Grant Clark

Image by Alex Tran.

Associate Professor
Academic Director, Office of Student Academic Services (OSAS)

grant.clark [at] (Email ) | T: 514-398-7784 |  Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS1-099  | 


PEng (Alberta)
BSc (Agricultural Engineering) (Alberta)
PhD (Biosystems Engineering) (McGill)

Short Bio

Grant Clark grew up on a mixed farm in Central Alberta, Canada. He received an industry-cooperative BSc in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton (1993) and a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from McGill University, Montreal (2000). Grant then worked as a Research Associate and Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta until returning to McGill in 2007. He is an affiliate member of the McGill School of Environment and the Trottier Institute for Sustainable Engineering and Design; in 2016-2017 he was an invited professor at the Autonomous University of Chapingo, Mexico. He is a Past President of the Canadian Society for Bioengineering, serves on the editorial board of Canadian Biosystems Engineering, and reviews for numerous other journals.

Research Interests

Ecological engineering is the creation of a community of plants, animals, microbes, and inanimate and technological components, so that they provide services. An example of such an engineered ecosystem is an in-vessel composter, in which a community of microbes breaks down organic waste into a soil-like product and the vessel controls the microbes’ environment to keep them happy.

A different view of ecological engineering is the study of existing ecosystems to learn how materials and energy flow through them. We use this knowledge to improve the design of technological systems. An example of such ecosystem-inspired design is the passive ventilation of a building based on the principle of convective airflow through termite mounds.

Ecosystems are complex adaptive systems. They are made of very many components that self-organize, interacting with one another and their surroundings in complicated and surprising ways, and giving rise to fascinating spatial and temporal patterns across different scales. All living things are complex systems; plants, for instance, are made of trillions of cells organized into specialized tissues, which use gradients in electromagnetic energy (light) and chemical concentrations to grow. Ecosystems are large-scale complex adaptive systems that  include very many individual organisms.

Our research group uses physical experiments and computer models to study existing ecosystems so that we can better engineer our own systems.

Current Research

  • Optimiser la gestion des eaux de surface et l'irrigation des arbres urbains

  • Ecological engineering for optimal management of agricultural and municipal organic residues

  • Management strategies for nutrient use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction from biosolids-amended soils in Canada


BREE 322 Organic Waste Management 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BREE 501 Simulation and Modelling 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BREE 518 Ecological Engineering 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


View a list of current publications

Links of Interest

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