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Feds commit $32M to Waterloo engineering building


The federal government recently announced it will contribute $32.6-million for the construction of a state-of-the-art engineering building at the University of Waterloo. Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger, MP for Waterloo, announced the funding under a program to update research and innovation infrastructure.

Engineering 7, the seven-storey, 240,000-square-foot building, will accommodate expanding demand from student enrolment and feature advanced research labs. It is under construction on Waterloo’s east campus at a total cost of $88-million, with a scheduled opening in the spring of 2018.

Research on disruptive technologies – machine intelligence, mobile robotics, autonomous vehicles, wearable biomedical devices

Home to growing biomedical and mechatronics engineering programs, as well as research on disruptive technologies, including machine intelligence, mobile robotics, autonomous vehicles and wearable biomedical devices, Engineering 7 will be one of the largest buildings on campus when complete. An atrium and enclosed pedestrian bridges will link it to the existing Engineering 5 building.

The funding is from the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, a $2-billion initiative launched in 2016 to enhance and modernize research facilities on Canadian campuses, positioning them at the forefront of innovation required for a clean, sustainable economy.

“Since its founding 60-years ago, the University of Waterloo has been doing things differently,” says Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “The Engineering 7 building is a prime example of Waterloo’s unconventional, creative, innovative thinking. It will be home to world-leading talent and research, continuing to expand the impact of disruptive technologies that will help to put Canada at the forefront of the global economy.”

Engineering Ideas Clinic

A focal point of Engineering 7 will be the Engineering Ideas Clinic, a novel space allowing professors from different engineering disciplines to collectively teach theoretical concepts through experiential, hands-on learning. Waterloo Engineering’s 7,500 undergraduate students will use the facility.

In addition to study and social areas, lecture halls and 20 garages for student design teams, the new building will also house a cutting-edge additive manufacturing — or 3D printing — lab and the RoboHub, a unique testing facility for aerial, mobile and magnetically levitated robots.

“Engineering 7 is more than a building. It epitomizes the future of engineering education and the preparation of students to experience early, innovate early and incubate their ideas early, right from first year,” said Pearl Sullivan, dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Waterloo. “It will also be a meeting place for our 1,000 Canadian industry partners, as well as entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scholars and academics from around the world.”

Financial support for Engineering 7 is also coming from an ongoing, private-sector fundraising campaign through donations from alumni and industry partners.