Thursday, September 8, 2016

The world is yours: GAIA auto research facility opens

Graduate student Parisa Golchoubian, professor Nasser Azad, powertrain engineer Stefanie Bruinsma, and professor and director John McPhee are among those doing innovative work at the new Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility

Graduate student Parisa Golchoubian, professor Nasser Azad, powertrain engineer Stefanie Bruinsma, and professor and director John McPhee are among those doing innovative work at the new Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility. Professors Azad and McPhee are the GAIA co-leads.

Automotive innovation picked up speed on Wednesday, September 7 with the official opening of a state-of-the-art research and testing facility at the University of Waterloo for smarter, cleaner vehicles.

A $10-million partnership involving the University, industry leaders and two levels of government, the Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility features cutting-edge equipment in three labs covering 4,000 square feet.

Central to its design is integration of its three cells – batteries, powertrains and a rolling dynamometer that simulates driving in the real world – to facilitate testing of the smallest components or entire vehicles under safe, reliable and controlled conditions.

“The beauty of GAIA is that it allows us to do a tremendous amount of testing and refinement long before we ever go on the road,” said John McPhee, the systems design engineering professor who co-leads the facility. “It’s the only facility of its size and capability in Canada, if not North America.”

The unique design will enable a team of about 150 faculty members and graduate students to make modifications and identify problems with electric and hybrid vehicles prior to hitting the test track, yielding key savings in terms of both time and money.

Research areas will include longer-lasting batteries to extend the range of electric vehicles, methods to feed excess energy from vehicles back into the public power grid, emissions, wheel force measurements, autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as adaptive cruise controllers to maintain safe distances between vehicles while also optimizing fuel consumption.

“The whole lab is designed so you can either simulate components or use real components,” said Nasser Azad, co-lead of GAIA and also a systems design engineering professor. “Everything is essentially plug-and-play.”

Several years in the making and located in entirely renovated space in the Engineering 3 building on campus, GAIA is the latest infrastructure addition to the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), the largest university-based automotive research centre in the country.

Work using $5 million worth of equipment will be led by eight professors from four engineering departments. GAIA will also be available to private companies, with the capability of confidentially conducting simultaneous projects.

“Efforts at this unique new facility will enable execution of technology innovation to develop smarter, cleaner vehicles, driving us all towards a more sustainable future,” said Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Waterloo Engineering. “Our top researchers from different disciplines are now perfectly positioned to lead the way.”

New vistas in electrochemical energy storage

Research Talks logo.

Ever wish you could capture bursts of energy and save it for when you need it? You might never be able to do that, but some batteries can.

Widespread integration of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, along with plug-in hybrid vehicles, rely on the development of efficient batteries. The answer to reducing our carbon footprint at a low-cost while still using batteries is energy storage systems that can capture energy and save it for later.

Join Canada Research Chair Linda Nazar at noon on Friday, September 23 for the next session of Research Talks. Linda will examine the challenges, opportunities, and limits for electrochemical energy storage strategies and technologies that go beyond lithium-ion batteries, and could meet future, high-energy density storage needs.

The series, hosted by the Office of Research, celebrates research and provides an opportunity for staff, faculty, and students to learn more about some of the life-changing research underway at Waterloo.

Please register as seating is limited and registration will close when room capacity is reached. Feel free to bring your lunch – light refreshments will be provided.

Gender Equity Grant winners named

More than $76,000 in research funding has been awarded as part of the latest round of the Gender Equity Research Grant competition.

The winners are:

  • Andrea Collins, Environment and Resource Studies, "Understandings of Gender in Global Food Governance: Examining the FAO Committee for World Food Security," $9,175
  • Lukasz Golab, Management Sciences, "Assessing Gender Equity in Co-operative Education: A Data-Driven Approach," $10,000
  • Jennifer Liu, Anthropology, "Understanding Women Who Drop Out of STEM Majors: A Qualitative Assessment," $10,000
  • Christine Logel, Social Development Studies, "Evaluating and Disseminating Randomized Controlled Trails of Social Pschyological Interventions Supporting Women in STEM Programs," $9,936
  • Ellen MacEachen, School of Public Health and Health Systems, "Health Condition Disclosure Among Pre-Tenure Women: what isn't reported and why?" $9,996 
  • Christopher Perlman, "A Gender Based Analysis of Mental Health Needs and Supports among University Students," $10,000
  • Jennifer Whitson, Sociology and Legal Studies, "Evaluating the University of Waterloo's student-lead First Person Scholar and GI Janes: Institutional best practices for "doing feminism in the male-dominated field of game study," $10,000
  • Christine Wiedman, School of Accounting and Finance, "Gender Parity in Academe," $7,314.

