URA supervisor list and USRA placement list

Student working on their research project.

Below are research projects available for Undergraduate Research Assistantships (URAs) and/or NSERC's Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs). A URA is a part-time research experience that is worked on during an academic term, whereas a USRA is a full-time research experience conducted while a student is on a co-op term.

Contact faculty members directly if you are interested in their project. Other faculty members, not listed below, may also be willing to support a URA or USRA upon request. Supervisors must be University of Waterloo researchers but they do not need to be within the Faculty of Engineering to support a URA.

URA supervisor list

USRA placement list


Last Name

First Name



Project Type

Title & Description

Chemical Engineering Chen Zhongwei E6 2006 38664 USRA


  • Advanced Nano-Structured Catalysts for Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries
  • Development of Advanced Graphene Materials for Next Generation Battery
Chemical Engineering Mekonnen Tizazu E6 2010 38914 USRA

Title: Sustainable multifunctional nanocomposites

Description: Multifunctional polymer nanocomposites: design, modifications, and structure-property relations with a focus on renewable and sustainable polymer nanocomposites. We are interested in a combination of fundamental and applied researches.

Chemical Engineering Ward Valerie E6-4016 38625 USRA

Title: Development of biorefinery technologies for microalgae

Description: Microalgae are a promising feedstock for the production of sustainable chemicals to replace current petrochemical based products. We are undertaking a number of projects exploring the use of microalgae for applications in materials, as chemical feedstocks, for therapeutic protein production, and for high value terpenoid production. We explore both the upstream process development and strain engineering as well as the downstream recovery and purification of products. Please contact for more info.

Chemical Engineering Zhu Qinqin E6-3006 32540 USRA

Title: Process data analytics and machine learning.

Description: Design novel machine learning algorithms for process monitor and fault diagnois.

Funded by: Research Account

Civil & Environmental Engineering Yin Shunde E2-2312 33323 USRA

Title: Coupled thermal, hydraulic, mechanical, and chemical processes

Funded by: Research account

Computer Science Abari Omid DC 3510 36412 USRA

Title: Intelligent Connectivity for the Internet-of-Things

Description:  The ICON lab at the School of Computer Science is conducting research in the area of wireless networks and mobile systems, with applications to the Internet of Things (IoT). Our research focuses on the design and implementation of software-hardware systems that deliver ubiquitous sensing, computing, and communications at scale.  We borrow techniques from diverse areas including computer networks, machine learning, signal processing, hardware design, and HCI. The student will do research on designing new connectivity and sensing systems for virtual reality, smart city and smart home applications.

We are looking for students with one or multiple of following skills:

  • Experience with C/C++ programming, and interests in designing systems
  • Familiarity with Micro-Controller, Raspberry Pi or FPGA programming
  • Hardware design (Familiarity with PCB design would be a plus) 
  • Research experience in wireless networks and systems

Interested students should email Omid Abari (omid.abari@uwaterloo.ca).

Electrical & Computer Engineering Bajcsy Michal QNC 4126 39279 USRA

Title: Systems for Non-Linear Optics at Single Photon Levels

Description: This project focuses on design of nano-photonic structures and studies of quantum optics schemes that would enable development of scalable on-chip devices for all optical signal processing at single photon levels.

The research will include training in the following areas: use of commercial FDTD software to simulate photonic structures, basic nano-fabrication techniques (photolithography, PECVD), optical testing of fabricated structures, and basic electronics and fiber optics.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Crowley Mark E5 4114 31464 USRA

Title: Machine Learning Tools Software Development

Description: The UWECEML lab carries out research into decision making under uncertainty, prediction of spatiotemporal dynamics and anomaly detection in domains ranging from Forest wildfires, to embedded systems processes to autonomous driving. The student RA will carry out vital work to extend existing software frameworks we use for simulation of dynamic process and to help with running of new experiments in collaboration with graduate students in the lab.

This position will involve programming in python on unix and windows machines to set update existing libraries, build experimental frameworks, run experiments on a range of datasets and help with visualizing the outputs.

Student must have development experience and have a deep knowledge of python a must, knowledge of scipy, pyplot, tensorflow would be beneficial.

Familiarity with machine learning algorithms such as random forests, deep learning, CNNs, Reinforcement Learning a plus but not required.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Dietl Werner EIT 4007   USRA

Description: Developing correct software is difficult and many programming errors are discovered by end users, which causes embarrassment, monetary damage, and -in the extreme- harm to people. My research focuses on practical approaches to prevent more programming mistakes during development. Optional type systems improve the static guarantees of a programming language, like Java, and are a light-weight approach to improve correctness.

