2023 Winner: Digital Innovation
Winner: SMART Lab, Dr. Rafiq Ahmad, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta
Initiative: Smart and Sustainable Systems Empowering Industries and Society
Finalist: Agriculture/ Agrifood
Dr. Rafiq Ahmad is an accomplished Associate Professor at the University of Alberta’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is the founder and director of the cutting-edge “Smart & Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Laboratory (SMART Lab),” specializing in innovative systems design and engineering. Dr. Ahmad’s research spans a wide array of technologies, including digitization, lean manufacturing, robotics, and green technologies. Dr. Ahmad is also the founder and director of the groundbreaking “Aquaponics 4.0 Learning Factory (AllFactory),” an innovative hub dedicated to pioneering research in indoor, vertical, symbiotic ecosystem soil-less environments.
Dr. Ahmad earned his Ph.D. in advanced manufacturing from Ecole Centrale de Nantes, France, and holds a Master’s in design and manufacturing from ENSAM-Paris, France. His academic journey includes a BSc. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UET-Peshawar, Pakistan, and a two-year Post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Luxembourg. Dr. Ahmad received Edmonton’s 2022 Top 40 under 40 Award by Edify Magazine, lauding his dedication to “serial innovation and streamlined technology development to impact our society.” Moreover, he is the driving force behind the Canadian not-for-profit ProBEEs Digital Education Society, making a lasting impact on digital education initiatives.