The Gender Equity Research Grants support research that investigates and addresses gender equity with preference given to projects that advance Waterloo's three IMPACT 10x10x10 commitments or of demonstrated relevance to Waterloo.

For more information about the grants, visit the HeForShe website.

Registration open for fall 2016 SEW courses

Information Systems & Technology (IST) has announced that registration is now open for the start of fall term workshops for the Skills for the Electronic Workplace (SEW) program. Two new workshops have been added: Communicating With Graphs (SEW134) and Computing@UW (SEW135).

Fall SEW courses include:

Prospective attendees can sign up for these workshops through
MyHRinfo, which allows attendees to view available spaces in workshops, register online, view their registration history and status, and receive immediate registration e-mail notifications. Register through the Learning and Development module of the Self Service menu. A walk-through of the registration process is available if you are unfamiliar with the procedure.

Notes as lectures begin while Orientation continues

Fall classes for students begin today even as Orientation programming continues into the weekend. Classes will follow the normal Thursday schedule. The reason for this is that the University's academic calendar includes a two-day Fall Break following Thanksgiving Monday on October 10. In order to facilitate this change, classes are starting two days earlier than usual.

There are still spots available on the UW Staff Association's 12th Annual Shopping Trip, scheduled to take place from November 11 to 13 in Erie, Pennsylvania. There is no sales tax on clothing and only 4 per cent tax on other items, say the event organizers. Anyone with questions is invited to contact trip hosts Sue Fraser at and Peggy Day at

The Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR) is seeking participants for a new children’s contact lens study! If you know a child between the ages of 8 and 13 who wears contact lenses or glasses for myopia (nearsightedness), they may be eligible to participate. This study is a time commitment of approximately 4.5 hours over a 4 week period and participants receive $90 in appreciation of their time. For more information, contact the CCLR at

UW Fitness is offering several new specialized once weekly small group exercise programs for University staff and faculty starting this month in addition to its regular twice-weekly small group training.

"Thanks to funding from the UW Staff Association’s Staff Excellence Fund, UW Staff receive a 50 per cent discount on up to 2 of the following new “Learn To” programs! Take advantage of the private on campus facility under the guidance of our certified staff."

Classes include:

  • Learn To Spin
  • Learn to Nordic Pole Walk
  • Learn Effective Resistance Tubing Workouts
  • Learn to Exercise with the Stability Ball
  • Learn TRX Suspension Training
  • Learn to Run

To register send an email to or call extension 36841 for more information. Spaces are limited.

    Link of the day

    The Star Trek logo.

    50 years ago: Star Trek boldly goes

    When and where

    Orientation 2016, Sunday, September 4 to Saturday, September 10.

    HeForShe Writing Contest, submissions accepted between Monday, September 6 and Friday, October 14.

    Lectures begin, Thursday, September 8.

    Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Dr. Mark Obrovac, Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University, “Nonaqueous Electrochemical Alloying of Metals”, Friday, September 9, 2:00 p.m., C2-361.

    Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Dr. Cheol-Joo Kim, PDF, Department Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, “Chiral Atomically Thin Films”, Monday, September 12, 2:30 p.m., QNC 0101.

    Graduate scholarship information session, Monday, September 12, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

    AutoTech Symposium, Tuesday, September 13, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

    The Writing Centre presents "Professionalism in your communication: How to talk to your professors," Tuesday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    2016 Waterloo Innovation Summit, Wednesday, September 14 to Friday, September 16.

    Fall Farm Market, Thursday, September 15, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

    Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Dr. Jean-François Morin, Department of Chemistry, Université Laval, “Well-Defined Graphene Nanoribbons and Nanographenes from Photochemical Processes: Synthesis and Properties”, Thursday, September 15, 10:30 a.m., C2 361.

    Writing Centre presents "STEM lab reports: Improve your lab report writing," Thursday, September 15, 1:00 p.m.

    WaterTalks series: Peter van der Zaag, "Water Storage: Nature-based Solutions for Resilient Communities", Thursday, September 15, 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Davis Center, Room 1304.

    Celebrate the life of Pino Tenti, Thursday, September 15, 4:00 p.m., Mathematics 3 atrium.

