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Government of Canada announces new research projects to bring genomics solutions to industry challenges

Minister Holder highlights Elanco Animal Health-Concordia University project to develop improved feed for Canadian chicken and pork farmers

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wallenstein, Ontario

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) and Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO of Genome Canada, are pleased to announce the first 12 projects selected for funding under Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). The announcement was made at Wallenstein’s Feed & Supply Ltd., where the Minister toured the company’s animal feed production facilities.

GAPP projects partner academic researchers with “users” of genomics (e.g. industry, provincial governments, non-profits, or other organizations) to translate innovations that are expected to have considerable economic and social impacts within the near term.

Minister Holder highlighted a GAPP project between Elanco Animal Health (a division of Eli Lilly & Co) and Concordia University. Dr. Paul Matzat from Elanco and Dr. Adrian Tsang from Concordia will develop and commercialize new enzyme products for pork and poultry to improve digestion of animal feed. As a result, less animal feed will be wasted, providing for healthier chickens and pigs, reduced costs to farmers and a more competitive pork and poultry industry responsible for thousands of on-farm jobs in Ontario and over 20,000 across Canada.

Further, GAPP projects will support training the next generation of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, thanks to a new partnership between Genome Canada and Mitacs, which will create research internships for future projects.

Quick Facts

 

The 12 projects announced today involve a total investment of $56 million. The Government of Canada is contributing $15 million through Genome Canada with the balance (about $41 million) invested by co-funding partners including the genomics “user”. These projects comprise the first two rounds of multiple rounds of projects that will be funded under GAPP.

The projects selected for funding hail from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and include industries as diverse as aquaculture, cheese-making, horticulture, animal feed, crops, forestry and healthcare.

GAPP is designed to move genomics-based solutions to the marketplace through academic partnerships with industry and other “users” of genomics. It is also intended to stimulate investment from private and public partners to fund projects that address real world challenges and opportunities in the field of genomics.

The new Genome Canada – Mitacs partnership will enable funding and training for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows as they are placed within industry through GAPP projects. It will prepare Canada’s next entrepreneurs through hands-on experience. Interns transfer their skills from theory to real-world application, while the companies gain a competitive advantage by accessing high-quality research expertise.

GAPP was launched in 2013 as a $90 million program, with $30 million of federal funding through Genome Canada and the balance from partner investment (i.e. from industry, government, non-profit and others), leveraged by Genome Canada in collaboration with regional Genome Centres.

 

Quotes

“Our government is making record investments in science, technology and innovation to create jobs and opportunities while improving the quality of life of Canadians. Through the GAPP projects, we are bringing genomic solutions to industry challenges in health, agriculture, and forestry industries, supporting the innovations necessary for Canadian businesses to compete in the global economy and keep jobs here in Canada.

– The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State for Science and Technology

“Our government is making the investments necessary to move ideas from the lab to the marketplace more effectively. Today’s announcement between Elanco and Concordia University to develop improved animal feed for pork and poultry will reduce costs for our farmers while strengthening jobs in our rural economy.”

– Gary Schellenberger, Member of Parliament (Perth- Wellington)

"These first two rounds have proven that there is a high degree of interest and engagement from a whole range of industry sectors that see Canada’s genomics research enterprise as a valuable source of ideas and innovation.”

– Dr. Pierre Meulien, President, Genome Canada

“The partnership between Mitacs and Genome Canada will support research collaboration between university researchers and dynamic companies in Canada’s growing genomics sector. Students will have the opportunity to work on projects that directly benefit local businesses, applying their cutting-edge skills and knowledge to benefit all Canadians.”

– Dr. Rob Annan, interim CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs

“This project complements Elanco’s mission to help the global food chain deliver a safe, affordable and sufficient food supply. We believe innovation in sustainable food production is one of the most important mechanisms to feeding a growing global population.”

– Mr. Allan Boonstra, Director, Elanco Animal Health

 

Associated links

For backgrounders and photos of GAPP Rounds 1 and 2 projects, please visit http://www.genomecanada.ca/ as of 10:30 a.m. ET October 15, 2014

Video – Pierre Meulien on GAPP

GAPP launch press release, June 3, 2013

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada; @GenomeCanada; @DiscoverMitacs

 

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Contacts

Scott French

Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs

Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)

613-943-6177

 

Andrea Matyas

Director, Communications

Genome Canada

Office: 613-751-4460 x 231

Cell: 613-790-0106

 

Heather Young

Director, Communications

Mitacs

Cell: 604-818-0020

Office: 604-822-3982

 

About Genome Canada

Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for developing and applying genomics and genomic-based technologies across multiple sectors to create economic and social benefits for Canadians. For more information, visit www.genomecanada.ca.

About Mitacs

Through unique research and training programs, Mitacs is developing the next generation of innovators with vital scientific and business skills. In partnership with companies, government and academia, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource – its people. For more information, visit http://www.mitacs.ca/.