Skip to main content

Big Ideas Pitch Week

Big Ideas for a Brighter World

Overview

From October 2nd - 4th we invite students and faculty to come together to share their big ideas during Big Ideas Pitch Week.

Watch the live stream video from Big Ideas Pitch Night!

Video: 

Over $8,000 in prize money for students!

Shortlisted students will compete in a Three Minute Thesis-style (3MT®) competition on October 2 and the final competition will take place on October 4 where student and faculty finalists will be pitching. 

Video: 
Video: 

3MT® Guidelines

What is 3MT?

"Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props."

Helpful Links for All Participants:

The Undergraduate Competition and Faculty Researcher Seeding Big Ideas competitions will be run and judged in the spirit of 3MT®.The Graduate Competition is a 3MT®. All Pitch Week Participants will be sent additional information unique to our events.

A celebration of big ideas to create a brighter world

October 5, 2018

A celebration of big ideas to create a brighter world

On Thursday night, the Faculty of Engineering hosted their first ever Big Ideas Pitch Night at McMaster’s University Club.

Engineering students and faculty pitch world-changing ideas

October 4, 2018

Engineering students and faculty pitch world-changing ideas

From using computers to predict genocide to vaccines that don’t need to be refrigerated to 3D-printed organs, engineering students and faculty have a lot of big ideas to make the world a better place.

Undergraduate

Whether your big idea is an engineering innovation to battle climate change, or a mobile app that will improve diversity in engineering, we encourage you to share your pitch. Get creative and think outside the box!

 

Congratulations to our Top 4 Finalists!

Presenting our undergraduate student finalists - Jessica Trac, Natasha Varghese, Hannah McPhee and Yumna Irfan. See them compete in the final this Thursday at 5 pm at the Faculty Club. Congrats to all the competitors!

Register to attend

Register for the event!

Big Ideas Pitch Student Qualifying Round

Big Ideas Pitch Student Qualifying Round

Are you a student who has a big idea to solve a real-world problem? Share it for a chance to win!

Big Ideas Pitch Night

Big Ideas Pitch Night

Faculty and students come together to share their big ideas for a chance to win!

Top 20 Undergraduate Competition Finalists Announced!

Congratulations to the 20 undergraduate students who have been shortlisted for the Big Ideas Pitch Week Student Qualifying Round on October 2nd from 7-9pm in CIBC Hall. Check out their big ideas:  

Name: Aya Aboughanem

Program: Electrical Engineering & Management II

Big Idea: Had a Bicycle Stolen?

My big idea is to have bike racks that are charged by solar panels. These bike racks would lock the bike and it would be secured by the person's account which they can access through a website. It is a free online account that they can easily sign up on the spot quickly and state which slot they are in and it locks it. This would prevent theft that constantly keeps happening, on campus and around the city. There would still be regular bike racks near it for those who would still like to lock their bike up. In the end to unlock it they just have to put in their passcode at their slot and get their bike out. It is a solution so people can still use their own bikes and have the relief of it not getting stolen.

Name: Andrew Aslanidis

Program: Mechanical Engineering and Society III

Big Idea: The Virtual University

Education has evolved a lot thanks to technology, but there is still a long way to go. Accessibility, affordability, and time commitment are issues that prevent many from being able to earn the degrees that they want.

My Big Idea is to dissolve these barriers using technology, specifically virtual reality and other modern digital technology. Students would receive an advanced kit of technology that includes everything they would need to “attend” classes. Lectures, tutorials, labs, and other interactive experiences can be delivered through online video and virtual reality experiences. Classes can happen at scheduled times, and assignments could be delivered using a system similar to Avenue. Testing would be completed off-campus, using 360-degree cameras and other monitoring technologies to prevent cheating.

This system would deliver university level education to anyone anywhere in the world with free time and an internet connection, making the world a smarter and better place.

Name: Sehaz Dayal

Program: Electrical & Biomedical Engineering IV

Big Idea: DentAssist: Utilizing Image Analysis to Improve Children’s Oral Health

Research conducted by the Canadian Dental Association shows that children miss more than 2.26 million school-days in Canada due to dental-related illnesses per year. Many of these children come from low-income families who cannot afford to receive dental care on a regular basis. For children, poor oral health can lead to painful infections, premature loss of teeth, speech problems and poor eating habits. However, findings from another study reveal that 82% of children referred to dentists by their school end up receiving dental care. Therefore, I propose DentAssist – a cost-effective and portable toothbrush-sized oral health evaluation device to be used by elementary school nurses to detect common dental-illnesses in students such as caries, cavities, plaque, bacterial infections and tartar. DentAssist utilizes various image analysis techniques, including image capture, image processing, feature detection and machine learning, to appropriately recommend a dental visit when necessary.

