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Faculty of Science

SFU professor and alumnus win Governor General’s Innovation Award

May 02, 2024

Steven Holdcroft, professor in SFU’s Department of Chemistry, alongside SFU alumnus Ben Britton, Chief Strategy Officer of Ionomr Innovations, have been honoured with a prestigious Governor General’s Innovation Award. The award recognizes the pair for their ground-breaking research into materials with the potential to revolutionize the clean energy sector. 

Holdcroft and Britton first worked together in SFU’s Holdcroft Lab when Britton was studying for his PhD. Their research centred around developing more cost effective and durable polymer membranes for use in fuel cells, hydrogen production and various other clean energy applications. Britton is also an alumnus of the Invention to Innovation program at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, a specialist program that helps scientists and engineers develop the entrepreneurial skills to bring their ideas to market. Subsequently, Holdcroft and Britton co-founded a company, Ionomr Innovations, to create commercial products based on their discoveries. 

“It is indeed a great honour to receive the Governor General’s Innovation Award,” says Holdcroft. “This is accepted on behalf of all the students and post-doctoral fellows who have contributed to the work, and to the researchers at Ionomr Innovations who steered the discovery from the lab bench to industry applications.”

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate exceptional and transformational Canadian innovations, which are creating a positive impact in Canada and beyond, while also inspiring the next generation of innovators.

Steven Holdcroft is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, past-president of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC), and former chair of SFU’s Department of Chemistry. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Electrochemical Materials. For services to the community, Holdcroft was awarded the Macromolecular Science and Engineering Division Award of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) and is a recipient of the Canadian Society of Canada RioTinto Alcan Award for contributions to Inorganic chemistry or electrochemical research. In 2018, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award from SFU for academic achievement.

SFU is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 15 research universities in global and national ranking systems and is one of Canada’s fastest growing intensive research universities. Ranked as Canada’s top university for innovation and industrial application and #2 in the world for entrepreneurial spirit (2023 World University Rankings for Innovation) SFU creates unique support structures for knowledge mobilization, entrepreneurship, partnerships. 

To suggest a candidate for the Governor General’s Innovation Awards, please contact Institutional Strategic Awards at awards@sfu.ca.

Ben Britton (left) and Steven Holdcroft with their Governor General's Innovation Award