Posts Tagged: Aimy Bazylak

EngSci’s Associate Chair Prof. Aimy Bazylak elected as Fellow of the EIC

 U of T Engineering professors Aimy Bazylak (MIE), Vaughn Betz (ECE) and Frank Vecchio (CivMin) have been elected 2022 Fellows of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), for “excellence in engineering and services to the profession and to society.”

Left to right: Professors Aimy Bazylak (MIE), Vaughn Betz (ECE) and Frank Vecchio (CivMin) have been elected 2022 Fellows of the Engineering Institute of Canada.

By Carolyn Farrell

U of T Engineering professors Aimy Bazylak (MIE), Vaughn Betz (ECE) and Frank Vecchio (CivMin) have been elected 2022 Fellows of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), for “excellence in engineering and services to the profession and to society.”

As the Canada Research Chair for Thermofluidics in Clean Energy, Bazylak is working to advance fuel cells, electrolyzers and batteries for clean power production and energy storage without greenhouse gas emissions. Her research is focused on the use of modelling and real-time imaging to design new materials for high efficiency and performance. She has partnered with automotive and energy companies such as Nissan, Volkswagon and Hydrogenics Corp. to develop next-generation fuel cells and electrolyzers for higher efficiency, zero-greenhouse gas emission power and energy storage.

Bazylak has served as the Director of the U of T Institute for Sustainable Energy and Acting Vice-Dean, Undergraduate for Engineering, and has been a member of U of T’s Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability since 2017. Her contributions have earned her several prestigious awards, including the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering’s I.W. Smith Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, and the Helmholtz International Fellow Award. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Betz holds the NSERC/Intel Industrial Research Chair in Programmable Silicon. His work has revolutionized the use of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), to allow engineers to rapidly create new hardware systems and realize their design visions. As a doctoral student, Betz created a packing, placement and routing tool and methodology, known as Versatile Place and Route (VPR), which is now the world’s most popular toolset for modelling new FPGA ideas. Betz cofounded Right Track CAD Corporation in 1998, growing the company to several million in annual revenue. After the company’s acquisition by Altera in 2000, he played a key role in the design of their next-generation chips, now used by tens of thousands of engineers.

In 2011, Betz joined U of T Engineering, where he continues to lead research to improve algorithms and design software to improve FPGAs. He mentors future entrepreneurs and has personally established several engineering scholarships. Betz holds more than 100 U.S. patents and has received 14 best paper awards from the field’s top conferences and journals. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the U.S. National Academy of Inventors, and recipient of the Ontario Professional Engineers Medal for Engineering Excellence.

Professor Emeritus Vecchio is the former Bahen/Tanenbaum Chair in Civil Engineering. An internationally respected authority on the behaviour of concrete structures, he has contributed substantially to increasing the safety and reliability of Canada’s infrastructure. Vecchio is the co-developer of the Modified Compression Field Theory, a groundbreaking conceptual model for describing the behaviour of reinforced concrete under general load conditions, which has been incorporated into design codes in Canada and internationally. He also developed a suite of software, called VecTor, for predicting the response of concrete structures to practically any action, which has been widely adopted for teaching and in industrial and research applications.

In addition to his research, he has significantly contributed to the development of standards and codes for concrete structures globally through his service on national and international technical committees. According to a recent Stanford University study, Vecchio has the highest citation score amongst Canadian researchers across all fields of Civil Engineering and ranks in the top 20 worldwide. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the American Concrete Institute and has received several of these societies’ most prestigious awards.

“On behalf of the Faculty, my warmest congratulations to Professors Bazylak, Betz and Vecchio,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip. “Their outstanding contributions illustrate some of the key areas in which U of T Engineers are making an impact across disciplines and sectors.”

This story was originally published in the U of T Engineering News.

Winter storms and power outages: Chair of EngSci’s energy systems major on creating a secure system

Aimy Bazylak on CTV


A massive winter storm system recently caused large-scale power outages affecting millions in the United States of America.

Professor Aimy Bazylak (MIE) was featured on CTV Your Morning to discuss the situation in Texas and why energy storage is critical for Canada’s energy security as extreme weather events caused by climate change become more common.  Professor Bazylak is the chair of EngSci’s energy systems major, and serves as EngSci’s associate chair.

Watch the interview here.

Meet our alumni: Nathalin Moy (EngSci 1T6+1), energy policy analyst

Nathalin Moy

Nathalin Moy (EngSci 1T6+1) uses her engineering knowledge to help design public policy. (Photo courtesy of Nathalin Moy)


Technology does not exist in a void. To have a meaningful impact on society, its creators must consider social, cultural, and ethical impacts. New technological developments must also work within economic and legal constraints, and can inform government policy decisions.

