Technology & Science

Montreal forestry prof wins $15,000 innovation award

A forestry researcher from Montreal is the inaugural winner of a $15,000 Canadian award honouring innovative excellence given on Tuesday.

A forestry researcher from Montreal is the inaugural winner of a $15,000 Canadian award honouring innovative excellence given on Tuesday.

Christian Messier, a professor of biological studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal, won the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Chair's Award for his groundbreaking work in forestry.

Dr. Marlene Bagatto of London andBrett Poulis of Victoria were also recipients ofNCE awards, a program funded in part by Industry Canada.

"These three brilliant individuals are a testament of how Networks of Centres of Excellence are creating value by taking new knowledge, research and technology out of the lab and into the world where they can do the most good," saidSuzanne Fortier, chair of the NCE Steering Committee.

Messier won for his novel approach to managing forests that allows intense forest management on less than 20 per cent of the landscape. He is field-testing the approach on a one-million hectare forest in central Quebec in collaboration with university researchers, all levels of government, forest companies, native communities and recreational groups.

A principal investigator with the Sustainable Forest Management Network, Messier said he plans to use his award in a high school contest to promote the value of trees to the environment.

The NCE also gave out two Young Innovator awards — which were first established in 2004 —to those who have been able to translate their NCE-funded research into a service to benefit society at large.

Bagatto, a research associate at the University of Western Ontario's National Centre of Audiology, won an award for her work in developing the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network — a new set of clinical tools for assessing and fitting hearing aids for young infants with permanent hearing loss.

Poulis's research into how Douglas firs protect themselves from disease gave birth to a new biotechnology company in British Columbia called FloraPure BioSciences Inc. His research has led to medical products like antibiotics and topical antibacterial and anti-fungal creams.

The NCE program is a collection of centres that form partnerships among universities, industry, government and non-profit organizations to provide real-world solutions through research. It is funded by Industry Canada and three federal granting agencies.

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