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Karin Hinzer

What is your current job? Canada Research Chair in Photonic Nanostructures and Integrated Devices, run a university research group dedicated to developing more efficient devices such as solar cells and systems using photonics and nanotechnology to increase their efficiencies and decrease their costs.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering? I have always been interested in how things work and making a positive contribution to society.

What’s your favourite part of your job? Interacting within our research team and with collaborators to discover new ways of making solar cells and solar systems.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

Practice engineering everyday.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field?

Be persistent, work hard and surround yourself with positive, smart people.


Dr. Karin Hinzer is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Photonic Nanostructures and Integrated Devices and Associate Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Ottawa. She has made pioneering contributions to the experimental physics of quantum dots marked by two landmark papers in Science. She gained extensive experience in the design and fabrication of group III-V semiconductor devices while at the National Research Council Canada, Nortel Networks and then Bookham. Cost reduction strategies and liaison with remote fabrication facilities strongly feature in her industry experience.

Joining the University of Ottawa in 2007, she is the founder of the SUNLAB, a modelling and characterization laboratory specializing in the development of high-efficiency solar cells. Since the laboratories inception, she has trained over fifty highly-qualified personnel in the field of photovoltaic material and devices. Since 2010, she is the inorganic photovoltaics co-theme leader within the Pan-Canadian Photovoltaic Research Network. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Inaugural Canadian Energy Award with industry partner Morgan Solar for the development of more efficient solar panels.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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