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The New 'SuperScience' Centre Concept. November 29, 2007 Jeff Stewart, Science Director. Canadian Agriculture. $100B contribution to GDP i.e. 8% of GDP

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the new superscience centre concept

The New 'SuperScience' Centre Concept

November 29, 2007

Jeff Stewart, Science Director

canadian agriculture
Canadian Agriculture
  • $100B contribution to GDP i.e. 8% of GDP
  • Paradigm shift – moving from commodity agriculture to differentiated, multi-functional agriculture (producing food, feed, fiber and fuel; biodiversity; environmental services, societal needs – health & wellness, rural development)
  • Drivers: rise of renewable energy markets, environmental and food quality & safety concerns
    • Health and Wellness
    • Environment
    • Energy, Biomaterials, Green Chemical, Bio-Products
    • Economic Development

AAFC Research Centres

AAFC Research Facilities

AAFC Research Sites

  • 600 scientific and research professionals
  • 19 research centres, 13 research farms, 20 other sites spread over 30,227 hectares of land

Public good science

Regulatory-related research activities

St. John’s









Swift Current










governments universities and the private sector play different roles in science and innovation
Governments, universities, and the private sector play different roles in science and innovation
  • Canadian R&D expenditures are concentrated in governments and universities
  • Total spending on agricultural research in Canada is about $700M
  • Studies show that Canadian agricultural research expenditures return a 20:1 benefit to producers and consumers
  • But universities have stopped doing applied research in the sector because of the priorities of granting councils.
  • Governments research is directed by national priorities and longer term in nature
science technology environment federal s t strategy may 2007
Science & Technology Environment- Federal S&T Strategy – May 2007
  • Advocates:
    • Principles of Excellence
    • Focus on Priorities
    • Foster Partnerships
    • Enhance Accountability
  • Policy commitments to:
    • Entrepreneurial Advantage (business climate conducive to private sector innovation; strengthen public-private partnerships)
    • Knowledge Advantage (resources to priority areas Canada is good at – e.g. Natural resources & energy; health & life sciences, information & communications)
    • Government as an enabler and catalyst
aafc s science and innovation strategy in may 2006
AAFC’s Science and Innovation Strategy in May 2006
  • Focusing on Priorities
    • Enhancing human health and wellness through food and nutrition, and innovative products
    • Enhancing the quality of food and the safety of the food system
    • Enhancing security and protection of the food supply
    • Enhancing economic benefits for all stakeholders
    • Enhancing environmental performance of the agricultural system
    • Understanding and conserving Canadian bioresources
    • Developing new opportunities for agriculture from bioresources
  • Promoting World-Class Excellence
  • Creating Partnerships
aafc is well aligned with the federal s t strategy
AAFC is well-aligned with the federal S&T Strategy
  • Focusing on Priorities
  • Promoting World-Class Excellence

AAFC reviewed all research projects via an external peer review process aimed at:

      • assuring the best possible investment of public funds;
      • ensuring scientific excellence through competition of ideas; and
      • providing international caliber science.
  • Creating Partnerships
aafc has been engaged in a variety of partnerships since 1926
AAFC has been engaged in a variety of partnerships since 1926
  • Focusing on Priorities
  • Promoting World-Class Excellence
  • Creating Partnerships : AAFC has adopted and adapted various models
  • 1. AAFC staff embedded in a university Faculty --Several locations across the country
  • AAFC staff use university facilities and have access to graduate students
  • Expertise of both groups is complementary and allow for formation of a critical mass of scientists
  • The respective mandates are usually different
  • AAFC staff and facilities shared with other government departments – Fredericton, Lethbridge, Morden, St-John’s
  • AAFC, Environment Canada, provincial and other federal dept scientists co-located in facilities
  • Successful interactions
experience with different partnership models to date
Experience with different partnership models to date

3. AAFC staff and facilities on a University campus -- Saskatoon, Ste-Foy, Winnipeg, Agassiz, Ste-Boniface

  • The most widespread type of arrangement. Entire research centres (up to 250 staff members) are located on a University campus. There is sharing of expertise across organizations. Universities occasionally provide Adjunct Professor status. Limited sharing of facilities due to barriers between organizations.
  • In St- Boniface, a new facility was co-built with the University to develop a new discipline. AAFC and university staff housed in a co-owned facility, with obvious sharing of facilities.

4. Shared AAFC and OGDs facilities and staff on a University campus. -- Institute for Nutrition and Health (Charlottetown)

  • AAFC, NRC and the University of PEI co-own a new facility to perform research/training in a new sector. Creates synergy among organizations. Some barriers to integration remain.

5. AAFC staff and facilities working with university and/or private companies -- Matching Investment Initiative (MII).

  • AAFC works with private companies and makes expertise and facilities available for research and development work designed with private partners to bring ideas/products/services closer to market. MII matches private contributions to the project through in kind or operating funds.

Winnipeg Research Center

200 AAFC staff on Campus of

the Univ of Manitoba

bringing the best minds to focus on national projects
Bringing the best minds to focus on national projects
  • AAFC, other government departments, provincial and private organizations organized in virtual networks (“campus”)

Agricultural Biomass Innovation Program (ABIP)

Virtual “institutes” that do not focus on the physical location of facilities or expertise but on the coordination of research activities with the aim of using the best expertise in Canada for the development of a sector.

ABIP ($145M over 5 years) creates networks of private, AAFC, OGDs and academic organizations that can work on the same project. Less emphasis is put on facilities, but more on coordinating research across organizations to deliver new ideas and new knowledge.

7. Tapping into capacity outside government

- AAFC is in discussion with the academic sector about fulllfiling a research mandate in response to gaps in research capacity. Specific deliverables and heightened accountability are expected. The call for bids could be extended to private organizations in some sectors.

support for innovation
Support for innovation








Market Development








Full Scale

Market Ready

Product Development



  • A systems approach is needed to stimulate innovation and accelerate the adoption/transformation of knowledge into market-ready products
  • Changes are needed in the regulatory and intellectual property framework
  • A patchwork of programming along the continuum, among departments and stakeholders, increases administrative burden and impedes effectiveness
  • A pre-commercialization bottleneck exists from the lab bench to market entry
  • A national foresight and innovation coordination mechanism is needed
  • Alternative delivery models are needed
centre of excellence partnership the preferred option
Centre of Excellence – Partnership, the preferred option


  • The Cereal Research Centre
    • built in 1964
    • New facility cheaper than renovation

Canadian Grain Commission

  • The Canadian Grains Commission (science in support of regulations as well as grain quality services) is in a similar situation for infrastructure renovation. Both are in Winnipeg.

University of Manitoba and the Richardson Centre

  • Basic research in plant breeding and value-added products derived from cereals



CWB (funding partner)

centre of excellence
Centre of Excellence
  • Commitment to move forward
  • MNP feasibility study
  • $150M needed
  • Architectural considerations with multiple options
  • Report expected by spring – summer 2008
centre of excellence1
Centre of Excellence
  • Allows for an expansion of capacity
  • Coordinated approach to research and development
  • Builds on synergies