October 12, 2022 By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
With a dramatic increase in global food insecurity caused by a number different factors, the Government of Canada is more committed than ever to strengthening Canada’s leadership role in food production and innovation. The government is supporting agri-food, biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovations that are needed to help meet increasing demands for safe healthy food.
On Oct. 7, Dan Vandal, minister for PrairiesCan, announced funding of $2.5 million for the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan to help build Canada’s only biomanufacturing facility dedicated to advancing sustainable agriculture and innovative food ingredients.
“Supporting the creation of an agri-food hub in Saskatchewan and building on the already strong research and development being done at GIFS and USask strengthens Canada’s position as a global leader in the agri-food industry,” Vandal said. “Our government knows of the immense potential in Saskatchewan to meet the growing global demand for food products, and whenever we see an opportunity to partner with this sector to help reach its goals, we will be there.”
Saskatchewan is an agricultural powerhouse containing 44 per cent of Canada’s arable farmland and home to one of the world’s strongest agri-science ecosystems. It is in a unique position to help meet market needs for agri-food and biotechnology products, and to be a leader in feeding Canadians and the world.
This investment, provided through PrairiesCan’s Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program, will create an agri-food hub within an emerging Canadian network of biomanufacturing centres in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and now Saskatchewan, which are bringing this technology to health care, materials science, and environment markets. This new infrastructure will help Canadian researchers and processors better compete in agri-food industries, increase the pace of research into sustainable agriculture, attract foreign investment to Canada, and supply training in this growing field of research, while creating high-quality jobs in Saskatchewan.
GIFS plays a critical role in the discovery, development and delivery of innovative agri-food and biotechnology products that meet market demand efficiently and sustainably. This expansion will combine genomics, machine learning and automated biology to create proteins, peptides and metabolites. These building-block technologies can help food last longer, make plants more resistant to disease, reduce allergens, or improve nutrition in food products.
“Adhering to the ‘ABCs’ of biomanufacturing – automation and miniaturization, biology, and computation – this unique technology platform helps reduce the time it takes to trial innovative solutions and get them to market,” said Steve Webb, CEO of GIFS. “Once online, the platform will decrease the room for error through automating lab processes, boast a deep understanding of biological structures and processes, and add powerful computing solutions, like artificial intelligence, to rapidly scale up the design and production of more nutritious and sustainable crops and food products.”
This investment helps GIFS produce these technologies quickly, decreasing the time researchers need to test theories and creating exponential opportunities for innovation in agriculture, agri-food and biomanufacturing. It will also improve Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity for other stakeholders in the agriculture and biotechnology sectors as the federal government expands Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing sector.
Print this page