Smart Agriculture and Food Digitization and Automation Challenge


Alberta Innovates


Smart Agriculture and Food Digitization and Automation Challenge

For More Information

Please visit for program information.

Please contact Virginia Mulligan by e-mail at


An informational webinar with more details will be held on August 20, 2020. More details on how to register and attend the webinar will be available soon. The webinar will also be available for viewing on on or before August 24.


The Smart Agriculture and Food Digitization and Automation Challenge supports projects to develop smart technology or generate knowledge to increase productivity, reduce production costs, or increase the value of Alberta’s agri-food commodities.

Smart technologies for this program include but are not limited to:

  • Digital transformation of the agri-food sector
    • Development of new applications for digitization of the agri-food sector;
    • Prototype development and validation of new technologies.
  • Automation throughout the agri-food value chain
    • Research into autonomous systems and prototype development.
  • Validation of new smart technologies and solutions

 Projects must provide solutions to challenges faced by Alberta’s agri-food sector and that clearly demonstrate social, economic, and environmental benefits.


The lead applicant can be from within either the agri-food or technology industries. Examples include industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research and development (R&D) organizations, post-secondary institutions, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and government research labs.

Applicants are not required to be based in Alberta, but must demonstrate a clear value proposition for the province. 

Applicants are encouraged to include additional funding collaborators, but having collaborators is not mandatory.

Collaboration between multiple organizations is encouraged to enhance and leverage the value proposition by demonstrating opportunities for technology validation and sharing of results. Applicants are encouraged to engage and include Alberta’s post-secondary and research institutions in the project consortium where appropriate. It is desirable for projects to attract and train highly qualified personnel who can increase Alberta’s innovation capacity.

When the applicant is not based in Alberta, it is especially encouraged to have Alberta-based collaborators.

Funding Availability

Up to $2 million dollars will be made available to support projects that aim to deliver new smart technologies or generate new knowledge useful to Alberta’s agriculture and food producers.

Maximum Project Value

Funding for individual projects will be a maximum of $500,000.

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

Three years. Projects must be complete by December 31, 2023.

Special Notes

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.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

Please submit a PDF copy of your application, along with an OR-5 Form to the Office of Research Services ( a minimum of one week prior to the external deadline.

External Deadline

Expression of Interest

External Deadline

Full Project Proposal - by invitation only.

How to Apply

Please refer to the Program Guide for further instructions on how to apply at (

Step 1. Expression of Interest

Applications must be submitted electronically using the Alberta Innovates online Grants Management System (

Step 2. Full Proposal

Applicants whose Expression of Interest are approved will be invited to submit a Full Proposal. The review process at this phase is highly competitive and only the highest-quality projects will be considered for funding.

Step 3. Project Management

For approved Full Proposals, applicants will execute an investment agreement with Alberta Innovates to proceed with the activities of the project.

Project payments are based on milestone achievement and progress reporting.

For Questions, please contact

Alberta Innovates

Virginia Mulligan
Program Manager - Smart Agriculture and Food

Office of Research

Gregor Lawson, Industry Liaison Manager
Research Innovation Office
519-824-4120 x54807

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