Name: Michael Farquharson

Program: Mechanical Engineering and Management IV

Big Idea: Hydrogen-Powered Flight

My Big Idea to solve a real world problem is to use a hydrogen fuel cell to power electric motors to propel an airplane. Gas tanks made of composite materials would be installed on airplanes holding compressed hydrogen gas; this would be used to power a hydrogen fuel cell to create electricity, which would then be used to power electric motors. These motors would be used in one of two ways, the first option would be to turn a propeller similar to current small fossil fuel-powered planes. The other option would be for the motors to power a redesigned turbofan with the core components removed, leaving just the forward fan to create all the thrust. Also, there would be separate hydrogen tanks and fuel cells for each wing, so if one side were to fail, the plane could stay airborne long enough to make an emergency landing.

Name: Liam Flannigan

Program: Engineering Physics IV

Big Idea: Cleaning Algae from Nuclear Cooling Intakes

Algal blooms and algae in general are becoming more common due to our changing climate, which is proving to be a difficult problem to solve for companies such as OPG that maintain nuclear reactors. Algae can be stirred up by storms, which then proceed to clog up cooling water intakes, resulting in temporary reactor shutdowns that cause millions of dollars in lost revenue. My proposed solution is an autonomous robot that can clean the cooling intakes, without having to send teams of divers or other expensive cleaning measures instead. The proposed robot would be able to operate autonomously or under supervision (if necessary), and will allow cooling intakes to remain free of algae and prevent reactor shutdown.

Name: Emma Howlett

Program: Civil Engineering and Society IV

Big Idea: Social Autonomous E-Trikes Will Make Transit Better

SoTri would be an autonomous (self-driving) all weather (fully enclosed) electric social tricycle, used to solve the first-mile, last-mile transportation problem.

The first-mile, last-mile transportation problem is simple, public transit does not take us to our exact destination but rather drops users off within 1.6 km of our destination. This leaves transit users with up to a 20min walk to their final destination.

This is where shared, autonomous, electric, all-weather tricycles would come in. Users would simply call a tricycle using an app (similar to Uber). Once the user is settled in the trike, they would press go telling the tricycle to set off for their destination. During the trip, the user could pedal along the ride or allow the electric motor to work. Once at their destination users would exit the tricycle. The trike would then drive itself to its next passenger or a charging station.

Name: Cherrie Hung

Program: iBioMed II

Big Idea: To Implement Cost-Friendly and Efficient Methods of Bacterial Detection

To implement cost-friendly and efficient methods of bacterial detection to minimize risks in both the biomedical world and daily life! Imagine a spray that you could use to detect if there was any harmful bacteria on your surgical equipment prior to an operations... or a QR code that you could take a photo of with your phone to determine if your meat has gone bad... A doorknob that would change colour if exposed to any harmful pathogens, not only showing what kind of bacteria was present but also the amount present, allowing proper procedures to be carried out. All of these are possibilities in the near future thanks to the recent implementation of the DNAzyme to food wraps.

Name: Yumna Irfan

Program: iBioMed II

Big Idea: Melatonix

As many as 90,000 new melanoma cases are diagnosed each year. 9,000 of these patients are expected to die due to late diagnosis. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer which resembling moles on the skin. It is often hard to detect, as patients may not consistently check changes on their skin or know the symptoms.

Introducing Melanotix! A website and an Android app that revolutionizes prevention and early detection of melanoma. It allows the user to take a picture of a mole to determine whether they are at risk. It uses a machine learning algorithm to check for distinct melanoma features. This includes asymmetry, uneven borders, two or more colours, and a rough surface. The algorithm was trained with around 200 photos of melanomas from a hospital database, making it 92.4% accurate. It empowers patients to take charge of their own health.

Name: Cole Kirschner

Program: Bachelor of Technology: Biotechnology IV

Big Idea: AgeRate: How Fast Are you Ageing?

There are many metrics used to track our health including weight, blood pressure, heart rate and even the amount of steps we take. However, one metric that is currently unavailable due to high cost and lack of accuracy is our biological age. Many of us adopt healthy life choices in order to lower our biological age and extend our life, yet there currently lacks a feasible and reliable way of tracking this.

