremco Roofing & Building Maintenance at a full-day expo at Toronto's Ontario Place where a range of experts from the building science industry shared ideas and explored new technologies.
The expo, Pushing the Envelope: Innovation in Building Science, was an excellent learning opportunity for M.Eng Design students Jun Chen, Kamran Kurshid, and Nauman Saeed. These graduate students have taken on an innovation challenge with Tremco, and through mentorship and collaboration, are developing creative ideas to enhance a business case for Tremco's new SkyBEAM (Building Envelope Asset Mapping) program. SkyBEAM uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with high-resolution thermographic and video cameras to help building owners and design professionals identify and locate deficiencies within the roof, façade, and 'building envelope'. The 'building envelope' is anything that separates the inner and outer environments of a building such as rooftops and walls.
The expo offered a range of talks from field experts including John Straube (Building Science Consulting Inc), Scott MacIvor (GRIT lab), Rick Buist (Bioroof Systems Inc), Tarek El-Khatib (Zeidler Partnership Architects), Michael Cohen (Industrial SkyWorks), Sven Lavado (Tremco Roofing & Building Maintenance), John Savicky (Arizona State University), and Dr. Ted Kesik (University of Toronto).
With regard to our students' innovation challenge focus, Michael Cohen, president of Tremco's partner, Industrial Skyworks, spoke to the rapid advancement of drone technology, and how it can be used to provide building owners with the ability to remotely visualize their building envelope, and all of its connections.
SkyBEAM is a breakthrough application that consolidates the aerial data collected by drones, into comprehensive reports and interactive 3D models viewable from any angle. Energy inefficiencies can then be identified, and full exploration of the building envelope can occur without ever putting a technician on the roof. Drones are revolutionary in this space. These UAVs are able to reach vantage points unachievable through traditional mapping methods, which require technicians to work at unsafe heights.
Though bricks, steel, and structural mathematics usually come to mind when thinking about structures, other technologies including green roofs, insulating wall systems, and now UAVs (drones) have become important elements in the changing landscape of building science and the further evolution of engineering.
Check out Tremco's SkyBEAM technology video at https://youtu.be/Dhz_yEX-QZk
April 22, 2015
With increasing connectivity being a staple of future communities how will we be able to stay in communication while staying safe?
Engineers need to understand the public policy implications of the Internet of Things. The interconnection of embedded devices is expected to usher in the age of automation in almost all fields. Imagine surgery with a robot who gives and receives data in an instant, automobiles with built in sensors that can track your location faster than you can send a text message, or field operation devices that can assist firefighters in a search and rescue by transmitting data in real time. The possibilities are endless, but once the data has been used for its purpose who gets to keep the information? How does the innovation that comes with the Internet of Things affect our privacy, and where is the boundary of what is considered private information?
On May 5th 2015 community leaders, experts in the field, McMaster faculty and students were invited to join an Engineering and Public Policy specialty workshop to address these issues, and see just how much wireless may be weighing us down or lifting us up in the future. At this workshop participants could peer into the 'Community of the Future' and see where they fit in helping to shape a sustainable, and safe society as technology rapidly advances. The W Booth School of Engineering Practice was pleased to host this specialty workshop in partnership with the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy, Huawei Technologies, and Microsoft.
Be sure to check out the McMaster Daily News article on this workshop: "Preparing for life in an 'Uber-ized' world"
March 11, 2015
Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance - a world leader in providing weather proofing solutions to the industrial, commercial and institutional sector - has engaged W Booth students to help tackle two significant innovation challenges.
One challenge relates to investigating the cause(s) of moisture presence beneath certain modified bitumen membranes commonly used in torch-applied roofing systems. The student team will work closely with Tremco's R&D unit to test different hypotheses under real world conditions. The second challenge ties in with Tremco's SkyBEAM™ program that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with high-resolution thermographic (infrared) and video cameras to help search out potential issues with roofs and facades. This ground breaking program allows technicians to gather precise building data in a safe and efficient manner.
W Booth students will work in the lab and field to help Tremco further trial and refine the program. Said W Booth faculty member Dr. Robert Fleisig: "Tremco's demonstrated commitment to innovation has captured the imagination of our students and set the stage for an exciting experiential learning opportunity."
The group of McMaster students are currently studying Design Innovation as part of their master's degree program. This course allows students to explore the creative design process through lectures, discussions and hands-on studio learning.
March 4, 2015
by Emily Reid
In support of the ongoing endeavor to revitalize the downtown core, plans have been set in motion by the City of Hamilton to add Complete Streets into the mix. The concept of 'Complete Streets' is that cities should be designed for everyone, and should enhance accessibility for all users including cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and transit riders..