In your URA, you'll learn about high-quality software development and work on a research project, e.g., by performing a case study, improving an existing tool, or prototyping a new tool.

Research on improving code quality and programmer productivity will also benefit your own programming skills.

You can contact me via email (wdietl@uwaterloo.ca). Also, feel free to take a look at my homepage.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Golab Wojceiech DC 2528 32029 USRA

Title: Big Data and Analytics

Description: Distributed storage and analytics systems are used pervasively in data-driven environments including social networking and e-commerce web sites, and appear increasingly in enterprise IT infrastructures. Designing such systems remains fundamentally challenging for two reasons: concurrency (i.e., dealing with many users simultaneously) and failures (i.e., dealing with unreliable hardware components). As a result, distributed storage and analytics systems use elaborate mechanisms to provide concurrency control and to mask failures.

Dr. Golab's research in this space focuses on understanding the effects of these mechanisms on the scalability, efficiency, and data consistency of distributed systems. Students involved in this research will have an opportunity to work with state-of-the-art open-source tools, including NoSQL storage (e.g., Apache Cassandra) and cluster computing frameworks (e.g., Hadoopr and Spark), as well as to pursue theoretical topics pertaining to specifying and verifying the correctness of distributed systems.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Gong Guang E7 3546 45650 USRA

Title: Implementation of WG cipher automation using GAP.

Description: A part of research in the ComSec lab (comsec.uwaterloo.ca) is development of cryptographic algorithms and protocols in hardware and software. WG stream ciphers are defined over small finite fields which aim at securing loT devices. A part of ongoing research is design automation using GAP and VHDL> This project is to implement more sophisticated search methods (for example reducing the search space based on the fact that reciprocal of an irreducible/primitive polynomial is also irreducible/primitive). The efficiency of implemented functions in GAP can be tested using GAPs profiling facilities. The goal is to reduce the time for the search for the small fields and to adapt the methods to work on bigger fields as well: in the initial stage, we want to extend GF (2^128), possibly larger.

Other information and restrictions:
Requirements: basic coding experience in any language, knowledge of algorithms, finite fields, experience with GAP is desired but not mandatory, as long as the student has experience with some other CAS.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Gurfinkel Arie DC 2356 36616 USRA

Title: Automated Software Verification

Brief Description: Modern software systems are incredibly complex engineered artifacts. They rely on intricate algorithms, developed by large, often distributed, teams, and are build out of many interconnected components. Software bugs are common even in such safety-critical industries as medical devices, automotive, and avionics. Yet, we are increasingly becoming dependent on reliable operation of such systems. Furthermore, the impact of software bugs on safety and security is increasing as the border between safety- and non-safety-critical systems is eroded.

Dealing with this complexity requires automation in verification and certification. While the last few decades have seen tremendous progress towards this goal, effective automated verification remains a grand challenge. The long term objective the project is to develop scalable automated verification that is usable by software engineers and is integrated into the software development life-cycle.

You will contribute to the development of the automated verification tool SeaHorn and will learn about Compilers, Constraint Solvers (SAT/SMT), and Automated Verification.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Hasan Anwar E7 5434 42868 USRA

Title: Data Security and Applied Cryptography

Description: This project involves implementation of post-quantum cryptographic primitives in both software and hardware. The ideal candidate will have a strong mathematical background, experience in C/C++, assembly language, FPGA and VHDL.  

Electrical & Computer Engineering Ho Pin-Han EIT 4161 32452 USRA

Title: Deep machine learning for media classification

Description: The project is on programming of software module and applications for a novel deep learning architecture for video/multimedia inspection/classification.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Ho Pin-Han EIT 4161 32452 USRA

Title: Video snapshot acquisition

Description: The project is to prototype a video snapshot system that includes a media server and FPGA programming on Altera's Dex system.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Kapre Nachiket E5 4013 31415 USRA

Title: Accelerated Machine Learning with FPGAs

Description: Companies like Microsoft, Intel, Google, NVIDIA are developing specialized chips for accelerating machine learning computations. We will investigate the use of FPGA-based or FPGA-like architectures for such applications. The student will write VHDL/Verilog or OpenCL descriptions of these computations and evaluate various cost/performance tradeoffs in their implementations.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Patel Hiren E5-4018 38105 USRA

Title: Generating Verilog from High-level Specifications

Description: This project implements a back-end that generates synthesizable Verilog from a subset of SystemC specifications. SystemC is a high-level language built on top of C++ used for modeling and simulating digital hardware systems.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poudineh Mahla QNC 3622 33319 USRA

Title: Developing new platforms for bio-sensing applications

Description: In Poudineh Lab, we develop bio-sensing approaches for therapeutics and diagnostics purposes and translating biomedical devices to the clinic.