My Big Idea is a genetic test that can reveal your biological age, which is a metric for healthy ageing, and can be lowered through diet and exercise. Through the use of a novel lab method and a machine learning algorithm, the test will be the most accurate and affordable way to determine your biological age. By comparing your biological age to your chronological age we can provide the user with the rate at which they are ageing.

Name: Manpreet Mahi

Program: Engineering I

Big Idea: The Potential of Drones

My big idea is to live in a sustainable, eco-friendly city that is self-made. Technology is advancing every day at a rapid rate, and I want to contribute. My idea started off with a small interest in drones, which then turned into a ‘side-project’. My plan it to create industrial drones that can be used by civil engineers to assist in building large structures, i.e. buildings, houses, condos, etc.

Currently a lot of the heavy lifting is done either manually or through the use of large cranes, which are difficult to transport and take time to assemble. There are multiple types of cranes used in construction – all with different purposes; however, starting small, I am currently researching on how to build drones that do simple tasks that can help alleviate some of the many responsibilities civil engineers have.

Name: Hannah McPhee

Program: Engineering Physics V

Big Idea: Making Emergency Response Safer

In the event of a building fire, the information provided to first responders is often lacking. If floor plans for a building are available, they can often be out of date. Beyond what zone the fire started in, little information is known about the conditions inside of the building.

I propose a smart building technology that uses a network of sensors to create a smart, live, floor-plan in the event of an emergency. This floor plan can be easily accessed by first responders by tapping into the systems bluetooth mesh network, and assists them in optimizing building searches. The smart floor plan provides information about the location of rooms and exits, the temperature and smoke conditions in each room, as well as identifying the presence and movement of people using image processing and passive infrared detectors. The system uses this information to identify the rooms at highest risk.

Name: Swaleh Owais

Program: Mechanical Engineering III

Big Idea: BlinkToText: Convert Eye Blinks to Text

Locked-in Syndrome (LIS) is a form of paralysis where patients have lost control of nearly all voluntary body muscles. The condition can be caused by stroke, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and many other diseases.  LIS Victims are unable to control almost any body part. Due to their condition, these people cannot talk, text, and in general communicate. Even though people that have LIS are cognitively aware, their condition locks their thoughts and ideas inside of them.

Fortunately, most LIS patients are able to blink and move their eyes. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to build a real time interactive system that allows LIS patients to easily express themselves, via eye blinks.

Using computer vision techniques, we have a built a working software application that allows LIS patients to record messages, recite messages aloud, and send messages to others via SMS.

Name: Sierra Pak

Program: Mechanical Engineering III

Big Idea: Phone-Line & App for University Students

My Big Idea is to create an app/phone-line for students walking alone to be kept safe when SWHAT is not an option.  Through this app you will be able to contact SWHAT, use the phone-line, or use the App Safety Function (ASF). It will be easy to use, start by creating a profile with your name, photo, and emergency contact information and then share your current location.

Phone-Line: A volunteer will keep you company on the phone. Your number, location and other information is kept anonymous, unless an emergency occurs then the volunteer will receive your information and get help.

ASF: ASF will be useful as a last resort if SWHAT and phone-line are not an option. Simply let the app know you have started walking home. It will keep track of your location until you indicate you have arrived. If in danger, click "Emergency" and it will either call campus emergency (if your location is on-campus) or 911 (if off-campus). While on the phone with the emergency number, they will receive your personal profile (through fax/scan/automated/pre-recorded message).

Name: Mario Ponce Tovar

Program: Engineering Physics IV

Big Idea: SleepSound

Sleep has been shown to directly affect productivity, rate of patient recovery, and overall quality of life. It comes as no surprise that the sleep industry is worth over $28 billion/year in U.S. alone. Unfortunately, existing devices which aim to reduce noise during sleep are invasive and uncomfortable.

SleepSound is an active noise cancellation device which is completely contactless for the user. It uses destructive interference to cancel noise at nodes formed at the user’s ears. Unlike conventional devices, SleepSound allows the user to change their sleeping position throughout the night without annoyance. Furthermore, it varies both the degree and type of noise cancellation according to the user’s preferences and in response to external stimuli. For example, it can awaken the user by gradually reintroducing ambient noise (Soft-Alarm), or it can alert them to noises which are found to be important (Situation Alert).

Start sleeping better with SleepSound.

