Assistant/Associate Professor in Biofuels/Bioenergy/Biorefinery/Forest Products Biotechnology

  • University of British Columbia, Faculty of Forestry, Wood Science Department
  • 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Apr 25, 2023
Full time Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences Chemistry Engineering & Applied Sciences Sciences and Technology: other

Job Description



“Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field,” says Dr. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. ( Its share of the world’s total renewables consumption is about 50% today, as much as hydro, wind, solar and all other renewables combined. The IEA expects biofuels to continue to lead the renewable/low carbon energy transportation field, which has enormous potential for further growth. Biofuels will become increasingly important to reduce the carbon footprint of the long-distance transport sector (aviation, marine, rail, trucking) as they will not be easily (green) electrified.

As the world tries to decarbonize, global forests will be at the forefront, from efficiently sequestering carbon out of the atmosphere with sustainable management, storing carbon in long-lived products such as cross-laminated-timber, through to the use of forest/mill residues as bioenergy/biofuels feedstocks that will increasingly displace fossil fuels. While crop-derived ethanol, biodiesel and renewable diesel will continue to grow and decrease in carbon intensity, the hard-to-electrify sectors, such as aviation, shipping, etc., will need biomass-derived (sustainably) drop-in biofuels.

Forest products biotechnology can be used to develop various sustainable processes, from bioconversion to biomodification. However, a vital component of the future bioeconomy will involve harnessing the various components of biotechnology to show how changes/modifications might be done enzymatically and microbially. Tools such as techno-economic assessment (TEA) and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) will also be needed to assess this approach's economic viability and sustainability. In parallel, thermochemical processes can also be used to make biofuels (e.g., pyrolysis/gasification) with some processes (e.g., photo-/electro-catalysis) using milder conditions or processes similar to those currently used by the pulp and paper and refining sectors.

The successful applicant will develop a research/teaching program to help these sectors transition into a lower carbon-intensive (CI) mode of operation, producing low-CI products and training qualified individuals needed to transform these sectors. Successful applicants will also become an integral component of the BC-SMART ( network, which is focused on the hardware (technology) and software (policy/LCA) aspects of developing low-carbon-intensive fuels for the transportation sector.

The Department of Wood Science currently includes 29 faculty members working across various disciplines. The Faculty of Forestry, one of the largest such faculties globally, has over 105 faculty members and provides opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with world-class researchers. For more information on the Department, BEST, CAWP, and the Faculty of Forestry, see,,, and, respectively.

This position is at the Assistant Professor or Associate Professor level (tenure-track), based on teaching and research experience. The anticipated start date for the position is 1st January 2024, but this may be negotiated. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. All UBC positions are subject to final budgetary approval.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the BC Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

Preferred and Required Qualifications

Applicants should have training in an applied biotechnology-related discipline (e.g., Ph.D. and/or postdoctoral experience in chemical & biological engineering, microbiology, biochemistry, enzymology, wood science, etc.) and show evidence of a demonstrated research track record (i.e., peer-reviewed publications and secured funding) and some teaching experience in forest products biotechnology. World class research facilities, including well-equipped laboratories and a Process Development Unit (PDU) which includes fermenters, steam gun, pulping digesters, fractionation equipment, etc., will be provided.

The individual will be expected to teach in the Bioeconomy Sciences and Technology (BEST) undergraduate program (Best 202, BEST 303), contribute to a course-based Master's in this area, and establish a leading research group focused on biorefining/biofuels.

Application Details

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. However, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Your application package should include a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae, and the names/email addresses of three possible references (colleagues and/or previous supervisors familiar with your academic endeavors). Please also indicate in your application if you are a Canadian or a permanent resident of Canada.

Subsequently, applicants who are selected for a “short list”, will be contacted and asked to send a statement of their research and teaching interests relevant to the position, their understanding of UBC’s support of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in its hiring practices, up to five recent publications that highlight their contribution to the field, and three letters of reference.

Please email your application package in a single PDF file to

The deadline for receiving initial applications is 31st May 2023.

Questions should be directed to Prof. Jack Saddler, Chair of the Search Committee


When inquiring or applying for this position, please also reference

Applicants with dual-career considerations can find university jobs such as professor jobs, dean jobs, chair / department head jobs, and other faculty jobs and employment opportunities at the University of British Columbia and at other institutions of higher education in the region on or or

Application Deadline

May 31, 2023