Design Analysis Competition

Sponsored by ANSYS AIM

The Design Analysis Competition, sponsored by ANSYS AIM, is to encourage the effective application of appropriate engineering analyses in the execution of a design project.

Students from any University of Waterloo Engineering program in their final year of study are encouraged to apply.


Winners will be announced at the winning team's department symposium in March.  First place prize is $2500, first runner up will receive $1500 and second runner up will receive a prize of $1000.

Important Dates

Friday, February 26, 2021: One-page summary due

Monday, March 1, 2021: Notifications of acceptance sent out

Friday, Mar. 5, 2021 Mar. 12, 2021: Presentations to judges

Presentation rubric: Judge's rubric (docx)

Application Instructions

Full Competition Details (pptx)

Questions and applications should be addressed to Chris Rennick at

Past Winners
Year Winning Teams

First Prize: Project Lumos: Smart Blue Light Therapy Glasses for Sleep and Wellness - Mechanical Engineering

First Runner Up: Buckling Analysis of a Steel Spaceframe Control Arm - Mechanical Engineering

Second Runner Up: Project SINEW: System for In-Space Nanothermite External Welding


First Prize: Reduction of Carbon Emissions in Integrated Steel Plants - Chemical Engineering

First Runner Up: Smartphone Optical Zoom with Liquid Crystel Lens - Nanotechnology Engineering

Second Runner Up (Tie): Shoulder Watch: Quantifying Arm Elevation in the Workplace - Mechanical Engineering
Academic Pulse: Generation and Optimization of Elementary School Timetables - Management Engineering


First Prize: Model Creation adn Validation of a Pulp and Paper Oven Process with Convection and Heat Exchange - Chemical Engineering

First Runner Up: WatFly Urban Air Mobility Solution - Mechanical Engineering

Second Runner Up: Process Design of Synthetic Fuel from Landfill Gas - Chemical Engineering


First Prize: Hybrid Rocket Engine - Mechanical Engineering - 
The project objective was to design, built, and test a hybrid rocket engine that will provide thrust for a rocket with a target apogee of 30,000 ft.

The winner's presentation can be read in full here: Hybrid Rocket Engine Analysis Presentation (pdf). 

First Runner Up: Optimal Surgical Operating Hours - Management Engineering - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Department of Surgery comprises over 100 surgeons and 39 operating rooms (ORs).  This project analyzed historical usage data to improve the manual process of scheduling the operating hours for the 39 ORs.

Second Runner Up: Portable Photocatalytic Water Treatment - Chemical Engineering


First Prize: GYB (Got your Back) - Mechanical Engineering - Conventional automotive side mirrors account for up to 7% of a vehicle's total drag, and produce blind spots leading to more than 840 000 accidents per year in the US.  This project minimized mirror drag and eliminated side mirror blind spots by using a camera system.  The final design was produced by an automated optimization of solid models.

First Runner Up: Motorcycle Safety - Mechanical Engineering - This project produced a design for an aerodynamic braking solution for motorcycles.  Computational analysis and virtual prototyping was used extensively to evaluate the performance of design concepts.

Second Runner Up: Total Recall - Systems Design Engineering - This project designed an automated system for consumer protection agencies to perform early detection of recall-worthy products.  The analysis performed involved training a model to classify consumer reviews as "recalled" or "not recalled".