Name: Rahil Shah

Program: Engineering 1 (Co-op)

Big Idea: Gratitude: Connecting the Community to Non-Profit Organizations

My Big Idea, Gratitude, combines the inconvenience of searching for volunteer opportunities with the convenience of the internet to provide users with the easiest pathway to give back to their community. This website allows people of all ages to learn about non-profit organizations (NGO’s), their goals and accomplishments. Additionally, Gratitude provides users with a platform to volunteer, donate to NGO’s of their choice, and meet new people with similar interests and experiences. Also, students looking to complete their diploma requirement can accumulate volunteer hours and their corresponding hours can be validated by the respective organization through the platform. Essentially, Gratitude serves as a platform for people to discover how they can make a lasting impact in their community and enables organizations to receive the support and outreach they deserve. I believe this ‘Big Idea’ has a lot of potential and can ultimately make a positive difference in the world.

Name: Jessica Trac

Program: Electrical and Biomedical Engineering V

Big Idea: MediNote

Patient adherence is a common and costly medical challenge - affecting individuals of old age and poor cognitive function. One study states that 40% of patients sustain significant risks by misunderstanding or forgetting medical advice. Another study states that patients forget 50% of medical advice received, shortly after leaving the clinic. There is a need for technology that improves the use of medical resources - saving physician time and improving patient health. We propose MediNote - a mobile application that acts as a diligent companion for patients to bring to medical appointments. With physician consent, the patient can use MediNote to record patient consultation during the appointment. Using APIs for transforming speech-to-text and detecting key phrases, MediNote will be capable of recording important medical advice and treatment plans. The software will transform the data into informative visuals for the patient and their family, and set mobile reminders and encouragement.

Name: Natasha Varghese

Program: Computer Science III

Big Idea: Predicting the Unpredictable

History is our greatest teacher. From history, we have learned about the red flags that foretell genocides, civil wars, and other armed conflicts. However, we as humans still fail to predict these tragedies before they happen. But what if a computer could? Predictive Analytics is a field of study that uses both past and current data as well as statistical techniques to make assumptions on future events. Various branches of Predictive Analytics such as machine learning and data mining have already been used to foretell everything from natural disasters to election outcomes. My Big Idea is an application called SafeWorld that uses past data from prior conflicts, everything from the value of a country’s currency, the dominant political party, as well as wealth distributions in order to foretell possible dangerous conflicts before they happen in order to make peace, evacuate civilians, and implement resettlement plans in order to save lives.

Name: Annika Yardy

Program: Chemical and Bioengineering III

Big Idea: Reinventing Eye Treatments

They say the eyes are the window to your soul. But what if you couldn’t see that soul?

Diabetic retinopathy. Glaucoma. Around 3.4 million Canadians suffer from some type of vision loss. These conditions develop slowly, robbing those of their vision. Current treatments involve monthly needle injections into the back of the eye.

My Big Idea is to help people see those souls, to continue seeing. This summer, I worked in the Sheardown lab developing a unique delivery method of the same ocular drugs. Imagine biannual, liquid injections that gel upon contact with eye, due to a temperature increase. The drug leeches out slowly, acting longer. This treatment is more effective. And less invasive. And offers a brighter future—literally—to those suffering from vision loss.

Name: Yizhou Zhou

Program: Mechanical Engineering IV

Big Idea: The Future of Firefighter

There is no doubt that our lifestyle is significantly changed by smart devices; nevertheless, a great number of professions such as firefighters have not taken the advantages of it. For firefighters, the nature of the profession requires them to enter heavy fire and smoke constantly. Therefore, building a smart system to provide technical support for front-line firefighters is essential. The idea, Fusion Vision System, is a smart platform that has Augmented Reality technology and Thermographic technology to provide enhanced vision support and an information sharing network. We can make a remarkable difference by developing this smart system to assist firefighters against environmental challenges.

Over $2500 in cash prizes!

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED! Thanks to all those who submitted their big ideas. 

Shortlisted students will compete at the Big Ideas Pitch Competiton on October 2nd and the finalists will compete at the Big Ideas Pitch Night on October 4th. 

The only part of the event that will follow 3MT® rules directly is the graduate competition. The Undergraduate Competition and Faculty Researcher Seeding Big Ideas competitions will be run and judged in the spirit of 3MT® and will not follow 3MT® rules explicitly.

