Lianne Lefsrud, PhD, PEng

Risk, Innovation, and Sustainability Chair (RISC) and Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept

Pronouns: she/her


Risk, Innovation, and Sustainability Chair (RISC) and Associate 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

risk management risk communication technology adoption organizational theory sustainability climate change energy systems


Dr. Lianne Lefsrud is the Risk, Innovation, and Sustainability Chair (RISC) and Associate Professor, Engineering Safety and Risk Management at the University of Alberta. 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 integrated and resilient management 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 organizational failures as the latent cause, if we focus exclusively on technical design, we miss preventing these losses. This motivates my research: How can risk management systems be enhanced so organizations are better equipped to recognize, understand, and respond to unforeseen events and manage the risks?