Media Releases

University of Toronto joins U.S. engineering education initiative announced at White House today

March 23, 2015

TORONTO, ON – University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering has joined more than 120 U.S. engineering schools leading a transformative movement in engineering education announced at the White House today.

In a letter presented to President Barack Obama, the University of Toronto and peer institutions committed to establish special educational programs designed to prepare undergraduates to solve “Grand Challenges”—complex yet achievable goals to improve national and international health, security, sustainability and quality of life in the 21st century. Together, the schools plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized “Grand Challenge Engineers” over the next decade.

The University of Toronto has implemented several strategic initiatives to accomplish these goals:

  • Creative learning experience connected to the Grand Challenges
    Within the Institute for Multidisciplinary Design & Innovation (UT-IMDI) at U of T, students collaborate with senior engineers and faculty to solve critical real-world problems. These creative learning experiences allow students to work on tangible design and development challenges with industry partners.
  • Authentic experiential learning that includes interdisciplinary practice
    The Faculty’s Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) Interdisciplinary Approach to Addressing Global Challenges course brings together students from engineering, global affairs, business and public health. In 2014, the group designed collaborative solutions to end childhood malnutrition in Bangladesh.
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation experience
    U of T Engineering supports student entrepreneurship, innovation and business experience by offering a certificate and a minor in these areas. Our dedicated innovation program, The Entrepreneurship HatcheryTM, is a vibrant hub invested in building a strong entrepreneurial community and providing the resources and mentorship to enable students to turn ideas in to successful startups.
  • Global and cross-cultural perspectives
    Our certificate in Global Engineering teaches students how to influence and improve conditions around the world. To promote a diverse and open multidisciplinary learning environment, we have also established international cross-cultural capstone design projects where students work together in their final year of study on an industry-based assignment.
  • Social consciousness through service-learning
    Community-based initiatives, both local and international, are encouraged and thriving at U of T; CGEN has collaborated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address the sanitation challenges facing billions of people in developing countries.

“At the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, we are delighted to join our U.S. colleagues in re-imagining engineering education,” said Dean Cristina Amon. “Together we are preparing the next generation of global engineering leaders with strong engineering foundational knowledge along with the competencies to create innovative technologies, to become entrepreneurs and to collaborate across disciplines to address the Grand Challenges of the 21st century.”

For details about the initiative, please see accompanying National Academy of Engineering release, “U.S. Engineering Schools to Educate 20,000 Students to Meet Grand Challenges,” online at:


Media contact:

RJ Taylor
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
University of Toronto