This is a stand-alone GE3LS project.
Methods of genome research have come to permeate almost all areas of biological studies. This includes agriculture, which has great importance for the well being of Canadians. Agricultural genomics is concerned with studying the entire sets of genes and their function in organisms of agricultural importance, such as wheat, flax, beans, tomatoes, canola and corn. We have assembled a national research team to study how Canada can benefit from applying genomic research to agriculture. The project focuses on three important factors for removing roadblocks to innovation in Canada’s bio-based economy.
First, we will examine the role of intellectual property such as patents, copyright and trade secrets in moving laboratory discoveries toward practical application. This research will investigate how these legal tools are used currently and their effects on innovation. We will also investigate what changes in intellectual property law, university and government policies and scientific practices might be needed in order to enhance agricultural innovation in Canada.
Second, we will study whether there are new ways of regulating important new agricultural technologies and products. This will involve examining both global networks of regulators and private management of supply chains. The aim is to ensure that publicly supported research is used in the best possible way for the benefit of Canadians and to find ways to evaluate and accept (or reject) new agricultural products as quickly as possible.
Third, we will adapt and test a wide range of engagement tools with the Canadian public to learn how to determine more effectively their interests, fears and attitudes concerning new technologies. Our aim is to provide meaningful ways for Canadians to participate in decisions about how we choose to use new agricultural technologies and products. Our research team will use up-to-date social science research methods in pursuing these goals. Our results will be communicated to other academic researchers through professional articles, conferences and workshops. We will communicate with the Canadian public, governments and the private sector through a mix of publications, public events and news media.