Currently, the focus is on two main projects:

  • More effective cancer diagnosis: developing a microfluidic device for multiplexed cancer biomarkers profiling.
  • Beter diabetes management: Developing a platform for measuring insulin and glucagon-two important hormones for adjusting glucose level in blood.
Electrical & Computer Engineering Rayside Derek DC 2538 32840 USRA Description: Microfluidic design automation software. Some understanding of any subset of the following: fluid dynamics, COMSOL, microfluidics, programming languages, compilers, SAT. The nature of this work is fundamentally interdisciplinary, so each team member usually knows only one part of the background knowledge.
Electrical & Computer Engineering Shaker George DC 2635 519-498-5173 USRA


  • Wearable Wireless Systems
  • Energy Harvesting Systems
  • mm-Wave Electromagnetics
  • 5G for IoT
  • Radar Sensor Systems
  • Drone Connectivity
Electrical & Computer Engineering  Vaniea Kami DC 2532 31718 USRA

Title: Creating Helpful Scam Avoidance Advice 

Description: Scams can be hard to detect, especially for people who are in a new context, such as moving jobs, coming to university, or starting a new phase of their lives. For these people, it can be very frightening to hang up on someone claiming their SIN has just been deactivated, or ignore an email claiming that Amazon just billed them $900. Most advice given to people on how to detect and avoid scams is overly general; for example: "look at the URL before clicking". This advice is quite challenging for people to translate into specific actions, especially when they are facing a threatening message that is urging them to make fast decisions. The goal of this project is to think about a specific population of people and the challenges they face around scams, for example, first year students who just moved to a new city/country and no longer have their prior support system to help them. Then, create a system that will work with them to help them confidently determine if they are facing a scam and what they can do about it.

This is an interdisciplinary project and can accept a range of skill areas. A student with strong programming skills might automatically analyze scam emails and use the identified information to help the person make a good decision. A student with more interest in Human Computer Interaction could run experiments to better understand the needs of populations and what types of computer interventions are likely to assist them. 

Please see my lab page for examples of my past projects

Electrical & Computer Engineering Wei Lan E5 4023 31423 USRA

Title: Error-resilient Computation with Imperfect Emerging Technologies such as carbon nanotube transistors and non-volatile memories.

Description: In this project, the students are expected to explore approaches at both device and circuit levels to develop error-resilient computation systems. Special interests are with carbon nanotube transistors and non-volatile memories. The project is for 3th/4th year students who are interested in VLSI design with emerging technologies.

Electrical & Computer Engineering Wei Lan E5 4023 31423 USRA

Title: Cryogenic CMOS for quantum computing

Description:  This project is for 3rd/4th year students only. In this project, the students are encouraged to explore the CMOS device and circuit at cryogenic temperatures aiming for control and operation of silicon quantum bits for quantum computing, including

  • Cryogenic CMOS device characterization and modeling
  • Cryogenic CMOS circuit design for quantum computing
Electrical & Computer Engineering Yu Alfred EIT 4125 36908 USRA Title: Next-generation biomedical ultrasound innovations
Electrical & Computer Engineering Zahedi Seyed Majid DC 2524 35761 USRA

Title: Accelerating real-time AI on SoC FPGAs

Description: In this project, students will work on design and implementation of an open-source, VTA-based accelerator framework for real-time AI. Prior knowledge on compilers, FPGA design, and kernel programming is necessary. 

Electrical & Computer Engineering Zahedi Seyed Majid DC 2524 35761 USRA

Title: Distributed mobile computing system 

Description: In this project, students will work on design and implementation of an open-source, VTA-based distributed mobile computing framework. Prior knowledge on mobile app development is necessary. Prior knowledge on compilers, OpenCL, and RPC is not necessary but would be extremely helpful. 

Management Sciences Mahmoudzadeh Houra CPH 4317 38043 USRA

Title: Optimization of radiation therapy treatment planning for cancer

Description: Radiation therapy is one of the main methods for treating cancer. High energy beams are used to eradicate cancer cells while trying to spare the surrounding healthy organs. The treatment planning process can be viewed as a large-scale optimization approach. We use mathematical programming techniques to formulate different types of cancer treatment planning problems using real patient data. Different projects are defined based on specific cancer sites, different delivery machine specifications, and various clinical requirements defined for personalized treatments.

Funded by: Research Account

Management Sciences Pirnia Mehrdad CPH 4303 38956 USRA

Title: Analyics in Energy Systems

Brief Description: The aim of this project is providing clean, affordable and reliable energy for consumers, from busy urban areas to remote northern communities. The student needs to look at technologies such as renewables, storage capacities, and more modern initiatives (electric vehicles and smart

appliances) and use sophisticated optimization techniques to prescribe economical and achievable  policies to meet environmental targets and cost reduction incentives. The projects involves a high degree of data analytics.

