The University of New Brunswick’s Michel Couturier will help transform the way engineering is taught at the university, thanks to support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

An event was held today, Sept. 15, at UNB to announce Dr. Couturier’s NSERC-UNB Chair for Collaborative Engineering Design Education appointment. He was awarded $1 million from NSERC, which will be given to his team over the next five years.

As NSERC-UNB Chair for Collaborative Engineering Design Education, Dr. Couturier will ensure that UNB’s engineering students are more job ready while helping companies and local governments in Atlantic Canada obtain innovative design solutions.

Dr. Couturier, who has taught chemical engineering at UNB for more than 20 years, says teaching engineering design has typically not been the primary focus of engineering education in Canada.

“During the past 40 years, it was largely left to the companies to provide design training; however, accreditation bodies, scientific councils and the business community are calling for deep changes in engineering education,” said Dr. Couturier.

According to these groups, engineering curricula must continue to provide strong scientific training and also emphasize the development of business, design, communication and teamwork skills. Dr. Couturier will be responsible for the implementation of a stronger design curriculum in UNB’s nine engineering programs.

“My goal as chair is to produce engineering graduates who are recognized by employers for their design abilities, provide students with the opportunity to work under the guidance of practicing design engineers, and to be an engine for the local economy by working on industry-sponsored projects,” said Dr. Couturier.

NSERC President Suzanne Fortier says that Dr. Couturier’s chair is poised to enhance the way engineering is taught at UNB.

“His leadership is to be commended. His creative collaborative model, which includes ‘Engineers in Residence’, will help build strong links between the university and industry”, said Ms. Fortier.

NSERC’s Chairs in Design Engineering (CDE) Program was established to improve the level and quality of design engineering activity within Canadian universities.

NSERC is in the process of establishing a total of 16 chairs in Design Engineering across Canada. The chair award provides funding for the engineers in residence and design-related activities, including costs associated with training, partnerships and promotion. Chairholders are appointed for a five-year term.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.

Established in 1785, UNB is one of the oldest public universities in North America. With more than 12,500 full- and part-time students from more than 100 countries, UNB has the best student-to-faculty ratio of Canada’s comprehensive universities, according to Maclean’s magazine. As the largest research institution in New Brunswick, UNB conducts more than 75 per cent of the province’s university research. UNB has more than 60 research centres, institutes, groups and major projects.

For more information, please contact:

Natalie Montgomery
University of New Brunswick
506-458-7513
natalie.montgomery@unb.ca

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