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6 December 2012 – Justin Bieber recently made headline news by accepting his Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in overalls. Another notable Canadian from a completely different walk of life, Dr. Donald Smith, McGill University Plant Science Professor and President of BioFuelNet Canada, was awarded the same prestigious medal on November 28th, 2012, at the Rideau Club in Ottawa. However, he left his characteristic overalls at the McGill campus farm. Dr. Smith was nominated by the Mitacs internship program, in light of his “significant contributions to intelligent agriculture”. Mitacs connects graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from 50 universities with industry to address business research challenges.

BioFuelNet Canada, a new company led by Dr. Smith, is collaborating with Mitacs to hire graduate students to conduct research on advanced biofuels, in collaboration with over 80 of Canada’s leading researchers and 40 industrial partners, which include Rolls Royce and Bombardier. BioFuelNet has just awarded $8.3 million in research funds to kick start 65 research projects across Canada that are developing a variety of clean, renewable and locally produced sources of energy.

“My hope is that we can produce truly sustainable biofuels in Canada at the commercial scale”, says Dr. Smith. “By using waste materials instead of food crops to produce biofuels, we reduce the need for large expanses of land to grow primary materials, and eliminate competition with the food industry. Biofuels can be done intelligently and Canada can lead the way”.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created in 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, and to celebrate her service to Canada. The Medal is awarded to deserving Canadians to honour their significant achievements and their contributions to their peers, community and country. See original press release

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