There will be two 3MT-inspired Pitch Coaching sessions, hosted by Dr. John Bandler on September 20 and 24 to help shortlisted students and faculty prepare their pitch. 

Over $2500 in prize money will be awarded to the finalists! 

  • 1st prize: $1000
  • 2nd prize: $750 
  • 3rd prize: $500
  • 4th prize: $300

Competition rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
    The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Graduate

Are you working on engineering research that could change the world? Pitch it for a chance to win! 

Congratulations to our Top 4 Finalists!

Congratulations to our #BigIdeasPitch Week graduate qualifiers who will be moving on to the Pitch Night Final: Andrew LeClair, Eva Mueller, Vincent Leung and Sam Peter will compete for $6500 in prize money on October 4 at the Faculty Club. Congrats to all the incredible pitches from all 19 finalists today. 

Register to Attend

View our Graduate student finalists!

The Biomechanics of Foot Fractures

Injecting new life into medical scaffolds

The Air We Breathe

Artificial Intelligence for Multi-Hazard-Resilient Canadian Cities

Using Word Meanings to Detect Duplicates

Broken Bones: Getting You Back on Your Feet Again

ECO-PEN: A Way Towards Green Products

Measuring Knowledge: How Do We Know What a Computer Knows?

Breaking The Cold Chain: Creating Thermally Stable Vaccines

Smart Materials for Drug Delivery

Over the Burn

Aluminum For The Vehicles Of Tomorrow

Solar Windows: The Clear Alternative

Redefining Community Energy Systems

Revolutionizing the Way We Assess Concussions

GLaDOS

Certainty in Safety: Improving Simulations of Nuclear Reactors

Sound Processing in the Brainstem: How the Brain Makes Sense of What We Hear

Brainwave Analysis for Stroke Detection

$6500 in cash prizes!

Departments to select participants. 

The pitch competition for graduate students will be research or thesis-based. Each department will recruit up to two graduate students to participate in the Big Ideas Pitch Competition on October 2nd. The finalists will compete at the Big Ideas Pitch Night on October 4th. If you're interested in sharing your big research idea, please contact your department administrator by September 14. 

The only part of the event that will follow 3MT® rules directly is the graduate competition. The Undergraduate Competition and Faculty Researcher Seeding Big Ideas competitions will be run and judged in the spirit of 3MT® and will not follow 3MT® rules explicitly.

$6,500 in cash prizes to be won: 

  • 1st Prize: $3,000
  • 2nd Prize: $2,000
  • 3rd Prize: $1,000
  • Runner Up: $500

There will be two 3MT Coaching sessions, hosted by Dr. John Bandler on September 20 and 24 to help shortlisted students prepare their pitch. 

Seeding Big Ideas (Faculty)

At the Pitch Night on October 4th, invited faculty members will be pitching their research proposals, as part of their applications to the Seeding Big Ideas Research Competition that was announced in May 2018. 

This event is open to faculty members only who have previously submitted research grant proposals. 

This opportunity will award six $100K seed funding prizes to interdisciplinary research teams whose big ideas demonstrate a commitment to building a Brighter World through lasting collaboration and creativity. 

There will be two 3MT Coaching sessions, hosted by Dr. John Bandler on September 20 and 24 to help shortlisted students and faculty prepare their pitch. 

The only part of the event that will follow 3MT® rules directly is the graduate competition. The Undergraduate Competition and Faculty Researcher Seeding Big Ideas competitions will be run and judged in the spirit of 3MT® and will not follow 3MT® rules explicitly.

Tackling Food Waste

Robotic Precision Nano-Surgery

 

Refocusing Cancer Immunotherapy

Piloting the Vision of Climate-Resilient Smart Cities at McMaster

Multiscale Computational Predictive Tool for Cancer Metastasis

Revolutionizing Clinical Lung Imaging

3D Printing of Organs

Gene Editing to Prevent Vision Loss


Smart Surfaces for Combating Antibiotic Resistance

Center for Printed Electronics

Educating the Engineer

Earlier this year the Faculty put forward a call for teaching research awards, Educating the Engineer of 2025 (EtE-25), for strategic educational initiatives that will provide our undergraduate and graduate students with the skills to succeed as leaders and citizen scholars. A representative from each team that received funding will also be presenting their projects on October 4th in a format inspired by the Three Minute Thesis. 

