High-impact UVic-industry partnership targets local emissions

An aerial photo of Greater Victoria, with snow-capped mountains in the background.

A UVic engineering research team is playing a key role in a partnership aimed at halving greenhouse gas emissions among 37 high-profile buildings in Greater Victoria by 2030.

The civil engineering team is providing expertise by calculating energy and emission baselines and reduction targets, and also by recommending optimal ways to reach those targets.

The “Greater Victoria 2030 District” partnership was announced in January by the Building Owners and Managers Association BC, with partners that include a  multinational corporation, Victoria-based property owners, the municipalities of Victoria and Saanich, and the provincial government.

Mayfair and Uptown malls, Saanich Commonwealth Place and the Victoria Conference Centre are among the 37 buildings. Read more

Making higher education accessible to a global audience

Tzanetakis sits in a room, learning on a wooden xylophone, with sound engineering equipment in the background.

It took a lot of time and effort, but George Tzanetakis says his quest to transform a popular course into an online program accessible to a broad international audience was worth it.

The professor of computer science recently became UVic’s first faculty member to engage the university in a formal contract with a commercial massive open online course (MOOC) provider.

“Being a first for UVic meant there was a lot of work getting the contract and privacy issues sorted out,” says Tzanetakis, whose research focuses on the computer analysis of music. “But I think courses like this can increase UVic’s visibility around the world and I hope this work will pave the way for more faculty members to take a similar path. Read more

Advancing innovation and building inspiration

An artist’s rendering of the new six-storey building, including surrounding foliage, as well as nearby pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

Now, more than ever, engineers and computer scientists are being called upon to solve the critical challenges of our time.

At UVic, our faculty is educating future-ready professionals to tackle these global challenges, helping to ensure sustainable prosperity for generations to come.

We’ve established ourselves as a leader in engineering and computer science education in Canada – through our award-winning researchers and outstanding students – and our success is driving a remarkable period of growth.

To address this growth, we’re expanding our physical spaces to increase our capacity for next-generation engineering. Canada’s economic future is tied to clean and sustainable growth, and our researchers and graduates will lead the way. With the support of our community, we will expand our engineering and computer science facilities to produce the leaders of tomorrow. Read more

Co-op students get an eye-opener at StarFish Medical

Two images appear side by side: one of Lin Cai, standing outdoors, and the other of Tom Gleeson, crouching by a stream.

Three UVic Engineering students who worked on the national initiative to produce lifesaving ventilators say the experience has given them a new appreciation for the enormous effort involved in developing a medical device.

The students spent part of their co-op at StarFish Medical, the company leading the rapid development of made-in-Canada ventilators as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 strategy. The students’ main task involved working with StarFish staff to rigorously test all aspects of the ventilator’s functioning in advance of thousands of units being distributed to health facilities across the country.

“The experience of being in that kind of environment and understanding everything that goes into making a medical device and getting it approved was amazing,” said Kyra Teetzen, a fourth-year student in biomedical engineering. “There’s definitely a lot of management that goes into the testing process, especially for a Class 3 medical device like the ventilator.” Read more

Students replicate body parts in 3D-printing course

Side-by-side photos of Karaman and Katz sitting in a lab next to a 3D printer, with Katz holding up a tube of red bioink.

A UVic engineering course is giving students the chance to delve into one of the most fascinating and promising areas for the future of medicine: 3D bioprinting.

“Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts” teaches students how 3D-printing technology can deliver individualized treatments for a wide range of conditions, from printed prosthetics and implants to bioprinted tissues, organs and bones.

The fourth-year course culminates in a project in which small student teams focus on a client whose needs could be addressed through bioprinting. Their solutions involve replicating or treating a part of the human body using a 3D printer and “bioink,” a substance made of natural or synthetic components that are compatible with living cells.

Recently, 35 students worked on projects that included: ear parts designed to correct deformities; breast tissue that could act as a living implant following a mastectomy; a nose-shaped bandage to deliver medication to skin cancer; and a replacement for a deteriorating heart valve.Read more

Do-it-yourself newscasts keep engineering students engaged

Three images from Zoom calls are shown: Fetterly poses with a newsroom backdrop behind him, while the other students speak into microphones.

