U of G, Vineland Ink New Partnership

May 06, 2009 - News Release

Officials from the University of Guelph and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre today signed a research partnership agreement to collaborate on national and international industry-driven horticultural research initiatives.

The agreement, signed by Kevin Hall, the U of G's vice-president (research), and Jim Brandle, Vineland's chief executive officer, is expected to yield new ideas and products for Canada’s grape growers and winemakers, fruit producers and professional landscapers, ranging from new fruit cultivars with health-boosting antioxidants to wider food choices at the supermarket.

Both partners will conduct research and develop products for the multi-million-dollar agri-food industry, said Rich Moccia, U of G's interim associate vice-president (research) agri-food and partnerships.

"Signing this new agreement takes us in a brand new direction," Moccia said. "It takes the best of the capacity of the University of Guelph and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and establishes a partnership to explore and use the latest technologies to improve products, quality and choice and to increase economic wealth."

It also promotes building private- and public-sector partnerships, funding intellectual capacity and human resources, and allowing for more rapid commercialization of research technology.

"The signing of this partnership agreement with the University of Guelph is an important milestone for us at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre," Brandle said. "We're very pleased to be able to work with the calibre of faculty scientists, researchers and staff who are on site at Vineland as we move to deliver on our industry-driven research priorities."

The agreement builds on research collaborations involving U of G faculty members in the Department of Plant Agriculture and will allow Guelph scientists to explore new research collaborations at Vineland, especially in three main fields:

 Consumer insights and product innovation. A new sensory analysis laboratory, directed by a sensory and consumer science expert, will allow researchers to conduct consumer and marketing tests of new wines, juices and horticultural products.

 Applied genomics. A world-leading researcher in applied genomics will use biotechnology and plant breeding to help develop horticultural crops to increase yield, resist disease and meet consumer demand.

 Horticultural production systems. Researchers in Guelph and Vineland will develop horticultural technologies and production methods, including cultivation techniques, greenhouse technologies and pest management.

Established in 2006, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Both levels of government will continue to fund Vineland research over a five-year period.

Under the new agreement, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will receive about $1.75 million a year through the existing University of Guelph/OMAFRA partnership agreement for agri-food research, teaching and laboratory services.

The Vineland research station has existed for more than 100 years. More than 150 new varieties of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants have been developed there. In the 1960s, it was grouped under the Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario, along with research stations in Simcoe and the Holland Marsh. All three stations were transferred to U of G's Department of Plant Agriculture in 1998 as part of the original agreement with OMAFRA.

Recently, U of G researchers based at Vineland have developed varieties of fruits for Canadian growers, including peaches, plums, grapes, cherries and pears. They have also studied mushroom production, cultural management of farm and orchard varieties, and environmental management


Vineland Research and Innovation Centre: Darlene Webb, director, public relations and communications
905 562-0320, Ext. 766, darlene.webb@vinelandresearch.com

U of G: Lori Bona Hunt, Communications and Public Affairs, 519 824-4120, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1