No one knows that better than Nathalin Moy (EngSci 1T6+1), who graduated from EngSci’s Energy Systems Engineering major.  She combines her engineering education with public policy training in her work as a policy analyst as part of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) Regulatory Policy team at Natural Resources Canada.

Moy helps guide the implementation of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, which governs projects as diverse as interprovincial and international pipelines and powerlines, energy exports, oil and gas exploration, and offshore renewable energy.

Her interest in public policy was sparked in a third-year course on energy policy, but really took hold in her final year in EngSci.

Bridging the gap

Policy decisions, especially around energy, must be made with input from diverse stakeholders: technical experts, government policymakers, the general public, and others. One of the challenges for engineers is learning how to communicate complicated technical issues to audiences that may not have a technical background and—just as importantly—how to listen to perspectives they may not have considered.

Moy identified this gap in her fourth-year thesis project—The Engineer’s Role in Climate Change Policy—which applied an engineering approach to a qualitative research question.

Sparked by the 2016 launch of the Canadian climate change action plan, Moy investigated the role engineers can play in climate change policy. Through literature reviews and interviews with engineering, policy, and climate change experts she developed a conceptual model of the relationships between the various stakeholders involved. She identified a historical lack of involvement of engineers in shaping public policy, despite their relevant technical expertise. To encourage more engineers to step into the policy arena, she suggested education reform to help teach engineers the skills needed to engage in public policy processes.

“My thesis was a pivotal experience that prompted me to take the leap into public policy,” says Moy. “It also served as the motivation for my fourth-year capstone project—it’s the ‘why’ where the capstone work was the ‘how’.”

In her capstone design project, Improving Engineering Student Engagement in Energy Policy, Moy created a public policy assignment for third year courses that brought together U of T Engineering students and public policy students from the Faculty of Arts & Science to learn from each other’s expertise. Interdisciplinary student teams wrote briefing notes for hypothetical government representatives based on current energy policy issues. While the engineering students learned how to better communicate technical issues, the public policy students learned about the technical constraints that must inform policy.

Moy’s work helped both groups of students develop a better mutual understanding of the challenges on all sides of public policy.

Helping engineers consult the public

Moy continued delving into these interdisciplinary topics as a Master’s student in the Sustainable Energy Engineering and Policy program at Carleton University. Her thesis, titled An Engineer’s Guide to Public Engagement in Renewable Energy Projects, examined how public engagement relates to technical design in renewable energy projects.

Moy’s thesis includes eight guidelines to help engineers better incorporate public engagement into their work. She hopes that her work will help engineers create more effective public engagement, and may even inform new policies.

“In making the transition from engineering to public policy, the biggest revelation for me was that the approach to problem solving is basically the same,” says Moy. “There is an engineering design cycle, and there is a policy cycle. Both start with identifying a problem and go through a systematic process that ends with implementing a solution.”

A powerful combination

Moy sees the particular strengths of an academic background that combines technical engineering knowledge with policy. Many of the most serious problems we face today, like climate change, are too complex to be addressed by technology alone. “The grand scale behavioural change that needs to occur cannot happen without policy intervention,” says Moy. “To this end, neither an engineering degree without an understanding of the policy context, nor a policy degree without an understanding of the technical nature of the issue, can effectively tackle the problem at hand.”

Professor Aimy Bazylak, who serves as EngSci’s associate chair and the chair of the energy systems major, has seen a shift in expectations around how engineers engage with society to protect the public and ensure ethical conduct. “More than ever, we absolutely must take our impact on society into consideration, which can only be done by listening to a diverse community of voices,” says Bazylak. “I’m particularly inspired by graduates like Nathalin who are driven to create a sustainable society—at home and internationally.”

Moy’s involvement in social science disciplines exemplifies a common trait among EngSci students who often have multidisciplinary interests. She also credits her time in EngSci for helping to prepare her for her current job as part of a small team working on many different projects. “This position appeals to me in the same way that EngSci did,” says Moy. “There’s a good balance of breadth and depth that allows me to be a subject matter expert and yet understand and contribute to other related files going on around me.”

Meet more EngSci alumni.

Professor Aimy Bazylak joins Royal Society’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Professor Aimy Bazylak

EngSci’s Associate Chair, Professor Aimy Bazylak (MIE), is working to advance fuel cells, electrolyzers and batteries for the production of clean power and energy storage without greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Roberta Baker)


Congratulations to EngSci’s Associate Chair for Years 3 and 4, Professor Aimy Bazylak (MIE)!  She is one of five U of T professors to be appointed to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Read the full story to learn about her exciting research.

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