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Industrial research chairs to help canola and rapeseed growers


Winnipeg, MB October 20, 2003 The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has announced more than C$1.3 million in funding for two new NSERC industrial research chairs in high erucic acid rapeseed R&D at the University of Manitoba.

NSERC says the research program will help to provide growers, especially in the prairie provinces, with valuable knowledge to increase their competitiveness in today’s global economy.

The funding is provided through a program of NSERC that promotes research partnerships between the private sector and universities. CanAmera Foods will provide a large monetary contribution and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association will contribute an additional $375,000.

The new senior chairholder, Dr Peter McVetty, has an international reputation as a leader in the area of canola and rapeseed research. He has led the high erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) plant breeding program at the University of Manitoba for more than 15 years.

“This support will definitely lead to more crop growing options for prairie farmers," says Dr McVetty. "It will also allow the University of Manitoba to expand its expertise in Brassica breeding, genetics and genomics.”

Dr Genyi Li joins the program as Associate research chair. He holds a PhD in canola/rapeseed plant breeding and genetics and spent several years at the University of California as a postgraduate researcher in plant genomics.

With the establishment of this research chair, the University of Manitoba plans to expand its program to apply new technology such as genomics to improve resistance to blackleg and sclerotinia in herbicide-tolerant cultivars.