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Engineering researchers in Canadian universities could be making a much greater contribution to the well being of the country. Improvements in our economy and our welfare are closely linked to the kinds of research and development which will improve our competitiveness and enhance the quality of our products. Achievement of these improvements will require engineering research more than any other and should be accomplished through a greater cooperation between the universities' engineering faculties, industry and the other elements of the user society.
Regrettably, much of the research conducted by engineering professors and their students is directed more toward contributing to the world's store of scientific knowledge rather than to the solution of engineering issues of significance to Canada.
A basic reason for this bias in the orientation of Canadian engineering research is to be found in the general criteria used by our universities in the recruitment, promotion, and rewards for professors. To a considerable extent, research funding agencies have employed similar criteria and have contributed to this bias.
This document has been written to stimulate discussion of this important issue by members of the engineering profession, governments, industry, funding agencies, and, in particular, faculty and administrators of Canadian universities. A number of guiding principles are advanced for consideration and as a prelude to the formulation of specific policy and program revisions.
Among the suggested principles are:
- a dedication by engineering professors to increase their contributions to the solution of present and future issues of Canadian society,
- the adoption by universities of evaluation criteria for engineering professors that are different from those applicable to many of the university's other learned disciplines, and that, while retaining respect for quality, reflect the special role of engineering in society,
- the development of programs of engineering research funding that promote a closer and more effective linkage between engineering professors and the major users of engineering research in industry, government and society.
- a major involvement of users of engineering research in the review panels of the research funding agencies and a significant involvement of these users in university evaluation processes.
Engineering Research in Canadian Universities - 15 JAN 97[Next] [Previous] [Top]