OTTAWA — Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has announced that a graduate researcher at the University of British Columbia’s School of Biomedical Engineering has been chosen as the Canadian finalist for the global Blue Sky Young Researchers Innovation Award.

Amir Kashani is in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Genome Sciences and Technology. His winning entry highlights his master’s research project on the biovalorization of lignin.

“We are very excited by Amir’s work and his ability to compete on the world stage. His research has the potential to help us develop an entirely new suite of forest sector bioproducts. This is the kind of leading-edge research that puts our country’s forest products sector at the forefront of innovation, and we can take pride in the fact that it’s happening right here, at home, in Canada,” said Derek Nighbor, president and CEO of FPAC.

The Blue Sky Award is part of a global initiative spearheaded by the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations (ICFPA), of which FPAC is a member. The intent is to engage promising young minds from around the world to compete by highlighting their forest-based science initiatives.

This May, FPAC will host the ICFPA’s annual meeting in Vancouver, where the international finalists will have an opportunity to present their winning ideas. “It is a true honour for me to represent Canada in this competition,” said Kashani. “Being recognized for research activities that are also a personal passion is really gratifying.”

See more about the award program here.