MEDIA RELEASE Olds, Alberta September 7, 2016
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced funding today for the development of a new state-of-the-art research facility at the College - the Olds College Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TAC).
TAC will focus on meeting the needs of the Canadian livestock industry by providing access to new technologies that increase industry sustainability and producer viability. With a focus on beef cattle and sheep, TAC will assist producers in enhancing production efficiency and promoting herd health and welfare. In serving as a knowledge, networking and technology transfer hub for the region, TAC will be a valuable resource to the livestock industry, and will enhance the learning experience for our students, the future leaders in agriculture. The funding for TAC will be put in place for five years, at an amount of $350,000 per year, in support of the core operations for TAC. This funding is renewable if TAC is successful.
“Every year research is conducted on new products, or on new practices that can really make a difference to the profitability of the beef industry,” said Stephen Scott, Executive Director, Canadian Hereford Association. “Unfortunately, the commercialization of research outcomes into new on-farm practices is a rare occurrence. The Technology Access Centre will be a place for producers to bridge the gap between the newest science and implementation of these practices on their own operations. The centre will provide Alberta beef producers with the tools they need to remain competitive in a changing marketplace.”
TAC will provide demonstrations of new and innovative tools and technologies, helping to accelerate the adoption of innovation in the livestock sector. Connecting applied research and expertise in a producer-friendly way will provide enhanced ability for industry to meet future challenges, such as greater environmental stewardship and animal welfare while improving overall competitiveness.
Operating within Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), the applied research arm of Olds College, TAC will be overseen by an Advisory Board, including an OCCI representative and representatives from various stakeholder groups who will be tasked with providing high level input, business direction and industry perspective.
“Olds College is known for its long standing history in agriculture training, and this makes us the ideal location for the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production,” explains Tanya McDonald, Acting Vice President of Advancement, Olds College. “Our Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) has had a number of successes in livestock research, and the expertise of our faculty and research staff will continue to make a difference for producers who work with us. TAC will allow us to work directly with producers in helping solve problems faced in every livestock operation.”
TAC will allow Olds College to continue to expand collaboration efforts with key stakeholders throughout Alberta, including the University of Alberta, Livestock Gentec, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and dozens of industry producers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises who will have the opportunity to become more productive and innovative through readily available access to college expertise, technology and equipment.
“We are proud to invest in Canadian colleges that are at the forefront of applied research and technological innovation,” explains Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). “This unique program supports research and development excellence and invests in the next generation of highly skilled innovators. By deepening interactions between the college community and businesses we’re helping local companies increase their research and development capacity, access new technologies and boost their competitiveness.”
NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Their investments deliver discoveries – valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Their investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology. NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.
• NSERC aims to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports university students in their advanced studies, promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects. NSERC researchers are on the vanguard of science, building on Canada’s long tradition of scientific excellence.
• Technology Access Centre’s will focus on areas important to the region, provide technical services to clients, and conduct innovation projects with clients involving staff and students from the College. The College will also provide technical and management advice for clients’ innovation and technology projects, link small and medium sized enterprises with solution providers, provide services on a cost recovery basis and serve as a hub for the support of technology innovation in their region.
• Since 1999, Olds College has played a leadership role in applied research activity aimed at advancing innovation-based rural economic development in Alberta. The mandate of Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) is to enhance innovation in the agriculture, horticulture, land and environmental management sectors through market-focused applied research and the development of enabling processes and new products.
• Olds College has been engaged with livestock producers since 2002, and has proven itself as an industry ready research and product development leader. Our researchers, faculty and staff have significant expertise in feed efficiency, livestock management and meat processing education and research, and we are unique in having facilities and infrastructure relating to every aspect of livestock production from birth on the Olds College Farm to slaughter, processing and meat sales at the National Meat Training Centre.
• NSERC undertook an in depth review process of six institutions from across the nation, with three receiving funding for TAC projects. Olds College was selected as one of the three based on our applied research competence, delivery plan, accountability framework, market opportunities, organizational structure, and the potential for TAC to provide a significant role in innovation in our region.
• Over 5,500 Canadian companies turned to their local college or institute in 2015 to meet their innovation needs, develop new products or improve their services. This sends a strong signal to those who will be shaping Canada’s innovation agenda. (Canadian SMEs benefit from college and institute applied research – CiCan)
• Olds College has received funding for nine projects previously from NSERC, totalling over $7.5 million. Past projects include:
o “Biodiesel Production, Alternative Feedstocks, and Commercial Adoption”; $2,700,000.00 over five years.
o “Use of Genomic Tools to Improve Feed Efficiency in Purebred Hereford Cattle”; $630,000.00 over three years.
o “Sustainable Turfgrass Management in the Canadian Prairie Provinces”; $2,300,000.00 over five years.
o “Evaluation of Enhanced Biological Wastewater Treatment Product for Livestock Operations”; $25,000.00 over one year.
o “Rapid Scale-Up and Product Evaluation of Densified Biochar in Three Market Areas”; $114,536.00 over two years.
o “Hot Liquid and Steam Protection Clothing”; partnership with Alberta Garment, $25,000 over one year.
o “Olds College Centre for Feed Efficiency in Livestock – Prep Funding”; $15,000, one-time payment.
o “Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production”; $1,750,000.00 over five years.
o “Business and Research Introduction Between Keystone Labs and Olds College: Identifying Research Partnership Opportunities”; $473.00, one-time payment.