Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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NSERC Prizes 2017: Zhangxing (John) Chen

Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering University of Calgary and Brion Energy Corporation, Computer Modelling Group, Devon, Foundation CMG, IBM Alberta Centre for Advanced Studies, IBM Canada Ltd., IBM Research, Nexen Energy ULC, Suncor Energy


Video Name

NSERC Prizes 2017: Zhangxing (John) Chen


NSERC Communications



Release Date

February 7, 2017


Since 2008, Zhangxing (John) Chen has led a research consortium with a group of partners from the oil and gas sectors, using dynamic simulations to test new operations that produce more while using less. Chen’s research group has developed a remarkable virtual reality interface that allows companies to save time and money on field testing and instead focus their efforts on implementing better practices that reduce environmental impact. As a result of these advancements, Chen’s group is now recognized as one of the most effective partnerships of academia and industry in the country. Dr. Chen won one of NSERC's Synergy Awards for Innovation in 2017.

Tom Harding

We wanted to develop some better simulation techniques for some of the advanced recovery processes that we’d been working on in the company. And the expertise that Dr. Chen and his students have was exactly what we needed to progress our projects.

Zhangxing (John) Chen

We have a large group, and we can work on a lot of problems simultaneously with all the companies. We have developed the simulation, the visualization. The industry uses them, for instance, to make decisions on the production process in the field. And they could use the information from our model, from our simulation, for instance to reduce the water use, to reduce the carbon emissions to the air, to optimize the production, and also to reduce the operation cost.

Tom Harding

Everything that they do here at the University of Calgary and Dr. Chen’s group is compatible with the things that we do in our company. And that’s really what we’re after.

Zhangxing (John) Chen

The research we’re working on and the technology we’re developing are fundamental and useful to all the industries.

Tom Harding

It’s a great opportunity for companies to get more directly involved in the research.

Zhangxing (John) Chen

By working together, you have more ideas, more research directions — and that would help lead our research into more realistic applications to the industry.