First Year Engineering Design Integrated Cornerstone

Co-Applicant: Colin McDonald

Expanding Experiential Opportunities

Co-Applicants: Kathryn Grandfield, Kim Jones & Lydell Weibe

Flipped-Classroom Finite Element Analysis Lab

Co-Applicants: Peidong Wu & Michael Justason

Incorporating Inclusivity in the Engineering Experience

Co-Applicants: Mike Justason, Greg Wohl, Jake Nease, Elizabeth Hassan, Colin McDonald, Robert Fleisig & Jennifer Long

Judges

October 2nd: Undergraduate Competition Judges

Sanjay SagarBusiness Unity Manager of Steelmaking Technology, ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Sanjay has spent most of his 25 years in the Steelmaking Department with a short assignment in Operations at the Hot Rolling Department.  He has held numerous positions from production coordinator to capital improvement projects.  ArcelorMittal Dofasco is a fully integrated steelmaker in Hamilton, Ontario.  The company has grown globally in the last few years through merger & acquisitions and is currently the world’s #1 steel producer by tonnage.  Sanjay graduated from McMaster University with a B.Eng. in Metallurgy and furthered his studies through a B.Sc. in Materials Science.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer and has completed an MBA at Wilfrid Laurier University.  He lives and enjoys time in Burlington, Ontario with his lovely wife, Kerry and two kids – Kieran & Cameron.

Janelle Hinds, Founder, Helping Hands

Janelle Hinds is the founder and program coordinator of Helping Hands, a platform to enable youth volunteers to get civically engaged while building skills for future careers. She was recently awarded with Samara’s Everyday Political Citizen Award and Dutch organization Inspiring Fifty’s top women in Technology and Innovation for increasing youth civic engagement and promoting STEM education in underrepresented communities

While working on her Bachelors of Engineering in Biomedical & Electrical Engineering, Janelle realized her passion for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) education, entrepreneurship and diversity issues. She founded HackItMac, a collaborative community to learn about technology and organized deltaHacks, the first student-run hackathon in North America with a focus on enabling positive social change. Janelle is an advocate for social innovation and encouraging others to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours. She has worked on integrating efforts to increase diversity in many of her endeavours and always looking for more opportunities to help others in their efforts.

Dr. Suvojit Ghosh, Founder and Managing Director, Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC)

CIRC is Canada’s only research facility on datacenters, and has 30+ researchers working on various leading edge projects in the DC world. Ghosh has secured $10M+ for research projects at CIRC through corporate contract and Government grants, to fund projects spanning the broad areas of power, cooling, DCIM, and integration of facilities with IT workload. Prior to joining McMaster, Ghosh founded NanoSpin Inc., a company to commercialize a liquid cooling technology for datacentres, which he developed during his PhD studies at Virginia Tech. Ghosh has received the McMaster President’s Award, in recognition of his contributions to the field and for his work in fostering industry-University collaborations.

Norhan Youssef, Project Engineer, SUEZ WTS

Norhan graduated from Mechanical Engineering in 2013 and has been working for the past 5 years in different fields such as programming, IT, Controls, Operations. She currently works as a Project Engineer at SUEZ WTS. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering and painting.

October 2nd: Graduate Competition Judges

 

Monika Yazdanian, Director, The Forge

Monika Yazdanian is the Director of The Forge startup incubator for McMaster/Hamilton region.  Monika obtained a Ph.D. in Nanoscience from Cornell University and an LL.B. from Western University.  She previously worked at the University of Toronto Engineering, at the Ministry of the Attorney General, and two startups; she has contributed articles to the Globe and Mail and Maclean's.

Dr. Suvojit Ghosh, Founder and Managing Director, Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC)

CIRC is Canada’s only research facility on datacenters, and has 30+ researchers working on various leading edge projects in the DC world. Ghosh has secured $10M+ for research projects at CIRC through corporate contract and Government grants, to fund projects spanning the broad areas of power, cooling, DCIM, and integration of facilities with IT workload. Prior to joining McMaster, Ghosh founded NanoSpin Inc., a company to commercialize a liquid cooling technology for datacentres, which he developed during his PhD studies at Virginia Tech. Ghosh has received the McMaster President’s Award, in recognition of his contributions to the field and for his work in fostering industry-University collaborations.

Nipa PatelLead Engineer at Etratech & McMaster Engineering Alumna

Nipa Patel is a McMaster Engineering Alumna. She received her M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from McMaster in 2018.

