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Genomics and Feeding the Future


Genome Canada, in partnership with the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), today launched a Request for Applications for the 2014 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition: Genomics and Feeding the Future. The Competition will support research projects that will create new knowledge and inform public policy for Canada’s agri-food and fisheries & aquaculture sectors and contribute solutions that can help feed the world’s growing population.

Approximately $90 million will be invested over 4 years in large-scale research projects across Canada, each worth from $2 million to $10 million. Genome Canada will invest $30 million, WGRF $5 million, and the balance of investment will be obtained through co-funding of projects from other sources, such as industry, governments and not-for-profits. Projects will be selected through a rigorous international peer review process.

“Genomics and genomic-related technologies in the agri-food and fisheries & aquaculture sectors can play a strong role in boosting food production and international trade, raising nutritional value, reducing spoilage and ensuring food safety both in Canada and globally,” said Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO of Genome Canada. “Canada is well positioned to be a global leader in providing solutions in these areas, which are urgently needed to meet the projected doubling of world food demand by 2050.”

Agriculture has largely relied on traditional food production practices to increase productivity — but these methods are reaching the limits of their capacity for increasing yields, even as populations continue rising and climate change creates new stresses on food production. Knowledge of the genetic make-up and gene functions of plants, livestock, fish and other species, and how these genes interact, is increasing dramatically and can inform innovations leading to economic and social benefits for Canadians.

Canada is already leading a number of national and international genomics-based initiatives that have the potential to result in improved crop yields, better food and water safety, enhanced livestock health, improved disease resistance and population health among fish stocks and better management of pests and invasive species that threaten agricultural production and trade. The projects funded through this new Competition will build on such past successes and equip Canadian producers and others with new knowledge to address pressing global food-related challenges.

“WGRF is excited about the impact this initiative can have for producers,” said Dave Sefton, WGRF Board Chair. “Our partnership with Genome Canada will allow WGRF to invest in the best genomics research programs in Canada. Support of genomics for crop research is vital for the development of new farm management practices, innovative agricultural products and improved crop varieties,” added Sefton

For more information: Request for Applications


Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization that invests in genomics research to generate economic and social benefits for Canadians. Genome Canada builds bridges between government, academia and industry to forge a genomics-based, innovation-driven enterprise focused on key life science sectors. We develop these partnerships to invest in and manage large-scale research and translate discoveries into commercial opportunities, new technologies, applications and solutions.

Western Grains Research Foundation is a farmer funded and directed non-profit organization investing in agricultural research that benefits western Canadian producers. For over 30 years the WGRF Board has given producers a voice in agricultural research funding decisions. WGRF manages an Endowment Fund and the wheat and barley variety development check-off funds, investing over $7 million annually into breeding and field crop research. WGRF brings the research spending power of all farmers in Western Canada together, maximizing the returns they see in crop research.


Andrea Matyas, Director of Communications, Genome Canada

Tel: 613-751-4460, ext. 231; Cell: 613-790-0106; Email:

Mike Espeseth, Communications Manager,Western Grains Research Foundation

 Tel: 306-975-0365; Cell 306-380-2553; Email:

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