Highly Qualified Personnel Scholarship program trains the next generation of agri-food leaders

Posted on Monday, November 29th, 2021

College of 14 headshots of HQP scholars with the text "Introducing Highly Qualified Personnel 2021/22 Scholars" and a banner at the bottom of the logos for University of Guelph, Canada First Research Excellence Fund and the Government of Ontario.

Upcoming December event to celebrate 2020/21 HQP scholars’ research and introduce 2021/22 cohort

The University of Guelph is training the next generation of agri-food innovators, thanks to the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship program. The HQP program is a competitive scholarship program jointly funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund through Food from Thought at the University of Guelph.

On December 2nd, an online event will feature the HQP Scholarship program and how it is supporting Ontario’s agri-food sector. The upcoming event will highlight the achievements of current HQP scholars by providing them the opportunity to introduce and discuss their research and experience engaging with industry partners. The event will also introduce the 14 new HQP Scholarship recipients who began their graduate studies at the University of Guelph in the 2021/22 academic year.

A combination of research and on-the-job training helps prepare HQP scholars to become future researchers, policy makers, business leaders and innovators who can meet the changing demands of the agri-food industry. Scholars engage with innovative research that tackles key research priorities from food safety to competitive production systems, supporting the Ontario agri-food sector and beyond.

“The University of Guelph is a global leader in agri-food and rural research,” says Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at the University of Guelph. “We are proud to work with our partners at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Food from Thought program to train the next generation of agri-food leaders and professionals who will undoubtedly have a profound positive impact on how our food is produced, processed, manufactured, and how it reaches customers.”

“Education and innovation are fundamental to the agri-food sector thriving in the future so we’re proud to support the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship program,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  “Developing agri-food leaders who are able to take innovation and research to the next level, will result in greater competitiveness, new technology development, and will grow our sector.  These future leaders will help us build a resilient, and robust agri-food sector for generations to come.”

The HQP Scholarship program targets students with the 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. Past recipients confirm the HQP program has helped them develop the skills to excel in the agri-food sector.

“Being recognized as an HQP Scholarship recipient has given me confidence and motivation throughout my doctoral program,” says PhD student Hiral Jariwala. Moreover, enrolling in the HQP program has given Jariwala “knowledge about how to transfer technology and knowledge mobilization” in his research focusing on offsetting carbon emissions and fertilizer rates.

Watch all the “Thank You” videos from the 2020/21 HQP scholars.

HQP Scholarship program emphasizes community engagement and industry partnerships

Industry partners are integral to the success of the HQP Scholarship program. Each year HQP scholars and their Arrell Food Institute peers are paired with an organization or business to build new skills through experiential learning. Together, these teams tackle an agri-food problem and develop a solution that draws on the expertise of the participating students.

Explore the 2020/21 community partnership projects.

Register for the HQP Scholars event via the Eventbrite page.

Accepting applications for 2022/23 HQP Scholarship

The annual HQP Scholarship application process is currently underway. Highly skilled graduates who are looking to meet the changing demands of the agri-food and rural sector are invited to apply for the 2022/23 academic year.

Applications will be accepted until January 18, 2022.

Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found on the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance website.

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