As a world-leading agricultural research university, the University of Saskatchewan will be a pivotal partner in Canada's agricultural supercluster—Protein Industries Canada—announced today in Ottawa by Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains as one of five national superclusters awarded a total of $950 million.
The industry-led supercluster will create new products that add value to crops such as wheat, canola, and lentils and other pulses, generating over $700 million in new commercial activity over five years and approximately 4,700 jobs over the next decade. The supercluster involves more than 120 corporate, industry and post-secondary partners, with total cash, in-kind venture capital investment from partners of $400 million.
“World-class research universities are the platform on which innovative economies are built, and we are are proud to be part of this effort to build an inclusive, innovative economy,” said University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff.
“Drawing on decades of agricultural research success, the U of S is home to globally recognized centres of excellence, including the Crop Development Centre, Global Institute for Food Security, and the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. This unparalleled research capacity reinforces the university’s key role in the success and sustainability of Canada's agricultural supercluster.”
Protein Industries Canada is a pan-western Canadian cluster, covering Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The consortium includes small- to large-sized enterprises, academic institutions, and other stakeholders involved in crop breeding, agricultural crop production, food and food ingredient processing, and their supporting services companies. Plant-based protein is a $13-billion market of which Canada currently has a minimal share.
With world-leading expertise in plant genetics and breeding, crop production and processing, and molecular imaging and analysis, the University of Saskatchewan is set to help train hundreds of students—across multiple disciplines such as IT, business leadership and plant sciences—as innovative leaders in the plant-based agri-food sector.
“The unique combination of vital infrastructure and world-class researchers at the U of S will provide the companies participating in the supercluster with the innovative edge to accelerate commercialization and add value at every point along the supply chain,” said Maurice Moloney, executive director and CEO of the U of S Global Institute for Food Security.
The Innovation Supercluster Initiative is a first of its kind for Canada. The other four successful superclusters are: AI-powered Supply Chain supercluster; Advanced Manufacturing supercluster; Digital Technology supercluster; and Ocean supercluster. The initiative aims to foster new partnerships and large-scale programs between the private sector and universities that will help to shape Canada’s economy in the future.