U of G Prof. Manju Misra

University of Guelph Prof. Manju Misra has been named one of the Women’s Executive Networks (WXN) Most Powerful Women for 2020.

Misra has been recognized by WXN for her work in material science engineering at the University.

“By this recognition I have received, may many younger women be encouraged not only to seek higher education but to pursue studies in science and engineering disciplines in order to make their own passionate contribution to a better world,” she said.

Born and educated in India, Misra said she related to the theme of this year’s award to unite and rise beyond borders.

“My story shows how an immigrant scientist can advance and contribute. Canada is providing more and more opportunity for us women to use our critical thinking skills to solve problems and make discoveries that can benefit people all over the world.”

Misra holds a joint appointment in U of G’s School of Engineering and Department of Plant Agriculture. She is a world leader in the development of novel bio-based composites and nanocomposites made from agricultural and forestry resources.

Along with Prof. Amar Mohanty, she leads U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC). Materials developed at BDDC are used as substitutes for conventional plastics in a variety of products, including in the automotive sector and in single-use plastic.

The 2020 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners recognizes outstanding women across Canada who advocate for workforce diversity and inspire tomorrow’s leaders. Misra was selected in the Manulife Science and Technology Award category.

“The award means a lot to me because of the encouragement it gives to younger women choosing their careers,” she said.

“By working together across borders collaboratively, we can leverage the strength of others in the global community, we can have impact on enhancing the quality of life for many people, we can provide leadership in the application of science to achieve outcomes to benefit coming generations, and we can open minds to discovery and potential never possible before.”

Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), said Misra’s work is dedicated to creating a better, more sustainable future for everyone.

“Prof. Misra is truly a phenomenon and a game changer, a person of incredible intellect, exceptional expertise and spectacular skills,” he said. “She is a true leader in the world of science and innovation and a champion for female scientists.”

Misra has created award-winning materials from sustainable resources, reducing Canada’s reliance on petroleum products and its carbon footprint, he added.

“Her innovations will generate enhanced environmental, economic and societal benefits. She is a highly influential and exceptional scientist, and this honour is richly deserved.”

Misra has authored more than 700 publications, including 396 peer-reviewed journal papers and 21 book chapters, and holds more than 50 patents. In 2018, she and Mohanty received the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Synergy Award for Innovation. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Royal Society of Chemistry in the U.K.

WXN is a national organization that celebrates the advancement of women in all sectors and of all ages. The organization offers training, events, mentoring and networking as well as award and recognition programs for women.

“In a difficult year, we’ve been inspired by Canada’s highest-achieving women who unite those around them and help us all rise above our challenges,” said Sherri Stevens, owner and CEO of WXN. “These powerful women continue to lead the way, which is why it’s important to celebrate their achievements.”