Canada First Research Excellence Fund Programs

University of Saskatchewan is the only university in Canada to have received two Canada First Research Excellence Fund grants.  We are turning our key strengths into world-leading capabilities.


How can we best forecast, prepare for and manage water futures in the face of dramatically increasing risks?

GWF logoGlobal Water Futures

Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change

The University of Saskatchewan-led research program is funded in part by a $77.8-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The overarching goal of the program is to deliver risk management solutions -- informed by leading-edge water science and supported by innovative decision-making tools -- to manage water futures in Canada and other cold regions where global warming is changing landscapes, ecosystems, and the water environment. 

Global Water Futures (GWF) aims to position Canada as a global leader in water science for cold regions and will address the strategic needs of the Canadian economy in adapting to change and managing risks of uncertain water futures and extreme events. End-user needs will be our beacon and will drive strategy and shape our science. 

GWF is led by the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan in partnership with University of Waterloo, McMaster University and Wilfrid Laurier University. 

Global food security is one of the 21st century’s biggest challenges. To feed a rapidly growing world, farmers will need to grow more food over the next 50 years than has cumulatively been grown since humankind emerged. It's a daunting challenge.

Designing Crops for Global Food Security

It will require transformative crop-development techniques, so that breeders can “design” crops, rather than only select for desired traits such as yield, disease resistance, and stress tolerance, as farmers have done for the past 10,000 years.

Even though scientists have been assembling the instruction manual—the DNA sequences—for two decades, they cannot yet create “crops by design.”

Working with national and international partners, the University of Saskatchewan’s Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre will fundamentally change the plant-breeding process, and make it possible to develop new varieties with specific desired traits—all at a previously unimaginable speed and scale. Led by the Global Institute for Food Security, the research team will build on the university’s internationally renowned strengths in crop development, imaging technology and high-performance computing. Through a revolutionary “by-design” approach, the team’s innovations will transform plant-breeding.