Dr Sibbald was born and received his early education in England. On graduation from the University of Leeds with a B.Sc. (Agriculture) in 1953, he emigrated to Canada and attended the University of Alberta where he was awarded M.Sc. (Animal Science) and Ph.D. (Animal Nutrition) degrees in 1955 and 1957, respectively.
Dr Sibbald has had a varied and distinguished career. While at the Ontario Agricultural College, his work was recognised with the first (1974) Borden Award of the Nutrition Society of Canada. He had worked on many projects with several species but perhaps was best known for research with poultry where the names 'Sibbald and Slinger' became synonymous with metabolizable energy.
Moving to industry, he devoted much of his time to ruminants. A highlight of this phase of his career was the development of the first successful encapsulated amino acids designed to pass through the rumen for release in, and absorption from, the small intestine. Patents were granted by 45 countries. Later Dr Sibbald managed an industry team engaged in human food research tackling complex problems such as water and protein structures. He helped with the development and evaluation of nutritionally fortified human foods.
In 1972 Dr Sibbald joined the Animal Research Centre of Agriculture Canada as a senior research scientist and in 1976 was named a principal research scientist, the highest research level in the Canadian Public Service which is limited to only 5% of the scientific staff. He developed the bioassay for true metabolizable energy (TME) for which he received the Tom Newman Memorial International Award in 1977. The American Feed Manufacturers Association Award of the Poultry Science Association followed in 1979 while he was on a one year sabbatical in Edinburgh.
In 1982 Dr Sibbald was honoured with a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Leeds; the D.Sc. degree is the highest award of the university in a science-related area and was made following an 857 page submission describing research accomplished in the preceding 25 years.
Dr Sibbald's forté is the development of research methodology. During recent years he has made major improvements to the bioassay for true metabolizable energy and has extended the principles of the assay to amino acids, total lipids, fatty acids and minerals. The assays are used in more than 50 countries. Evidence of the impact of this work may be seen in the advertising of a major multinational feed company which has developed a new line of poultry feeds based on data from the assays. A large poultry producer wrote of annual savings ranging from $750 thousand to $1.5 million following adoption of the TME bioassay.
Dr Sibbald has 144 scientific and 81 miscellaneous publications in his bibliography. Brief mention of some accomplishments described are as follows: development of a simple, rapid procedure which converts whole birds, or parts thereof, to dry, free-flowing homogenous powders suitable for analysis; an adaption of the stained particle technique for measuring the transit of feed residues through the intestinal tract of the chicken; derivation of an equation to product the gross energy content of hen eggs; a modification of the TME bioassay which removes the need for prolonged fasting; with Agriculture Canada's Dr Mark Wolynetz, a detailed examination of the relationships between various estimates of bioavailable energy; a comparative study of methods for drying poultry excreta; a series of papers on the passage of food residues through the alimentary canal which, perhaps for the first time, recognized the contributions of metabolic plus endogenous losses; a comparison of bioavailable energy estimates made with chickens and swine. Dr Sibbald also participated in the preparation of the USA's National Academy of Sciences publication "Nutrition Energetics of Domestic Animals and Glossary of Energy Terms".
Dr Sibbald is best known for his research, but there are other facets of his professional life which should be noted. He is in demand as a speaker at scientific conferences, as a reviewer of manuscripts and as a teacher. He travels extensively in North america and overseas on government projects and at the invitation of conference organizers. For example, he represented Canada at the International Network of Feed Information Centres in Rome in 1980 and again in Sydney in 1983. He has successfully completed projects for the International Development Research Centre, a Canadian organization, in Kenya, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. He is an external examiner of the Universiti Pertanian Malaysia. He has taught TME methodology in many countries, maintains correspondence with students and scientists around the world, and is frequently visited by those seeking training and advice.
The most recent recognition for his many achievements came as a Merit Award in 1987, the highest award of the Canadian Public Service.
Nominated by Canada