Marcia Friesen

Marcia Friesen

Faculty of Engineering
University of Manitoba

Chair title

NSERC Chair in Design Engineering for sustainable development and enhanced design integration

Chair program

Chairs in Design Engineering Program


Chairholder since 2018


This Chair views design as the common engineering function regardless of discipline, in that design integrates mathematics, basic sciences, engineering sciences, and complementary studies in a creative process to generate the products, processes, systems, services, and technologies that enable a healthy and innovative society. The goal of engineering education is to develop students’ design knowledge, skills, and values for engineering practice. This Chair will enhance engineering design at the University of Manitoba by:

  • Advancing students’ design knowledge in sustainable development and sustainable design in all disciplines, with applications in energy resources and security, water resources management, agriculture and food security, transportation and resilient cities, infrastructure resiliency and adaptation, and smart systems.
  • Advancing students’ Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and design principles as part of the principle of social inclusion inherent in sustainable development. In addition to cultural awareness, design will focus on important Canadian applications in energy independence, food security, and infrastructure development. Sustainable design and Indigenous knowledge will be facilitated through the redevelopment of existing core courses and capstone design courses. 
  • Enhancing students’ design skills by integrating a design spine in all programs to provide cohesive, incremental design experiences. This will tie an explicit thread from preliminary year to capstone design.

An expanded Engineers-in-Residence program will support these initiatives by bringing practice-based design expertise into the curriculum and sharing design outcomes with the practice community.

The Chair will equip students with design knowledge and skills increasingly identified as critical for the future profession by practicing engineers, and which will provide opportunity for design innovation. In a province with the highest proportionate Indigenous population (17%) in Canada and an Indigenous population that is predominantly young and growing, the Chair will foster education and reconciliation through curriculum initiatives by which graduate engineers can more effectively provide design services to and with Indigenous clients and communities in Manitoba and Canada. 

The Chair brings together a strong set of partners who are invested in advancing labour force development in design engineering for key industries in Manitoba, including aerospace, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and engineering services. Through the Chair, partners will support Engineers-in-Residence programs and will support design education through design team sponsorship, student awards, and high quality networking and engagement with students. 

Dr. Marcia Friesen, P.Eng. is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Design Education) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. Her research program focusses on engineering qualifications recognition for engineering newcomers, the scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering education, mHealth applications, and modeling and simulation for healthcare applications. She serves on numerous local committees, is a board member of the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation, and is Past-President of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba.


  • Province of Manitoba
  • Friends of Engineering (Manitoba) Inc.
  • Boeing Canada Winnipeg
  • New Flyer Industries Inc.
  • StandardAero Limited
  • Magellan Aerospace, Winnipeg
  • Manitoba Aerospace
  • Price Industries Limited
  • EnviroTREC
  • MacDon Industries Ltd.
  • Intel PSG
  • WestCaRD

Contact information

Faculty of Engineering
University of Manitoba



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