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Soaring to new heights – the Manitoba aerospace industry and the Faculty of Engineering

August 9, 2012 — 

While the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba has always enjoyed research support from Manitoba’s robust aerospace industry, in recent years that relationship has blossomed into something much more.

Toward the end of a 10-year NSERC project that involved Boeing, Bristol Aerospace(Magellan), and StandardAero, D’Arcy Philips, founder and CEO of the Manitoba Aerospace Human Resources Coordinating Committee (MAHRCC), suggested continued support from these companies should be used to establish a relationship that would allow the Aerospace industry to have a closer relationship with the Faulty and the undergraduate program. The Faculty had developed the Aerospace Option in Mechanical Engineering with input from the industry, but more “connection” was required.

MAELGMr. Philips conceived of the idea of developing the Manitoba Aerospace Engineering Liaison Group (MAELG), made up of MAHRCC, StandardAero, Bristol and Boeing. Each of these four partners now provide $20,000 annually in support of the Design Chair, and finances an Engineer-in-Residence who is their prime contact on campus. MAELG representatives meet with appropriate academic staff a minimum of three times a year to discuss all aspects of the relationship and this has influenced course content, laboratory equipment acquisition, summer and co-op employment, graduate employment, support for student competitions. It has also increased the number and variety of Capstone projects submitted by the aerospace industry.

Communications and understanding between the Faculty of Engineering and the aerospace industry has improved greatly. The MAELG has been so beneficial to all involved, the group has extended the relationship for an additional six years, and current members have identified other companies that might benefit from participation.

The MAELG has become a role model. The Faculty of Engineering is currently in serious discussion with two other groups, and preliminary discussion with an additional two, to establish Memoranda of Understanding relating to their industries.

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