Nathan Pelletier, NSERC Industrial Research Chair

Industrial Research Chair partnership will advance sustainability measurement and management

As a leading Canadian expert in sustainability, UBC’s Nathan Pelletier has been awarded a prestigious Industrial Research Chair by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The award will advance Pelletier’s research activities that focus on sustainability measurement and management, life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency, with an emphasis on the Canadian egg industry.

Pelletier, an assistant professor at UBC’s Okanagan campus, teaches in both the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Management. He has spent roughly a decade researching the science of sustainability, with a focus on food systems. Since 2016, he has collaborated with Egg Farmers of Canada as their Research Chair in Sustainability, exploring opportunities to improve resource efficiencies and reduce the environmental impact of egg supply chains.

“I am passionate about the development of food systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable and that contribute to our health and well-being,” says Pelletier. “Achieving this in modern food systems requires considering food supply chains in their entirety, from the beginning of production to the consumer’s end use of a product—in other words, a truly holistic evaluation of sustainability risks and opportunities.”

Only a handful of researchers are awarded an Industrial Research Chair from NSERC each year, making it a great honour for Pelletier, explained Marc Fortin, VP Research Partnerships at NSERC. This support will allow Pelletier to grow his research program as the first-ever NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability.

“NSERC’s Industrial Research Chair program provides for dynamic research and development collaborations between Canada’s brain trust and partners,” says Fortin. “We are proud to support this chair, which is developing the knowledge and supporting innovation necessary to advance the success of the sector and improve the sustainability of that production. The results this team will deliver could have broad benefits across Canada.”

“We are very proud that Nathan is doing his innovative work at UBC Okanagan,” says Phil Barker, Vice-Principal and Associate Vice-President, Research at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “His insights on sustainability and agriculture are benefiting industry, our community and the environment. This cutting-edge and relevant research will have direct impacts on our region and on global production methods. His work is a wonderful example of the outstanding and impactful research performed at UBC’s Okanagan campus.”

“Food systems sustainability is a subject of increasing importance. Egg Farmers of Canada strives to promote innovation and the continuous improvement of egg production through the latest scientific research,” says Tim Lambert, CEO of Egg Farmers of Canada. “His work helps us understand the link between environmental sustainability and egg production, while developing processes and technologies with environmental and social impacts in mind.”

Local MP Stephen Fuhr also wanted to highlight the significance of the partnership and the good work coming out of UBC Okanagan.

“Food systems and sustainability are two topics that are very important to our government,” said Fuhr. “We know that partnerships like the one between UBC Okanagan’s Nathan Pelletier and Egg Farmers of Canada, supported by organizations like NSERC, lead to discoveries that benefit all Canadians.”