The World’s Leading Academic & Industry Experts to Speak at IFBC & ISLM 2019 in Thunder Bay, Canada

May 15, 2019 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lakehead University’s Biorefining Research Institute (BRI) announced today that the world’s most influential academic and industry experts will speak at the upcoming 2nd International Forest Biorefining Conference (IFBC) and 4th International Symposium on Lignocellulosic Materials (ISLM). 

The joint Conference & Symposium, which will be held June 9th-12th, 2019 at the Victoria Inn in Thunder Bay, is hosting global delegates to discuss and collaborate on the most innovative and game changing bio-economy opportunities.

Among the growing list of plenary and keynote speakers are leaders of global forestry companies, CEOs of R&D organizations, government policy makers and distinguished researchers from across the globe.

The theme for the joint Conference & Symposium is “A Future Bio-economy – Cross Sector Progress & Innovation.” It communicates the important global role of the bio-economy across diverse sectors such as forestry, energy, industrial manufacturing, agriculture, health and medicine.

New to the event for 2019 is a full day dedicated to Value Chain Development Opportunities, presented by CRIBE – Centre for Research & Innovation in the Bio-economy. This industry-oriented program will focus on the business of biorefining, the products and markets it can inspire, and value chain development opportunities.

Among others, the line-up of highly experienced keynote and plenary speakers includes:

  • Stephane Renou, President & CEO, FPInnovations
  • Sandy Marshall, CEO, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada
  • David Nanang, Director General, Natural Resources Canada
  • Matti Heikkilä, CTO, Metgen
  • Juan Carlos Villar, Principal Investigator, INIA-Forest Research Institute
  • Ludo Diels, Research Leader, University of Antwerp and VITO
  • Heather Pikor, VP Corporate Affairs, Iogen
  • Theo van de Ven, Professor, McGill University

“It's very exciting that this global dialogue will be taking place in Thunder Bay,” says Dr. Lew Christopher, Conference Chair and Director of Lakehead’s BRI.

“We are thrilled that so many influential leaders from the global bio-economy industry have committed to speak at this year’s international joint event. Their experience and leadership will allow for critical and insightful discussions and provide a unique opportunity for global academic, industry and government leaders to meet together and discuss the future role of the bio-economy.”

The conference will address innovative and challenging aspects of the growing Bio-economy in key areas that include Biomass, Biorefining, Biofuels, and Bioproducts.

For conference schedule and registration information visit:, or call Tara Curtis at 807-343-8863. 






Notes to Editor:

The Biorefining Research Institute (BRI) at Lakehead University is the only academic institution of its kind that mobilizes the expertise, experience, and passion of an enthusiastic and multidisciplinary research team to the benefit of the Canadian forest industry.

As an institute, we work together to explore a wide range of topics and expand our Biorefining knowledge locally, nationally, and globally and to transfer our new technologies to the growing Canadian bioindustry. By taking advantage of all aspects of Biorefining, BRI creates novel research and development opportunities, new technology models and jobs, and value-added products from renewable resources that ultimately lead to reduced dependence on fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions. This is a challenge but an opportunity for us too – to help transition our global society to a bio-based economy.


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Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit