Agri-Food Innovation

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New technologies from fields to your fork.

The agri-food sector is a major driver of economic activity in Alberta. From significant contributions to our GDP, trade balance, and employment to being the source of our food supply, regenerating soil, and driving innovation, a vibrant agri-food sector is essential to help forge a healthy, sustainable, and prosperous future for Albertans today and for generations to come.  

The agri-food industry is at the forefront of some of the most exciting innovations. For researchers and companies, it is one of the most rewarding and productive fields in which to work and invest. Through the Agri-Food Innovation program, Alberta Innovates is supporting advancements in the industry that increase productivity, reduce inputs, lower emissions, and sustainably produce more with less. Our goal is to grow Alberta’s agri-food economy and enhance its knowledge workforce through the development and application of emerging technology.  

The Agri-Food Innovation program helps accelerate the research and innovation pathway through investment in data and digital solutions, autonomous systems, agriculture biotechnology, food processing innovation, and prion research.  

Data and Digital Solutions 

Advancements in data and digital technologies are supporting the evolution of our agriculture and food systems so they will be more resilient, productive, and sustainable. Data in agriculture is big business. By 2050, it is expected that the average farm will produce more than four million data points daily. Effectively using data and harnessing it into intelligence for better decision making is the promise of the data and digital revolution. These technologies offer solutions to reduce information asymmetries, lower transaction costs, and minimize inefficiencies across the value chain. Support for this area is aimed at development of new applications for digitalization of the agri-food sector at various stages of the agri-food value chain. This includes using artificial intelligence to develop data-driven decision models to optimize crop and livestock production, using traceability technologies and digital logistics to streamline manufacturing, and supply chains, and providing consumers with trusted information.  

Autonomous Systems 

Automation in agriculture and food is the practice of incorporating feedback systems using various technological innovations to automate operations and processes. Agri-food autonomous systems provide automated operations, monitoring, and/or analytical tools to optimize crop and livestock production and food processing. This includes novel robotics technology to automate operations and monitoring systems that integrate sensors, cameras, and edge devices. This area targets innovation that reduces costs, alleviates labour shortages, and/or improves the quality and safety of agriculture and food products at various stages of the agri-food value chain.  

Agriculture Biotechnology 

Based on an understanding of molecular biology, agriculture biotechnology is a collection of scientific techniques to improve agricultural productivity. These technologies leverage molecular tools for outcomes including but not limited to the accelerated intergenerational improvement of crops and livestock, rapid testing, and surveillance of diseases. Targeted improvements include increased resilience, resistance, sustainability, and productivity, ultimately reducing inputs and producing more with less. This area includes omics, novel vaccine development, biosensors, and bioinformatics.  

Food Processing Innovation 

With the world population steadily increasing and an estimated one-third of food lost or wasted, there is a crucial need to both optimize our food system and increase the level of safe, quality, and accessible food in a sustainable manner.  Food processing has a significant role to play in ensuring that agricultural commodities are transformed so they can be safely stored and transported to consumers not just in Alberta but around the world. Areas of interest include novel solutions for food waste reduction, smart packaging, emerging food processing technologies, and integrated supply chain solutions.  

Prion Research 

Prion diseases are fatal, neurodegenerative disorders that can manifest and impact people and animals in a variety of ways. These can include dementia in humans, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and elk. At Alberta Innovates, we build and support world-class capacity for prion and protein folding research and facilitate its use to further develop the industry and related policy. Recent investments are seeking to understand and address the increasing spread of CWD in particular which threatens the agriculture industry, the environment, and potentially human health.  

Project Funding

Agri-Food Innovation Program 

Funding is available through a continuous intake process for technology development projects that improve our province’s agri-food sector and demonstrate social, economic, and environmental benefits. For more information on this upcoming funding opportunity, please contact us.

Agriculture Funding Consortium

Alberta Innovates is a member of the Agriculture Funding Consortium, a collaborative one-window approach to funding agriculture research and innovation. The consortium provides co-ordinated funding and stimulates private/public sector participation that supports sustainability, diversification and growth of Alberta’s agriculture and food industry.

The 2022-23 call is now closed. For information on the program, click here.

Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge

The Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge provides funding for projects that develop or advance smart technologies to increase productivity, reduce production costs or increase the value of Alberta’s agri-food commodities.  

This program is currently closed to applications.

Chronic Wasting Disease Research Program

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research Program supports collaborative research directly related to understanding and managing CWD, a prion disease that affects deer, elk and other cervids.

This program is currently closed to applications.

