U of M researcher recognized for revolutionary work in grain storage

Digvir Jayas changed industry understanding of grain storage worldwide, U of M president says

A University of Manitoba researcher will be recognized for work that revolutionized grain storage, the school said September 17.

Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) at the U of M, has received the 2019 Sir John William Dawson Medal from the Royal Society of Canada.

The biennial award is “for important and sustained contributions in two domains of interest to the RSC or in interdisciplinary research” according to the Royal Society’s website.

“Dr. Jayas has integrated principles of engineering and biology to revolutionize our understanding of grain storage and made major contributions to improving the practice of grain storage throughout the world,” said Dr. David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, in a news article on the school’s website.

“It is an honour to receive this award that recognizes the accomplishments and impact of my research program, which would not be possible without the hard work of every graduate student I have been blessed to work with,” Jayas said in the article. “It’s a privilege to work with them, and with so many wonderful colleagues around the globe.”

Jayas has researched stored-grain ecosystems for 30 years. His work reduces losses in grain quality and quantity during storage in agricultural systems around the globe, the U of M said. He has authored or co-authored over 900 articles including 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts in his field, and these help form the basis upon which storage recommendations are made throughout the world.

Jayas, a former Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, leads the development of 3-D mathematical models to predict heat, moisture and gas transfer, and movement of insets in stored grains.

He also pioneered the concept of drying grain by forcing air horizontally rather than vertically to reduce energy costs during the drying process, resulting in more uniformly dried grains. Such systems conceptualized by Jayas are now sold worldwide.

He has also designed a “Grain-o-bot” to assist in the automation of grain handling without cross-contamination of grains.

Jayas was appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada in 2018. He will receive this latest award at an official ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 22.

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