Lynch, Dr. David T.

2004 Alberta Science and Technology Community, Recipient

Building a Booming Science and Technology Community in Alberta

Dr. David Lynch has been called the “Building Dean” because of the $250 million in new infrastructure investment that has taken place on his watch as head of the University of Alberta, Faculty of Engineering. He has also been a tireless builder of Alberta’s science and technology community in other, equally significant, ways.

Quality Growth

Since he was appointed dean in 1995, Dr. Lynch has concentrated on recruiting outstanding students and faculty and obtaining the resources to provide them with an exceptional educational and research environment. The results have been dramatic. Undergraduate enrolment has increased 40 per cent, placing the faculty in the top five per cent of engineering schools in North America. Graduate enrolment more than doubled in the last five years, to over 1,000, at a time when graduate enrolment nationally was flat. And the faculty has grown by one third, to 165.

This impressive growth was achieved with no sacrifice of quality. The faculty’s undergraduate entrance requirements have risen from 70 to 80 per cent, the highest on campus. In a recent three-year period, students in the faculty received five out of the six C.D. Howe awards, granted for the best undergraduate engineering students in Canada. The faculty has the highest current number of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Steacie Fellows of any engineering faculty in Canada. It has also increased its NSERC industrial research chairs from one to 10, the most of any faculty in Canada.

Boosting Awareness

Dr. Lynch has championed public awareness of science and technology in Alberta through faculty initiatives such as the Discover E program, which exposes elementary and high school students to engineering through science camps and class presentations, and the SciberMentor program, which matches girls and young women with online mentors in the engineering profession.

As a member of the boards of key leadership bodies such as the Alberta Science and Research Authority, Climate Change Central, the Alberta Energy Research Institute, and Alberta Ingenuity, Dr. Lynch has significantly influenced science and technology policy in Alberta. He promotes technology transfer in the province by serving on the boards of several university spin-off companies such as Micralyne Inc. and TRLabs. In addition to securing increased government and corporate funding for engineering infrastructure and research at the University of Alberta, Dr. Lynch was instrumental in establishing the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) on campus, a development that will play a major role in building Alberta’s future knowledge-based economy.