Perspectives Newsletter Fall 2017
Friday, 15 December 2017 15:01

Message from President Danny Mann

danny mann2016Training of Engineers for Societal Problems Involving Biological Systems

What is biosystems (or biological) engineering? The existence of this emerging discipline can be linked to the century-old discipline of agricultural engineering. A century ago, engineers trained in traditional disciplines having interests in agriculture, formed the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Founding members of this society were driven to use their engineering education to remove the manual drudgery associated with the production of food. Thus, from its earliest beginnings, agricultural engineering was an application-based discipline (i.e., engineering fundamentals were applied to problems with production agriculture). In recent decades in North America, agricultural engineering has been transformed from an application-based discipline into the science-based discipline of biological engineering. As the name implies, this engineering discipline is built on a foundation of biological sciences and is intended to educate engineers who are able to apply their engineering education to a host of societal problems involving biological systems. This transformation has been widespread in the US, with many of the programs now using the name “Biological” (or “Biosystems”). Within the last decade, European universities began looking to the US to guide the transformation of their agricultural engineering programs (they tend to prefer the name of “Biosystems” Engineering).

Published in Editorial

Dr. Sudong Yin is a professional engineer in Alberta, focused on water treatment and reuse. He has patented one water processing technology and published 12 peer-reviewed articles.

From 2012 to 2016, as a research engineer at LWR, he helped develop a patented livestock wastewater treatment system that received 3M Environmental Innovation Award in 2014. In 2017, he joined Harmony Beef as a water treatment plant specialist in charge of a water system that recycles 94 % of beef production process water.

Published in Alberta Regional News
Friday, 15 December 2017 14:56

Do you know your Regional VP, Hugh Fraser?

hugh fraserHugh Fraser operates his one-man consulting firm called OTB Farm Solutions...Outside-the-Barn bright thinking for farming in the urban shadow. He works with farmers in the Greater Toronto Area dealing with rural-urban issues. For instance; defending a swine farmer against a dwelling severance next door, or as an expert witness at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing relating to normal farm practice.

In his spare time, he is writing a book about swing beam barns in Niagara, a type of barn built 1825 to 1875, mainly for wheat production, the cash crop at the time. The book will be out in 2018 and includes over 50 existing barns, some with unsupported white pine swing beams as large as 11 m long, 70 cm deep at their centre, 50 cm deep at their ends, and 35 cm wide. For more information see http://otbfarmsolutions.ca


Published in Ontario Regional News

The next CSBE/SCGAB Technical conference and AGM which will be held in Guelph, Ontario, in July 2018. The conference will provide the opportunity to share professional research, experience and insights with colleagues from Canada and beyond. The conference is presented by the CSBE/SCGAB and will be held in conjunction with the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the CSBE/SCGAB.

More details to come on https://csbe-scgab.ca

Published in Notice of Meeting
Precision Agriculture Team under Dr. Zaman supervision is organizing an International Seminar on: “Sustainable Smart Farming to Increase Farm Profitability and Mitigate Environmental Risks: The Need of the 21st Century” at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, Truro, Nova Scotia. The seminar will be part of Dalhousie University's 200th anniversary.

Please join the PA Team on March 15-16, 2018 to participate in the seminar.

For general information please visit: 

Published in Atlantic Regional News

During the Fall Convocation on October 28, 2017, two M.Sc. in Biological Engineering students were conferred their degree: 1) Obiora Samuel Agu with the thesis “Microwave-assisted alkali pretreatment, densification and enzymatic hydrolysis of canola straw and oat hull”, and 2) Charley J. Sprenger (see photo) with the thesis “Classification and densification of municipal solid waste for biofuels applications”. Both students were supervised by Lope Tabil. Obiora is proceeding with his Ph.D. degree and Charley is currently working as Project Leader, Engineer-in-Training at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute in Humboldt, SK.

charley sprenger
Charley Sprenger with her supervisor Dr. Lope G. Tabil during the Fall Convocation at the University of Saskatchewan.

