To continue revolutionizing and be at the forefront of technological development, ECE must also change and continue to be at the heart of technological development in the world. Indeed students and researchers within ECE have a history and desire for wanting to “make a difference”. Today the world’s concerns are with the environment, health and poverty for example. Our impact on the ecology of the world, living in harmony with it and creating a sustainable future are now becoming critical mainstream issues. Health and biology and are now seen as being integrally related to the environment and also an avenue for innovation and a key contributor to society, industry and commerce. To be at the heart of these new concerns, ECE must reinvent itself and continue to deliver world-class research and scholarly excellence so as to be the enabling solution and technology in these new challenges and opportunities. A major theme and challenge in these new technologies is their multidisciplinary nature.
Given our expertise and current research programs, five new major themes that meet the needs of the future with synergy within our department are identified as the key focus areas which we should develop. These five themes are:
These five themes constitute an integral core part of our research strength and will open up new opportunities for faculty to work together and also for the department as a whole to collaborate with other departments within the University.
The following diagram illustrates our desire to build on our current strength in core enabling pillar technologies and moving forward to multi-disciplinary themes and application thrusts.
A critical key advantage of this approach is that our faculty become more multidisciplinary in nature because they expand from existing areas to themes and will become key figures in linking mature technologies and faculty with new challenges and technologies. The whole spirit of this initiative is to pull faculty together and encourage them to work together on greater issues and globally connected problems. The idea will also get researchers from different pillar groups to work together and even encourage ECE faculty to work with other colleagues from other departments. The five themes as cross-pillars and cross-department application thrusts are illustrated in the following table. It shows the correlation between themes and pillars as well as possible collaborative effort across departments for each of the five themes.