Lianne Lefsrud, PhD

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept
(780) 492-8351
12-287 Donadeo Innovation Centre For Engineering
9211-116 St
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management


Dr. Lianne Lefsrud is an Assistant Professor, Engineering Safety and Risk Management at the University of Alberta. She uses mixed methods to study how institutional and new venture entrepreneurs use persuasive language and imagery to shape our conceptions of technology, the environment, and regulations. Specifically, her research examines methods of hazard identification and risk management, risk evaluation and social license to operate, and drivers of technology adoption in oil and gas, mining, pipelining, construction, agriculture, and railroading, among other industries.

As most risks are multi-disciplinary in nature, it has also motivated her academic approach: from an MSc in Environmental Engineering and Sociology (the first Engineering-Arts interdisciplinary degree at UAlberta), to a PhD in Strategic Management and Organization, and now a tenure-track position back in Engineering. Given her multi-disciplinary research, Dr. Lefsrud works with scholars in engineering, computer science, cognitive psychology, business, economics, English literature and film studies, and environmental sociology.

Further, to understand various theoretical model elaboration/validation/ mobilization methods, Dr. Lefsrud moved from academia, to industry and regulation, and back to academia. Professionally, her career spans two decades with senior roles in industry, consulting, and regulation. Prior to returning to academia, she was the Assistant Director Professional Practice with APEGA, an Assistant Director in operations with Canadian National Railway, and worked in construction and oil and gas. Besides doing internationally award winning research, she also provides policy and strategy advice to government and industry. Even while not an academic, she remained instrumental in multi-disciplinary collaborations and publishing, to have the greatest possible impact on organizational and regulatory practices in Canada and worldwide. 


Society is demanding ever more complex and integrated systems. Beyond technical design, as engineers, we also have a professional, ethical, and legal responsibility to ensure that the operations and maintenance of these systems includes risk management (broadly defined) that protects people and the environment. Since most losses have human (individual and organizational) failures as the latent cause, if we focus exclusively on technical design, we cannot foresee, know and understand, or prevent these failures. This motivates my multidisciplinary research: How can risk management systems be enhanced so that organizations are better equipped to recognize, adapt to and absorb unforeseen events and manage the resulting risks?

Keywords: risk management, risk acceptability / tolerability, decision-making for technological developments, computational methods


CME 483 - Colloquium II

Oral presentation of technical material. Graded on a pass/fail basis. Prerequisite: CME 481. Credit may not be obtained in this course if previous credit has been obtained for CH E 483.

Winter Term 2021
CME 494 - Special Topics in Chemical and Materials Engineering

Treatment of selected chemical and materials engineering special topics of current interest to staff and students.

Fall Term 2020
CME 694 - Advanced Topics in Chemical and Materials Engineering

An advanced treatment of selected chemical and materials engineering topics of current interest to staff and students.

Fall Term 2020
ENGG 490 - Engineering Leadership Lab

Course based on discussions with leaders on topics including responsible leadership, creating sustainable and innovative organisations, and entrepreneurship. Variable meeting times in addition to biweekly seminar discussion. Requires a substantive report and presentation on the impact of effective leadership with a particular focus on current trends and thoughts in leadership theory and practice. Only open to students accepted by the Faculty of Engineering in the Minor in Business program or to others with Faculty of Engineering approval.

Winter Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by Lianne Lefsrud