Dr. Asim Biswas, a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences within the Ontario Agricultural College, has been awarded the 2023 Steacie Prize, one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for researchers 40 years old or younger. 

The award is named in memory of E.W.R. Steacie, a physical chemist and former president of the National Research Council of Canada, to whom much is owed for the development of science in Canada.

“This is a tremendous honour for Dr. Biswas and the entire University,” said Dr. Rene Van Acker, interim vice-president (research). “This prestigious award speaks to the excellence and impact of Asim’s research, which is helping foster the resiliency of agri-food productions systems in Canada and around the world.”

“Prof. Biswas is most highly deserving of the 2023 Steacie Prize,” said Lawrence Mysak, chair of the Steacie Prize selection panel and professor emeritus from McGill University. “He was selected from among 32 outstanding nominations in all areas of science and engineering. I very much look forward to presenting the award certificate to Dr. Biswas on April 4.” 

Recognition for applied soil science

Dr. Asim Biswas
Dr. Asim Biswas

A soil science expert, Biswas aims to increase agricultural production while improving environmental sustainability. 

“It could take up to 1,000 years for an inch of soil to form. It is not a renewable resource,” he said. “Data-driven soil management practices can help us better manage the soil we have now and manage it for tomorrow.”

Much like a doctor uses medical tests to understand a patient’s health, diagnostic measurements can provide information that helps producers look after their soil.

Biswas and his research group develop data management tools, soil sensors and soil maps to improve decision-making about soil health and sustainability. Their work enables producers to minimize inputs like water and fertilizer, enhance crop yields and increase overall farm efficiency, while also protecting the environment.

“I am so grateful to receive the Steacie Prize and to join the many distinguished researchers who have won it before me,” said Biswas, “but I am most excited to have the award panel recognize the importance of soil science at a time when continued mismanagement of our soil threatens global sustainability.”

About the Steacie Prize

The Steacie Prize has been awarded annually since 1964 by the trustees of the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fund, a private foundation dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering in Canada, to a young scientist or engineer who has made notable contributions to research in Canada.

Biswas is the second University of Guelph researcher to win the Steacie Prize.

Later this week, he will receive the award at a public event where he will also give a lecture about information-driven sustainable soil management.