SCI 2022 Canada Award winners to steer sustainability debate with industry leaders

21 April 2022


Receive more stories like this from SCI via email


Canada Award dinner, debate and presentations to take place on 5 May 2022 in Toronto

Robert B. Magee receives the SCI Canada Medal

Winners of this year’s SCI (Society of Chemical Industry) Canada Awards include lithium-ion battery and cellulose product specialists as well as the co-founder of one of Canada’s fastest growing companies. The awards recognise lifetime and emerging leaders in the business of chemistry. The winners will be formally honoured at an in-person dinner in Toronto on 5 May with Robert B. Magee set to receive the SCI Canada Medal. The Canada Medal was first awarded in 1939, making it one of the most established innovation awards in Canada.

The event will bring together key members of the chemical and industrial community in Canada to celebrate the achievements of both the SCI Canada Award winners and Student Merit Award Winners. Prior to the award presentations, a panel discussion around ‘Sustainability in a Low Carbon Economy’ will take place featuring award recipients. The panellists will include Robert B. Magee as well as Professor Karim Zaghib (Kalev Pugi award winner), Dr Ken Schmidt (Joint Outreach award winner) and Student award winner Grace Belzil (Bishop’s University). The session will be chaired by Dr Helen Burt (Julia Levy Memorial Award winner).

The afternoon panel discussion as well as the awards ceremony dinner will be broadcast live online (Eastern daylight time). To register for the online event, please register here for the virtual event on Zoom.

Bob Masterson, Chair of SCI Canada’s Nominations Committee said “The sustainability debate will show how collaboration can help address the major challenges facing society today, including climate change. It will provide a chance to step back and reflect on how the chemistry using industries in Canada can demonstrate ‘hope in science.’ Our awards celebrate individual achievements but also inspire others in the pursuit of innovative chemistries.”

Since its formation in 1902, SCI Canada has recognised achievements in the Canadian chemical industry and has presented awards in order to bolster the drive for innovation.

Sharon Todd, SCI CEO said:

“We’re really pleased to be hosting an in-person event again this year since industry networking and collaboration is so intrinsic to successful outcomes. The entries were outstanding and we look forward to a thought-provoking debate which prompts action in the chemical using industries. This sector represents Canada’s third largest manufacturing sector with shipments of more than 80 billion dollars or 48 million a year – and our award winners are working at the cutting edge of this.”

The Award winners:

The Canada Medal

The Canada Medal honours a business leader for outstanding service in a Canadian industry, who has had a clearly positive impact on their business – a business based on chemistry for its processes and/or services. Robert B. Magee joined Monsanto Canada Ltd. in 1978 in Woodbridge, Ontario, as a Process Engineer and transferred to Woodbridge Foam Corporation through an acquisition. Bob started as the company’s first co-op student. After several years in process, production management and technology management, he was appointed Vice-President of the Moulded Foam Division in 1988. In 1999, he was appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer and in 2008 became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In 2014, he stepped down as CEO and remains Chairman.

Bob has been a catalyst to the establishment of very strong R&D (hiring from and promoting Canadian talents) capability to serve the business with innovated and differentiated products. He led local and national efforts to promote higher education and the preparation of the future generation to serve the Canadian industries.

The Purvis Memorial Award

Dr Henry Stronks, of Bruker Ltd, will receive the Purvis Memorial Award, which is presented to an individual for significant strategy development and successful implementation within the Canadian chemical Industry.

As Global Head of Sales at Bruker, he facilitated the purchase of instrumentation, including the world’s first ultra-high solids nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system (900 MHz) in Ottawa and Canada’s first 1 GHz NMR spectrometer. He also assisted research teams across the country to assemble cutting-edge-infrastructure for tackling research challenges supported by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and other granting agencies.

The International Award

Joe Cargnelli, Chief Technology Officer of Cummins Inc, will be given the International Award, which recognises outstanding service and international contributions. In late 1995, Joe co-founded and launched Hydrogenics Corporation (now known as Cummins Inc.), which became a billion dollar valued, NASDAQ-listed hydrogen fuel cell company. Hydrogenics has won several awards including Canada’s fastest growing company in 2003 and PwC Canada Innovator of the Year Award 2016.

LeSueur Memorial Award

Dr Emily Cranston, of the University of British Columbia, will receive the LeSueur Memorial Award, which is given to an individual for the development of technical excellence. Some of this work can have been completed outside of Canada, but the recipient must have a strong Canadian connection.

Emily has adopted an innovative approach to address complex technical challenges. She has also been relentless in bridging pure technical concepts and industrial applications of cellulose based products including cellulose nanocrystals, cellulose micro- and macro-fibrils, and hydrogels.

Kalev Pugi Award

Professor Karim Zaghib, of Investissement Québec, will be given the Kalev Pugi Award, which recognises exceptional achievements in research and development. Karim specialises in rechargeable batteries, energy transition and the electrification of transportation. As director of research into the development of materials for lithium-ion batteries at Hydro-Québec, he helped make it the world’s first company to use lithium iron phosphate in cathodes and to develop natural graphite and nanotitanate anodes.

Julia Levy Award

Professor Helen Burt, of the University of British Columbia, will receive the Julia Levy Award, which recognises successful commercialisation of innovation in Canada, specifically in the field of bio-medical science and engineering. As a professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Helen has world-leading expertise in the design and synthesis of biologically compatible polymers and polymer drug conjugates for controlled release drug delivery systems. She served as Director of Research for Angiotech Pharmaceuticals and developed the first polymeric nanomedicine for paclitaxel – a cancer chemotherapy drug that suffers from poor solubility.

Outreach Award

Professor Dietmar Kennepohl and Dr Ken Schmidt, both members of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC), will collect the Outreach Award, which recognises a Canadian organisation, individual or team that has demonstrated sustained effort in engaging the public in learning about chemistry and its impact on society. Dietmar and Ken, along with a large team from the Edmonton CIC Local Section, developed and run an annual event known as Café CIC. This event draws local chemists, scientists, and the public by focusing on the chemistry of foods and beverages in a convivial atmosphere. Their innovative approach has had a positive effect in Edmonton and is a great model for chemistry outreach.

The Student Merit Award Winners will also be announced on the night.

If you’re interested in joining us for this special event, visit our SCI Canada Awards 2022 event page.


For more information please contact Maxine Boersma on 07771 563373 or

Notes to editors:

About SCI: where science meets business:

SCI is a unique global multidisciplinary network connecting scientists, business people, students and other key players involved in science-based innovation. SCI promotes innovation via its international network to advance the commercial application of science into industry for the benefit of society.

SCI works across crucial sectors as diverse as food and bio-renewables, water, environment, energy, materials and manufacturing, and health and wellbeing.

Become an SCI Member to receive benefits and discounts

Join SCI