Increasing diversity in engineering and tech
January 18, 2021
Six universities in Ontario have partnered to create a new fellowship to expand the pathways for Indigenous and Black students pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering to prepare for careers as professors and industry researchers.
Announced today, the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) Momentum Fellowships address an urgent need to encourage and support the pursuit of graduate studies by under-represented groups. This lack of representation has hindered enrolment of Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) and Black graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.
The partnership includes Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and the engineering faculties at McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Western University and the engineering and math Faculties at the University of Waterloo. Each partner university will tailor the program structure and features to support student experience at their institutions.
“It is our hope the IBET PhD project will change the academic landscape within the next five to 10 years by increasing the number of Indigenous and Black engineering professors teaching and researching in universities across Ontario,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “The pipeline of students it creates will also increase diversity in Canadian technology industries by graduating more students from underrepresented groups.”
“Ensuring Indigenous and Black people are represented in our PhD programs, and later our faculties, is a key first step to changing the face of engineering education in Ontario," he says, "and graduating more diverse leaders into the profession in the near future.”
“Seeing is believing,” says Mary Wells, Dean of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, where the program originated. “How can we encourage Indigenous and Black students to come to our nation’s engineering schools if they don’t regularly experience Indigenous or Black professors, teaching and undertaking research in the schools and programs we want them to attend? The IBET PhD Project is a step in the right direction to increase diversity in universities across Canada.”
The partner universities share a belief that greater diversity is needed among academic leaders in engineering and technology to properly reflect all populations and to ensure a full range of thought and problem-solving approaches.
The Momentum Fellowships are a central pillar of the new IBET PhD Project which aims to change the academic landscape within the next five to 10 years by increasing the number of Indigenous and Black engineering professors teaching and researching in universities across Ontario. The project will also create a pipeline of students who will increase diversity in Canadian technology industries as they enter the workforce with graduate degrees from STEM programs.
Recipients will receive $25,000 a year for four years as they pursue doctorate degrees and specialized engineering research. Interested Canadian students can apply for the IBET Momentum Fellowships directly with each university as part of their application process.
For more information, visit the Queen's Engineering IBET Fellowship page.