Lakehead’s Biorefining Research Institute creates important committee

May 11, 2016 – Thunder Bay, ON

A new advisory committee will provide direction to Lakehead University’s Biorefining Research Institute that will benefit Northwestern Ontario’s forestry sector.

The advisory committee is comprised of individuals from academia, government and industry.

“This committee is very important to the BRI because it will provide feedback and direction that we need to achieve our goals and objectives,” said Dr. Lew Christopher, Director of the BRI.

“One of the committee’s goals is to help establish partnerships with industry, government and academic institutions that will assist the BRI with its research,” he said.

The BRI is advancing research in two priority areas in Lakehead’s Academic/Research Plan – the Environment and Natural Resources, and Advanced Systems and Technologies.

Its primary goal is to replace fossil-fuel-based products with sustainable and renewable bio-based products that will result in a reduced carbon footprint and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“The BRI is the region’s primary producer of research, knowledge, technologies and highly trained graduates in biorefining,” said Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

“Tapping into the region through this advisory committee will pay dividends to Northwestern Ontario and Lakehead University.”

The committee will review annual research progress and provide feedback, recommendations and advice on future funding opportunities and direction for the BRI.

It will also assist in establishing a network system by promoting the BRI in Ontario and beyond, both nationally and internationally, through all relevant media and other communications sources.

Lakehead’s BRI Advisory Committee will soon appoint its first chair.

The committee is comprised of the following members:

Regis Benech - GreenField Specialty Alcohols (Head, R&D)
Tom Browne – FPInnovations (Manager, Biorefinery/Energy)
Martin Fairbanks - Resolute FP (Technical Advisor)
Byron LeClair - Energy Projects, Pic River Nation (Director)
Jamie Lim - Ontario Forest Industries Association (CEO); OCC (Board Member)
David Lindsay – Council of Ontario Universities (President and CEO)
Bruno Marcoccia – Domtar (Director R&D)
Murray McLaughlin - Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (Executive Director)
Yvon Pelletier - Fortress Paper Ltd (CEO)
Jack Saddler – UBC (Professor & Director, IEA)
Theo van de Ven - McGill University (Professor & Director, FIBRE)
Scott Wiebe - CRIBE (CEO)


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Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies.

Maclean’s 2016 University Rankings place Lakehead University second in Ontario and among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities, and first among Ontario’s undergraduate universities for Total Research Dollars, Social Sciences & Humanities Grants, and Library Expenses. In 2015,Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities.