Emerging and disruptive technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), will transform life, business and the global economy.* Waterloo Engineering has over 85 research chairs and rising stars who are developing solutions to address some of the most pressing global challenges of our time. Our goal with  Educating the Engineer of the Future is to attract the brightest minds with the same sense of purpose as Waterloo.

In addition to the Research Excellence Chairs, we will launch the Engineer of the Future Scholars program to support the top graduate students from around the world. Whether they pursue their own ideas, work in teams or collaborate across disciplines, our researchers understand the importance of innovation, the need to strengthen the Canadian economy and how breakthroughs can help create new sunrise industries.

We are focusing on these four emerging/disruptive technologies:

Mobile Internet

Ubiquitous connectivity, more efficient delivery of services, able to connect billions of users in emerging worlds.

Automation of Knowledge Work

Artificial intelligence, advanced user interfaces, increased labour productivity, successfully automating tasks once thought impossible.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Embedding sensors and actuators in machines and other physical objects to bring them into the connected world.

Cloud Technology

Delivering computer applications or services over the internet.

Advanced Robotics

Enhanced senses, capabilities, able to substitute robots for humans, exoskeletons, prosthetics, surgical robots, etc.

Autonomous Vehicles

Low-cost, commercially available aerial and ground vehicles used in more ways, potential for ground transportation revolution with autonomous passenger vehicles, increased safety, productivity, etc.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

Additive manufacturing enabling on-demand customized production, distributed manufacturing, fabrication of anatomically-shaped biodegradable and metallic implants, smart structures with embedded sensors, and multi-material lightweight components.


Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2X) /infrastructure/human communication enable intelligent, lightweight transportation systems.

Energy Storage

Advances in energy storage could make electric vehicles cost-competitive, help integrate power grid with solar & wind power.

Advanced Materials

Nanomaterials enable new types of medicine, industrial coatings, stronger composites, smart materials that self-heal, self-clean, memory, etc.

Advanced Oil and Gas

Advances could significantly increase/prolong availability of fossil fuels, while decreasing emissions and pollutants.

Renewable Energy

Growing use of wind, solar, lower costs, greater adoption, energy source of choice for emerging nations.

Water & Environment

Drinking water and wastewater treatment, climate change effects, scarcity, management, etc.

Sustainable Infrastructure

Environmentally friendly pavement, smart power grids, improved construction methods, longevity, and management of civil infrastructure.


Using technology in conjunction with biology, bio-sensors to treat disease, improved pharmaceuticals, biofuels, biomass, etc.

Healthcare Operations

Improving hospital wait times, reducing patient re-admittance, patient prioritization.

*McKinsey Global Institute – Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, May 2013