by Maria Vincelli
The Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science has launched a new training
centre called the Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation
Technology is moving fast. There is a constant need to refresh the
knowledge of engineers working in aerospace, said Dean Nabil Esmail,
explaining why the CIADI will offer seminars and workshops to practising
Concordias aerospace programs will also get more multi-disciplinary
design content when the Institute becomes active in January 2001.
Graduate and undergraduate students will have the chance to collaborate
on design and innovation projects with the aerospace industry, while students
and working engineers will have access to state-of-the-art interactive
computer facilities, hardware and display equipment and a specialized
As many as 250 government officials, representatives of the aerospace
industry, deans from other universities, faculty and graduate students
in the aerospace program were invited to inaugurate CIADI at a cocktail
reception at the downtown Faculty Club yesterday afternoon.
The Institute, located on the third floor of the ER building, 2155 Guy
St., will also house the Pratt and Whitney Canada Multi-Disciplinary Design
Laboratory, where students will have the opportunity to work on aerospace
projects in an industrial environment.
Pratt and Whitney Canada (P&WC) has committed $1.2 million over the
next five years towards the establishment of the CIADI. Though the establishment
of the Institute is not dependent on it, the Faculty hopes to secure another
$2 to $2.5 million from government funding agencies, such as the National
Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the provincial Ministry
of Research, Science and Technology.
The Institute will be affiliated with the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
which already offers aerospace programs at the undergraduate and graduate
levels, and has a long history of collaboration with P&WC, as well
as several other aerospace companies operating in the vicinity of Montreal.
Dr. Hany Moustapha, Senior Fellow and Manager of Technology, Technical
Education & Collaboration Programs at P&WC, has been named Director
of the Institute. Moustapha, also an adjunct professor in the Department
of Mechanical Engineering, has taught at Concordia since 1984.
He said that Dean Esmail approached him this summer with the suggestion
that they work together to obtain one of several new chairs that NSERC
has opened to promote and improve the teaching of design engineering across
His timing was perfect, as P&WC had just given Moustapha responsibility
for enhancing its own technical education program, including collaboration
with government, industry and universities. Moustapha was looking for
ways to expand P&WCs educational partnerships from the traditional
Concordia knocked on the door first, said Moustapha, and
was willing to provide the space and staff to work on this.
According to Dean Esmail, industries using advanced technologies compete
intensely for the limited number of bright, high-tech-inclined students.
Moustapha hopes that having permanent visibility at Concordia will increase
the number of top students seeking careers in the aerospace industry.
It makes sense from the industry perspective to invest in students
before they are hired. That way they know the industry in Canada, and
are more likely to stay in it, he said.
Dean Esmail and Moustapha have also invited several aerospace companies
operating in and around Montreal to participate in and contribute to the
Institute. Those that provide funding to the Institute will be represented
on the Institutes Advisory Board. So far, all the companies contacted
have shown interest, though none have made any commitments.
The Advisory Board will be a liaison between the university and the aerospace
industry. It will assist the Institute with articulating its goals, strategic
planning, curriculum development and evaluating its performance. It will
also help draw speakers, lecturers and visiting faculty.