New $30M genomics initiative to reduce carbon footprint and support economic growth of Canadian agriculture and food systems

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Source: Genome Canada

Genome Canada’s challenge-driven genomics initiative will support climate change mitigation and adaptation through strategic investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems.

Launched today, the Genome Canada-led Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems initiative will invest $30 million in cutting-edge genomic research and innovation to reduce the carbon footprint of Canada’s food production systems.

Building on 20 years of impact, this major new initiative will mobilize the collective strengths of the Canadian Genomics Enterprise—comprised of Genome Canada and six independent regional Genome Centres across the country—and the Canadian genomics research and innovation ecosystem. With co-funding from partners, this will mean a $60 million genomics investment to help Canada strengthen climate change resilience and achieve a net-zero carbon future.

Translating genomics research and innovation into solutions supporting food producers, resilient supply chains and the broader food system

Climate change poses serious risk to agricultural systems and the availability of food and other vital resources—from fuels to the raw materials used to develop everyday products. With Canada committed to ambitious action to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector and to supporting food security at home and abroad, Genome Canada is responding head-on with this new initiative to strengthen the resiliency, sustainability and economic growth of food production in Canada.

The Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems initiative will fund a portfolio of interdisciplinary genomics research and innovation projects connected by cross-cutting programs designed to ensure they translate into solutions for Canadians. The portfolio approach allows benefits from one solution to translate into other food systems/supply chains and cascade impact throughout the broader food system.

The development and launch of the initiative follow the announcement in Budget 2021 of $400 million for a new Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy, kickstarted by $136.7 million in federal investment through Genome Canada to support its challenge-driven programming.

Details on project funding were released today.

Potential impacts

  • Net-zero carbon agriculture and food systems – Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprints of food production and inputs manufacturing.
  • Biological carbon sequestration – Enhancing carbon sequestration to improve performance, mitigate climate impacts and support healthy ecosystems.
  • Resilient and sustainable food systems – Building resilient, sustainable food systems that reduce environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Scalable biology-based solutions – Resulting in novel, nature-based solutions and processes that can replace traditional consumptive production processes with sustainable and circular solutions for the environment and economy.

Quote

“Complex challenges demand strategic solutions—that will be developed and delivered by a diverse range of innovative Canadian stakeholders. Genome Canada is proud to mobilize the strengths of Canada’s genomics ecosystem in order to tackle the climate change threat to our agricultural and food systems head on.”
– Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada

By the numbers

  • $30M in federal investment through Genome Canada:
    • $24M for interdisciplinary research teams delivering genomics solutions for climate change mitigation and action
    • $4M for data coordination
    • $2M for knowledge mobilization and implementation
  • $3M maximum contribution by Genome Canada to any single project, and $1M minimum
  • At least 1:1 co-funding ratio for each Genome Canada-led project, doubling total investment to at least $60M.

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