Currently, Nipa serves as Lead Test Engineer at Etratech, a Gentherm Company, based in Burlington, Ontario. Nipa and her family immigrated to Canada in 2004 from India. She is a proud mother of two teenage girls. Nipa is passionate about fulfilling changes both at work and in her personal life.

Chris Brown, Manager, ArcelorMittal’s Global Research & Development Group

Chris Brown is a Manager within ArcelorMittal’s Global Research and Development Group focused on Advanced Automotive Product Applications. Chris obtained an M.Sc. in Materials Science at McMaster University, as well as a combined degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry. He previously worked in the Plastics and Pharmaceutical Industries with focus on Product Development, Environmental Management and Manufacturing Excellence.   

October 4th Judges

Nitin Chopra, Partner at Shasta Ventures

Nitin Chopra is a Partner at Shasta Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Nitin is passionate about enterprise software and invests in infrastructure software, particularly in security and data technologies. He serves as a board director of Stealth Security, SlamData, FogLogic and Kubit AI, and is actively involved with Shasta Ventures’ investments in LucidWorks, Data.World, Lightbend, Entelo, Aquera, Macrometa and ValiMail.

Nitin routinely interacts with Fortune 500 IT Executives and holds executive roundtables with enterprise IT executives and venture-backed start-up CEOs. Prior to joining Shasta Ventures, Nitin spent a number of years in Product Management, and worked across Canada, Germany and the USA. Nitin earned an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University, where Nitin is a member of McMaster University Faculty of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.

 

Angela Pappin, Vice-President, Technology at ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Angela Pappin was appointed the Vice-President, Technology at ArcelorMittal Dofasco in 2014 after having held several senior roles throughout her tenure including General Manager, Metallurgy and Quality, Business Unit Manager of Cold Roll and Tin Technology.

Angela’s career has included cross functional appointments including market and product development, engineering, energy management, manufacturing and corporate strategy. She is a past Chair of the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Metallurgical Committee on Tin Mill Practice as well as a current member of both the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters Women in Manufacturing Working Group and YWCA Equitable Pathways to Technical Fields and Skilled Trades Committee.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from McMaster University.

Stephen Elop, Nokia, Microsoft, Telstra & Dean's Advisory Board

Stephen Elop is a Canadian businessman who has served in a variety of leadership roles in technology companies around the world. While currently serving as an advisor to technology investment firms, Stephen most recently served as the Group Executive, Technology, Innovation and Strategy at Telstra in Australia. Stephen was responsible for rearchitecting the company strategy to become a world class technology company.

Prior to this Stephen held global executive roles including EVP, Microsoft Devices Group where he lead the transition of the Nokia devices asset into Microsoft; and President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board at Nokia responsible for driving fundamental strategic, structural and cultural change during an intense challenging period.

Stephen was also President of Microsoft Business Division, Chief Operating Officer at Juniper Networks, President, Worldwide Field Operations at Adobe Systems Inc. and Chief Executive Officer at Macromedia Inc.

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Computing Engineering and Management, Summa Cum Laude and Doctor of Science (honorary) from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.

Schedule

On October 2nd & 4th we invite students to come watch as our contestants share their big ideas during the Big Ideas Pitch Week Competition for a chance to win cash prizes.

Register to attend

October 2nd

Location: CIBC Hall, MUSC

Time Program
5:00 - 5:05

Welcoming Notes

5:05 – 6:20

Graduate Pitches

6:20 – 6:35

Break, Deliberations

6:35 – 6:50

Announcements, Awards

6:50 – 7:00

Break, Transition Time

7:00 – 7:05

Welcoming Notes

7:05 – 8:25

Undergraduate Pitches

8:25 – 8:40

Break, Judge Deliberation

8:40 - End

Announcements, Awards

October 4th

Location: Great Hall, Faculty Club

Time Program
5:00 - 5:10

Welcoming Notes

5:10 – 5:30

Educating the Engineer of 2025 (EtE-25): Awarded Project Overviews

5:30 – 6:20

Seeding Big Ideas Pitches & Q&A

6:20 – 6:35

Break, Refreshments, Deliberation

6:35 – 6:50

Undergraduate Pitches

6:50 – 7:05

Graduate Pitches

7:05 – 8:25

Undergraduate Pitches

7:05 – 7:20

Break, Judge Deliberation

7:20 - End

Announcement, Wrap Up, Mingling

Rules for Everyone

Competition rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide in 4:3 format is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
    The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Contact

Please email engresearch@mcmaster.ca with any questions.