Thursday, 23 June 2011 13:43

DePauw recognized as a global contributor

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By Ryan Dahlman — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dr. Ron DePauw’s modesty keeps him from seeking limelight, however the accolades seem to continually be aimed in his direction.
His work with his SemiArid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC) team has brought an impressive list of awards in his name which he added to June 20.

DePauw, a senior research scientist who has been the department head for the cereals division of SPARC, was recognized for his work with agriculture by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) in a special noon-hour luncheon ceremony at SPARC June 20.

The Professional Institute presents a Gold Medal Award each year to recognize and reward public service employees whose outstanding work has led to the improvement and enhancement of public well-being, and to promote a greater awareness of the role and value of professional public service employees both in Canada and globally.

According to PIPSC, the Gold Medal award recognizes DePauw’s outstanding contributions to Canada’s international reputation in agriculture and to improving the world’s most important food crop.

DePauw was moved by the recognition.

“I feel in awe; it’s a humbling experience,” explained DePauw. He added many of the winners of this award previously were people he studied with in university. Many of the scientists were his scientific “heroes.” John Craigie, the first winner of the award in 1938, was someone DePauw studied who made breakthroughs on genetics in regards to rust fungus on wheat, Thorvaldur Johnson (1962) and his work with cereal rusts.

“It really blows me out of the pond that others deemed me worthy of this,” he explained. “It’s really great we had it here (at SPARC); you couldn’t have had a nicer venue. Everyone (from SPARC) could come and we could share in this. It meant a lot.”

DePauw was pleased for the recognition because it brings a more positive light to the research centre and to the team of hard-working scientists.

Gary Corbett, president of PIPSC was on hand to present the medal to DePauw at the luncheon.

 “Dr. DePauw is an example of the role model that the Institute’s Gold Medal is intended to honour,” explained Corbett. “His innovative work has changed the nature of

the wheat industry in Canada and abroad.”

According to PIPSC, DePauw is a world leader in breeding wheat cultivars which are disease and insect-resistant, and highly water-efficient. He has developed more than 50 wheat cultivars, which have generated $8.8 million in royalties for the Canadian government. His wheat germ plasma and cultivars are used in the national grain breeding programs worldwide, from China and Japan to Russia and Australia, Germany, France, India, Argentina, and Brazil.

Great Britain’s largest independent baker, Warburton’s, uses specific cultivars from Dr. DePauw’s program for their products, and for which premiums are paid to Canadian producers.

PIPSC’s communications officer Laureen Allan flew in from Toronto for the event and was thoroughly impressed with DePauw’s contributions. She said this is the 75th anniversary for these awards and DePauw is an extremely deserving winner. They want to  find those “high caliber” people who work in the public service area to be given this award. Allan said on her tour, she learned many aspects of agriculture she really didn’t even know existed.

“His work is just staggering,” explained Allan who had gone on a tour of SPARC with DePauw earlier in the day. “It’s phenomenal. I had no idea that his wheat cultivars are in such demand around the world. The reputation SPARC as well as he and his team have speaks for itself.”

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.

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