U of G Hosts International Bioplastics and Green Composites Conference (March 30, 2010 - Campus Bulletin)
Policies and products were on the agenda during this year's "Bioplastics and Green Composites 2010" workshop held in Guelph March 31 to April 1. About 100 participated from industry, government and academia to discuss the growing bioeconomy in Canada and worldwide. Making biobased plastics from plants will reduce dependency on petroleum- based goods and help reduce Canada's carbon footprint, said conference chair Amar Mohanty, a bioengineering/ plant science professor at Guelph. Car parts, utility boxes and biodegradable shopping bags made from plant biomass are among many products being tested in U of G's Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC). "My vision is that in 15 years we will see all plastics made only from biomass," said Mohanty, who holds the Ontario Premier's Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation at the University. "Hybrid technology with combined bio- and petro sources to make car parts or packaging materials will also prevail in the expanding bioeconomy." Workshop speakers from Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands discussed green packaging and car parts, bioproduct markets and policy, and renewable and biodegradable plastics. Guelph bio-engineering professor Manju Misra spoke on "Nano-enhanced Bioplastics and Hybrid Biocomposites."
Research Chair Aims to Attract Women to Science, Engineering (March 08, 2010 - Campus Bulletin)
The chair, which is supported by the University of Guelph, Research In Motion (RIM) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), was established to address the under-representation of women in science and technology. According to Engineers Canada, less than 20% of undergraduate engineering students in Canada are women.
First established by NSERC in 2003, the Chair for Women in Science and Engineering at the University of Guelph was renewed in 2008 for three years with RIM as the industry partner. The NSERC/RIM Chair for Women in Science and Engineering’s efforts have included outreach programs in public schools, Girl Guide summer camps, programs to help female scientists and engineers secure research positions, and workshops on career transitions for women.
Highlights of activities that took place in the past year include:
- More than 700 young women, 500 parents and 400 volunteers participated in Go ENG Girl, a province-wide event for girls in grades 7 to 10 and their parents to learn about programs and careers in engineering.
- A total of 136 elementary and high school classes in 40 Ontario schools participated in Ready SET Go! workshops, which included presentations and design activities related to science, engineering and technology careers.
- More than 650 elementary and high school students — nearly 60 per cent of them female — took part in research activities offered by the Science and Technology Consortium, a collaboration involving Lakehead University, Ryerson University, Actua and the NSERC/RIM chair.
NSERC president Suzanne Fortier calls the chair "a wonderful program that has encouraged many young women to pursue the exciting opportunities that the natural sciences and engineering disciplines provide. The response from female students in high schools and universities has been fantastic, and we look forward to building on this momentum.”