In recent years McMaster University, faculty, staff and students have been working with the local community and city partners to make this a reality. Recently, a summit hosted by McMaster's Network for Community-Campus Partnerships brought together stakeholders to provide input into policy development and to look into building a business case for the citywide expansion of the project — a central interest of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Ultimately, the goal is to see a positive impact on social, environmental, and economic needs of the Hamilton population.
At this 'deliberative dialogue' event, researchers from McMaster's Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL) presented their recent findings to a gathering of urban planners, engineers, city representatives and McMaster faculty subject-matter experts. Working closely with the City over the past year, MITL has compiled data as they examined the potential impact of complete street implementations in Hamilton. The goal of this research was to assess how this approach might improve the vitality of certain key neighborhoods to ensure they are 'livable communities'.
Students from the W Booth School were invited to participate in all of this action as volunteer note-takers at the event. This allowed them to see first-hand interactions between policy and decision makers in the Hamilton community, and to appreciate how the Complete Streets policy may impact its future. In addition, students helped to develop the dialogue summary report, which addresses questions about presenting the policy to the community, return on investment, and the economic case for moving ahead with the project. Our students' contribution to the initiative so far can be found in the Complete Streets dialogue summary. Check it out to learn more about the future possibilities in this amazing community-campus partnership.
February 18, 2015
Dr. Robert Fleisig, a permanent teaching professor at the W Booth School and the faculty lead for Innovation Studio, helped deliver a breakout session at this year's Damage Prevention Symposium organized by the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA).
The symposium was held in Niagara Falls and brought together more than 300 stakeholders connected to the underground utilities industry to share ideas, learn from the experts and gather information on trends and technologies dealing with damage prevention and safe excavation.
ORCGA member organization Union Gas invited us to talk about our school and ongoing partnership with Union Gas devoted to discovering ways to further reduce the number of natural gas line hits in Ontario. The session was hosted by Corina Emde of Union Gas and included W Booth student Hermain Kazmi. Hermain represented his classmates and discussed how the principles of 'human centred design' are being applied to the challenge of protecting underground infrastructure.
"This high profile industry event provided a wonderful setting to share the W Booth story and form friendships," said Dr. Fleisig. "It was also a great way for students to expand their professional networks in a real world setting." A special thanks to Jim Douglas and the leadership team at ORCGA for providing this exceptional community-based learning opportunity.
February 13, 2015
In a true meeting of the minds, W Booth School graduate students accompanied Dr. Robert Fleisig and engineering design program instructor, Harry Mahler to Toronto on Saturday, February 7th.
Our students exchanged creative ideas and participated in a peer critique session with Industrial Design thesis students from OCAD University. While visiting OCAD, our students were able to gain valuable feedback from peers outside their program on current projects, and attend a lecture hosted in the distinctive Sharp Centre for design.
The group of McMaster students are currently studying Design Innovation as part of their master's degree program. This course allows students to explore the creative design process through lectures, discussions and hands-on studio learning.
Furthermore, students broadened their minds on a trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario, and were able to witness art and design from all over the globe. The AGO boasts over 80,000 works in 45,000 square metres of viewing space, making it one of the largest galleries in North America. In addition, art meets architecture in the impressive 2008 redesign of the gallery by architect Frank Gehry which students were able to enjoy during their exploration of design innovation in Toronto.
January 19, 2015
Is it reasonable to incorporate district energy heating, cooling and electricity — into the new mixed use community coming to the shores of Hamilton's West Harbour?
That's the question at the heart of an innovation challenge taken up by a team of W Booth students under the supervision of Dr. Vladimir Mahalec. To help generate an answer, the team is partnering with Hamilton-based HCE Energy Inc., a single source provider of integrated district energy solutions. HCE — short for Hamilton Community Energy — is the company that runs the district energy system serving large commercial customers in central downtown Hamilton as well as a satellite operation at McMaster Innovation Park.
The W Booth student team gathered at the downtown operations centre in mid-December to connect with HCE general manager, Ron Harten and to tour the plant. The meeting set the stage for the students' work currently underway with Ron and his group. This work will support the production of a nuts and bolts feasibility study comparing energy options for the city-led community in development at Piers 7-8. "This innovation challenge offers a perfect blend of technical education and community-based learning," said Dr. Mahalec. "It allows W Booth students to contribute to the future of our city while gaining real world skills in the growing field of district energy."
December 12, 2014
On December 10, 2014 the W Booth School of Engineering Practice held an open Innovation Studio session at the Hamilton Public Library for the general public and community partners such as representatives from Tremco Roofing, Union Gas and the City of Hamilton to hear status reports on our students' innovation challenges.
