[Next] [Previous] [Top] The Role of Engineering in Building a National Strategy in Science and Technology in Canada
ENGINEERING SCHOOLS IN THE ECONOMY
- In a knowledge-based society with an information intensive economy and a multiplicity of fast evolving and far-reaching new technologies, engineering schools constitute a vital part, if not the very foundation of the country's S&T infrastructure.
- This precious asset must be continually upgraded to serve the immediate needs of the country's production system, both in terms of human resources and modern equipment. Therefore, engineering schools must be hotbeds of generic technology creation and the place where new principles of production and technology management are explored and systematically investigated.
- Canada's thirty-three (33) engineering schools already represent a major resource, but their potential to contribute to the future of this country is not fully recognized and appreciated. They should be considered as a important component of the Canadian Technology Network and be given the supplementary financial resources to serve as such.
- Being spread across Canada, they should be given the financial resources to really constitute the National Network with collaborative distance teaching. They should be made the nodes of the much talked-about Information Superhighway.
- Even though spectacular progress has been achieved in recent years in bridging the gap between universities and industry, the efforts are still too timid and too sporadic.
- In particular, engineering schools must learn how to deal better with small or medium-sized technological firms and train their students to meet the needs of this important sector of our economy. Courses on technological innovation and entrepreneurship should be regular parts of the curriculum. Interdisciplinary projects undertaken jointly with small firms should be given special attention. A professional Master's degree in technological entrepreneur-ship, developed and delivered jointly by the engineering school and the management/administration sciences school, should be offered in each province as a collaborative effort with local industry and the financial community.
The Federal Government should be supportive of and provide enhanced support for research undertaken by engineering professors and their graduate students that is directed at real and relevant issues of significance to the present and future needs of society and its industrial and services sectors.
Engineering schools should have much more autonomy than they now have, being immersed in a sea of science faculties, and should focus more on problem-solving and interdisciplinary approaches in the curricula than they presently do. They should encourage business sabbaticals and value more the professional experience of their recruits than just academic credentials. The "publish or perish" policy should be replaced by "excellence through relevance".
The Role of Engineering in Building a National Strategy in Science and Technology in Canada - 15 JAN 97[Next] [Previous] [Top]