Axel works with boards and senior management of private and public sector organisations on the development and implementation of long-term strategies that anticipate emerging opportunities and needs in Canada and abroad. Currently a consultant and volunteer, Axel previously held positions as the inaugural Chair in Foresight at Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures (2008-2012), President of Memorial University of Newfoundland (1999-2007), the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (2010-2014), and Dean of Applied Science (1985-1997) and Professor of Chemical Engineering at The University of British Columbia (1969-1999). A Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (and its past president), the Chemical Institute of Canada, and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, Axel is a professional engineer (P.Eng.) in British Columbia and Alberta and holds the title of European engineer (EurIng). He is a Professor Emeritus of The University of British Columbia and Honorary Professor of the Universidad de Piura (Peru), to which he also serves as a strategic advisor. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Waterloo and received the Order of Canada in 2008.
Since 2016, Axel has also served as a volunteer member of the Vancouver Island Committee for the Loran Scholars Foundation, interviewing candidates for recommendation for the national competition as well as provincial awards and commendations.
Axel holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Imperial College London (B.Sc., 1965), California Institute of Technology (M.Sc., 1966) and McGill University (Ph.D., 1970).