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Lassonde hosts first-of-its-kind, interdisciplinary NSERC CREATE Annual Summit

In early May, York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering hosted the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE) Annual Summit, bringing professors, researchers and industry leaders from across Canada together with students representing nearly 20 Canadian universities.

NSERC CREATE provides accomplished researchers with the necessary tools and funding to develop industry-driven, research training programs for highly qualified students, aiming to solve complex challenges in science and engineering. These programs allow student trainees to develop their technical skills and perform innovative research activities, while providing them with professional skill building, mentorship and collaboration opportunities. Lassonde is home to five NSERC CREATE programs, TABES, SMART-ART, DITA, AM-EDGE and MTA, each with their own unique research focuses, academic leaders, industry partners and student trainees from universities across Canada.

Members of TABES program at NSERC CREATE Annual Summit
Members of TABES program
Members of the AM-EDGE program at NSERC CREATE Annual Summit
Members of the AM-EDGE program

This year, Lassonde organized an interdisciplinary event, including members of all five of its CREATE programs – marking the first time an annual NSERC CREATE summit brought together multiple CREATE streams, paving the way for similar collaborative events in the future.

“We are thrilled to host such a unique event,” says Magdalena Krol, associate dean of research, innovation, enterprise and partnerships at Lassonde. “Bringing together all Lassonde’s CREATE programs gives students an amazing opportunity to learn about different areas of research and network with experts across diverse fields. We hope this event will inspire creativity and innovation amongst all attendees.”

Members of SMART-ART program at NSERC CREATE Annual Summit
Members of SMART-ART program

The NSERC CREATE Annual Summit is tailored towards student trainees of CREATE programs, focusing on their personal and professional development. This event provided students with the opportunity to form valuable connections with like-minded individuals, share ideas, meet industry leaders and develop professional skills. Trainees attended over 30 presentations, including lectures from researchers, students and industry professionals, focusing on diverse topics, ranging from biomedical engineering to space robotics. In addition, industry representatives from each NSERC CREATE program led important discussions on the realities of engineering research while highlighting ways to build resilience through problem solving and creativity.

Promoting knowledge exchange and skill building, students also presented their ongoing research through various interactive presentations.

“I think this event has been really great for everyone,” says Abi Lee, PhD candidate in the Earth and Space Science and Engineering department at Lassonde. “A lot of us haven’t had the chance to meet in person. This conference gave us the opportunity to see what everyone is doing and learn about all kinds of research.”

Event attendees socializing and networking at NSERC CREATE Annual Summit dinner
Event attendees socializing and networking at dinner
Professor George Zhu, Director of SMART-ART, presenting to event attendees - NSERC CREATE Annual Summit
Professor George Zhu, Director of SMART-ART, presenting to event attendees

This year’s NSERC CREATE Annual Summit demonstrated the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. The knowledge exchange, idea sharing and creation of valuable connections across disciplines help support Lassonde’s goal of solving the world’s greatest problems through science and engineering, while fostering an environment that promotes positive change through collaboration.

Learn more about the NSERC CREATE programs at Lassonde

AM-EDGE – Additive Manufacturing in Engineering Design and Global Entrepreneurship

am-edge logo

Program Director: Aleksander Czekanski, professor in Mechanical Engineering

Additive Manufacturing in Engineering Design and Global Entrepreneurship (AM-EDGE) focuses on training students to design, develop, implement and operate 3D printing technologies. The program offers unique, experiential learning opportunities and prepares students to become leaders in the field through entrepreneurial training with experts from research centres and within the industry.

DITA – Dependable Internet of Things

DITA logo

Program Director: Marin Litoiu, professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The longest-standing CREATE program at Lassonde, Dependable Internet of Things (DITA), provides an environment for students to analyze, acquire, architect, design, develop and evaluate dependable internet of things (IoT) systems that fulfill individual and societal needs. Students build hands-on application skills through industrial internships and collaborative research projects, focusing on research areas ranging from smart transportation to security, privacy and ethics for IoT.

MTA – Microsystems Technologies and Applications

Mcirosystems Technologies and Applications MTA logo

Program Director: Regina Lee, professor in Earth and Space Science and Engineering

Microsystems, Technologies and Applications (MTA) is the youngest of the five CREATE programs at Lassonde, focused on addressing the need for innovation in microsystems technologies. This program allows students to develop transferable skills for designing and optimizing microsystems for environmental, space engineering and biomedical applications.

SMART-ART – Smart Autonomous Robotic Technology for Space Exploration


Program Director: George Zhu, professor in Mechanical Engineering

Supporting the future generation of researchers in space robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) for space exploration, the Smart Autonomous Robotic Technology for Space Exploration (SMART-ART) program provides essential training to highly qualified students focused on working in the space industry. This program allows students to develop research skills in areas including AI, computer vision, autonomous robotics and systems engineering.

TABES – Training in Applied Biotechnology and Environmental Sustainability

TABES logo

Program Director: Satinder Brar, professor in Civil Engineering

Training in Applied Biotechnology for Environmental Sustainability (TABES) is an interdisciplinary, industry-oriented program where students develop both technical and professional skills to tackle real-world challenges related to waste management. This program aims to prepare students for the growing biotechnology industry, through advanced training and research opportunities in areas such as microorganism applications and bioproduct development.