Skilled People Make the Agricultural Sector Successful

 images of students side by side: woman using a piece of technical equipment and a man holding handful of soil

The Alliance funds the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) program to support the development of highly skilled graduates who can meet the changing demands of the agri-food and rural sector. The health of these sectors depends on a vibrant talent pool of skilled, forward-thinking learners. The Alliance is dedicated to supporting advanced skill development and learning to enhance the intellectual capacity of our citizens to solve current and future problems.

HQP Scholarships

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance is committed to reaping social, economic, environmental and public health benefits through its programs. Through the Alliance, HQP scholarships are awarded to support future generations of researchers, policy-makers and innovators in agri-food.

Masters and PhD students complete research that meets OMAFRA’s research priorities and learn firsthand how forward-thinking research can be mobilized to have a positive impact on society.

The program provides $2.5 million over five years for graduate scholarships in Alliance research theme and priority areas, and has provided specialized agri-business and workplace experience for over 125 graduates to-date. 

HQP scholarships are awarded to support future generations of researchers, policy-makers and innovators in agri-food. Master’s students (thesis-based) receive $21,300 per year for a maximum of two years, and Doctoral students receive $26,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Students receive specialized in-class training in business, agriculture and commercialization, and have meaningful employment experiences during the work semesters that are included as part of their graduate studies. 

Industry partners are integral to the success of the HQP Scholarship Program. We value the role of our industry, government and community partners, who provide valuable experience for the students during work semesters. Some partners who have hosted students include: Chicken Farmers of Ontario, OMAFRA, DRDC-CRTI, Martin Mills, BIOMIN Canada, Nutreco, Wallenstein Feed and Supply, C&M Seeds, Pioneer Hi-bred, Rural Ontario Institute, Monsanto, Aqua-Cage Fisheries, Alltech Inc. and Kraft. 

Call Status

The Call is now closed for 2018. No further applications will be accepted in 2018. The next Call is expected to be in February 2019.

Students who submitted 2018 applications (i.e. their application status on their Researcher Workbench is "Letter of Intent - Review") will be notified in writing about the outcome of their applications in May.


The HQP Scholarship Program provides financial support for students entering an established graduate program at the University of Guelph. Your academic studies will be governed by the guidelines and regulations of your home department.

To be eligible for the HQP Scholarship Program you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen, landed immigrant, or studying under an international visa;
  • be entering your first semester of a Masters (thesis-based) or PhD program at the University of Guelph;
  • not have already started your graduate program;
  • not be an OMAFRA employee;
  • not concurrently hold other major awards such as NSERC, OGS, SSHRC, or CIHR.

How to Apply

Note: The application form is only available when a program Call is open.

The student and their Faculty Advisor jointly complete an application form. Our web-based software does not allow the submission of an application that has not been completed by both student and Faculty Advisor.

To obtain a Faculty Advisor, you need to contact a graduate program offered at the University of Guelph or contact a faculty member directly in the department of the discipline which best represents your desired area of study.

For a list of graduate programs visit the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website. Click on the link for your desired program to see the graduate student contact.

International applicants – visit the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website for information about applying to the University of Guelph. You’ll need to apply about 9 months in advanced of your proposed semester start date.



General Inquiries:


About the HQP Program:

Keith Warriner, Professor and HQP Scholarship Program Coordinator
University of Guelph
519.824.4120 ext. 56072