Canadian research at the University of Guelph, intended to turn crops into green products received major support today from BMO Financial Group.
BMO will invest $1.25 million in U of G’s efforts to sustain and grow the agricultural bio-economy. The gift comes through the BetterPlanet Project, the University’s $200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research in food, environment, health and communities.
“The support from BMO will allow our researchers to continue to revolutionize the use of plant materials,” said President Alastair Summerlee. “This is critical work in a world of global warming, growing environmental threats and depleting petroleum resources. It will also ensure that U of G retains its position as the global leader in this field.”
“Research at the University of Guelph plays an important role in the advancement of the region’s economy,” said Susan Brown, Senior Vice President, Ontario Regional Division, BMO Bank of Montreal.
“BMO has a deep relationship with the agricultural community, and this donation will help solidify the University of Guelph as a major center for agricultural research, in Ontario and across the country.”
U of G researchers are using wheat, soy, corn and other crops to make car parts, furniture, building materials and new kinds of rubber.
Leading this work is the University’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC). Opened in 2008, the centre is looking for renewable, eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based materials in manufacturing and consumer goods.
The centre aims to develop more complex manufacturing applications and higher-value green products. It’s directed by Prof. Amar Mohanty, an international leader in biomaterials who holds the $3-million Premier’s Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation, part of the Ontario Research Chairs program.
The BMO gift will help expand the centre’s research and commercialization facilities and acquire cutting-edge research equipment, among other projects.
The University will name Phase II of the BDDC, now nearing completion, as the BMO Bioproducts Innovation Extension.
A philanthropic supporter since its founding in 1817, BMO has supported the University since Guelph’s first capital campaign in 1969.
Rob Gordon, dean of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, said funding for the BDDC and other agricultural projects recognizes an important and evolving research field.
“It’s a catalyst for innovative green products that will ultimately enhance the value of Ontario’s agriculture sector,” he said.
“It also provides a training environment that will help grow the bio-economy and support global commercialization and job creation in Canada.”