McMaster hosts engineering deans from around the world

October 16, 2017

More than 150 delegates from 25 countries shared inspiring ideas on how to improve higher education and prepare the next generation of engaged engineers at a high profile event held in Niagara Falls, Ont.

Hosted by McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering, the Global Engineering Deans Council Conference (GEDC) explored a range of issues from bio-innovation for social impact to teaching students about the Internet of Things to addressing climate change to inclusive engineering schools and workplaces in the future. This is the first time the event has been held in Canada.

Missed the conference? Watch the sessions here | More about the speakers at gedc2017mcmaster.ca

Improving diversity within the profession was a focus of the event, which ran from October 10 to 12 at the Fallsview Conference Centre and attracted about 200 delegates from around the globe from academia and industry.

"In these troubled times, it's very important for the world to come together," said Ishwar K. Puri, McMaster's Dean of Engineering. "Canada believes in diversity, multiculturalism and tolerance. The values of Canada are the values of McMaster Engineering. That's why we were delighted to host the Global Engineering Deans Council conference."

"The world very much needs what engineers have to offer: namely, the harnessing of creativity, technology, and persistence to craft lasting and effective solutions to the global challenges of water, food, infrastructure, energy, jobs, and wealth inequality,” said Peter Kilpatrick, Chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council and Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. “The Global Engineering Deans Council was a signature event in Canada, under the patronage of McMaster Engineering, to discuss concrete ways of addressing these challenges."


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne offered greetings via video to delegates and Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan passed along best wishes through a letter.

“From climate change to advanced manufacturing to artificial intelligence and biomedical engineering — engineers are at the forefront of some of the most pressing challenges and complex challenges of our time,” Wynne said in her address. “And by creating an inclusive, experiential and problem-based learning environment for current and future engineering students you are ensuring that engineers can continue to rise to our challenges and seize the opportunity that this moment presents.”


Duncan wrote about the conference’s emphasis on diversity and addressing the need to engage more women in science, technology, engineering and math.

“As I tell audiences around the world, science needs women. Science needs ethnic diversity,” Duncan wrote. “It needs Indigenous peoples and it needs young people. We know that our greatest potential in research can only be realized when all are welcome in the lab, the field, and the classroom.

“As a government, we are grateful for the efforts of the Global Engineering Deans’ Council for establishing the diverse, worldwide engineering networks that do so much to improve all our lives.”

During the event, the winner of the 2017 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award was announced. The award went to the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan, for its BIRDS Satellite Project, which trains graduate students from developing countries in using cost-effective innovative systems engineering.

See more photos of GEDC 2017 on the McMaster Engineering Facebook page.