Canadian Packaging

NOVA Chemicals and Polytechnique Montréal work to cultivate the industry’s future workforce and drive towards a plastics circular economy

By Kirkpatrick Group   


Calgary, Alta., Canada (Dec. 9, 2022) – NOVA Chemicals and Polytechnique Montréal recently completed a three-month pilot program that brought NOVA Chemicals’ proprietary BONFIRE® film development platform into the classroom. Graduate students in the Chemical Engineering program leveraged the platform to simulate novel package designs for the final project of their Polymer Packaging Engineering course.

The BONFIRE platform allows users to design and improve complex multilayer films using simulations instead of costly experiments. These fundamental features make it an ideal resource for the packaging value chain to help meet sustainability and digitization goals, ultimately accelerating a pathway toward a true circular economy for plastics. For students, it was a critical tool that augmented their educational experience and opened a window into what it’s like to be a packaging engineer. They were introduced to various methods of film modeling and saw how it was possible to identify the most promising structures and reduce the number of trials necessary in designing experiments.

Dr. Zahra Kordjazi, Research Associate in the 3SPack Industrial Research Chair of Professor Abdellah Ajji, also Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at Polytechnique Montréal, helped coordinate the program with NOVA Chemicals and saw how it impacted students: “This partnership enhanced student learning and gave them a useful platform to explore different structures and assess the mechanical, barrier, and seal properties of designed packages.” Students demonstrated strong enthusiasm for building unique structures through lessons learned from their course and the BONFIRE platform library and modules.

“The amazing assistance from NOVA Chemicals’ experts, Dr. Bronwyn Gillon and Erica Canavesi, made this a wonderful experience. By defining potential projects or combining the designed structures with specific experiments, we’re hopeful that this collaboration will continue to bring value to our program in the future,” Dr. Kordjazi added. NOVA Chemicals had various drivers behind this program, including Dr. Eric Vignola, NOVA Chemicals’ Polyethylene Market Management Leader. He was integral in establishing the relationship between NOVA Chemicals and Polytechnique and stated: “Participating in this program gave students real-world knowledge that will ultimately make them more attractive to the workforce. It was incredible to see their passion for the industry grow and to help them learn more about their role in creating sustainable plastic packaging in their future careers.”


This program reinforces NOVA Chemicals’ genScience initiatives, which are focused on sparking passion, innovation, and discovery in the next generation of STEM employees. It follows a recent announcement from NOVA Chemicals stating they’ve committed $600,000 to the Let’s Talk Science® program in support of STEM education across Canada.

As NOVA Chemicals looks to the future, they plan to continue inspiring future packaging designers by bringing the BONFIRE platform to more schools across North America. Students gain a working knowledge of resources they’ll need in their careers while providing valuable feedback on the platform’s usability. Their insight will shape how NOVA Chemicals builds new capabilities for their customers and the plastics industry.

Please visit NOVA Chemicals’ Modeling and Simulation website for more information on the BONFIRE film development platform.

About NOVA Chemicals Corporation
NOVA Chemicals is guided by a singular purpose to shape a world where the plastic products vital to our health and happiness are better tomorrow than they are today. We have a bold ambition to create a plastics circular economy and work collaboratively toward a low carbon, zero plastic waste future. NOVA Chemicals’ portfolio of virgin and recycled resins, along with best-in-class technical expertise, is what sets us apart; our customers use our products to create easy-to-recycle and recycled content films, packaging, and products. Our employees work to ensure health, safety, security, and environmental stewardship through our commitment to Sustainability and Responsible Care®.

NOVA Chemicals, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has 2,400 employees worldwide and is wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Learn more at or follow us on LinkedIn®.

About Polytechnique Montréal
Established in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada’s largest engineering education and research universities, and is located on the Université de Montréal campus – North America’s largest Francophone university campus. With over 57,000 graduates and approximately 120 academic programs, Polytechnique has trained 22 per cent of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec’s current membership. Polytechnique Montréal is also distinguished by its more than 300 talented professors and 10,000 students. Its overall annual budget is $300 million, including $100 million reserved exclusively for research.


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