Niagara’s Biotech and Advanced Agriculture Advantage

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Brock Universities Cairns Family Life and Bioscience Research Facility is focused on providing expertise to the expanding Niagara Regions Biotech Sector.

The Niagara region has become a magnet for biotechnology and advanced agriculture research through a number of established, developing, and new programs created through Brock University and Niagara College. Recent investments in the region will ensure that Niagara’s agricultural businesses will be able to compete on the global stage.

The research will support some of the world’s best known companies. There are over 205 food processing companies in the Niagara region employing over 3600 workers. Some of the these include:

  • Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc. known for their premium chicken products
  • Jungbunzlauer – citric acid
  • ADM Milling Co. – flour mill
  • Roman Cheese Products – specializing in pre-cooked frozen foods
  • Rich Products – a large variety of grocery food products
  • Northern Gold Foods – manufacturer of healthy breakfast and snack products.
  • Riverview Poultry – chicken products to restaurants
  • Mortimers Fine Foods – frozen food and pies
  • Post Foods Canada Corporation – Cereal products

Brock University recently entered a new era with the creation of five research groups designed to expand and disseminate expertise by taking a transdisciplinary approach to research. Two of which include:

The Institute for Advanced Biomanufacturing that will develop research into innovative biotechnology, agricultural products, and services to create jobs and economic growth.

The Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC): A Transdisciplinary Space for Transformative Change addresses the basic challenge of sustainability by collaboratively examining issues of: water and environmental resources, meanings and measurements of sustainability, climate change, adaptation and transformation, science and public policy, and social justice, development and health.

“Brock is taking a leadership role in pursuing research that is of vital interest to the community and the world,” says Gary Libben, Brock University’s Vice-President of Research. “The partnerships and synergies being created amongst Brock researchers and the community will result in information, programs, and services that will transform many lives.”

Coupled with Brock’s research strengths, Niagara College offers training expertise and programs to put those ideas into practice, and now has even more resources following a number of September 2016 announcements.

Niagara College continues to assist the region’s food and beverage innovators through applied research, innovation, and training with the announcement of $1.75 million over five years from the federal government to create a Technology Access Centre (TAC) for the Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre.

Another $135,710 in funding for Niagara College’s Agriculture and Environment Innovation Centre was awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) from the Applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants (ARTI). The funding will support the purchase of applied research equipment, and build and install six weather measurement stations in individual farm operations to collect data to be used in analytics for precision agriculture.

“This is exciting news for us, as it allows us to broaden and formalize the work begun several years ago,” notes Marc Nantel, associate vice-president of Research at Niagara College. “With this funding, we will be able to ramp up our activity and better serve the food and beverage industry, with increased equipment and services, as well as by hiring a centre manager, a full-time researcher and a dedicated technologist.”

Niagara College’s support for the advanced agriculture sector also includes the Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre at the Niagaraon- the-Lake campus, offering a full suite of services to support industry innovation and the commercialization of new food and beverage products and processes. There’s also the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Vineland Station that delivers premium horticultural products and lasting production innovations for local and international benefits.