Kecheng Li - 2016 University Research Scholar

Dr. Kecheng Li obtained his PhD degree from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2003.  He joined UNB in 2002 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004, and then promoted to Full Professor rank in 2008.  Over the past years at UNB, Dr. Li has established a strong research program in the fields of wood biorefining for biofuels and biomaterials, biotechnologies for energy saving and cleaner and greener manufacturing process, advanced nano-scale and surface characterization techniques, and pulp and paper.  He has obtained all levels of research funding including Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)-Discovery, -Strategic, -CRD, Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF), New Brunswick Innovation Fund (NBIF), and MatNet and a number of industry supports, totaling more than $5million in cash and more than $1million in in-kind. Through research, Dr. Li has co-authored more than 100 refereed papers and book chapters and delivered more than 50 conference presentations.  He has also developed several proprietary technologies with 5 US/Canadian patents awarded and one more pending.

In doing research, Dr. Li has established extensive collaboration with both industry and academia around the world.  His research is supported not only by the local industry such as Irving, NewPage, Bowater Mersey, but also the world leaders in their respective fields such as Resolute Forest Products-QC (mechanical pulping), Tembec-QC (market high yield pulp), Novozymes-Demark (enzymes & biotechnologies), Andritz-Austria (biomass refining system), FPInnovations (Canada) and KCL (Finland). The strong partnership provides an excellent opportunity for him to lead multidisciplinary research project.  For example, as the principal investigator and project leader, he has led recently a NSERC Strategic project in biorefining for fuels and materials with professors from University of Toronto and Lakehead University and 3 industrial partners; a NSERC/AIF project in biotechnologies for energy saving in wood pulping with professors from University of Toronto, UNB Mechanical Engineering and UNBSJ Biology and 4 industrial partners. He is currently leading another NSERC Strategic proposal with University of Waterloo and University of Toronto in nanocellulose fibres for flexible electronics.

Dr. Li’s research is well regarded internationally. He has been invited by universities and research institutes around the world to give seminars in e.g., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Korean, and USA (36 in total). He has also served as Chair, Session Chair and served on the organizing committee of several international conferences.  He is currently serving as an executive editor, editorial board member and a guest editor for 4 journals and is a regular reviewer for more than 50 academic journals in North America and Europe in bioenergy, chem-eng, materials science, nano-technologies, surface sciences, environmental, and pulp paper fields. He has also been an external reviewer for research grant proposals of Canada’s CFI, NSERC DG, SPG, I2I, IRC, CRD, and for National Science Foundation (USA), and for The Knowledge Foundation (Sweden). Dr. Li is currently on the NSERC Discovery Grant EG Committee, and on the Research Excellence Program–Engineering Panel of the Ontario Research Fund.

In training HQP’s, Dr. Li has supervised and co-supervised 44 undergraduate and graduate students and supervised 15 PDF’s and visiting professors over the past years. He has also served as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Chemical Engineering for 10 years and made significant contribution to graduate and undergraduate teaching.  Dr. Li received “Merit Award” in 2008, which recognizes his outstanding contributions to teaching, research and university service by the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers, and was also appointed as the “University Research Scholar” in 2011.