October 6, 2021

With the signing of a statement of cooperation on September 21st, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) and the BioProducts Institute at the University of British Columbia (BPI) are celebrating a new partnership to promote innovation and collaboration, furthering joint developments in the field of biobased solutions.

With a long history in materials science, Empa, a research institute of the ETH domain, has become a world-renowned innovator in materials and technology research. The institute concentrates its research into five focus areas: Nanoscale Materials and Technologies, Sustainable Built Environment, Health and Performance, Resources and Pollutants, and Energy. They apply a multidisciplinary approach, facilitating a collaborative environment with a vision of progressing towards a circular economy.

With this new cooperation agreement, Empa and BPI will seek to share best practices through knowledge exchange, co-involvement in scholarly meetings, fora, and conferences, and provide reciprocal access to research infrastructure and develop bilateral funding opportunities. The partnership will further advance Europe-Canada research collaboration in the sustainable use of renewable resources, building on the successes of prior exchanges. Empa will also join the Boreal Alliance, a transnational initiative co-founded by FinnCERES and BPI to aggregate research from nations along the Boreal belt to optimally utilize the forest resource and advance prosperity and well-being in balance with sustainable development.

"Global collaboration platforms such as the Boreal Alliance has the potential to significantly accelerate innovation for the new bioeconomy. We at Empa are excited to take this next step and collaborate with UBC and BPI. Together we will act to advance biomaterials research, stimulate technology transfer and to educate new talents in the field. A joint conference is planned in Switzerland in May 2022 and will provide opportunities for a high level, in-depth sharing of knowledge and the nucleation of new research ideas for the future." 

“We are extremely excited to begin our partnership with Empa,” says Orlando Rojas, BPI Scientific Director. “BPI and Empa already entered in planning efforts dating back to two years ago, and now is the time to take action and our members are looking forward to starting new collaborations between the two institutions. The signing of this statement of cooperation will have a great visibility and will  catalyze our efforts in research and development. With the Alliance being formed with Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, we are creating the largest cluster of research in the forest-based bioeconomy. Our planned program will incentivize interactions and innovations to open new routes for biomass valorization in next generation bioproducts.”

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