Canada’s Forest Sector Unveils National Innovation Awards Winners at United Nations Forum on Forests

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May 8, 2024

As the nineteenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF19) convenes in New York City this week, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased to announce that Penghui Zhu and Manon Beaufils-Marquet are this year’s winners of FPAC’s Chisholm Awards for Innovation in Forestry.

The national program promoted annually recognizes emerging young leaders and innovative research developments in the field of climate positive forestry and forest products, clean manufacturing, and the forest bioeconomy.

FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor, who serves as the international business and industry representative to the UN Forum on Forests, spoke highly of this year’s winners and their work.

“We’re lucky to have some bright minds in Canada’s academic and forestry research sectors, and it’s people like Penghui and Manon who are going to help us solve some of the biggest challenges facing our forests, people, and planet today. As we gather for UNFF19 in New York this week against the backdrop of environmental and economic concerns around the world, it’s timely to recognize the creativity and innovative thinking Penghui and Manon have shown us. Their work can help us reimagine the future – the products we’ll need, how we want to build, and how Canada can be an international forest sector leader of tomorrow,” said Nighbor.

In addition to a $2500 monetary reward, FPAC’s 2024 Chisholm Awards recipients will proceed to compete with forestry research peers from around the world as part of the Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Awards led by the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations (ICFPA) in 2025.

2024 Chisholm Awards for Innovation in Forestry Recipients

Penghui Zhu

A distinguished researcher in Pulp and Paper Engineering, Penghui Zhu holds a Ph.D. from South China University of Technology (SCUT) and has made significant contributions to projects at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Noteworthy achievements include the Mitacs Elevate Postdoc Fellowship of Canada and the Chancellor's Scholarship, underscoring Penghui's unwavering commitment to excellence.

Zhu’s research focuses on pioneering cellulose applications, particularly the development of cellulose films for plastics replacement, positioning Penghui as a trailblazer in sustainable materials. Operating out of British Columbia, Penghui's project centers on the conversion of pulp into stretchable, all-cellulose films for packaging, offering a biodegradable solution to plastic packaging materials.

"I am deeply honoured to receive the FPAC’s 2024 Chisholm Awards for Innovation in Forestry. This award is a recognition of my postdoctoral research in Sustainable Functional Biomaterials Lab at UBC, which motivates me to further leverage my expertise to develop sustainable and carbon-neutral solutions using abundant forestry and agricultural resources for our communities. I am excited to join this transformative journey and look forward to a future where innovative bioproducts play an important role in addressing our most pressing environmental challenges.” – Penghui Zhu

Manon Beaufils-Marquet

A doctoral candidate at Université Laval, Quebec, Manon specializes in the development of sustainable alternatives for wood construction insulations. With expertise in polymer science and sustainable materials acquired from the University of Lille, France, and ENSCMu, Mulhouse, France, Manon has played an instrumental role in materials development projects at Airbus Operations GmbH and Université Laval. Actively engaged in student committees and extracurricular activities, Manon exemplifies leadership and community involvement. Recognized for her academic excellence, accolades from FPInnovations and Réseau Matériaux Renouvelables Québec highlight her remarkable achievements.

Her project revolves around utilizing cellulose fiber from the pulp and paper industry to create sustainable insulation solutions, while also working to support the transformation of Canada's wood products industry. The objective is to create a bio-sourced spray polyurethane foam insulation from cellulose fiber that meets construction standards while being more environmentally friendly than current petroleum-based options. Through ongoing research, the project demonstrates the potential of wood fiber in insulation, paving the way for commercially viable, environmentally friendly products on an industrial scale.

"Receiving the FPAC Chisholm 2024 Award for Forest Innovation demonstrates the forest industry's interest in my research project and its relevance to a more sustainable transition of our societies, in which the wood industry intends to play a full part. I am thrilled by this award, which highlights my work and my commitment to the development of materials that are beneficial to the Canadian economy. This distinction is a real source of motivation for me, reinforcing my involvement in the ecological transition and fight against climate change. I am determined to continue my efforts and actively contribute to the sustainability goals of the forestry industry.” – Manon Beaufils-Marquet

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, paper, and wood-based bioproducts producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $73B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities, providing 205,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country. Our members are committed to collaborating with Indigenous leaders, government bodies, and other key stakeholders to develop a cross-Canada action plan aimed at advancing forest health, while supporting workers, communities, and our environment for the long term.

For more information contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
kpatterson-baker@fpac.ca
(613) 563-1441 x 314
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
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