The first Faculty of Science Strategic Plan update, covering the period May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014, lists the Faculty of Science's achievements and progress within five strategic initiatives.
This year the Faculty of Science entered in several new research, teaching and entrepreneurial partnerships, most notably with Soochow University (China), the University of Bordeaux (France), and Waterloo's Velocity program.
- In January 2014, the Faculty of Science hosted a delegation from Soochow University for a workshop to explore potential new research partnerships. Two new collaborations between principal investigators from the two institutions were established and interactions remain ongoing.
- In May 2014, the University of Waterloo hosted a delegation of researchers from the University of Bordeaux for a workshop entitled, “Path to a privileged partnership” which was organized by Chemistry Professor Eric Prouzet.
- Physics and Astronomy faculty member Professor Michel Fich is Canada’s lead scientist on an international consortium of institutions to build the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT), the world’s largest, single dish submillimetre telescope.
- Professor Nancy Waite of the School of Pharmacy is co-lead of the newly established Ontario Pharmacy & Research Collaboration (OPEN). OPEN seeks to assess the quality, outcomes and value of recent and emerging medication management services.
- Fall 2014 will see international researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology visit Waterloo. Significant research partnerships between the institutions and Waterloo are anticipated.
- In 2013-14, Science had more than 100 active industrial research partnerships, roughly one third of which were new partnerships formalized over the prior year.
- Working with partners at Ontario Centres of Excellence, Waterloo’s Office of Research, the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology and the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Science organized and participated in the on campus Devices and Sensors networking event to support the creation of new partnerships and to showcase research of relevance to industry.
- New promotional material to support new partnerships, “Science Industrial Partnerships," (accessible PDF) was produced.
- One-third of the members of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) are Faculty of Science researchers.
- Science’s key role in the Water Institute is driving research of strategic importance to the University of Waterloo’s prioritization of this field.
- 30 of 77 faculty members that make up the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) – one of Canada’s premier institutions for nanotech research – are from the Faculty of Science.
- The Faculty of Science’s Linda Nazar, a Canada Research Chair in Solid State Materials and an eminent researcher in new materials for energy storage and conversion, was named a Thomson Reuters “Highly Cited Researcher” in 2014. Nazar ranks within the top one per cent of scientists worldwide for the number of academic citations received within the field of material science.
Velocity Science was established in 2014 as a partnership between the successful University of Waterloo entrepreneurship program and the Faculty of Science as a place for student-led, commercially-orientated research to be validated and to foster the establishment of student-led startups in the life and physical sciences.
Velocity Science includes lab space with 24-hour wet lab access, high-tech equipment, technical resources and basic consumables that students can use to develop, test and implement their startup ideas. The community also provides mentoring from successful entrepreneurs, and opportunities to collaborate with peers and share knowledge and expertise. (Pictured above are Velocity Science entrepreneurs Rachel Pautler, Moufeed Kaddoura and Eric Blondeel)
New Academic Programs
A new Bio-based Chemistry program was introduced in 2014. The program, a joint international B.Sc. program with the Universities of Bordeaux and Toulouse in France, offers students the opportunity to acquire the scientific and professional skills required for chemists in bio-based chemistry.
This emerging discipline spans the design of chemicals and materials from renewable resources via an integrated approach that combines the expertise of the chemist with the principles of green chemistry and resource management (Chemistry Professor Elizabeth Meiering pictured above).
Strengthening Excellence in Teaching
- eValuate is a completely online course evaluation tool that has been developed by the Faculty of Science. The tool offers students the opportunity to complete course and professor evaluations using a laptop, mobile device or home computer. The tool was implemented in Science as a pilot in 2013 and is now being used for all 2014 courses. Other Faculties are in the process of adopting the program.
- Building on existing expertise in online course delivery, the Faculty of Science submitted a proposal for six online courses in biology, chemistry and physics. This will permit students to obtain credits for all, or part, of a first year science lecture program before physically arriving on campus. Science successfully received funding for five of these six submissions, making Waterloo Science clearly a preferred option for students interested in online B.Sc. programs.