Friday, 15 December 2017 14:34

Interview with U of Saskatchewan Sled Dogs

SK regional director, Oon-Doo Baik interviewed two members (Cory Bart and Dane Steen, both from Mechanical Engineering) of The University of Saskatchewan ¼ Scale Tractor team named “U of S Sled Dogs”. The team has been participating in the ASABE International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design Competition since 2002. For the competition, all the competing teams are provided with the same engine and a set of tires (31 hp Briggs & Stratton and Titan tires). The design of their tractors is a good open-ended project totally up to the teams. Numerous judges from industries evaluate each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, safety, sound level, and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report. Their tractors will be tested for pull, maneuverability and durability.

(Left: Cory Bart, Right: Dane Steen)

Dr. Shahab Sokhasanj has been selected by EIC’s Honours, Awards and Fellowships Committee to receive the 2018 EIC Fellowship (FEIC) awarded for his “excellence in engineering and services to the profession and to society”.

Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj, Ph.D., P.Eng., FEC, FCSABE, FASABE is being honored and recognized for his outstanding contributions as a researcher and teacher, to the development of engineering solutions for the processing of biomaterials for food, feed, fiber, and energy, and for his service to the engineering and other professional organizations. In addition to training of more than 300 undergraduate students, he has assumed a major role in mentoring more than 100 graduate students and scientists nationally and internationally. His research on grain and forage processing and lately on biomass harvest and handling has contributed in a significant way to the advancement of engineering design and the economic well-being of rural communities. Dr. Sokhansanj is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan and an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia. He frequently consults with the bio industry by applying his engineering expertise to safety and efficiency of feedstock handling and logistics. In 2016, the International Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition (an industry organization) presented its Founders Award in Bioenergy Excellence to Dr. Sokhansanj in recognition of his science contribution to the emerging bio-industry in Canada. He is a Fellow of Canadian Society for Bioengineering, a Fellow of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and a Fellow Engineer Canada. Dr. Sokhansanj was the recipient of the CSBE’s Maple Leaf Award in 2009.



Please CHECK OUT the article on Valerie in Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), http://magazine.cim.org/en/voices/valerie-orsat/ written by Anne Miller and Anne Wells (Oct 2017). The article describes Women of Innovation: The Impact of Leading Engineers in Canada, which features 20 women engineers in Canada who have overcome adversity, excelled in their fields and worked toward getting more young women interested in STEM. Valerie has served our Society as VP Technical from 2009-2011 and VP Membership from 2011-2013. She was awarded the Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2008 as well as the John Clark Award in 2015.


Valerie Orsat is working toward increasing the quality of communication between academics in food engineering and the food industry. Courtesy of Valerie Orsat.

lague claudeDr. Claude Laguë - Claude shares with us a short bilingual story about his recent (2016 – 2017) stay in California as a Fulbright Canada Scholar (entrepreneurship in engineering education).

I was the recipient of a Fulbright Canada Scholar award in 2016 – 2017 following the completion of my 10-year tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa. My study/research topic was “Entrepreneurship in Engineering Education” (a long-time favourite of mine!) and I had the very good fortune of spending the period September 2016 to April 2017 in California for that purpose. In addition to my “home base”, the University of California, Davis (my doctoral alma mater), I had the opportunity to spend time at three (3) other engineering “powerhouses” in the Golden State: Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

I have prepared and submitted a report to Fulbright Canada and to other interested stakeholders and I will be very happy to provide a copy to interested CSBE|SCGAB members. The two main findings of my study/research relate to the two (2) key elements that determine the overall success and impact of any entrepreneurship education program aimed at engineering students:

  1. “Buy-in”:

    “Entrepreneurially-minded” students as well as individuals who are interested in developing their intra-/entrepreneurial knowledge and skills represent an important segment of the engineering student population in all institutions; i.e. student participation and involvement is a “given”.

