Canadian Wheat Research Coalition
Canadian National Wheat Cluster
Funding organizations from across Canada are participating in the development of a Canadian National Wheat Cluster for submission to the next federal Agriculture Policy Framework (APF), the successor to the current Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) programming. The current Canadian National Wheat Cluster (CNWC), funded by many of these organizations and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the CAP AgriScience Cluster Program, is a $25 million five-year investment into wheat improvement that ends in March 2023. The funding partners wish to build on this successful venture for the next APF and are initiating a Request for Letter of Interest (LOI). The next APF is expected to be accepting funding applications by the summer 2022 and to be fully launched by April 1, 2023.
The Canadian Wheat Research Coalition, a collaboration between the Alberta Wheat Commission, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Manitoba Crop Alliance, will be the lead applicant of the next Canadian National Wheat Cluster. Other Funding Organizations supporting this Request for LOIs include the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (whose members include Grain Farmers of Ontario, Producteurs de grains du Québec, Atlantic Grains Council, and SeCan Association), Ducks Unlimited, Saskatchewan Winter Cereals Development Commission and Western Grains Research Foundation.
The Funding Organizations have met to discuss the research issues of greatest importance to wheat producers. The eligible research areas defined below are intended to provide researchers with the scope of research that is of interest for the next Canadian National Wheat Cluster. The Funding Organizations aim to invest in scientific research that ensures profitability for producers and long-term sustainability of wheat in cropping systems.
Research priority areas include the following:
1. Climate stress resilience
Cultivar and germplasm development for improved yield stability/elasticity in the face of unpredictable weather and a changing climate, specifically:
- drought resistance,
- water use efficiency,
- winter survival for winter wheat,
- strong straw with good lodging resistance.
Agronomic management for climate resilience includes:
- harvest management strategies to even out maturity while maintaining crop quality,
- a GxExM framework and management practices to maximize the value of genetic gains and overcome environmental challenges.
2. Sustainable control of insect pests and disease
Genetic control is a preferred method for management of many pests and diseases. Research activities could include:
- cultivar and germplasm development to reduce pest- or disease-associated loss of yield and/or quality,
- the development and application of biotechnology tools to accelerate the breeding process,
- pre-breeding for future resistance to diseases and insects, including identification of new sources of resistance and the effects of new resistance sources on wheat yield and/or quality,
- development of predictive models for priority diseases (e.g., Fusarium head blight, rusts, ergot and mildew).
Management strategies to mitigate pest damage, disease and disease expression in wheat are also important tools.
Pest and disease surveillance/surveys are crucial for the identification of emerging threats and to prioritize germplasm development for resistance to key pests and diseases. While some regional survey/ surveillance capacity exists, this call for projects invites proposals for innovative methods that will make wheat pest surveillance/surveys more efficient and/or more coordinated.
Fusarium head blight is a key priority for Canada. Genetic control is critical, with awareness of the role of DON glycosides as part of total DON levels. Agronomic management of FHB, including DON and DON glycosides, is also a priority.
Other priority disease targets include: rusts (leaf, stripe, stem), leaf spots (i.e. Septoria, Tan Spot), and bacterial blight (including new screening tools for bacterial blight). Other important disease targets include: ergot, loose smut, bunt and, specifically for eastern Canada, powdery mildew.
- Insect Pests:
Priority insect targets: wheat midge (western Canadian), wheat stem sawfly (solid stem varieties for western Canada) and wireworm (especially genetic control).
3. Nutrient use efficiency (NUE)
- Cultivar and germplasm development for enhanced NUE;
- Management practices that improve NUE, maintain appropriate grain quality, and reduce the environmental footprint of wheat production;
- Modify and extend management practices that increase the adoption of 4R nutrient management on farm.
4. Wheat Quality
Research priorities for grain quality include:
- pre-harvest sprouting resistance (grade protection);
- quick dry down trait (without early maturity yield loss);
- higher, more consistent protein in spring wheat (eastern Canadian varieties);
- rapid non-destructive tools and/or molecular markers for wheat quality to improve breeding efficiency (e.g., gluten strength, milling properties).
Additional information can be found on the Canadian National Wheat Cluster website.
Eligible researchers include those in universities, not-for-profit research institutions, and federal and provincial research organizations.
The current Canadian National Wheat Cluster (CNWC) is a $25 million, five-year investment into wheat improvement that ends in March 2023. Research funding may be secured for up to five years from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2028.
Up to a maximum of 15%.
Research funding may be secured for up to five years 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.
Are you a researcher interested in submitting a proposal for the next Canadian National Wheat Cluster?
Join the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition (CWRC) and funding partners on September 1, 2021 at 9:00 AM (MST) for an informative session for scientists on submitting a proposal to the next Canadian National Wheat Cluster (2023-2028). Click here to register.
For more information, including the official call for Letters of Interest (LOI) and the LOI template please see: Canadian National Wheat Cluster — Welcome | CWRC (wheatresearch.ca).
If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.
How to Apply
LETTER OF INTEREST (LOI) SUBMISSION
- A LOI submission must align with the eligible research priority areas. Full details can be found on the Canadian National Wheat Cluster website;
- Eligible researchers include those in universities, not-for-profit research institutions, and federal and provincial research organizations;
- Research funding may be secured for up to five years from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2028;
- Proposals that involve broad regional and national collaboration are strongly encouraged. International collaboration should be noted, where relevant.
Please submit your LOI in WORD format and use the “Letter of Interest Template Form – Canadian National Wheat Cluster” found on the Canadian National Wheat Cluster website. Send completed LOI (WORD format) by email to: Blair Goldade, Research Program Manager (SWDC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All submitted LOI will receive an email confirming receipt within 2-3 business days.
TIMELINE FOR SUBMISSION
- The process will be carried out in two stages: i) the LOI and ii) full proposal stage;
- LOI submission deadline: September 28, 2021;
- Successful LOI applicants will be notified of the decision and asked to provide a full proposal for further consideration;
- Full proposals will go through a robust review process prior to final decisions.