    Together: When We Are Engaged - Opening Reception, Thursday, September 15, 4:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Gallery.

    Graduate scholarship information session, Thursday, September 15, 5:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

    Waterloo Centre for German Studies presents "Von Berlin to Kitchener: Connotations and Cultures, A Discussion Panel", Thursday, September 15, 7:00 p.m., Kitchener Public Library.

    Hack The North, Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18.

    Doors Open Waterloo Region, Friday, September 16 to Saturday, September 17.

    Seminar, “Life is Good: A Journey From Energy Storage To Protein Therapeutics” by Yunfeng Lu, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of California Los Angeles, Friday, September 16, 11:00 a.m., E6 4022.

    The Writing Centre presents Literature reviews for grads (Part A): Organizing research, Friday, September 16, 1:00 p.m.

    The Mush Hole Project: site-specific art and performance,Friday, September 16, 6:00 p.m., Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford.

    eCon 2016: What's next? Saturday, September 17, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Environment 3.

    The Writing Centre presents Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary, Monday, September 19, 1:00 p.m.

    September Senate meeting, Monday, September 19, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

    The Writing Centre presents Clarity in Scientific Writing, Tuesday, September 20, 1:00 p.m.

    CBB Workshop: UWaterloo Intellectual Property Part 2 Case Study, Wednesday, September 21, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., DC 1304.

    Noon Hour Concert: Earth Peace,Wednesday, September 21, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

    UWRC Book Club featuring House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout, Wednesday, September 21, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

    Panel: Stories of Refugee Support and Resettlement, Wednesday, September 21, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

    Fall Farm Market, Thursday, September 22, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

    Feds Clubs and Societies Days, Thursday, September 22, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

    The Writing Centre presents Tri-Agency Scholarships (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR), Thursday, September 22, 1:00 p.m.

    Conversations on Crisis: A FAQ Panel about Migration, Thursday, September 22, 3:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel room 2202.

    Research Talks event featuring Linda Nazar, "New vistas in electrochemical energy storage," Friday, September 23, 12:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

    Further Education Boot Camp, Saturday, September 24.

    13th Annual Traditional Pow Wow, Saturday, September 24, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Park West (bandshell area).

    School of Planning’s 2016 Induction Ceremony, Saturday, September 24, 9:30 a.m. (reception in EV3 atrium), ceremony at 11:00 a.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages.

    Writing Centre presents Critical Reading and Listening, Monday, September 26, 10:00 a.m.

    Public Lecture: How Can We Help Electricity Access Scale-Up Faster? Monday, September 26, 4:00 p.m., CPH 4333.

    The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children – and the World, Monday, September 26, 7:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs.

    The Writing Centre presents STEM lab reports: Improve your lab report writing, Tuesday, September 27, 1:00 p.m.

    Violence, Education and Life Seminar Series, "The Root of Violence," Tuesday, September 27, 3:00 p.m., E5 6004.

    P4E Career Fair 2016, Wednesday, September 28, 10:00 a.m., Manulife Sportsplex.

    Fall Farm Market, Thursday, September 29, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

    The Writing Centre presents Literature reviews for grads (Part B): Writing it, Friday, September 30, 12:00 p.m.

    Dealing with our Darknesses: An Anglican-Muslim Conversation about Transgression, Penitence, and Transformation, Friday, September 30, 7:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

    PhD oral defences

    Computer Science. Albert Heinle, "Computational Approaches to Problems in Noncommutative Algebra - Theory, Applications and Implementations." Supervisor, Mark Giesbrecht. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Tuesday, September 13, 10:00 a.m., DC 2314.

    Chemical Engineering. Mohammad Borazjani, "Modeling and Characterization of Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Electrodes." Supervisors, Mike Fowler, Mark Pritzker. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, DWE 3520C. Oral defence Tuesday, September 13, 12:30 p.m., E6 2022.

    Chemistry. Shiva Farhangi, "Long Range Polymer Chain Dynamics Probed with Pyrene Excimer Fluorescence." Supervisor, Jean Duhamel. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Thursday, September 15, 1:30 p.m., C2 361.

    Systems Design Engineering. Elnaz Tashnizi, "Regularizing Deep Models for Visual Recognition." Supervisor, Paul Fielguth. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, DWE 3520C. Oral defence Thursday, September 15, 9:30 a.m., E5 6111.