Pulp and Paper Canada

Government supports pulp and paper university research

December 20, 2004  By Pulp & Paper Canada

NSERC has announced funding of $1.5 million for two new industrial research chairs in the department of chemistry a…

NSERC has announced funding of $1.5 million for two new industrial research chairs in the department of chemistry at McGill University, Dr. Theo van De Ven and Dr. Derek G. Gray. The industry partner is the initiative of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican). The research aims to improve the papermaking process, in turn enhancing the competitiveness of the industry and reducing its environmental impact.

“Pulp and paper is a vital sector of the Canadian economy. It contributes more than any other industry to Canada’s trade surplus,” said David Emerson, Minister of Industry and the Minister responsible for NSERC. “But to stay competitive, this industry must constantly innovate and design processes and products that are marketable and environmentally sustainable. These Industrial Research Chairs will provide the foundation of new knowledge that can open doors for us,” he continued.


The federal funding will be provided over five years through NSERC’s Industrial Research Chairs program. Paprican will also contribute $1.5 million in direct funding, along with significant in-kind resources for both the research and the dissemination of results. The chairs will support the training of approximately 20 master’s and doctoral students.

Van de Ven intends to look at the chemistry of paper while the paper is being formed and still wet. “The ‘wet’ end of the process is of growing importance in papermaking due to increased emphasis on recycling and reduction in water usage,” he said. “It’s a field that has direct industrial applications and provides challenging research topics for students.”

Gray will examine novel properties and uses of wood pulp fibres. “The goal of our research will be to better understand how the cellulose fibres bond together in paper sheets. We also will work on new value-added products based on the unique properties of the fibres,” he continued.

Gray expressed his appreciation for the opportunity by acknowledging the faith demonstrated by Paprican in its decision to commit to the funding. “Thanks to Paprican for risk-taking support in difficult times,” he said. “You took heat when it was hard to ask for money.” He also extended his thanks to NSERC for “allowing curiostity-motivated research.”

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