Today, Genome Canada, together with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), is pleased to launch a Request for Applications for the 2018 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomics Solutions for Agriculture, Agri-Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture. The Competition aims to support projects that have the potential to provide new approaches that can improve disease and pest resistance in our crops, livestock and fish, increase our understanding of soil and aquatic microbiomes, and improve our ability to monitor and assess wild fish populations.
Genome Canada and co-funding partners, including the provinces, private sector and other partners, will invest at least $60 million in successful projects, while AAFC will invest an additional $16 million through this Competition. This funding opportunity builds on the complementary mandates of Genome Canada and AAFC and provides an opportunity to bring together and maximize the effectiveness of research communities, infrastructure, and resources supported by both organizations.
Successful projects will use genomics to advance the sustainability, productive capacity and competitive position of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food & fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and thereby strengthen Canada’s economy and the wellbeing of Canadians. Research that examines the implications of genomics in society, such as factors that may facilitate or hinder the effective translation of research and the uptake of genomic-based applications, will also be supported as part of the Competition.
The agriculture and agri-food & fisheries and aquaculture sectors have a history of using research to assess challenges and develop solutions. Genomics-based approaches have the potential to predict and mitigate the effects of climate change, such as understanding the response of fisheries to climate fluctuations, identifying crops and livestock that are more resilient to temperature extremes, and by reducing methane emissions related to livestock production systems.
“Our government is pleased to invest in applied genomics research that will drive growth, productivity and global competitiveness in agriculture and agri-food, fisheries and aquaculture—sectors that are so important to our economy and the health and well-being of Canadians.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
“Our agriculture scientists have a lot of expertise in applied genomics research. This competition will encourage the types of partnerships and collaborations that bring together the best of government, academic, and private research to create real solutions for Canada’s agriculture sector.”
– Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“The projects we support through this Competition will build on our track record of research breakthroughs – such as sequencing the genomes of dairy cows, salmon, wheat, lentils and other Canadian staples – which have made Canada more globally competitive in these industries.”
– Mr. Marc LePage, President and CEO, Genome Canada
- Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector is considered to be one of the foundations of Canada’s economy, accounting for $111.9 billion of gross domestic product (GDP), about 8%, and employing 2.3 million people in 2016.
- Canada is a major exporter of key foodstuffs needed for global food security, producing 2% of the world’s cereals, and 3.4% of global oilseeds and pulses.
- The fisheries and aquaculture sector contributes $14.7 billion to the Canadian economy each year, and supports 130,000 jobs.
- On a global scale, Canada is the steward of 25% of the world’s coastline and contributes 1% of the world’s fisheries production. Between 2011 and 2021, global fish consumption is projected to increase by 16%, with aquaculture expected to address the bulk of this increase.