MaRs Landing Mission Continues

April 07, 2009 - Campus Bulletin

MaRs Landing, an initiative of U of G and the City of Guelph, has reached the end of its six-year term, but its legacy will live on through a variety of projects and partnerships, says Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

Launched in 2002, MaRs Landing (Medical and Related Sciences Links to Agricultural Network for Development and Innovation with Guelph) was created to connect Guelph to Toronto's MaRs Discovery District, Ontario's biotechnology centre.

U of G will now work directly with the MaRs Discovery District to link agri-food innovations with medical sciences and health advances. This will give the University and the City of Guelph greater visibility in advancing partnerships and commercialization activity, Hall says. U of G will also continue to emphasize agri-food and health through various undertakings.

"Guelph's agri-food cluster will continue to forge connections and to turn scientific discoveries into new innovative foods and other health and environmental products," he says.

So will the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre (ATCC), which opened in 2008 in U of G's Research Park to commercialize new agricultural products. The centre is intended to help turn new ideas in biofuels, bioproducts, clean energy, waste management and health into products quickly and successfully.

"We want to let people know that when it comes to the life sciences, Guelph is the place to invest in," says Sue Bennett, acting director of U of G's Business Development Office. She adds that the University is conducting a strategic redevelopment of the office to better co-ordinate with the City of Guelph and to work with the ATCC in commercializing research.

Guelph remains the centre of the largest agri-technology cluster in Canada, with major crop protection and animal health companies, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, provincial and national agri-technology associations, major institutes, private-sector partners and equipment suppliers.

Along with the City of Guelph, U of G and local biotech companies have launched a new marketing slogan – "Grow Guelph" – and are developing marketing strategies to strengthen brand recognition for life sciences and agri-food opportunities in Guelph and Wellington County.

U of G also continues to explore connections through its formal research agreement with OMAFRA. Through this partnership, the University delivers vital research, agri-food and veterinary education, and laboratory services programs.

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