Universities and colleges to take over key provincial research programs

Schools will get transition grants to take on former government programs and researchers

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The provincial government is transferring several research programs to universities and colleges. They are:

University of Alberta

Will receive $3.7 million for taking on four programs and their lead researchers. They are Sheri Strydhorst (cereal agronomy), John Basarab (beef genomics and feed efficiency), Marcos Colazo (reproductive management in beef and dairy cattle), and Valerie Carney (poultry innovation project).

The province said the Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) agency will eventually “assume ongoing responsibility for the funding agreement with the University of Alberta.”

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Olds College

Will be given $10.5 million over three years to take over the barley program that has been operated by the Field Crop Development Centre in Lacombe.

In a government news release, the program was hailed for developing “tremendous” barley varieties, including feed varieties AB Advantage, AB Wrangler and AB Tofield as well as malting varieties AB Lowe and AB Brewnet.

RDAR interim chair David Chalack said his organization will “support the ongoing barley/triticale research at Olds College.”

University of Lethbridge

Will receive $1.8 million to take over three programs: Apiculture and pollination; specialty crops and irrigation research; and vegetable irrigation and potato production. Three researchers associated with those programs will join the university: Shelley Hoover (apiculture and pollination), Michele Konschuh (irrigated crops) and Kim Stanford (livestock pathogens).

Lethbridge College

Will take over the Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre (located just east of Lethbridge) and the Brooks Greenhouse.

The province said details “are currently being finalized for a $2-million agreement that will see the college manage the 200 acres and three pivots at the AITC.” Its news release said the college will hire five staff to manage the facilities, which will be available to scientists and the private sector conducting irrigation and greenhouse research.

Chalack said RDAR will “support” both facilities.

About the author

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Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair is a Red Deer-based reporter with a post-secondary education in professional writing and nearly 10 years of experience in corporate communications, policy development, and journalism. She's spent half of her career telling stories about an industry she loves for an audience she admires--the farmers who work every day to build a better agriculture industry in Alberta.

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