Most of the current innovation challenges have arisen from interactions with local community partners and represent starting points for experiential learning projects student teams must complete as a requirement for graduation. Innovation challenges may lead to one or more outcomes ranging from reports and policy papers to prototypes and new business start-ups. The W Booth School in general and Innovation Studio in particular represent McMaster University's growing emphasis on outreach to the broader Hamilton community to help advance citywide economic development, sustainability and quality of life.
Each team was given 5 minutes to clearly define their challenge and share early research, insights and preliminary thinking on a proposed direction moving forward. Guests, community partners and fellow students were then given an opportunity to ask questions and contribute to strengthening each team's work.
"The community check-in is a chance for student teams to meet with the community and test their ideas and assumptions in a public forum," says Innovation Studio leader Dr. Robert Fleisig. "This session is an important milestone in our students' journey as well as a time to acknowledge our friends and supporters."
The students will continue to research and develop solutions based on real-world problems or 'big questions' and provide another community check-in opportunity in the spring.
The W Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University provides interdisciplinary graduate education through experiential learning and mentorship. The W Booth School Innovation Studio is a key community engagement platform which connects McMaster students and faculty to real-world innovation challenges present to the local community and beyond. The Innovation Studio runs throughout the school year and includes weekly on-campus work sessions with periodic presentations intended to provide progress to-date to community partners. Questions about McMaster University's W Booth Innovation Studio can be directed to Richard Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 27, 2014
Helping increase and sustain the personal alertness of long-haul truckers is one way to improve driver health and safety while boosting productivity. This innovation challenge has been identified by a team of graduate engineering students with skills in systems design, entrepreneurship and business development.
On November 27th, the team met with senior staff at the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) to gain a deeper understanding of successes to date and opportunities for the future. This initial meeting centred on the benefits of industry-wide collaboration and set the stage for outreach to a range of primary stakeholders, including insurance firms, trucking companies, government regulators, and of course, truckers themselves.
The meeting also reinforced the need for our students to view complex challenges from a human-centred design perspective that goes beyond pure technological innovation. The student team (L to R) Israel, Carter and Felipe — wish to thank the OTA's Jonathan Blackham for opening the door to this important community partnership.
October 27, 2014
"I went to learn, network and explore fresh engineering challenges," said W Booth School student Zhefu (Jeff) Gao in citing the reasons he attended the Dig Safe Fall Expo hosted by the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance.
The all-day event drew a wide range of delegates focused on a shared goal - to help ensure the integrity of underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. This includes strengthening stakeholder collaboration and championing the "call before you dig" message essential to reducing the number of "hits" to gas lines, water pipes, and other below grade assets. The Expo also provided an opportunity for the W. Booth School to deepen relations with Union Gas as we enter a learning partnership to further explore innovative approaches to industry-wide damage prevention.
August 29, 2014
Statement from PEO Ontario on recognition for our program's experience:
"Based on information received from PEO, graduates of the Master of Engineering Design and Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation programs normally qualify for 12 month experience credit when applying for registration as a Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario. Graduates of the Master of Engineering and Public Policy program will need to have their specific research project and courses reviewed by PEO staff to determine whether or not they qualify for the 12 month experience credit."
August 27, 2014
Monday September 15 from 6 pm to 8 pm
Hamilton Central Library Auditorium | 55 York Boulevard, Downtown Hamilton
FREE Event | Light Dinner and Refreshments Served | Business Casual Attire Encouraged
The W Booth School of Engineering Practice requires all its new full-time students to attend this special orientation event designed to:
- Provide details on the purpose of Innovation Studio as a platform to support students through the year-long process of completing a mandatory graduation project in collaboration with community partners
- Showcase sample projects by recent W Booth School graduates and share lessons learned
- Offer advice from faculty, graduates and community partners on how to deliver a successful graduation project
June 13, 2014
Dr. Robert Fleisig selected as a 2014 recipient of the President's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching & Learning.
To read more, about president's award winners.
June 06, 2014
Speaker: Lara Ghaddar, Senior Manager - Business Development, IMS
Date: Wednesday 2014-Jun-11
Time: 6:45 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Cost: None (Free event parking area)
Location: Meeting Room 1D, McMaster Innovation Park, 175 Longwood Road, Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1
Lara Ghaddar is an experienced global business development and technology leader, having held various positions and international roles with GE-Water, BlackBerry, Geotab. At IMS, Lara has spearheaded their Wireless Carrier Partnerships as well as their Canadian business development and growth. Lara holds a Masters of Entrepreneurship & Innovation and a Bachelor in Software Engineering from McMaster University.
