Professor Mark Kortschot is the former Chair of the Division of Engineering Science (EngSci) and has been a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry (ChemE) since 1988. He is a graduate of Engineering Science (8T4) and completed his PhD at Cambridge University in 1989. In 2013, he was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Professor Kortschot is interested in both the design of materials and design with materials. His academic research has focused on the relationship between microstructure and properties in fibrous materials and he has co-authored more than 60 refereed journal publications, two book chapters, and has given many invited talks around the world.
As an established innovator and designer, Professor Kortschot has helped craft the Faculty’s design and innovation agenda, and has encouraged Engineering Science students to take advantage of the many entrepreneurial opportunities now available. He has helped to create and teach three design courses, including the Faculty’s large first year course, Engineering Strategies and Practice, for which garnered the Allan Blizzard Award in 2007. He has also been part of the planning for the NSERC Chair at U of T, the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Hatchery.
Professor Kortschot has been a key member of the design team that took up the Gates Foundation Challenge to Reinvent the Toilet. This multi-million dollar project is attempting to create an inexpensive family-scale toilet that can operate without power, water or sewer hookups, and can sterilize human waste within 24 hours. The team was awarded third place at the end of the first round of funding, and has gone on to refine the design with the hope of producing a viable unit by the end of 2015. (View the CTV News broadcast).
Professor Kortschot’s love of invention and design has also resulted in some important commercial products. He used his expertise in high performance polymers to co-found Légère Reeds Ltd., www.legere.com which makes the premium synthetic saxophone and clarinet reeds that are now widely used on Broadway and in some of the world’s best-known symphony orchestras. He also invented the Sole Skate™, a compact skateboard manufactured and sold worldwide by Razor USA. The Sole Skate™, won the 2010 Outdoor Toy of the Year Award at the Australian Toy Fair and was chosen by TIME as one of the Top 10 Toys of that year.
Professor Kortschot served in a number of administrative roles within the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering prior to being appointed as the Chair of Engineering Science in 2011.