Orlando Rojas

Wall Associate


Professor and Director, BioProducts Institute


Chemical and Biological Engineering


Applied Science



Orlando Rojas joined UBC as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Forest Bioproducts and the Scientific Director of the UBC BioProducts Institute in 2020. Since then, Dr. Rojas has played a key role in synergizing a distinguished group of professors and researchers conducting multi- and cross-disciplinary research to create fundamental knowledge and applications, from seed genetics to cutting-edge bio-refining technologies, from thermochemical and bio-conversion pathways to novel bio-based products. He continues to be a principal investigator of the FinnCERES Flagship to advance the Finnish materials bioeconomy and co-leads the Boreal Alliance, a joint global initiative to catalyze innovation beyond borders, internationalizing our science and creating research exchange, funding and business opportunities with leading institutions along the Boreal forest belt.

A recipient of the Anselme Payen Award—one of the highest international recognitions in the area of cellulose and renewable materials—and an elected member of the American Chemical Society and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Dr. Rojas is recognized as a worldwide leader in the area of nanocelluloses. His most recent research grants include the European Research Commission Advanced Grant and Horizon 2020. He has authored over 500 peer-reviewed papers related to his core research, mainly dealing with nanostructures from renewable materials and their utilization in multiphase systems. 

Canada’s University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of the world’s leading academic centres for bioeconomy research. The UBC BioProducts Institute (BPI), recently recognized as one of UBC’s Global Research Excellence Institute, represents more than 60 researchers creating fundamental knowledge and applications from seed genetics to cutting-edge bio-refining technologies, from thermochemical and bio-conversion pathways to novel bio-based products. BPI is developing advanced materials using nanotechnologies, nanocelluloses and lignin-based fibers to mention a few. The key differentiating factors between Bioeconomy Research at UBC and other institutions are UBC’s biobased pilot scale facilities and the high level of internal and external collaborations, with researchers and industrial practitioners combining knowledge throughout a fully integrated “seeds to solutions” operation.

Primary Recipient Awards

Orlando Rojas – Catalyst Collaboration Fund – 2022

Project: With Trees: The New? Material! Relations. Project
A series of forums containing dialogue, activity, co-creative design, and knowledge mobilization to acknowledge the climate crisis and seek new strategies for working with biobased materials as alternatives to petroleum, in particular, biomass (cellulose fibres) from the forest, especially forest residuals. Reciprocal, generative interactions between local scientists, designers, makers and Indigenous knowledge keepers will act as catalysts for new approaches toward this local resource.