Management Sciences Yang Jangho CPH 3629 40422 USRA

Title: The Role of Mergers & Acquisitions in Big Tech's Innovation Capabilities: A patent approach

Description: Using a large cross-sectional combined patent and firm-level dataset from 2011-2019, this project aims to study the potential impacts of big tech’s M&A’s on technology inputs markets through providing robust evidence on the extent to which big tech’s technological capabilities have been advanced – and potentially monopolized – through such channels. We aim to answer the following questions. 

  • What innovation assets did big tech gain in their acquisitions between 2011-2019?
  • How dominant has big tech become in various fields of innovation due to the acquired patents in each year between 2011-2019?
  • Were acquired innovations of subsequent importance to big tech’s innovation capabilities?

The position will involve programming in R to validate the name matching algorithm our team has developed and manually checking patent records. 

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Arami Arash EC4 1023 37648 USRA

Title: Human-Robot Interaction in Wearable Exoskeletons

Description: Design controllers for lower and upper limb exoskeletons to help people with sensorimotor deficits. Evaluate the human-robot interaction. Adapt the controller using machine learning techniques.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Hu Yue E7
40709 USRA

Title: Human-robot interaction with collaborative robots

Description: Develop task planning and control frameworks for collaborative robots (robot arms fixed in the environment of on a mobile base) in the context of human-robot interaction tasks, possibly involving indirect or direct physical contacts, such as carrying objects, assembly, physical assistance. The framework should take sensor data from both the robot and human user as feedback to adapt the task execution accordingly.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Hu Yue E7
40709 USRA

Title: Understanding physical human-robot interaction

Description: Conduct human-robot interaction experiments with collaborative robots involving physical interactions (direct or indirect ones). The experiments should include data collection from both the robot and the human (physical and physiological data, questionnaires). Conclusions should be based on observations and data analysis (factor analysis, machine learning).

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Jeon Soo E7 3438 48898 USRA

Title: Visual perception for robotic grasping and manipulation

Description: A 7 DOF robot arm has three-finger hand and a stereo vision camera mounted on the wrist. The purpose of this project is to develop efficient vision-based object grasping algorithms so that the robot can grasp various objects (and possibly manipulation them). There are graduate students who are already working on relevant topics and the student will assist them for any tasks needed. The student may also be helping graduate students to upgrade ROS to ROS2. The system will be equipped with NVIDIS embedded PC with GPU (NVIDIA AGX Orin), and the students will have ample experience playing with deep learning and machine vision packages as well as fun experiment with state-of-the-art robotic platform. Strong background in programming and control is preferred. Any prior experience of working in robotic application will be a plus.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Mitra Sushanta QNC 3607 37176 USRA

Title: Liquid Wettability

Description: The work is related to the fundamental understanding of under-liquid wettability with wide range of applications such as self-cleaning surfaces, coatings for marine applications, etc.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Pan Zhao ERC 2028 38631 USRA

Title: Curiosity-driven micro/bio-fluid physics in daily lives

Description: We are a curious group that invites students investigating interesting problems around us by learning from nature through mathematics/fluid physics lens. We look for high impact works based on creative ideas. A few examples of our projects include:

  • How can men’s pants and restrooms stay away from splashing back body fluids? Half of the population on the earth have been suffering from this issue since urinals were invented over 100 years ago. We will solve the problem by learning from dessert moss, nautilus shells, and puppies.
  • How to design a fiber network that holds and manipulates liquids for future smart agriculture? We will start with learning from raindrops on pine tree needles and droplets on spider webs.
  • How to improve helmet safety design? Remember the party trick that you can shatter a beer bottle by striking the top of it with your bare hands?

High-speed photography of this trick will inspire us.

