Over the last 20 years, with the leadership of Dr. Jack Saddler, the Forest Products Biotechnology group could position among the world’s leading institutions in bioenergy research. In the next 5 to 10 years, Dr. Saddler expects that new technologies will allow liquid biofuels – like ethanol – to be produced economically, which will signal a seismic change for the forest and biomass industry. According to Dr. Saddler, coming years therefore would place increasing responsibilities on us as an international research group which is committed to this significant aspect of sustainable development.
Jack assumes his current responsibilities as a Leader of the International Energy Agency’s Bioenergy Task 39 ‘Liquid Biofuels’. Jack holds the NSERC Chair in Forest Products Biotechnology since 1990 and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, one of the highest academic accolades available to scientists and scholars in Canada. To acknowledge his contribution to the field of bioenergy and climate change, he was awarded several national and international recognitions such as the IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award, the Charles D. Scott Award for Scientific/Technical Contributions to Biotechnology for the Production of Fuels and Chemicals.
Jack’s PhD is from the University of Glasgow, Scotland (1978) and his BSc (Honours) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1975). Commencing his career with the National Research Council of Canada in 1978, he worked as a Research Associate, initiating their biomass-to-ethanol program. In 1982, he joined the newly privatized Canadian Forest Products lab, (now the Forintek division of FP Innovations), where he became the manager of the Biotechnology and Chemistry group. In 1981, he was also appointed as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa. In 1989, he was invited to go on Executive Interchange with the Federal Government, and assigned to the Science Directorate of the Canadian Forest Service where he had responsibility for Biotechnology and Industry partnerships. In 1990, he was awarded the Endowed Chair of Forest Products Biotechnology (An NSERC-Industry Chair) at the University of British Columbia.
He served as the Head of the Department of Wood Science (1998-2000) and served as Dean of the Faculty of Forestry (2000 to 2010). He has published over 300 peer reviewed articles and has been awarded several patents. His wide-ranging expertise has resulted in being invited to join various international and national committees and boards. He is a reviewer for several international funding agencies such as the US Dept of Energy and the EU, and multinational companies/associations (OECD, IEA etc.,) in the area of biorefinery, bioenergy and climate change.
Jack’s research interests range from the technical issues surrounding bioconversion of wood to fuels and chemicals, through to the political, environmental and economic ramifications that these technologies will have for our world. The potential is there for us to fuel our future, if it is deployed in a sustainable, renewable way. According to Jack, what is needed now is continued research efforts and collaboration to create technical platforms for effective and sustainable use of bioenergy, and a strong political will for putting these platforms to work. More details.