Talk of the Campus Spring 2016

Campus happenings and highlights from the past six months

North America's largest free incubator just got bigger

University of Waterloo is expanding Velocity — the largest free startup incubator in North America — with a new lab on campus and the addition of Velocity Start, where any aspiring student entrepreneurs can develop their ideas.

Velocity Science is tripling the size of its on-campus lab to more than 2,600 square feet before it moves into a new 7,000-square-foot home in the state-of-the-art Science Teaching Complex.

Velocity Start, a new 6,000-square-foot space, will provide mentorship as it helps budding entrepreneurs develop the skills and networks they need to grow a business.

The Velocity Start workspace

The Velocity Start work space in South Campus Hall.


University of Waterloo invention wins Dyson award

The James Dyson Foundation

The Voltera founders. (Left to Right: Jesus Zozaya, Katarina Ilic,  James Pickard, and Alroy Ameida)

Voltera V-One, a custom circuit board printer developed by Waterloo engineering students, has taken top prize in this year’s James Dyson Award competition, beating out a record 710 entries from 20 countries. The printer, created by, from left, Jesús Zozaya, Katarina Ilic, James Pickard and Alroy Almeida as their 2013 Engineering Capstone Design project, enables circuit boards to be prototyped within minutes.


Gender equity campaign expands its focus

I want gender equality for women and men. I am HeForSheWomen, men, transgender people and others who don’t identify as either men or women can now pledge their support for the HeForShe campaign— for which University of Waterloo is a global champion — on a revised website that enables greater involvement for everyone. The campaign was originally designed to engage men in the gender equity movement. Now everyone, regardless of gender identity, can pledge their support online.

Student ambassadors share Waterloo story at UN climate change conference

Student ambassadors

As political leaders gathered in Paris to negotiate a global agreement on climate change in late 2015, a group of Waterloo students and faculty were on hand to meet delegates and listen to experts. The students shared Waterloo’s contributions to building a more sustainable future while keeping a close eye on historic negotiations throughout the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“Our students will be the ones fighting climate change into the future,” said Jean Andrey, dean of the Faculty of Environment. “Their engagement in an event which will determine that future is vital.”

Last December, the students brought the COP21 climate change discussion to our local community during a panel at St. Paul’s University College.

New books highlight Waterloo’s students, innovative culture

Larry Smith No Fears, No ExcusesNo Fears, No Excuses: What You Need to Do to Have a Great Career is the latest book from University of Waterloo economics professor Larry Smith. Launched on campus in May, the book is based on the author’s widely acclaimed TEDx talk, and is billed as a provocative, contrarian look at finding one’s true calling.
 innovation and entrepreneurship
It follows the fall launch of Innovation and Entrepreneurship are in the Waterloo Genome, by Kenneth McLaughlin, professor emeritus of history. The book explores how Waterloo disrupted post-secondary education, from its entrepreneurial beginnings to its position as Canada’s leading innovation university. Both are available through the University of Waterloo Book Store.

Awards and honours

Recent recognition for University of Waterloo researchers and graduate students includes:

  • Wesley Buckwalter (Arts) — Banting Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Catherine Burns (Engineering) — Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
  • Claudio Cañizares (Engineering) — 2016 recipient of the IEEE Canada Electric Power Medal
  • Arthur J. Carty (Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology) — Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Zhongwei Chen (Engineering) — E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • David Cory (Science, Institute for Quantum Computing) — Fellow of the American Physical Society and Royal Society of Canada.
  • Lora Giangregorio (Applied Health Sciences) — McGill’s Bloomberg Manulife Prize
  • Igor Grossmann (Arts) — Rising Star Award from the Association of Psychological Science
  • Keith Hipel (Engineering) — elected to the Washington-based National Academy of Engineering
  • Jean-Philippe MacLean (Science) — Vanier scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • John McPhee (Engineering) — Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada
  • Ian Milligan (Arts) — Outstanding Early Career Award for the Canadian Society from Digital Humanities
  • Josef Paldus (Mathematics, professor emeritus) — Neuron Award for Contribution to Science in chemistry from the Czech-based Neuron Fund for Support of Science
  • Tahnee Prior (Environment) — Vanier scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Canada Research Chairs

  • Sarah Burch (Environment) — new Tier 2 CRC in Sustainability, Governance, and Innovation
  • Amir Khajepour (Engineering) — renewed Tier 1 CRC in Mechatronic Vehicle Systems
  • Raymond Laflamme (Science, Institute for Quantum Computing) — renewed Tier 1 CRC in Quantum Information
  • Ian Munro (Mathematics) — renewed Tier 1 CRC in Algorithm Design
  • Luke Postle (Mathematics) — new Tier 2 CRC in Graph Theory