Quebec City, QC – Universit Laval has opened the Gene-H-Kruger Building, a new wood engineering teaching and research facility. The facility is intended to boost the competitiveness of the Canadian and Quebec wood products industry, while broadening Quebec and Canadian expertise in smart wood use and the development of innovative forest products.
Through this project, Universit Laval will be able to develop wood engineering expertise, train students, interact with the industry and scientific communities to create value-added wood products, develop new production methods, publish research findings and maximize spinoffs from these findings, promote interdisciplinary dialog between research teams working in complementary fields, and transfer technology to the industry.
“The competitiveness of the Quebec and Canadian wood products industry is threatened by a growing number of difficulties,” explains Denis Brire, dean of the Faculty of Forestry and Geomatics. “To overcome these hurdles, it has to innovate. Shifting the emphasis to value-added products is a good strategy, one that will secure the future of the industry and create lasting wealth for our society.”
The facility includes more than 16 laboratories, each specializing in a specific area: the anatomy, physics, chemistry, preservation, finishing, seasoning, machining, and biological degradation of wood, as well as joinery, wood structures, composite boards, and mechanical tests. The building will notably house the Wood Research Center, where 21 leading researchers will oversee some 10 postdoctoral trainees and over 50 graduate students.
The new facility cost $22 million, of which 85% came from the Quebec government and 15% from private partners. Lab equipment purchases totalling $8.27 million were financed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (40%), Ministre de l’Education, du Loisir et du Sport du Qubec (40%), and Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec (20%). The university also says the support of Kruger has been vital to the project as the family made a substantial donation to build the facility and fund research on forest resources.