The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and Food from Thought welcome 20 scholars in new partnership to intensify training for agri-food leaders

Posted on Monday, September 16th, 2019

The provincial government and the University of Guelph have partnered through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and the University’s Food from Thought program to deliver enhanced training to graduate students.

The newly revamped Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship program brings together and aligns the former Food from Thought Research Assistantship Program and the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance-led HQP Program. Beginning September 2019, this partnership provides up to 20 master’s and PhD students with research and career interests in agri-food with stipends of $20,000 and $25,000 per year, respectively, through a competitive application process. The recipients will engage in innovative research that tackles key research priorities for the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and Food from Thought.

“New technologies, approaches and consumer preferences are influencing the way our food is produced, processed, manufactured, and reaches customers, requiring new and different skills for those entering the agri-food workforce,” says Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (Research). “Through highly unique experiential training and education initiatives, the Highly Qualified Personnel Scholarship Program is one of the University of Guelph’s many approaches to equip graduates to enter a dynamic industry.”

The program targets students with potential to make significant contributions to the agri-food sector and to excel in their research and careers. Recipients are selected based on their academic achievements and strong initiative, leadership, and entrepreneurship qualities.

“I want to extend a warm welcome to the scholars participating in the HQP Scholarship program this year,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Ontario is committed to the growth and success of our agri-food sector, and their exceptional enthusiasm, academic expertise and leadership are key to shaping the sector’s future.”

The HQP Scholars will take an Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Agri-Food Systems course, developed in partnership with the Arrell Food Institute. The practical course involves completing a team challenge project in collaboration with an industry partner, or participating in a workplace experience program. The HQP cohort will complete their experiential learning in the course alongside Arrell Scholars.

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance is a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph. Our research, laboratory, and veterinary capacity programs at U of G continue to ensure Ontarians have access to healthy, safe food, and that our farmers and businesses have the information they need to be competitive and sustainable. This partnership is working to usher in the next generation of agri-food innovations by supporting the people, places, and programs that generate Ontario solutions with global impact.

Food from Thought: Agricultural Systems for a Healthy Planet is a research program led by the University of Guelph, funded in part by a $76.6 million-dollar grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The program is transforming our understanding of agri-food systems through data- and digital-based approaches, positioning Canada as a global leader for innovative solutions that sustainably intensify production. Food from Thought’s core objectives are achieved through four key pillars: Novel research; training the next generation of agri-food leaders; innovation, commercialization, and knowledge mobilization; and expanding the University’s existing capacity for data science expertise.

Arrell Food Institute is elevating food to improve life by bringing people together to conduct research, training the next generation of agri-food leaders and shaping social, industrial and governmental decisions, always ensuring food is the central priority.

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