Putting a dongle in your car to expose your driving habits in hopes of getting cheaper insurance rates is a big thing. Lara will explain how it works. She has given many talks on the subject, including one to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
To read more, about Telematics for Usage-Based Insurance event.
April 23, 2014
The McMaster W Booth School of Engineering Practice, in partnership with Innovation Factory, is launching a series of events to support start-ups in the mobile application sector. We will be bringing the best of the best to the City of Hamilton to share with the community their experiences developing apps, validating their ideas, marketing, and raising funds. There will be ample opportunity for those attending these events to chat with the experts and ask them questions about their ideas. There will also be a lot of networking opportunities for new start-ups to develop a contact list and potentially create a development team.
April 15, 2014Event Details
Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014
9 am to 12:15 pm
The Great Lakes-St Lawrence Basin contains 18 percent of the world's freshwater and is home to 42 million people. While these waters are essential to Canada and the United States' quality of life, the current state and future sustainability of the basin continue to challenge policy makers. Please join the Wilson Center's Canada Institute and Environmental Change and Security Program and the Great Lakes Policy Research Network for a half-day conference dedicated to bringing government, non-government, private sector, community organizations, and other stakeholders together to discuss the vital issue of Great Lakes environmental governance.
For full event details: Click here
April 15, 2014
Wednesday April 23, 2014,
11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Hamilton Public Library Auditorium
55 York Boulevard, Downtown Hamilton
We hope you can join us for an appreciation luncheon to celebrate and conclude this year's Innovation Studio, a community engagement initiative of the W Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University.
The program will include:
- Complimentary Lunch
- Volunteer Appreciation
- Select Presentations by W Booth Graduate Students
- Update on Innovation Studio
- Feedback from Community Interviews
- Game Plan for 2014-2015 Academic Year
We would love to welcome you to our gathering of friends!
April 4, 2014
On the morning of March 22, an information session on the Great Lakes was held in the Chappell House at Riverwood Conservancy. Once guests arrived, they enjoyed coffee and Timbits while mingling with others. Once everyone was seated, Dr. Gail Krantzberg and Dr. Harvey Shear began discussing the Great Lakes from different perspectives - one speaking about the big picture and the other speaking about how individuals can begin to understand how their activities and actions effect the lakes. They also spoke about the threats, well being and other major issues including invasive species, human population, habitat loss, water levels and chemical contaminants. An informative session for all!
For full event details:Click here
April 4, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Room 535, Engineering Technology Building (ETB)
12 Noon - 1:30 p.m.
David Grey is a practitioner with over 40 years of experience worldwide in inter-sectoral water assessment, management and development. He joined Oxford University as Visiting Professor of Water Policy in late 2009 after 26 years as staff of the World Bank. He was the World Bank's Senior Water Advisor from 2003, with responsibility for corporate water policies and advisory oversight of the water community of 400 staff and the portfolio (c. $40 billion) of water resources, irrigation, water supply and sanitation and hydropower. He is a water policy analyst, researcher and writer and he is a manager of large, multi-disciplinary, multi-national teams, controlling large budgets. He has been directly responsible for managing the Bank's long-term support to initiatives on major river basins, including the Nile, Zambezi, Indus, Ganges-Brahmaputra and the 'Rivers of the Greater Himalayas', and he is a member of an international panel of experts of the Mekong River Commission. He will discuss water security as a challenge for science, policy and enterprise.
For full event details:Click here
March 21, 2014
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Room 137, Information Technology Building (ITB)
3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, cycling and use of public transit. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past 8 years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities in all continents.
As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogota, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simon Bolivar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city, is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil's team also initiated the "new Ciclovia" - a program that sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogota's city roads every Sunday, and today it's internationally recognized and emulated.
Gil holds an MBA from UCLA's Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the "100 Most Inspirational Alumni" in the school's history. Last year he received the Queen Elizabeth II - Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada, and was named one of the "Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic - Canadians".
For full event details:Click here
Febuary 10, 2014
Gail Kranztberg was "born a tree-hugger," and her passion for the environment certainly hasn't wilted over the years.
Krantzberg, a McMaster engineering professor and director of the University's Centre for Engineering and Public Policy, has joined forces with a brand new federal initiative committed to environmental conservation and awareness, Women for Nature.
The initiative was conceived by Nature Canada to help unite the leadership, knowledge and passion of women with an interest in nature conservation. Women for Nature currently boasts more than 50 members, including researchers, teachers, artists, politicians and environmental activists from across the country.
Krantzberg is currently the only member from McMaster, but hopes the national network will grow to include other members of the University community.