Project Library 

Project TitleProgram(s)Funding Recipient(s)Project StatusDocument TypeFiledoc_categories_hfilterdoc_tags_hfilter
An analytic app for arm-chair ranching, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-graham-plastow university-of-alberta
An Interactive Farm Logistics Planning Software, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-godard verge-technologies-inc
Beef bull management, siring capacity and health using remote monitoring, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-jennifer-pearson university-of-calgary
Big‐data analysis to investigate climate-smart agriculture practices, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-navin-ramankutty university-of-british-columbia
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) contamination of vegetation, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources prion-research-agri-food-innovationdr-judd-aiken university-of-alberta
Chronic wasting disease transmission to sympatric species, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources prion-research-agri-food-innovationdr-sabine-gilch university-of-calgary
Combining vaccination with genetic resistance to protect caribou against CWD, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources prion-research-agri-food-innovationdr-hermann-schatzl university-of-calgary
Comparative genetic characterization of E. coli O157:H7 from pigs and cattle, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesagriculture-and-agri-food-canada dr-xianquin-yang
Continuous porcine macrophage cell line for the production of ASF Virus, , , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesdr-suresh-tikoo university-of-saskatchewan vido-intervac
Critical Traits Associated with Lodging in Canadian Barley Varieties and Lines, , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesalberta-agriculture-and-forestry
Development of a Biosensor for Fusarium Head Blight Forecasting in Wheat, , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationinnotech-alberta
Development of a screening model for porcine disease resilience, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesdr-graham-plastow university-of-alberta
Development of Bioactive Peptides from Cold-Pressed Canola Meals, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationdr-lingyun-chen university-of-alberta
Development of Economic Selection Indexes for Canadian Angus Cattle, , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationcanadian-angus-association
E. coli in Beef Processing: Selective Pressure for Heat-Resistant Pathogens, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationdr-michael-ganzle university-of-alberta
Electrochemical Plant Wearable Sensor Clip for Real Time Plant Analytics, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-samuel-mugo macewan-university
Enhancing Technology for Improved Productivity, Efficiency and Sustainability, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-josie-van-lent lakeland-college
Evaluation and adaptation of on-farm products, crops and agronomic practices, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationfarming-smarter ken-coles
Generation of a Platform for Elevating Protein and Yield in Canola, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesdr-guanqun-gavin-chen university-of-alberta
Improving Heat and Drought Resistance in Canola by Regulating DGAT1 Activity, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesdr-guanqun-gavin-chen university-of-alberta
Improving productivity and regenerating soil health of grazing land, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-joy-agnew olds-college
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for in-situ soil analysis, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-amina-hussein university-of-alberta
Livestock Gentec: Genomics for beef competitiveness and sustainability, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourceslivestock-gentec university-of-alberta
Mechanism of Survival of Enteric Pathogens in Dry Environments, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationdr-michael-ganzle university-of-alberta
Mechanisms of genetic resistance to CWD infection, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources prion-research-agri-food-innovationdr-debbie-mckenzie university-of-alberta
Nanocarrier technology for the next generation of cereal seed treatments, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesagriculture-and-agri-food-canada dr-john-laurie
Novel 3D Printed Foods from Alberta-Based Starch and Protein Sources, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationdr-john-wolodko university-of-alberta
Performance of optical spot spraying technologies in dryland farming, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-joy-agnew olds-college
Performance of wireless soil nutrient sensors in dryland farming, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-joy-agnew olds-college
Plant Protein-Based Gelling Ingredients for Food Applications, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationdr-lingyun-chen university-of-alberta
Practice Manager, , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationprovision-analytics-inc
Rapid Pathogen Detection, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationdr-lynn-mcmullen university-of-alberta
Remote Early Disease Identification System for Application in Beef Operations, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-brad-white precision-animal-solutions-llc
Smart In‐bin Grain Storage and Management System for Optimum Quality, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-chandra-singh lethbridge-college
Smart irrigation through observation and prediction, , , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-willemijn-appels lethbridge-college
Smart Technology for Optimized Greenhouse Crop Production, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources data-and-digital-solutions-agri-food-innovationdr-kenny-corscadden lethbridge-college
Structure-based chronic wasting disease vaccines: Analyzing their mode of action, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources prion-research-agri-food-innovationdr-holger-wille university-of-alberta
Technology to Manufacture Shelf Stable, Solid Muscle, Fermented Pork Loin, , CompleteProject Summaryagri-food-innovation clean-resources food-innovation-agri-food-innovationsoliterra-ditalia
Yeast Enriched With Punicic Acid for Reduced Antibiotic Use in Poultry, , , ActiveProject Summaryagri-food-innovation agriculture-biotechnology-agri-food-innovation clean-resourcesdr-guanqun-gavin-chen university-of-alberta

Visit our full Project Library to view reports and summaries for the rest of the Clean Resources division. 

Partner Organizations

CAAIN

Alberta Innovates led the establishment and is a core partner of the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network.

CAAIN is a group of technology and agri-food companies, universities, colleges and research institutions working together to create new automation and digital technological solutions for Canada’s agricultural and food producers.