A UVic engineering course called “Sustainable Water Resources” is brimming with ways to keep students engaged in the midst of the pandemic that pushed most classes online.

Every week during a virtual class, 70 civil engineering students enrolled in CIVE 340 are treated to live “newscasts” produced by small teams of classmates, who take turns researching and reporting on recent water-related stories they find in the media.

The lively newscasts are just one way that instructor Tom Gleeson is keeping students interested and interacting in an online setting.

Brennan Fetterly, whose newsroom backdrop was a class favourite, says the newscasts are a way for students to relate what they’re learning to larger world events in a way that’s both educational and entertaining. Read more

Student recognized for research on vehicular networks

Mosavat sits at a desk, working on a laptop, in a room with electrical and computer equipment. Another student works at a desk in the background.

Hamed Mosavat wants his work to have a positive impact on the world and he’s found a niche where he can do just that.

Mosavat, a PhD student in electrical engineering, is focusing his energy on improving road safety through wireless networking and mobile computing.

“Transportation is an inseparable part of our modern life, in which driving safety is of great importance,” he says. “During my PhD, I’ve been working on vehicular networks in order to increase the reliability of vehicle-to-vehicle communication.”

Recently, Mosavat’s work was recognized when he received the prestigious IEEE Transportation Electronics Fellowship Award. The international award, which promotes graduate-level study, recognizes outstanding research contributions to vehicular communications and intelligent transportation systems. (IEEE is the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology.) Read more

Student jumps at chance to network and hone skills

Li stands on a log near the shore of a Vancouver beach on a wintry day, with her arms open wide.

Leadership skills, along with a passion for construction and engineering, recently earned Sherry Li an invitation to a prominent seminar from construction giant Kiewit Corp.

Li was one of 115 young women from post-secondary schools across the U.S. and Canada who attended the annual event, which focuses on networking, leadership development, career advice, and expanding one’s knowledge of the construction industry.

In past years, students were flown to Kiewit’s Women in Construction and Engineering Leadership Seminar. However, because of the pandemic, the December event was hosted online.

“The seminar taught me about the importance of communication and empathy as a leader and what working relationships could look like with a large construction firm,” said Li, a fourth-year biomedical engineering student. “I learned that a team’s achievements are directly proportional to the strength and cohesion of its team members.” Read more

Engineering education leads to a new way of seeing

Stefani – wearing a UVic Rocketry T-Shirt, sunhat and outdoor gear – stands outdoors in the desert and shows two thumbs up.

Studying engineering at UVic taught Natasha Stefani to look at the world around her in a whole new way.

The recent grad says she was initially attracted to the field because of its practical focus on solving real-world problems. Yet as she worked her way through the program, she discovered that along with learning how to solve problems, engineering was actually reframing the way she views the world.

“Engineering has taught me to see the world through the eyes of design and problem solving,” said Stefani, a recent mechanical engineering alumna. “Once you start noticing design, you can see it all around and how fundamental it is to the functioning of the world.”

Since earning her degree last summer, Stefani has been putting her skills to work with UVic and Rowing Canada Aviron. She’s part of a team that has continued work initiated by a fourth-year engineering class, which involves designing and building a testing apparatus that will help identify Olympic potential among Canadian rowers. Read more

Water researcher and materials scientist appointed CRCs

Side-by-side photos show Dubrawski crouching by a stream to take water samples, and Saidaminov in a laboratory with large test tubes in the foreground.

Two engineering faculty members have been recognized for their research excellence and community impact as Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs (CRCs).

Kristian Dubrawski was named CRC in Water Sustainability for Indigenous and Rural Communities. His group, the UVic Community Water Innovation Lab, will investigate how communities can close the loop between their human and natural water systems. Dubrawski holds appointments in the Departments of Civil Engineering and Geography.

Makhsud Saidaminov was named CRC in Advanced Functional Materials. A central focus of the Saidaminov Lab is the development of a third generation of solar energy technologies that are cheaper and safer to produce and more efficient at energy harvesting. Saidaminov is cross appointed in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Chemistry. Read more