"People want to get involved and make a difference when it comes to the environment, but they don't always know where to start. I had a number of wonderful mentors when I was growing up, and I want to help pass the torch to a whole new generation," she explained.
"The overall goal is to have a presence at senior levels of government, and reinforce the notion that nature preservation is important for all of Canada."
Women for Nature officially launched during a Feb. 4 ceremony at Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Senators Janis Johnson and Nancy Green Raine hosted the launch event, along with MPs Stella Ambler, Linda Duncan, Joyce Murray, Kirsty Duncan and Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.
To read full article: Click here
January 21, 2014
Robert Shirkey, executive director, Our Horizon is leading his organization's campaign to install climate change warning labels on gas pump nozzles. He'll explain the economic theory and psychology behind this game-changing idea at the next W Booth School of Engineering Practice Seminar Series on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Shirkey, a municipal lawyer from Toronto, founded Our Horizon in January 2013 and has been lobbying municipalities and empowering citizens to advocate for the gas pump warning label in their own communities.
January 17, 2014
Anyone interested in sustainable water management will now be able to tap into the global expertise of Professor Dustin Garrick at McMaster University.
Prof. Garrick joined McMaster on January 1 this year as the inaugural Philomathia Foundation Professor in Water Policy and Research. He has a joint appointment in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Social Sciences.
As part of his responsibilities, Prof. Garrick will teach in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice. His areas of focus include water policy, climate change adaptation, and drought management.
"Demand is growing for water management professionals who can bridge technology, public policy and business," said Prof. Garrick. "Solving water challenges requires an interdisciplinary approach and we need to develop the next generation of leaders who can work across disciplines to provide safe, secure and sustainable water.
When asked why he decided to join McMaster and collaborate with the W Booth School of Engineering Practice, Prof. Garrick replied, "The opportunity to work on water policy across engineering and social sciences is unique and a major appeal."
Prof. Garrick will also be working to develop a water resource network at McMaster to bring together expertise throughout the university and community, and share these capabilities globally.
The Philomathia Foundation announced a $1-million gift to McMaster in 2012 to establish the Philomathia Foundation Water Project. In addition to supporting a research chair with dual expertise in engineering and global policy development, the funding supports fellowships and travel scholarships for students studying water-related issues.
Prof. Garrick was most recently a research fellow at Oxford University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia where he is also a research associate at Australian National University. He serves on the Global Water Partnership / OECD task force on water security and sustainable growth.
Prof. Garrick earned his PhD in Geography at the University of Arizona, MPA in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University, and BA in Government at the University of Texas at Austin.
January 13, 2014
The public is invited to join a panel of judges at the W Booth Entrepreneurship Student Showcase on Thursday, January 30, 2014 and vote for the most promising business start-up idea.
More than a dozen graduate student teams in the engineering entrepreneurship program at McMaster University will be competing for a share of $4,000 in prize money to help them develop and launch their start-up company. The winning start-up idea will receive $2,000, and the second place and People's Choice winners $1,000 each.
Founders of successful McMaster student startups Groupnotes and AdvanTag will also share their secrets to success. Groupnotes allows groups to electronically share notes, comments and web visits in real-time, with a focus on the education sector. AdvanTag allows individual retailers, like Walkers Chocolates, to create in-store, e-loyalty reward programs with instant, onsite rewards.
The Showcase also provides a networking opportunity for the entrepreneurship community to discuss ideas, share know-how, and identify resources. Students, entrepreneurs, mentors, and anyone with a technology-based start-up idea, are welcome to participate. The Showcase is being held in the Atrium at McMaster Innovation Park from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free but registration is required.
To register, visit: Registration
January 3, 2014
Examining the chemical industry's efforts to address sustainability through its "Responsible Care®" initiative is the focus of a new book co-edited by Gail Krantzberg, director of the Master of Engineering and Public Policy program in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University, and Peter Topalovic, a program graduate now working as Project Manager of Transportation Demand Management with the City of Hamilton.
"Responsible Care: A Case Study" reviews the history and development of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada's "Responsible Care" ethic. Case studies illustrate implementation of the program and discuss its effectiveness. A workshop tool kit is also provided as a guide for other industries and organizations interested in creating a sustainability ethic.
"This book was written both as a teaching aid for university curriculum and to serve as a practical tool to industrial management and staff for improving sustainable industrial policies," explains Krantzberg.
The Responsible Care ethic and principles compel companies to innovate for safer and more environmentally friendly products and processes, and to work to eliminate harm throughout the entire life cycle of their products.
"Responsible Care: A Case Study" was published by De Gruyter in December 2013 in cooperation with Bernard West and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). It is available for purchase as an ebook and in paperback.
