DUniv. 2016

Honorary Doctorate Recipient

Claire Deschênes


Claire Deschênes is an engineer and Laval University professor who is a world renowned researcher in hydraulic turbine technology.

She was awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Laval University before earning a doctorate at the Institut national polytechnique in Grenoble. In 1989, she became the first female professor of engineering at Laval University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering. There she founded the Hydraulic Machines Laboratory (LAMH), today a globally recognized centre that conducts research on hydraulic turbines and has led to the design of several technological innovations. For some years now, she has been conducting two major projects that aim to better understand various factors related to the durability of low head turbines.

In 2007, Professor Deschênes created the Consortium en machines hydrauliques, a group of academics and industry leaders who jointly conduct subsidized research on high-power hydraulic turbines. This consortium’s members include Hydro Québec, Natural Resources Canada and three multinationals incorporated in Canada. Over 40 graduate and undergraduate students have taken part in the research conducted by this consortium during the past few years.

Claire Deschênes is also very involved in several initiatives aimed at encouraging women to enter careers in science and engineering. From 1997 to 2005, she held the NSERC/Alcan Chair for Women in Science and Engineering in Quebec, which aims to meet the projected demand for highly skilled scientific personnel in Canada and to promote the professional development of women as scientists and engineers.

Named a Fellow of Engineers Canada, this rising star in the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences at Laval University has also been named a Woman of Distinction by the Quebec YWCA. Claire Deschênes has also contributed greatly to her profession and to opening it up to women. She has published countless articles and given many lectures around the globe. Her efforts to improve development in Canada and the world have earned her several prestigious prizes, including the  NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, which her consortium won in 2015.

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