National Research Council of Canada announces funding support for Canada-UK collaboration projects focussed on sustainable agriculture

News release

May 20, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Research Council of Canada

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is pleased to announce that 7 Canadian firms have been approved to pursue collaborative projects with UK partners through the Canada-UK industrial research and development call for proposals delivered by the NRC and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The successful projects are focussed on improving productivity and sustainability in the agricultural industry, including crop, livestock, and/or aquaculture systems using precision and data-driven solutions. 

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) is providing advisory services and up to $2.9 million in research and development funding to support 7 collaboration projects. These include:

  • up to $300,000 to TrustBIX Inc. (Edmonton, Alta.) for a project with Arden Biotechnology (UK) to extend the development of their natural feed supplement technology and apply it to the Canadian poultry and other livestock sectors
  • up to $376,247 to Mara Renewables Corporation (Dartmouth, N.S.) for a project with Devenish (UK) to develop the next generation of algae-derived products for use in poultry production in the UK, Canada and other commercial markets worldwide
  • up to $600,000 to JCA Technologies (Winnipeg, Man.) for a project with Precision Decisions (UK) and Farmscan Ag Limited (UK) to develop an integrated precision agriculture platform that provides data from agricultural machine control applications to be used for planning, analytics and deploying intelligent task direction to a fleet of machines
  • up to $476,000 to Société pour l'information industrielle (SII Canada) (Montréal, Que.) for a project with AirBorne Robotics (UK) and ADAS (UK) to develop a specialized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype and semi-autonomous remote sensing tool for in-field assessment, identification and diagnosis of problematic areas
  • up to $405,000 to Bow Valley Genetics (Rosemary, Alta.) for a project with Raft Solutions Limited (UK), Dyneval Limited (UK) and Ostara Biomedical Limited (UK) to develop innovative new technologies related to bovine fertility and advanced breeding techniques
  • up to $457,830 to Sona Nanotech (Halifax, N.S.) for a project with Clarity Biosolutions Limited (UK) and Bond Digital Health Ltd. (UK) to develop a new highly accurate, objective test to rapidly detect, manage, control and ultimately eradicate bovine tuberculosis.
  • up to $338,121 to Innovasea Marine Systems (Bedford, N.S.) for a project with RS Aqua Limited (UK)  to develop an early warning system for the aquaculture industry that provides notification of potential and imminent harmful algal blooms which can contribute to higher incidences of disease and elevated mortality on fish farms 


“The greener, cleaner economy of the future will have impacts across all sectors of our economy. The sustainable projects announced today are great examples of innovations that promise to make Canada’s agriculture industry more competitive. They will also sustain and create jobs, and support Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”

— The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The NRC is honoured to partner with UKRI to stimulate co-innovation between Canadian and UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). International collaboration is key to SME growth and these collaborative partnerships provide accelerated access to new markets and global value chains, positioning Canadian businesses to compete globally.”

— Mitch Davies, President, National Research Council of Canada 

“We must all work together to tackle the impacts of climate change and ensure our food production and farming techniques are sustainable, profitable and support long-term food security. This investment provides a valuable boost to the sector. The UK is at the forefront of efforts to develop sustainable agricultural technologies and practices, in collaboration with our international partners.”

— Victoria Prentis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), UK

“UKRI’s UK-Canada competition is an important initiative that helps UK businesses create strong international networks, access expertise and develop international market opportunities. The UK companies and their Canadian partners are working on an exciting array of projects to integrate cutting-edge technology into everyday farming techniques that could help both UK and Canadian agriculture improve productivity and sustainability and ultimately make our respective agricultural systems more climate friendly.”

— Katrina Hayter, Challenge Director for the Transforming Food Production, UKRI

Quick facts

  • Project partners from the UK will receive up to a combined $3.5 million (£2.2 million) in funding support from UKRI’s Innovate UK under its Transforming Food Production initiative targeting net-zero agriculture by 2040

  • Canada and the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Science, Technology and Innovation in September 2017

  • The NRC and UKRI signed an MoU on Research and Innovation in July 2018 that provides the foundation for the development of a stronger science, technology and innovation relationship between our 2 institutions

  • Under these MoUs, UKRI and NRC IRAP have supported over $30 million in collaborative innovation projects between Canadian and UK small and medium-sized enterprises


Media Relations
National Research Council of Canada

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