History of the Research Chair

Wolfgang J.R. Hoefer, February 1993

The NSERC/MPR Teltech Research Chair in Radio Frequency Engineering was created on April 1, 1992 in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at the University of Victoria (affectionately called UVic by its members and the inhabitants of British Columbia's provincial capital on Vancouver Island). Preparations began in the Spring of 1990 when UVic's Dean of Engineering, Dr. Eric Manning, approached me with the idea to establish the Chair and asked me to formulate a research proposal. The subsequent application for funding to the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) was co-ordinated by Dean Manning in close collaboration with Prof. Vahldieck, endorsed by MPR Teltech Inc. of Burnaby, B.C. as the industrial sponsor, as well as by the Science Council of British Columbia, the Advanced Systems Institute of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria. A site visit took place on September 13, 1991, the Chair program was officially approved by NSERC on October 1, 1991, and operations began on April 1, 1992.

The first months were devoted to the creation of the Electromagnetic Modeling and Simulation Laboratory in Room 256A of the Petch Building on the UVic campus in order to provide the necessary research facilities for the rapidly growing research group. The arrival in Victoria of two experienced research associates, P. So and C. Eswarappa, who had been working with me at the University of Ottawa in previous years, assured a flying start and a certain continuity of research activities as soon as the new state-of-the-art computing systems arrived in the laboratory. At the same time, a massively parallel computer (DEC 12000) became operational at the BC Systems Corporation in Victoria, and we were the first external user group to install our advanced electromagnetic modeling codes on this powerful machine. Two new Ph.D. students, M. Righi and Q. Zhang joined us in May and July 1992, respectively. T. Hack from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, stayed for six months as an undergraduate research trainee, and Prof. M. Mongiardo of the University of Perugia, Italy, spent three summer months as a Visiting Scientist in our new laboratory.

In spite of the unavoidable interruptions created by the move from Ottawa to Victoria, and the effort spent towards the creation "from scratch" of the new research facilities, the group has managed to prepare nine successful submissions to international conferences. While expecting to grow in the coming months, the present nucleus of researchers has now reached "cruising speed" and is concentrating its energy on its mission and research objectives.


Many people have invested considerable energy, time and wisdom in the establishment of the Chair, and I am truly grateful for their contributions. Foremost and above all, I acknowledge Dean Eric Manning's vision, leadership and initiative in this project; he has been its protagonist and driving force. UVic's Vice-President Academic and Provost, Dr. S. Scully, has opened doors at the highest level and given strong support to the Chair. Professor R. Vahldieck was instrumental in promoting and preparing the submission of the Chair application to NSERC and in liaison with MPR Teltech. Prof. S. Stuchly, Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has worked hard to accomodate the Chair within the limited resources of the Department. I owe them a great debt of gratitude. I am equally grateful to MPR Teltech's Chief Operating Officer, Dr. A. Winter, Director of Research, Dr. J. Fikart, and Chief Microwave Engineer, Mr. E. Minkus, for their sponsorship and their continued technical input into the research program of the Chair. Dr. P. Bhartia of the Defence Research Establishment - Ottawa has chaired the site visit committee comprising of Drs. I. Bahl (ITT), L. Chow (U. of Waterloo), L. Shafai (U. of Manitoba) and R. Douville (CRC). Their valuable comments and recommendations have been crucial for the establishment of the Chair, and have set it on the right track. Ms. M. Caughey of NSERC has arranged and administered the complex evaluation process with competence and skill. Thanks are also due to the Directors of the Science Council of British Columbia, the Advanced Systems Institute of British Columbia, and the Laboratory for Automation, Communication and Information Systems Research (LACIR) for their financial and administrative support. Last, but not least, I wish to thank all of my colleagues and support staff of the Faculty of Engineering for whatever extra work they may have done to bring about the creation of the Chair.