Dr. Digvir Jayas (PhD) is recognized around the world for his contributions to science and is the leading expert on grain storage and handling. (Photo: Submitted)

USask to recognize researcher for excellence

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) will present Dr. Digvir Jayas (PhD) with an Earned Doctor of Science at this year’s Spring Convocation, which takes place June 3–7 at Merlis Belsher Place.

This is the first time since 2012 an earned doctorate has been awarded at USask, and recognizes USask alumni and faculty who have made substantial and sustained contributions to scientific or artistic knowledge beyond that required for a typical doctorate.

Jayas’ nomination to receive an earned doctorate was subject to a rigorous assessment, including reviews by recognized researchers in his field  from around the globe including, Australia, Israel, the United States and Canada. Reviewers commented on his quick ascent through academic ranks and prolific research outputs.

Jayas will receive his degree on June 5 during the afternoon ceremony. Members of the public are invited to watch the convocation ceremonies live, online.

Jayas is recognized around the world for his contributions to science and is the leading expert on grain storage and handling. He is world renowned for his research on drying, handling, storing and quality monitoring of grains, oilseeds and legumes. His research findings have contributed significantly to the scientific knowledge required to preserve the quantity and quality of stored grains and, in particular, he has helped Canada maintain its global reputation for marketing high quality agricultural commodities free of mycotoxins, insects and pesticide residues.

Jayas was educated at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Pantnagar, India, the University of Manitoba (U of M) and at USask. Before assuming the position of vice-president (research and international), he held several positions at the U of M, including vice‑president (research) and associate vice‑president (research), associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, department head of Biosystems Engineering, and interim director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals.

He is a registered professional engineer and a registered professional agrologist and is currently serving as the interim president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

As a child growing up under the charge of his grandparents on a farm southeast of New Delhi, Jayas saw first-hand food loss and spoilage. In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press in January 2019, Jayas recalled, “there were many issues which I thought could be solved by applying engineering to agriculture. I said something could be done, but at that time I was not sure I would become a professor working in that area.”

In 1980, Jayas came to Canada where he completed his master’s degree in agricultural engineering at the U of M, and finished his PhD at USask. He later returned to the U of M as an assistant professor in the agricultural engineering department. While not necessarily anticipating to be an instrumental part in the academic pursuits of hundreds of students and researchers in Manitoba and other parts of Canada, Jayas said he has always been motivated to teach and to help others understand, explore and solve complex problems.

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