Krantzberg is a member of Responsible Care's National Advisory Panel. Responsible Care® is a registered trademark of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, which helped support development of the book.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Eric Jones (pictured) is developing a high tech consumer product to grow nutritious vegetables without the toil of conventional gardening. He hopes his idea - an indoor soilless system designed for household use - will soon become part of the worldwide movement to increase sustainable local food production.
Smart Garden is among dozens of student-led projects happening at any time within the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University. Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the school's identity and students are required to complete a graduation project leading to some form of concrete deliverable, such as a business, product or paper.
Last week, a small cross section of projects now in development were introduced to the public during a special session of Innovation Studio - a new W. Booth initiative designed to facilitate collaboration with local businesses and community organizations.
The two hour session, held at Hamilton Central Library, featured Smart Garden and twelve other student projects selected from the school's three centres. Each student team was given seven minutes to present a status report and plans for the next phase of development set to begin in the new year. The audience included community mentors and special guests, as well as students and faculty members.
The session provided a real life opportunity for students to practice their presentation skills and receive project feedback.
The feedback forms completed by attendees point to a number of strengths across all the presentations, including preparedness, stakeholder engagement and market research. Yet students were encouraged to dig deeper into several common challenges such as clarity of focus, value creation and commercialization. Students were also prompted to consider ways to work with local businesses to develop and manufacture new products in Hamilton.
Armed with fresh insights and increased community support, the students will now return to their projects with a deeper understanding of what it takes to bring innovation to life.
You're Invited to Student Presentation Event Hosted by Innovation Studio
Friday, December 13, 2013
Wednesday December 18 | 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Hamilton Central Library Auditorium at 55 York Boulevard in Downtown Hamilton
Complimentary Lunch Served | Festive Social
Join us for a free community event that will feature project work in development by graduate students enrolled in the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University. It's an opportunity to learn about engineering-based, student-led projects helping to tackle a range of challenges from local food production and public transit to specialized manufacturing and healthcare.
This informal event - hosted by Innovation Studio in partnership with Hamilton Public Library - is part of an overall effort by the W Booth School of Engineering Practice to deepen relationships with our community through experiential learning and public engagement.
Please RSVP to Richard Allen, Business Development, W Booth School of Engineering Practice.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Work aboard high seas oil tankers teaches the value of ingenuity. It's an early career lesson that continues to guide the life of Resham Khaira, a 2011 graduate of the Master of Engineering Design program in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University.
Reflecting on five years as a watch engineer with an American shipping firm, Resham says: "In rough waters, the number one rule is to keep the engines running and the ship moving forward. To survive, you need to use your head and be creative. These real life experiences helped shape my practical approach to engineering."
Resham studied in his native India, earning a degree in mechanical engineering and a postgraduate diploma in marine engineering. His time at sea gave way to a decision to immigrate to Canada in 2010 to be with his wife. They settled in Stoney Creek at the eastern edge of Hamilton.
He soon faced a difficult choice: accept a job offer as a stationary engineer with a leading standards and safety authority or accept an invitation to pursue graduate studies at the W Booth School of Engineering Practice (W Booth). "I chose education," says Resham. "Both my parents attained doctorates, so I view higher education as the best investment in life."
At W Booth, Resham enrolled in the Master of Engineering Design program with a goal to build competencies in product design and project management. He liked the program's flexible structure and loved the design course taught by Dr. Robert Fleisig and Harry Mahler.
"This is where I got exposed to design thinking and the human side of engineering," recalls Resham, adding how the course helped change his overall mindset. "I learned the importance of listening to people and involving stakeholders. And I got better at connecting engineering to all aspects of life."
Resham applied these skills at Verduyn Tarps Inc. in Hamilton as his four-month program project. This 35-person operation manufactures and installs tarping systems for the trucking industry. Resham immersed himself in understanding its products and processes. "During the first two weeks, I spent 14 hour days on the shop floor observing and documenting systems," Resham remembers. "That period allowed me to design several time and money saving innovations to grow the business."
Key examples include, high tech modular panels to improve the safe installation of trailer headboards, in-house cellular manufacturing to increase speed and consistency, and an automated system to open and close trailer tarps. "This last innovation makes life easier for truck drivers used to manual tarping," says Resham. "I feel I had a direct impact on the end user."
Following graduation, Resham stayed with Verduyn Tarps for another two years, refining systems and implementing new ideas. "In one case, I persuaded the company to use a Canadian manufacturer as a parts supplier," recalls Resham. "The benefits of supporting local economies, that's another lesson I learned at W Booth."