    However, the active involvement and contributions of credible and convincing internal “champions” / “early adopters” / “intrapreneurs” is essential for institutional “buy-in” and long-term commitment. Neither pressure from students nor encouragement from external stakeholders (e.g. alumni, business community, government) are sufficient for the successful development and implementation of robust entrepreneurship education programs. 

  2. Multi-/interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education ecosystems should be privileged:

    Engineering students who “rub shoulders” and work with colleagues of other disciplines are better exposed and prepared to the realities that will be theirs as intra-/entrepreneurs.

    Therefore, effective entrepreneurial ecosystems cannot be “siloed” into departments, colleges, or faculties.

    The challenge for engineering educators and for their colleagues in other disciplines is to develop “open access” entrepreneurship education programs in which the “barriers to entry” are minimized. Something that is obviously easier to write down than to actually deliver on!


J’ai bénéficié d’une bourse Fulbright Canada Scholar en 2016 – 2017 au terme de mon mandat de 10 années au poste de Doyen de la Faculté de génie de l’Université d’Ottawa. Mes études et mes recherches ont porté sur l’ « entrepreneuriat dans la formation en ingénierie », un sujet qui me passionne depuis plusieurs années! Aux fins de ce projet, la University of California, Davis (mon alma mater pour mes études doctorales) m’a accueilli entre les mois de septembre 2016 et d’avril 2017. J’ai également eu l’occasion de faire de courts séjours auprès de trois (3) autres grandes écoles d’ingénierie californiennes : Stanford University, la University of California, Berkeley et la University of Southern California.

J’ai préparé et soumis un rapport à Fulbright Canada et à d’autres organisations et il me fera plaisir d’en faire parvenir une copie aux membres de la SCGAB|CSBE qui le désireraient. Deux (2) éléments clés relatifs à l’impact global et au succès des programmes de formation en entrepreneuriat à l’intention des étudiants en génie sont ressortis : 

  1. Appropriation:

    Les personnes ayant une inclinaison naturelle par rapport à l’entrepreneuriat de même que celles intéressées à développer leurs connaissances et habiletés entrepreneuriales représentent une proportion importante de la population étudiante dans toutes les institutions sous étude; l’intérêt et la participation attendue des étudiants ne font donc pas de doute.

    Par contre, l’appropriation de tels programmes à l’échelle institutionnelle à long terme requiert une masse critique de champions ou d’intrapreneurs crédibles, convaincus et convaincants. Seules, les pressions en provenance des étudiants ou d’intervenants externes (ex. diplômés, communauté d’affaires, gouvernements) ne sauraient garantir la mise en place et le développement réussis d’écosystèmes entrepreneuriaux robustes au sein de facultés ou d’écoles de génie.

  2. Des écosystèmes entrepreneuriaux multi-/interdisciplinaires doivent être privilégiés :

    Les étudiants en génie qui travaillent et interagissent avec des collègues d’autres disciplines sont mieux préparés aux réalités professionnelles qui seront les leurs en tant qu’intra-/entrepreneurs.

    Pour être pleinement effectifs, les écosystèmes entrepreneuriaux ne doivent donc pas être cantonnés au sein de départements, de collèges ou de facultés.

    Le défi pour les professeurs en génie et pour leurs collègues non ingénieurs est ainsi de mettre en place des programmes de formation en entrepreneuriat « ouverts » n’ayant qu’un minimum de « barrières à l’entrée ». Quelque chose qu’il est facile de promouvoir mais dont la réalisation requiert beaucoup d’efforts et de compromis.Hugh Fraser operates his one-man consulting firm called OTB Farm Solutions...Outside-the-Barn bright thinking for farming in the urban shadow. He works with farmers in the Greater Toronto Area dealing with rural-urban issues. For instance; defending a swine farmer against a dwelling severance next door, or as an expert witness at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing relating to normal farm practice.


Published in Ontario Regional News
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