Brian L. Barge Award for Excellence in Microsystems Integration


This award recognizes exemplary research using micro-nanosystems technologies in collaborative, multi-disciplinary and/or multi-technology environments. The research project is expected to be both novel and relevant to industry in Canada, ideally evidenced by an industrial collaborator. The award will be made to the competitor who demonstrates the most effective research project with a focus on heterogeneous integration. Examples include:  

  • A project integrating microelectronic chips fabricated using different CMOS technology nodes (e.g., 130nm and 12nm processes), or chips from distinctly different microsystems technology domains (e.g., microelectronics and photonics in either a monolithic or heterogeneous environment).

  • A project integrating hardware and software components using novel techniques or architectures. Architectures may combine heterogeneous processing elements and/or accelerators, for example: FPGA, ASIP, GPU. Software components might include, for example: drivers, software stacks, application code. Projects may involve embedded/edge devices through to cloud-based installations.

  • A microsystems project with two or more researchers from distinctly different research disciplines, e.g., EE/ECE, Mechanical Engineering and Biochemistry. 

Submissions should be working demonstrations of prototypes which exemplify the concept of multi-technology and/or multi-disciplinary microsystems integration. 

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 micro-nanosystems 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: 

  • Is there value to the integration of two or more microsystems technologies? 
  • Is there significant evidence of multi-disciplinary integration in a microsystems project? 
  • Was the microsystems project concept innovative and was its innovation dependent on integrating multi-technologies and/or on multi-disciplinary researchers? 
  • Did it incorporate components produced by suppliers in Canada? 
  • Success in demonstration of the technology. Did it work/is the technique practical? 
  • Originality of design or novelty of technique. 
  • Degree of excellence in taking advantage of the features of component technologies and/or of integrating component functionality. 
  • Level of difficulty attempted; creativity/perseverance in overcoming problems during development. 
  • Exhibitor’s grasp of the technical aspects of the project. 
  • Degree of relevance of project from a microsystems applications perspective. 
  • 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) 
  • Was interaction with other materials, components or the environment taken into consideration? 
  • 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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