He thinks his overall contribution to Verduyn has been significant and lasting: "We worked together to make Verduyn an industry leader in terms of turn-around time and customer satisfaction."
As of fall 2013, Resham is on the team of a Burlington-based company that specializes in product design and retailing. "It's a creative place that suits my abilities." In addition, he volunteers as an industry mentor with Innovation Studio, a new community-based initiative of the School of Engineering Practice designed to help graduate engineering students advance project work in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
"I like getting students to tinker with machines and interact with people," says Resham. "It's important to experience engineering fully."
"The design thinking skills I learned at W Booth will make me successful wherever I go."
REfficient CEO Delivers Sustainability Talk at SEP
As a business leader driven to divert one billion pounds of electronic waste from landfill, Stephanie McLarty thrives at the intersection of policy, ethics and innovation.
"We have an audacious goal that inspires our daily actions," Stephanie told a class of graduate students enrolled in Total Sustainability Management, a course offered by the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice (SEP) at McMaster University.
The Total Sustainability Management course was designed by Dr. Lotfi Belkhir in collaboration with a wide cross section of sustainability stakeholders from McMaster University faculty, and Hamilton business and government leaders.
"Stephanie was instrumental in helping to design this course and has become an inspirational role model for our students and faculty," said Dr. Belkhir, associate professor and acting director of the Xerox Centre for Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at SEP.
Stephanie is CEO of REfficient Inc., a Hamilton-based firm that helps clients buy and sell used and surplus electronic equipment, predominantly in the telecom space. Her three year old company meets the need for industry to reduce, reuse and recycle technology. It's an important cause that requires a full on commitment to sustainability thinking and practice.
In addition to corporate policies that favour local procurement and green solutions, REfficient adheres to ethical business standards that help counter e-waste trafficking and illegal dumping. Moreover, Stephanie's team is devoted to continuous innovation. Examples include a proprietary online match making platform, novel marketing giveaways that use recycled materials, and fuel efficient approaches to international shipping, to name a few.
"We're now in a position where we can offer our clients sustainable purchasing solutions that save them money and protect the environment," Stephanie said, adding that to date her company has diverted more than two million pounds of electronic equipment from dump sites.
Stephanie wrapped up her presentation by talking about the benefits of being a Certified B Corporation (access to impact investors and other non-conventional sources of funding) and several in-house innovations on the horizon (incentives for green transportation and financial bonuses for team members based on environmental performance). "At the end of the day, our sustainable competitive advantage lies in our relationships and brand promise," she concluded.
McMaster Innovation Studio Brings Creativity to Life
Students, faculty and community mentors gather monthly to collaborate on engineering-related projects tied to creating a more sustainable world
A local community of innovators has taken on a set of tough global challenges - and it's using the Greater Hamilton Region as a real-life learning lab.
This valuable work is happening through Innovation Studio, a new initiative of the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice at McMaster University that enables students, faculty and community volunteers to collaborate on creating a better world.
Founded in 2007, the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice (SEP) provides graduate engineering students with experiential learning opportunities intended to build superior leadership skills. SEP operates centres focused on three interrelated disciplines: design, public policy and entrepreneurship. Innovation Studio is quickly becoming a platform for students to mix across disciplines and experience new ways to learn, work and grow.
"You can't succeed in a vacuum," says Dr. Vladimir Mahalec, director of the Centre for Engineering Design at SEP and a principal driver of a more outward-looking program. "Our students need to interact with people from different backgrounds in order to understand complex problems and design effective solutions. This is the heart of our school's educational philosophy."
Innovation Studio was officially launched at a kick off session at Hamilton Central Library in September 2013. Participants representing a cross section of the Greater Hamilton Region are now gathering monthly throughout the 2013-2014 academic year to exchange ideas, form networks and implement targeted, student-led projects.
All sessions take place at Hamilton's newly renovated central library located in the downtown core. "We're thrilled to partner with Hamilton Public Library on realizing a vision of community-based learning delivered in a dynamic urban setting," says Mahalec.
The kick off session, which attracted more than 50 participants, featured an introductory brainstorming activity led by SEP faculty member Dr. David Potter. Participants rotated through discussion tables based on the major themes that Innovation Studio will explore in the coming months:
- Mobility for an Aging Society
- Digital Enterprises
- Local Food Production
- Energy Production and Distribution
- Resilient Communities
- Water Systems
These themes grew out of community consultations and match SEP's mission to help create sustainable prosperity.
The rapid fire brainstorming activity exposed students to each theme and provided a starting point for future in-depth work. The session wrapped up with each student selecting a theme to delve into through Innovation Studio and complementary SEP classroom assignments during the coming months.
