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30 Under 30: Ali Rizvi

 Ali Rizvi







Ali Rizvi
Age: 27
Student, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ali Rizvi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. He combines rigorous academic research with an entrepreneurial drive to bridge the gap between a proof-of-concept invention and commercialization. Ali is developing innovative and industrially viable technologies to manufacture low density porous plastics with super-absorptive properties for oil-spill cleanup applications. He holds patents that have been favorably received by the industry, including a major Japanese chemical company. 

He is the co-founder and director of manufacturing at a start-up company and leads the company’s product development for rapid prototyping, material selection, material research and development, incorporation of advanced manufacturing technologies, and plastics mold design. The start-up, which received the VentureStart grant from the Research & Innovation Commercialization Centre - Ontario, has achieved substantial success and continues to grow at an exponential rate.

Ali graduated with High Distinction with an Honours B.S. in Environmental Chemistry and a minor in Economics from the University of Toronto and was fast-tracked into the Ph.D. program in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Ali said that he wanted to study manufacturing because it is the key to commercialization of an idea: “A great idea that can’t be produced and scaled-up economically will fail. The reason I pursued manufacturing engineering was to develop insights that will facilitate commercialization of scientific breakthroughs. During my undergraduate work in chemistry, I engaged in cutting edge research in various disciplines of chemistry. What I noticed was that scientists evaluate research by considering whether it makes an original contribution to our understanding of the world and often overlook or not address the more pragmatic factors, like cost of manufacturing, and scalability.”

Ali has been awarded a number of grants including a challenge grant from the Canadian government aimed at addressing health-related problems in third world countries. The proposal is aimed at developing a field-capable device based on the mobile phone that would overcome the difficulty of field-diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in third world countries where sophisticated equipment and electric power are typically not available.

Ali has two patents and ten technical publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. His scientific contributions have received academic and industrial recognition.

In 2013, Ali received the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship. In 2012, Ali was awarded the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) PerkinElmer Award: Composites Division for the best paper. In 2012, he also received the Queen Elizabeth II-GSST Award: DuPont Canada Scholarship in Science and Technology.

Ali, as a graduate assistant, has been active in the academic life of the university. He has supervised six summer research students who came from countries across the globe.

He served as a judge at the LIVE Competition 2013, a two-day national business competition; Show Me the Green Conference 2013; and the University of Toronto Engineering Kompetition 2012–2014. ME

Published Date : 7/1/2014

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