Lab Canada

$1.5M grant supports pulp and paper research

Montreal, QC – Two new Industrial Research Chairs have been established in the Department of Chemistry at McGill University, with $1.5 million in funding from Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC).

The industry partner in the initiative is the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican). The research aims to improve the papermaking process, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of the industry and further reducing its environmental impact.

The federal funding is being 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 some 20 master’s and doctoral students.

One of the two new chairs, Dr Theo van de Ven, will 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 says. “It’s a field that has direct industrial applications and provides challenging research topics for students.”

The other new chair, Dr Derek G 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 says.