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A place for research​

The University of Waterloo has earned its reputation as a world-leading research institution in a wide-range of fields and disciplines, at all levels of study. Built to answer the challenges of a rapidly advancing society, Waterloo is a place where ideas are innovated, tested and proven.

World-changing research is an integral part of learning and connects Waterloo to all corners of the globe. This important work has a direct impact on the way we live, work, play and learn.  

World-leading research


From research into better care for Alzheimer’s patients and studies that have reduced the use of tobacco in countries around the world, to drug delivery at a nano-scale and nanotechnology that can detect life-threatening diseases in their earliest stages, Waterloo research helps prolong and improve lives.


Research that brings social and environmental accountability to the financial services industry and helps financial institutions plan for economic turmoil all grow from Waterloo’s expertise in financial risk management. Game-changers such as the idea that helped give birth to the euro exemplify Waterloo’s influence on the world of international finance.

Water for the world

Waterloo researchers are finding ways to protect and create cleaner, healthier water and water systems. More than 125 faculty and 400 students are part of the Water Institute, one of the top 10 water research institutes in the world.

Among them are Jonathan Price, an expert in hydrology working to turn mined oilsands land back into peatbogs, and Canada Excellence Research Chair Philippe VanCappellen, who studies watershed dynamics to help ensure water resources are managed in an ecologically-sound manner. 

Digital horizon

In a world where an increasing amount of information is created and shared in digital form, Waterloo has attracted international attention with its new digital arts and media campus in Stratford, Ontario. Researchers including Amir Keyvan Khandani and Glen Stillar are on the leading edge of digital and information technology, with research that explores boosting the security and efficiency of wireless communication and creating meaning in our increasingly visual culture.

Power brokers

Innovations that will transform the way we create, store and conserve energy have made Waterloo a world-leader in sustainable energy research. The Equinox Blueprint, which grew out of a partnership with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, offers a plausible roadmap to a future less dependent on fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, Canada Research Chair Linda Nazar’s work is developing better ways to store energy, and Siva Sivoththaman’s work aims to find healthier and more sustainable forms of renewable energy.

Planet protectors

How does climate change affect tourism-dependent nations in the Caribbean — or impact your health closer to home? Are CFCs the true culprit behind global warming, and how does a climate shift in one area affect other regions around the world? Waterloo researchers are changing the way the world understands, counters and copes with climate change.

Quantum speed, nano-scale

Opened in 2012, the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre offers some of the world’s most sophisticated laboratories for quantum science and nanotechnology research. Quantum research at Waterloo has the potential to change the way we share and secure information, and nanotechnology discoveries will influence everything from human health to alternative energy. These innovations include advances in cryptography that will keep our digital information safer and nano-materials than can help clean water.

Driving force

From building a better electric car to intelligent automobiles that can make the daily commute safer and less stressful, the vehicles of the future will be built with technology developed at the University of Waterloo. At the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), more than 125 researchers from all six faculties investigate emerging technologies, new fuels, safer materials and better vehicle design. Partnerships with software companies and Ontario’s automakers help bring these innovations to market. 


Entrepreneurial spirit has always been at the heart of Waterloo and helped spur the creation of international companies including BlackBerry and Dalsa. A unique approach to intellectual property encourages researchers to commercialize their discoveries and share in the profits, and the Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) is on hand to provide support.

Waterloo also nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship in students through programs such as VeloCity and the Conrad Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship Centre. Recent success stories include Thalmic Labs, which secured $14.5 million in funding for its armband that uses muscle power to control electronic devices.

The Office of Research

The Office of Research is the central point that connects scientists on campus or associated with Waterloo with opportunities for funding and a variety of services such as commercialization and assistance in developing and promoting their research.

Research is an integral and intensive area at Waterloo, which is home to more than 35 senate approved centres and institutes and 62 Canada Research Chairs. In 2011/2012, our faculty, staff, and students attracted $192.6-million from public and private sources to fund research across a spectrum of challenges.

Research at Waterloo