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Chairholder Profile

Catharine Marsden

Catharine Marsden

Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science
Concordia University

Chair Title

NSERC Chair in Aerospace Design Engineering (NCADE)

Chair Program

Chairs in Design Engineering Program


Senior Chairholder since 2015


The core objective of the NSERC Chair in Aerospace Design Engineering (NCADE) is to increase the quality and quantity of engineering graduates preparing for employment as design engineers in Canada's aerospace industry. The NCADE program at Concordia focuses primarily on undergraduate aerospace engineering as well as targeted postgraduate training. The NCADE teaching and learning activities are designed to provide Canada's aerospace community with design engineers who can excel in this fast-paced, highly technical, globally competitive sector.

The NSERC Chair in Aerospace Design Engineering will develop and implement teaching and learning activities as part of Concordia University’s undergraduate aerospace program featuring:

  • designated design courses in every year;
  • integrated learning experiences that link courses within the aerospace program as multi-disciplinary assignments and projects;
  • increased experiential education including open-ended problem solving, systems and design thinking, creativity and innovation, project-based self-learning, co-teaching, peer-review and self-evaluation, while developing personal, interpersonal, communication and professional skills within the context of core engineering "knowledge-based" courses;
  • a design option where students can study multi-disciplinary curriculum within aerospace engineering;
  • an apprenticeship program similar to existing programs in Europe, jointly managed by the NCADE and the industry partners; and
  • a robust methodology for program assessment, feedback and continuous improvement.

Collaboration with industry is a key component of the NCADE learning environment focused on integrating the teaching of engineering design with the industrial practice of aerospace engineering design and product development. Students will be offered a range of sponsored and supported project-based design, development and entrepreneurial learning opportunities that they can work on in a dedicated, equipped workspace. By integrating undergraduate teaching and learning with the practicing aerospace community, the NCADE proposal provides a continuous improvement process characterized by curriculum and teaching strategy development and reform, implementation, evaluation and feedback.

Dr. Catharine Marsden is a mechanical engineer with more than twenty years of experience in Canada’s aerospace sector. She has worked in aircraft design and product development as well as industry/government/academic collaborative research and development programs and has first-hand experience with many of the advantages and challenges associated with small and large-scale inter-organizational collaborations. Before joining Concordia University, Dr. Marsden spent six years at the Royal Military College of Canada teaching aircraft capstone and structural design and analysis.


  • Bombardier Aerospace Inc.
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada
  • Bell Helicopter Textron Canada
  • Siemens Canada Limited
  • Altair Engineering
  • Marinvent Corporation

Contact Information

Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science
Concordia University
1515, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montréal, Québec
H3G 1M8

Tel.: 514-848-2424, ext. 4865