Funded by: Research Account

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Weckman Elizabeth (Beth) E5 3033 33345 USRA

Title: Fire Safety Engineering

Description: Interested in fluids, thermal and materials performance. There are a variety of projects available related to ongoing projects through the UW Fire Research Labs.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Wu Xiaoyu ERC 3022 36849 USRA

Title: Sustainable clean water production devices

Description: Clean water and sanitation is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations. Currently, 29% of the global population don't have access to "safely managed" drinking water. In this project, we are interested in developing a clean water generation device powered by solar energy. Combining materials with high solar radiation absorption and good water diffusivity, the device aims at producing steam effectively.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Wu Yimin E7 3418 40185 USRA

Title: Strained Engineered Artificial Leaf for CO2 Conversions to Fuels

Description: Photocatalytic CO2 conversion systems, also addressed as artificial leaves, can convert CO2 into useful fuels with solar energy. We have ongoing projects related to the development of photocatalytic reaction systems that utilize strain engineering to enhance conversion performance. These projects involve reactor design and optimization, performance evaluation, and patent/paper preparation

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Wu Yimin E7 3418 40185 USRA

Title: Photocatalytic Reactor for Converting Plastic Waste into Value-Added Chemicals

Description: Photocatalytic plastic conversion is considered one of the most promising recycling strategies due to its sustainability and environmental friendliness. We will work on developing better photocatalytic reaction systems to improve the use of light and enhance the conversion performance. These projects involve reactor design and optimization, performance evaluation.

Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering Yarusevyh Serhiy E5 3013 35442 USRA

Title: Fluid Mechanics Research Laboratory

Description: We have a very active, internationally recognized research group specializing in engineering applications of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics. We are always open to providing research opportunities to motivated students in the areas related to our ongoing projects.

Systems Design Engineering Clausi David EC4-2039 32604 USRA

Title: Applied Computer Vision

Description: Machine learning, AI, deep learning applied to computer vision in the realm of satellite remote sensing and sports analytics.

Funded by: Research Account

Systems Design Engineeering Maftoon Nima EC4 2029 37654 USRA

Title: Finite-Element Models of the Auditory System

Description: The undergraduate research assistant will work on development of finite-element models of the auditory system, as well as a new medical device for otitis media in children.

Systems Design Engineering Nehaniv Chrystopher E7-6322 40168 USRA

Title: Asynchronous Interaction Machines

Description: Programming and visualization of synchronously and asynchronously updated cellular automata and interaction machines (automata networks that grow and change their topologies in response to interactions/events, with recursive fractal-like structure).

Other Information or Restrictions: Excellent programming ability in higher level programming languages (e.g. python, java). Previous experiences with visualization/graphical user interace design. Excellent mathematical and alogritmic skills/aptitude. Excellent spoken and written English skills.

Systems Design Engineering Nehaniv Chrystopher E7-6322 40168 USRA

Title: Algebraic Intelligence for STEM Applications

Description: Development and application of computer algebraic tools for the automatically creating coordinate systems in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) application area in a finite discrete-event system models. Artificial algebraic intellitgence provides novel methods for AI systems to understand and hierarchically manipulate (e.g. autonomously generating strategies for solving a permutation puzzle like Rubik's cube, or for applications in System Biology).

Other Information or Restrictions: Strong programming ability in a higher level language, and experience with scripting languages. Excellent English spoken and writing skills. Strong mathematical aptitude required, familiarity with discrete mathematics/graph theory/finite automata highly desirable as background.

Systems Design



E7 6322



Title:  Interaction and Experience in Robot Cognitive Architectures

Description:     Contribute to the development of new software and novel approaches as part of a team for the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab (SIRRL) to be applied to leveraging Interaction and Experience in Robot Cognitive Architectures. Work will address the primary roles of interaction,  habit, and engagement in interaction games in recurring contexts for the development of embodied AI systems.

Systems Design




E7 6322



Title:   Social Interaction in Artificial Intelligence Robotics

Description:  Develop new software and approaches with researchers in the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab (SIRRL)  to be applied for improving Social Interaction in AI Robotics.  This work addresses the central roles of the perception-action loop and second-person (interaction-partner aware) methods in achieving embodied intelligent behaviour in AI robots.

Systems Design Engineering Willett Thomas DWE 2507 38405 USRA

Title: Biomimetic Biomaterials

Description: Student will assist in both computation and experimental work concerning the development of novel biomimetic biomaterials.

Systems Design Engineering Zelek John ECR-2017 32567 USRA

Title: AI for Infrastructure, Transportation, Urbanism, and other Applications

Description: Most of our research work consists of using Artificial Intelligence methods (such as machine learning including deep learning) to solve complex problems in a variety of applications.  A lot of the problems involve computer vision and or robotics.  Examples of applications include nfrastructure monitoring including roads, buildings; building 3D maps from cameras for autonomous vehicles; monitoring manufacturing process control to predict failures; object detection and recognition; 3D human body modelling for human fitting; Reinforcement Learning to learn how to move; human motion modelling for sports analytics;... to name a few.  Currently there are over a dozen graduate students in the lab.  Ideally you will work with one of the graduate students as part of our team.  The projects vary depending on the partners we are currently teamed with.  Ideal candidates should have some exposure to machine learning, be proficient in programming with python, C++ and machine learning tools.