Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA)
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Cluster Program 2023-2028
The Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) is a not-for-profit entity founded in 2010 with an interest in advancing the productive capacity of field crops in Canada, particularly soybean, corn, wheat, barley, and oat. The CFCRA is comprised of provincial farm organizations and industry partners, including: Atlantic Grains Council, Grain Farmers of Ontario; Producteurs de grains du Québec; Manitoba Crop Alliance; Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers; Saskatchewan Pulse Growers; Prairie Oat Growers Association; SeCan Association; and FP Genetics.
CFCRA is requesting Letters of Intent (LOI) from researchers to identify research projects and collaborations that would address the CFCRA research priorities and strategic goals of lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, expanding value-added crop production, and creating a competitive, sustainable and profitable farming sector to provide significant benefits to Canada in years to come. Overall, research projects should have the goal of widespread use of final results by well-defined stakeholders along the grains value chain and end use markets, while maximizing economic benefit to Canadian farmers.
The new CFCRA Cluster will include research on three common rotational crops (soybean, corn, oat) and will have linkages to the national wheat and barley initiatives as well, with the approach of addressing unique needs of each crop to ensure that each one can thrive in a diverse crop rotation on Canadian farms that can improve whole farm profitability over time. These five grain and oilseed crops are commonly used in crop rotations throughout Canada, providing on-farm crop diversity and access to diverse markets, providing resilience to production and price risks for farmers, facilitating diverse domestic and export value chains, and providing environmental and economic benefits for Canada.
Government Targets for the Next Policy Framework (NPF) – Cluster Theme
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada has released three draft Themes which must be directly addressed by Cluster research under the NPF. These Themes are:
1. Climate Change & Environment: a new Cluster must address climate change and environmental sustainability to position the sector in contributing to the Government of Canada’s 2030 and 2050 climate targets (outlined in Canada’s Economic Strategy Tables, and the Strengthened Climate Plan). Research under this theme should focus on:
- Profitably reducing GHG emissions via increased nutrient use efficiency (particularly nitrogen).
- Reducing GHG emissions and/or sequestering carbon by strategically improving profitable opportunities for increasing cropping diversity on farm.
- Improving adaptation to climate change, including tolerance/resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
2. Economic Growth: a new Cluster must help drive ambitious economic growth (as outlined in documents such as the Barton Report). Research under this theme should focus on:
- Contributing value to Canada, economic growth, farm profitability and improving market share.
- Increasing farming system productivity.
- Ensuring Canadian competitiveness in global and domestic markets for value-added products.
- Developing new or improved products and production systems that are responsive to market trends and link farmgate value to market value.
- Demonstrating market and production resilience through profitable crop diversity to meet market demands with a long-term view.
- Appropriately incorporating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, or innovative “-omics” technologies for profitable and sustainable farming systems long-term.
3. Sector Resilience: a new Cluster must should undertake research aimed at improving sector resilience in response to market and societal pressures Research under this theme should focus on:
- Improving sector resilience in response to market and societal pressures
Each research project must directly address one of these Cluster Themes. Letters of Intent must identify which Theme their research best fits into and must explain how their research addresses that Theme.
To help guide the assessment of project applications, in addition to scientific merit, the following five core principles will be considered by the CFCRA and AAFC:
- Strategic value of the project to Canada.
- Whole value chain and supply chain perspectives.
- Inclusion of measurable results-based outcomes.
- Effective knowledge transfer and adoption (communicating the costs and benefits).
- Diversity, collaboration, and partnerships.
More details can be found in the program guidelines.
Eligible applicants include researchers in Canadian academic institutions, not-for-profit research institutions, federal and provincial government research organizations, and the private sector. All applicants must demonstrate the capacity to conduct sound science.
Applicants must also be able to outline how they will address CFCRA commercialization principles, encouraging transparent, non-exclusive and broad-based distribution of results and new technologies, with the goal to maximize economic benefit to Canadian farmers and the value chain.
Teams with complementary expertise are encouraged to tackle specific research targets together. Furthermore, collaboration should be sought between projects within the Cluster where scientific approaches and discoveries can be applied across different crop species. Where relevant, research projects should demonstrate linkage or coordination with others (regionally, nationally, and internationally). For example, pre-breeding and genomic tool development should show coordination with breeding programs to ensure the usability of tools being developed.
Research projects can be a maximum of 5 years in length, from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2028.
Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.
Letter of Intent Application Information Session
The Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) will be offering an Information Session for all researchers interested in submitting a Letter of Intent to the CFCRA for a future Cluster program expected under the Next Policy Framework (NPF), 2023-2028.
The information session will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 from 2:00PM-3:00PM EDT: Join the meeting.
You may also join the Information Session via telephone at 647-374-4685, Meeting ID: 880 0893 8699, Passcode 792806.
Researchers submitting a Letter of Intent must estimate the impact of their proposed project on the sector and identify metrics that would enable quantification of the value of the research upon completion. Please refer to Appendix B of the program guidelines - Sample Metrics for examples of metrics to consider in your research.
Researchers are strongly encouraged to include additional outside funding sources (confirmed or pending) in their Letters of Intent as the AAFC funding program is expected to be very competitive. Additional funding sources could include, but are not limited to, provincial government funding or other industry partner funding beyond the core CFCRA member groups.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
Researchers should be prepared to demonstrate how equity, diversity and inclusion is considered in their research projects (at the full proposal stage).
If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.
How to Apply
To obtain the Letter of Intent Template and supporting documents, please contact Matthew Czerwinski at the CFCRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researchers are to send completed Letters of Intent to Matthew Czerwinski, Project Manager, CFCRA at email@example.com.
All submitted Letters of Intent will receive an email confirming receipt within 2-3 business days.
Letter of Intent submission deadline: Wednesday, November 10, 2021 (11:59PM EST).
Please contact the Office of Research Services at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are invited to submit a full proposal. Deadlines for the full application will be updated as they are received from CFCRA.
Information For Co-applicants
If you are part of an application or team that has been invited to submit a full proposal but are not the lead, please contact the Office of Research as soon as possible.