Dr. Banvillet & Dr. Su Represented UBC at Marcus Wallenberg Prize 2022

November 17, 2022

Last month, the Marcus Wallenberg Prize (MWP) Symposium took place in Stockholm, Sweden with the theme of “Wearing Wood – The World of Wood-based Textiles”. Each year the awards are given to recognize, encourage and stimulate pathbreaking scientific achievements, which contribute significantly to broadening knowledge and to technical development within the fields of importance to forestry and forest industries. The 2022 MWP of SEK 2 million is awarded to Professor Ilkka Kilpeläinen and Professor Herbert Sixta for the development and use of novel ionic liquids to process wood biomass into high-performance textile fibres.

As part of the Young Researchers’s program, BPI researchers, Dr. Gabriel Banvillet and Dr. Jianping Su had been selected and invited among the top 30 young professionals in the world and had a privilege to represent UBC at the event.

At the 3-minute Thesis Competition, Dr. Banvillet gave a presentation on the topic of ‘The interest of tuning the surface properties of films from cellulose nanomaterials’(https://youtu.be/Z4CQPZmuIfo). He commented “It was an amazing experience, both from a scientific and personal perspective. I was able to learn from leading experienced researchers, the details of their work and the thought process that brought them to asking the right questions and being creative. At the same time, I enjoyed sharing with my young peers our ideas and vision on how to start our scientific path in this exciting domain. I found the discussions on textile pollution and recycling extremely informative – approx. 70% of textiles are incinerated or put into landfills after an average of 20 wear cycles, which is getting worse with fast fashion.” 

Dr. Su also joined the Competition and gave a talk titled ‘The use of forest residues to produce lower carbon intensity transportation fuels by co-processing “biocrudes” in (bio)refineries’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnDhJIwkf6c). He said “Thanks to the support of my supervisor Dr. Jack Saddler, I had the opportunity to join this wonderful event. I especially enjoyed the conversations with the laurates from this year and the past. The 3-minute thesis competition in particular was a great exercise, and a really fun way of meeting people and understanding their work.”

As a tradition, a royal banquet was held for the award recipients and the invited guests in the presence of the king and the queen of Sweden. “At the banquet, we, young researchers, were spread among different tables and had opportunities to connect with world-class researchers and industry experts. About 300 people attended this classy dinner and it was definitely one of the highlights of this memorable trip.” said Dr. Su.

This three-day event concluded with a symposium which was moderated by Dr. Orlando Rojas, BPI Scientific Director, who is also part of the MWP award selection committee. Each year the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation arranges events for young researchers in order to stimulate collaboration, inspire research and create networking opportunities. The application process for 2023 will start in the spring of 2023. You can find more details by visiting their website.

The entire symposium sessions were recorded and made available to view on Youtube ( https://youtu.be/KBQEZWIOgkY). Some of the featured presentations include;

  • Opening by Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
  • Ioncell and Its Possible Place in the Textile Industry Given the Particular Challenges of Climate Change by Herbert Sixta, Aalto University & Ioncell Oy, joined by Ilkka Kilpeläinen, University of Helsinki
  • Viable Fibre Raw-materials and Their Impacts on Dissolution of Cellulose for Man-made Fibre Spinning by Dr. Frank Meister of TITK e.V
  • Fashion Brand Perspectives by Martin Ekenbark of H&M
  • The New EU Textiles Strategy and Its Impact on Wood-based Textiles by Dirk Vantyghem, EURATEX - European Apparel and Textile Confederation
  • Technoeconomics and Scale-up by Niklas von Weymarn, Metsä Spring Oy
MWP photo collage


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