Government of Canada to invest in national initiatives for automation and digital technologies in the agriculture and agri-food sector
Innovation funding competition will help create jobs and spur the growth of Canadian companies
December 14, 2018 – Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
The Government of Canada continues to spur innovation by investing in the agriculture and agri-food industry, creating good middle-class jobs and ensuring the sector punches above its weight in a competitive global market.
Today, Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, launched a new funding competition, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, for national scale initiatives in automation and digital technology applications in the agriculture and agri-food sector. Funding of between $10 million and $50 million will be provided to a successful applicant in the competition.
Automation and digital technologies are changing the face of agriculture and agri-food value chains. To capitalize on these changes, the Government is seeking applications for funding from networks and consortia of private sector companies, researchers and non-profit organizations that will work collaboratively to develop and deliver automation and digital technology applications for the agriculture and agri-food sector.
The Government is seeking proposals for the development and delivery of large-scale, disruptive approaches to automation and digital technologies with applications in the agriculture and agri-food sectors. Proposals should:
- solve problems through the use of data and technology in the agriculture and agri-food sector, such as automation and robotics, precision agriculture platforms, data and digital solutions, sensors, interconnected software and hardware, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain;
- include collaborations between businesses (including small and medium-sized enterprises), post-secondary institutions, research institutes, and non‑profit organizations from multiple sectors across Canada;
- generate strong economic and social benefits, such as private sector investments in R&D, the creation of new intellectual property and innovations, and the development and implementation of new products, processes and services; and
- bring about positive environmental impacts, such as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, food waste, water usage and energy consumption.
Applicants will have until January 11, 2019, to submit a Declaration of Intent. The information contained in the Declaration of Intent will be posted online in an effort to foster collaboration among potential applicants. Applicants will have until March 1, 2019, to submit a Full Application for funding under this competition.
These commitments support the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table’s aim to scale up capacity and boost productivity by investing in innovation, increasing market access, and adopting automation and digitization.
“Digital innovation and technologies have the power to improve food safety, reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture and food production, and create good middle-class jobs. Our government is taking action to ensure our agriculture and agri-food sectors continue to punch above their weight in a competitive global market while delivering good, healthy and sustainable food to Canadians and international markets at a fair price.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
“Canada’s agriculture and food processing sectors have always been fertile ground for innovation. By bringing together private sector companies, post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations, our government is ensuring Canadian farmers and producers have the latest tools and technologies to take full advantage of the digital age.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Through this exciting new competition, we’re bringing together the best of Canada’s digital technology, agriculture and agri-food sectors to create new solutions and opportunities in a fast-changing global market. By doing so, we’re ensuring Canadians are well positioned to lead and create jobs in the digital economy for middle-class families.”
– Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
In 2016 the agri-food industry contributed $49.4 billion to Canada’s GDP and employed approximately 575,800 people.
This investment is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy by encouraging R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and the commercialization of innovative products, processes and services and will facilitate the growth of innovative firms.
In addition to the Strategic Innovation Fund, there are numerous programs and services to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. With a simple, story-based user interface, the Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.
Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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