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Chairholder Profile

Laleh Behjat

Laleh Behjat

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Calgary

Chair title

NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Prairies)

Chair program

Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering Program


Chairholder since 2020


Dr. Laleh Behjat is the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in the prairie region and a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Calgary. She received her Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Waterloo in 2002. Her research program focuses on developing modeling and mathematical techniques to automate the design of digital integrated circuits.

Dr. Behjat is passionate about increasing the status of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Her team has been collaborating with researchers in arts and education on developing methods for teaching innovation and creativity in post-secondary education. Dr. Behjat has won several awards for her work including the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) Women in Engineering Champion Award, Killam Graduate Student Supervision and Mentorship Award, and Minerva Mentoring award. Her team, Schulich Engineering Outreach Team, was also the recipient of the ASTech Leadership Excellence in Science and Technology Public Awareness Award.

Women and other under-represented groups in science and technology face systemic barriers that exist because of cultures, policies, practices and values that prevent them implicitly or explicitly to realize their full potential. To remove these systemic barriers, a critical mass of diverse ideas and empowered people from all dimensions is needed.

WISE-Planet’s goal is to systematically change the recruitment, retention, and advancement trends and realities in science and engineering and empower women and other under-represented groups from across the prairie region. The program will do this through the following initiatives: Change Leadership Training; Leadership in Equity Action Plan (LEAP) Projects; the Diversity Scholarship Program; and Network building.

  • Change Leadership Training equips the participants to thrive in a changing world and advance despite of disruptive technologies. It also establishes them as the emerging leaders in their field.
  • LEAP Projects empower participants to take action to raise the status of women in science and engineering, provide support for entrepreneurial activities and diversify the projects that are supported by the chair program.
  • The Diversity Scholarship Program increases the number of students who understand and work in EDI-related activities and will tap into their potential by providing support and opportunities for them.
  • Networks connect the participants to the leaders in the STEM field, and engage them with senior-level mentors and sponsors to enhance and extend the reach of the program’s efforts.

The impact of WISE-Planet will be wide-reaching. In order to foster innovation and thrive in a world that will experience mounting technological and environmental disruptions, a diverse and inclusive environment is needed. The program will impact Canadians by training women and other under-represented minorities in science and engineering in change leadership and enable them to envision an equitable, diverse and inclusive future, and strategize to make this future possible.

Partner organizations will participate by providing both cash and in-kind contributions. Of the ten partner organizations, most participate in WISE-Planet beyond those contributions. Partner organizations will provide training for the participants in WISE-Planet, including opportunities for skills development (e.g., communications), learning about entrepreneurship, as well as providing mentorship for female students and their allies.

The expected impact of the Chair on the partner organization's operations is several-fold. WISE-Planet participants will contribute to the activities of the organizations, bringing new ideas, while solidifying a relationship with the University of Calgary. The mentorship opportunities that come with coaching and training young women contribute to a community of practice in Calgary, the prairie region and throughout Canada. Additionally, in helping train new scholars, partner organizations are training the next generation of skilled professionals in their field.


  • University of Calgary
  • ENMAX Corporation
  • Canadian Utilities Limited ATCO
  • Indigenous Engineering Inclusion Inc.
  • Alberta Women Science Network
  • Spartan Controls Ltd.
  • Calgary Public Library
  • Platform Calgary
  • Calgary Science Center Society

Contact information

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Calgary


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