NSERC Design Chairs

The University of Manitoba has held a NSERC Chair in Design Engineering almost continuously since 2001.  These partnerships have fostered significant developments in a design-oriented curriculum in the Price Faculty of Engineering.


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2018-2023 – NSERC Chair in Design Engineering for Sustainable Development & Enhanced Design Integration
Chairholder – Dr. Marcia Friesen, P.Eng.

We view design as the common engineering function across engineering disciplines, and the goal of engineering education is to develop students’ design knowledge, skills, and values for engineering practice.  

This Chair focuses on:

  • Advancing students’ design knowledge in sustainable development and sustainable design in all disciplines.  This is a set of knowledge & skills identified by the practice community as critical for the profession in the future, and it has applications across our programs, ranging from energy resources and security, water resources management, agriculture and food security, transportation and resilient cities, infrastructure resiliency and adaptation, and smart systems.
  • Advancing students’ Indigenous Knowledge, perspectives and design principles as part the principle of social inclusion inherent in sustainable development. In addition to cultural awareness, design focuses on important Canadian applications in energy independence, food security, and infrastructure development.  In a province with the highest proportionate Indigenous population (17%) in Canada and an Indigenous population that is predominantly young and growing, the Chair will foster education and reconciliation through curriculum initiatives by which graduate engineers can more effectively provide design services to and with Indigenous clients and communities in Manitoba and Canada.

Sustainable design and Indigenous Knowledge are being facilitated through the redevelopment of existing core courses and capstone design courses. 

  • Enhancing students’ design skills by integrating a design spine in all programs to provide cohesive, incremental design experiences for all undergraduate students.  This will tie an explicit thread from preliminary year to capstone design.

Supporting these initiatives, an expanded Engineers-in-Residence program will bring practice-based design expertise into the curriculum and share design outcomes with the practice community.


Dr. Marcia Friesen


  Dr. Marcia Friesen, P.Eng. is Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Design Education) in the Price Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba.  Her research program focusses on engineering qualifications recognition for engineering newcomers, the scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering education, mHealth applications, and modeling and simulation for healthcare applications.  She serves on numerous local committees, is a board member of the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation, and is Past-President of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba.

For a list of all past Design Chairs -  Click here





We’ve got a great team of six internal champions working on these directions. 

Dr. Mohamed Issa, P.Eng., Assistant Professor and Champion for Sustainable Development

Mr. Randy Herrmann, P.Eng., ENGAP Director and Champion for Indigenous Knowledge & Design

Dr. Paul Labossiere, P.Eng., Senior Instructor and Champion for the Mechanical Engineering Design Spine

Mr. James Dietrich, P.Eng., Engineer-in-Residence and Champion for the Electrical Engineering Design Spine

Dr. Ken Ferens, P.Eng., Assistant Professor and Champion for the Computer Engineering Design Spine

Dr. James Blatz, P.Eng., Professor and Champion for the Civil Engineering Design Spine

The Chair brings together a strong set of partners who are investing in labour force development in design engineering for key industries in Manitoba, including aerospace, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and engineering services. Through the Chair, partners will support Engineers-in-Residence programs and will support design education through design team sponsorship, student awards, and high quality networking and engagement with students. 

We thank our long-standing partners

Logos from the following partners: Boeing Canada Winnipeg, EnviroTREC, Friends of Engineering (Manitoba) Inc., Intel PSG, Magella, Aerospace Winnipeg, Manitoba Aerospace, MacDon Industries, New Flyer Industries Ltd., Price Industries Limited, Province of Manitoba, StandardAero & WestCaRD