Remembering Professor John R. Grace

It is with heavy hearts that the Foundation announces the passing of Professor John R. Grace, on May 26th, 2021.

Dr. Grace was a professor emeritus in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia, and a founding grant advisor of the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation. Professor Grace was Tyler’s graduate supervisor and mentor, and instrumental in helping shape the Foundation’s vision and mission, as well as its operations and granting procedures. He oversaw and guided the awarding of the Foundation’s first five recipients and worked closely with other Foundation grant advisors, Naoko Ellis, Robert Legros and Michael Groves.

The Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation was just a small part of Professor Grace’s distinguished career, which started at McGill University where he was a faculty member for 11 years, before moving to UBC in 1979 as the Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biological (then known as Chemical Engineering). At UBC, Professor Grace was instrumental in procuring a Pulp and Paper building and initiating the Michael Smith Laboratories. Professor Grace also served as UBC’s Dean of Graduate Studies and oversaw the planning of two graduate colleges (Green and St. John’s Colleges) and new interdisciplinary units, including the Fisheries Centre, Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Relations, Occupational Hygiene Program, Sustainable Development Research Institute and Centre for Applied Ethics, and centres within the Institute of Asian Research. Professor Grace’s career in research has resulted in over 700 publications, amassing nearly 40,000 citations to date. Moreover, he has been awarded with many prestigious honours and awards over his career, recognising his excellence in teaching, mentoring and research. Among the many prestigious honors he received, Professor Grace was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2014. The citation on his Order of Canada investiture reads:

For his contributions as a chemical engineer, notably to the development of cleaner technology for industrial processes and energy production.  John Grace has crafted new ways to produce energy with a smaller environmental footprint. A Canada Research Chair and professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia, he is one of the world’s leading authorities on fluidization, the process by which solid particles are converted to a dynamic state. His research and publications have led to significant advances in the field, including the development of more efficient reactors to produce electrical power, fuels and steam while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research is indebted to Professor Grace for all that he has done for us. He will be greatly missed and his seismic contributions to the Foundation, to UBC, to the research community and the field of clean energy will be felt long into the future. A scholarship has been endowed in honor of Professor Grace by his wife, Dr. Sherrill E. Grace, for graduate students in Chemical and Biological Engineering who demonstrate academic excellence and potential for service to society by performing research on energy, the environment, and/or multi-phase systems. To contribute to the John Grace Graduate Scholarship in Chemical and Biological Engineering, donations can be made at