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Scientific Capacity

The Ministry of Agriculture recognizes the need to attract and retain highly qualified scientists and researchers to ensure that Saskatchewan has the capacity and depth to develop new agricultural knowledge and technologies relevant to our climatic conditions. To address this significant challenge, the ministry has created 14 Strategic Research Program (SRP) Chairs at the University of Saskatchewan, each consisting of a scientist and a technician. Each chair represents an area of strategic importance where Saskatchewan previously lacked intellectual capacity. In addition to these chairs, the ministry has also created three endowed chairs and four Agri-Food Innovation Fund (AFIF) Chairs to complement and strengthen the expertise at the University of Saskatchewan.

The Strategic Research Program focuses on four theme areas:

  • Crop Genetic Improvement
  • Livestock Development
  • Food and Bioproducts Development
  • Soils and Environment

In addition to these chairs, the ministry has also created four endowed chairs and one Agri-Food Innovation Fund (AFIF) Chair to complement and strengthen the expertise at the University of Saskatchewan.

Agri-Food Innovation Fund (AFIF) Chairs

  • Dr. Vladimir Vujanovic – AFIF Chair in Agricultural Microbiology and Bioproducts;

Endowed Chairs

Dr. Rex Newkirk – Chair in:

Feed Processing Technology (Program Framework)

Feed represents the largest single cost factor (65 per cent) in animal production. Advancements in feed processing technology have the ability to reduce this cost through a number of distinct avenues including improving feed quality and nutritional value, decreasing the cost of production and increasing the utilization of local feed ingredients. Combined, these benefits could translate beyond pure economic benefits to positively impact the environment, animal health and food quality. This program leverages the Feeds Innovation Institute and the strong core of expertise within the Department of Animal and Poultry Science stand to benefit substantially from a strong research program focused on feed processing.

Dr. Yongfeng Ai – Chair in:

Carbohydrate Quality and Utilization (Program Framework)

Saskatchewan has a major cereal, pulse, oilseed and special crops industry, producing high-quality grains mainly for export as primary commodities. In recent years, the focus has shifted to add more value prior to shipping. Significant potential exists for developing and supporting a value-added processing industry utilizing plant carbohydrates and their derivatives for food (including functional foods and nutraceuticals), feed and industrial bioproducts. Research and development in carbohydrate quality and utilization will make a significant contribution to this effort.

Dr. Bishnu Acharya – Chair in:

Bioprocess Engineering (Program Framework)

The Bioprocess Engineering Program is designed to support the development and enhancement of biotechnological processes that optimize biological product yield and the quality of end products. The program will partner with other researchers and local bioprocessing businesses in designing processes to scale up production of end products in order to enhance the processing of grains, oilseeds, pulses, cereal and oilseed straw (fibre), and crop residue.

The program in bioprocess engineering is expected to make a significant contribution to the development, refinement and adoption of new methods that generate higher value products from Saskatchewan agricultural products.

Dr. Breeana Kelln – Chair in:

Beef Industry Integrated Forage Management and Utilization

The Beef Industry Integrated Forage Management and Utilization Chair has been established at the University of Saskatchewan to connect the study of soils, plants, animals, economics, and ecosystems to tap into forage crops’ full range of benefits.

Ranchers need science to better manage complex forage systems, implement effective utilization strategies, and understand the associated environmental benefits created through the dynamic soil-plant-animal interface. This research chair position will help further our understanding in these areas.

Funding for the research chair is provided from a variety of sources including:

  • industry contributions from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA), and
  • contributions from the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan.

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