Award for Excellence in Microsystems CAD Tools and Design Methodology


This award recognizes novel use or development of Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools or design methods leading to the improved manufacture and application of sophisticated microsystem prototypes relevant to Canadian industry, ideally evidenced by an industrial collaborator. The award will be made to the competitor who demonstrates a novel design technology advancement with the most potential for substantive improvements to microsystems manufacture and deployment. Examples include: 

  • New algorithms or techniques to improve tool/task quality of results or runtimes. 
  • Design abstractions, languages or integration of design environments enabling multi-technology domain or multi-disciplinary development and prototyping. 
  • Enhancements to “Design for …” methodologies such as manufacturability, security. 
  • Novel use of cloud-based infrastructure to accelerate use of existing tools or flows. 

The award is open to graduate students of a Canadian university. 

Winners are strongly encouraged to use prize funds to support education or training related to microsystems R&D and may be applied to the cost of attending a conference or workshop or visiting a lab or other technical facility inside or outside of Canada. 

Judging Criteria

The judging panel will consist of three representatives from Canadian industry, academia, and non-for-profit organizations. The judges assess each competitor and select the demonstration that best meets the following criteria: 

  • Success in demonstration of the technology. Did it work/is the technique practical? 
  • Novel application of CAD software or techniques. 
  • Level of difficulty attempted; creativity/perseverance in overcoming problems during development. 
  • Did it result in a manufactured prototype? 
  • Exhibitor’s grasp of the technical aspects of the project. 
  • Clear understanding of the importance of this project, i.e., why is this problem important? 
  • Was there an industrial collaborator? What value does this offer to the industrial collaborator? Is it a significant or incremental solution? How does it compare to existing solutions? 
  • What was the nature of the interaction/participation between the company and the researcher, e.g., on-site work or design reviews? What was the extent of investment by the industrial collaborator, e.g., time invested or students trained/hired? 
  • Does the infrastructure exist to take it to a commercial scale? 
  • How will it impact/improve the manufacture or application of micro/nano-systems in Canada? (e.g., cost, reliability, time to market) 
  • How easy would it be to use this from a user’s (compared to the developer’s) point of view? 
  • Explanation of the background information or theory in a form understandable to one’s peers. 
  • Clarity of explanation of key technical points. 
  • Fluency in explanation, interplay between those making the presentation. 
  • Humour, flair, originality. 
  • Smooth recovery from an unexpected problem. 
  • Quality and effectiveness of visual/written materials. 
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