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Alberta lays groundwork for excellence in agriculture research


Edmonton, AB April 2, 2003 A landmark five-year research strategy for Alberta’s agriculture sector will mean new business and new jobs, especially in rural Alberta, says the province’s agriculture minister.

Shirley McClellan, deputy premier and minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development has released the Alberta Agriculture’s Research and Innovation Strategic Framework, an aggressive, organized approach to agricultural research in the province.

The framework details which research goals the agriculture industry will pursue. It clearly aligns research and innovation projects with economic growth opportunities and points out gaps in research capacity that need to be filled. Further, the framework will act as a guide to improve collaboration between funders and researchers, as well as to improve private and public sector partnerships.

"Research and innovation are key drivers of economic development," says McClellan. "This framework brings everyone onto the same page, so that various research and innovation partners can work together to help the agriculture industry achieve its potential of C$20 billion in value-added production and $10 billion in primary production by 2010."

The research framework sets out significant research goals for the next five years.
– Alberta will attract and train more than 300 new highly qualified personnel for Alberta’s life sciences research and innovation system.
– The industry will create 125 products/technologies and 70 new companies using intellectual property generated by the new research and innovation system.
– The strategy will attract $272 million in private investment to commercialize technologies and products created and enabled by research and innovation system.
– The strategy will attract $234.5 million in federal and international funding to build on the province’s capacity in science and innovation.
– The province will attract and establish nationally and internationally recognized scientific leaders in priority life sciences areas.

The agriculture research strategic framework falls under the umbrella of the recently announced Growing Our Future: An Integrated Life Sciences Strategy for Alberta, which outlines the province’s long-term plan to build a solid life sciences sector. While that strategy focuses on basic discovery research, the agriculture framework focuses on applying research to develop industry-specific knowledge, technology and products to generate economic activity.