Home PAPTAC 2018 PWC/BIOFOR Coverage Student Workshop - Innovation in the Canadian Forest Sector

Student Workshop - Innovation in the Canadian Forest Sector

On the second day of PaperWeek 2018, participants were treated to a special session bringing together university students, professors and industry professionals from across the country.

Clément Villemont, Industrial research Chair on Regional Bioeconomy and Bioenergy, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) chaired the day's first session. "It must be noted that Mitacs sponsored this workshop," said Villemont before introducing Marie-Laure de Boutray, Business Development for Mitracs and for the École de technologie supérieure (ETS). Boutray provided an overview of the various Mitacs programs available to encourage the development of linkages between students and companies, one of which involves students interesting in developing a business. The Mitacs-funded initiative grants up to 15,000$ to each project. Over the last 16 years, Mitacs has been involved with 12,000 projects.


Clément Villemont. © Le Maître papetier

Today, Mitacs has more than 60 university partners across Canada. "Since 2009, Mitacs matched more than 2,000 senior undergraduates with Canadian faculties through its flagship Globalink Research Internships initiative and today, to enhance international research collaborations, Mitacs Globalink offers two-way mobility opportunities between Canada and Mitacs partner countries for undergraduates as well as graduate students." Boutray described other Mitacs programs including "Acceleration" and "Elevation" as well as several pilot programs. The former is a collaborative internship, while Globalink is a mix of international initiatives. She invited all students present at PaperWeek to visit Mitacs's website and emphasized that the services offered may be of interest to the business community as well: www.mitacs.ca


Marie-Laure de Boutray. © Le Maître papetier

Academic Brains Meet Industry Nervous Systems

Clément Villemont explained the objectives of the student workshop. The idea behind the organization of this segment was to facilitate the coupling of students with innovation players in the paper industry in order to "propose creative solutions to specific industrial problems." Organizers planned the workshop so that different student groups met face to face with an industry partner.. At the end of the activity, each team was invited to present a summary of their discussions.

The objective of the activity was to enable participants to establish new relationships with industry by understanding its operating environment and challenges. For company representatives, the workshop offered a unique opportunity to connect with young and talented minds that will soon be on the job market.

PaperAdvance met with Nathalie Bourdeau, researcher at Innofibre – Centre de d'innovation des produits cellulosiques at the CEGEP of Trois-Rivières, QC. She was invited to discuss with students how industry can capitalize on the benefits already available to create new products. Bourdeau emphasized the importance of the event, saying she thought the idea of building linkages between business and students in such an informal environment was a most interesting format, "one that should be replicated in future forums in the industry."

Other topics covered by the participants included:

  • How to recruit young talent, increase the attractiveness of the industry to younger generations;
  • What investments should be made to ensure industry remains competitive (new equipment, new technologies, etc.)?; and,
  • How to become more sustainable (reduce GHG emissions, reduce water, steam or chemical consumption, reduce solid waste?

Each group was tasked with answering the following questions:

  • What could be done? Through what means?
  • Which other possibilities exist to address the same issue?
  • In a perfect world – one without constraints – how could we solve the problem?

At the end of the activity, each group presented its solutions and participants were invited to react and responds to the proposals. Participants were pleased with the outcome, but perhaps none so much as Caroline Brucel from the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal who won PAPTAC's generous participation prize. Too bad journalists were not included in the draw!


Mathieu Régnier, Journalist,
Paper Advance

 

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