"It's all about helping students identify their interests and offering access to a community of supportive individuals and organizations," says Mahalec. "The goal is to create an environment where students can team up with others and pursue interdisciplinary projects that address significant societal needs in Hamilton and beyond."
Volunteers from business, government and NGOs play an active role in Innovation Studio. Drew Hauser, a principal with Hamilton-based McCallum Sather Architects Inc. and chair of the Hamilton/Burlington Society of Architects, is engaged with the resilient communities theme. "Innovation Studio reminds me of postsecondary education practice in design and architecture," he says. "It's a proven way to unlock creativity and produce breakthrough outcomes. I'm glad to see engineering education move in this direction."
More than a dozen community volunteers now participate in Innovation Studio. They represent fields ranging from urban design and transportation to land conservancy and healthcare. Their job is to share insights, provide authentic learning experiences and help guide the students through a yearlong process of discovery, design, project deployment and reflection.
Says Mahalec: "It's a positive experience for everyone involved, especially the community volunteers who get to watch our students grow from month to month. That's the reward of joining Innovation Studio."
Learn More and Get Involved
Dr. Vladimir Mahalec
905-525-9140 x 26386
McMaster Engineering Graduate Students Visit Kortright Centre
A fall excursion took a group of graduate students enrolled in Developing Sustainable Communities (SEP Course 748) to the Kortright Centre for Conservation, Ontario's premier environmental and renewable energy education and demonstration centre. It's located within a 325 hectare woodland setting north of Toronto and operated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in cooperation with dozens of partners.
Students participated in a three hour learning experience led by Alex Waters, senior manager of the Living City Campus at Kortright. Alex guided the students along the 1.6 kilometre Power Trip Trail which links a variety of demonstrations on renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste water treatment and sustainable building design.
The highlight was a walk through the Archetype Sustainable House that combines leading edge technologies and practices used in building and maintaining innovative dwellings with low environmental impacts. This house, and an adjoining structure, are wired from foundation to roof with hundreds of sensors that allow researchers - including graduate students from various postsecondary institutions - to gather data for study purposes. "We have a load of historical data for students interested in studying sustainable technologies in operation," Alex said.
The day also included a tour through the Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology, an advanced green building, certified Gold under LEED for new construction and platinum under LEED for existing building - operations and maintenance. The tour was led by centre director, Andy Schonberger, a graduate of McMaster Engineering. Earth Rangers is a not for profit organization with a mission to educate and empower children to bring back the wild.
The trip to the Kortright Centre for Conservation is an example of the commitment by the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice to provide students with community-based learning experiences that bring classroom studies to life and build career networks.
McMaster Students Dive into Aquaponics Project
An exciting research project led a team from the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice to the town of Elmira earlier this week. This multidisciplinary team - comprised of graduate engineering students with a shared interest in local food production and distribution - is investigating new approaches to aquaponics, a combination of conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water).
Elmira, a farm community located northwest of Hamilton, is home to a leading retail store specializing in equipment and supplies needed to run a successful aquaponics operation.
"We met experts with practical experience in the aquaponics industry and requested a cost quote on purchasing equipment," said team leader Jacqueline Yungan. "Our goal is to set up a small lab at McMaster University to explore innovative ways aquaponics can be used to feed people in established and developing economies."
The team plans to test a number of engineering-based concepts in a controlled lab setting, including a small scale domestic unit for North American households and a custom designed system for use in rural Africa. Said Jacqueline: "Aquaponics is well suited to create sustainable food sources the world over."
This development work will proceed throughout the 2013-2014 academic year under the supervision of Dr. Vladimir Mahalec and other faculty members. "We're all eager to push the envelope on commercializing research in the growing field of aquaponics," explained Dr. Mahalec.
Student team members featured in the photograph are (front row left to right) Fazlur Rahman Hassan, Jacqueline Yungan and Igor Gurevich; (rear) Victor Mguni. Absent: Chao Xu.
Grads Active in Sustainability Movement
Maria and Peter Topalovic (pictured) - a sister and brother team that recently graduated from the School of Engineering Practice with Master in Engineering and Public Policy degrees - played a lead role at the third annual Hive X, a conference for local young professionals and entrepreneurs organized by Hamilton Hive and held on October 26, 2013.
As representatives of the Hamilton Sustainability Professionals Network (SPN), they helped design and host a component of the conference titled Unusual Economies. This component focused on new and emerging opportunities in fields such as impact investing, urban renewal, complete streets, local foods, and arts and culture.
The newly formed SPN has quickly become a magnet for a growing number of people and organizations committed to creating a more sustainable world, locally and beyond. To learn more, follow @hamiltonSPN on Twitter.