McMaster University

McMaster University

University Hall

Provost & Vice-President (Academic)


Distinguished University Professor

David S. Wilkinson

David S. Wilkinson is Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at McMaster University.  He received his undergraduate degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto (1972) and his Ph.D. in Engineering Materials from the University of Cambridge (1978).  Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Wilkinson joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at McMaster as an assistant professor in 1979.  He was promoted to full professor in 1988 and served as department chair from 1987-91. Dr. Wilkinson was the Dean of Engineering from 2008-2012 before assuming his current role.  He is registered as a professional engineer in the province of Ontario.

Professor Wilkinson’s work has been recognized through a number of prestigious awards.  He was awarded the title of Distinguished University Professor at McMaster University in 2008, a title that was then available to only 8 active faculty members at a time.  In 2009 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Prof. Wilkinson has taught widely and undertaken extensive course development work.  He was instrumental in the development of a new introductory Materials course, involving a highly interactive learning environment.  This course is taught each year to about 900 first year students.  Prof. Wilkinson has also written an undergraduate textbook on mass transport, published by Cambridge University Press in 2000. 

Prof. Wilkinson is the author of over 250 scientific publications, specializing in the mechanical behaviour of both metals and ceramics.  His research interests include the effect of thermomechanical processing on the properties of alloys (magnesium, aluminum and high strength steel) with a current focus on the formability of automotive sheet and the incorporation of damage into models of deformation and ductile fracture.  His research has been widely cited (Web of Science H index of 35) and strongly supported by industrial partners from the automotive and aerospace industries.

Prof. Wilkinson was the founding Director of the McMaster Centre for Automotive Materials and Principal Investigator for the Initiative for Automotive Manufacturing Innovation (iAMi) – a $46M research collaboration. He was also the Director of the McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute. 

He has held visiting professorships at the Max Planck Intitut für Metallforschung (as a von Humboldt fellow), the University of California Santa Barbara, the Institut National des Sciences Appliqués de Lyon, the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (as CNRS fellow) and the University of Tokyo (sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIM) and a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society.  He is a recipient of the Canadian Materials Physics Medal (2004) as well as the Dofasco Award (2004) and the Alcan Award (2012) of the Metallurgical Society of CIM.  He is also a recipient of two awards for contributions to the scientific literature, most notably the Ross Coffin Purdy Award of the American Ceramic Society (2000) for the best paper published globally on ceramics in a given year.  Professor Wilkinson was appointed as a CIM Distinguished Lecturer for 2003/2004.  Finally, he was selected to give the DKC MacDonald Memorial Lecture at the Canadian Materials Science Conference in 2015.


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