U of S researchers in global food security awarded grants from Microsoft

GIFS Sponsored Student Sees Opportunities for A Sustainable Nigeria, Including Food Security


Dolapo Fadare

At the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), educating the next generation of scientists and researchers is a top priority. And as the Institute works toward its vision of creating ingenious science that delivers sustainable food security for the world, there are many opportunities where that education can occur.

GIFS recently contributed to sponsoring University of Saskatchewan Economics student Dolapo Fadare to attend the Mining & Agribusiness for Nigeria’s Prosperity Annual Economic Summit, October 27 to November 4, 2017. Dolapo had been invited to attend the Summit by the President of the Global Economic Institute for Africa.

After returning from Nigeria, Dolapo provided GIFS with a summary of what she learned at the Summit about the sustainability of Nigeria, including food security in the West African federal republic.

The beginning of my footprints, where do yours begin?

The One-Sided Narrative

My experience at the economic summit opened my eyes to see Nigeria through a different lens. Often at times, like a number of other African countries, the international image of Nigeria is largely framed by that of Western media. Traditionally, when Nigeria is in the news it is usually related with corruption, disease and illness, or crime related incidences like Boko Haram. For someone that comes from the region, these depictions of my homeland negatively affect the way I see the future of my country and myself.

To elaborate, it is easy for one to feel demoralized about a certain issue when one is only confronted with one-sided narratives. Personally, in interacting with young African Diaspora in Saskatchewan, a number of people are reluctant about finding ways to serve their countries to foster sustainable growth. Although the media is not the only contributing factor, it does paint an image that evokes a continent with a hopeless population that is plagued with numerous issues and incapable of solving those issues by itself.

There’s a second part to every story…

Traveling to Nigeria allowed me to better understand my own country. When I first arrived in Nigeria, I was anxious because I did not know what to expect at all. But the five days I spent there was truly transformative and will continue to impact my life. My short time spent revealed to me the incredible power of a few dedicated people, the significance of agriculture to build a sustainable future for Nigeria, and the vast amount of opportunities available in the country.

In the words of Dr. Fred Olayele, President of the Global Economic Institute for Africa, there are two categories of Africans in the Diaspora. In one category are those who are aware of the barriers to development in the country and believe it is a hopeless case that cannot be solved. On the other hand, there are those who are fully aware of all the challenges, yet make efforts to improve the socio-economic conditions despite all odds.

I was astonished by the number of stakeholders on the ground that were providing concrete solutions to developmental barriers. Individuals like Dr. Olayele, who has created a platform for inter-disciplinary sectors and industries to collaborate between the Africa continent and Canada. And Professor Utomi who is currently working an inter-state industrial park for Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Lastly, Dr. Chidi Oguamnam, an Ottawa-based professor, who is currently working to improve the quality of the educational institutions by improving Nigerian professors’ accessibility to grants for research. These are just a few of the people from the handful of individuals that were driven to use their own skills, experience, and creativity to solve niche problems. Meeting these individuals further ignited my desire to find innovative solutions to foster sustainable economies. It also reinforced the idea that I was not alone in this life-long quest.

A market of 180 Million people

Apart from my interactions, I was also astonished by the plethora of business opportunities that were available across multiple industries. The country has a population of over 180 million people with a median age of 19 exemplifying a young labour force. More particularly, I learned the Nigerian government was strategically diversifying Nigeria’s economy with a focus on the mining and agriculture industries. Coincidentally, these are the same industries that Saskatchewan is strong at. Nigeria alone has 44 different minerals in 500 locations, however the country is not recognized as a world player in the mining industry. Most importantly, these minerals have not been fully explored as a means to develop the economy and improve civilians’ quality of life. However, compared to mining, the underdevelopment of agricultural sector possesses a higher threat to people’s way of life.

66 percent (61 million hectares) of Nigeria’s landmass is arable however only about half of the landmass is cultivated. On the bright side, due to an increase in the population engaging in farming at a subsistence level, agricultural land usage has increased over key crops. However, given that Nigeria is on the trajectory of being one of the fourth largest country in the world, it faces the incredible challenge of industrializing its agricultural sector and feeding its current and future population. Currently in the country, the image of agriculture is looked down upon instead of being viewed as a credible profession with integrity.

This negative image is largely affected by the fact that 60-70% of Nigerian famers are traditional rural farmers who engage in agriculture as a way to survive. In addition, the sector is characterized by the inability to produce crops efficiently which has created a production deficit. Consequently, the country imports the majority of the food consumed especially rice, oil palms, and sorghum despite the fact that it also produces these crops. Even when it comes to agricultural crops that are considered to be the country’s strengths, such as cassava, cocoa beans and palm oil, productions levels are less than the global average. Inefficiencies in production can be attributed to gaps in availability of seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and farming equipment.

Additionally, the agricultural sector in Nigeria could be stronger by strengthening the weak value chain. Although Nigeria exported over 200,000 tonnes of cocoa beans in 2013, it only generated USD 144 million from exporting cocoa beans. In comparison, the Netherlands, a non-cocoa producer, generated USD 4.2 billion in 2016 from exporting cocoa derivatives. Prominent challenges in the value chain ranges from accessibility to financing to marketing and trade barriers. More specifically, the challenges comprise of, but are not limited to, poor irrigation, limited warehousing facilities, frequent pest and disease attack, and high cost of processing equipment.

Turning Barriers to Opportunities; where does Saskatchewan fit in?

Although all of these difficulties could be simply viewed as barriers to food security, they can also be viewed as opportunities. As mentioned earlier, Saskatchewan is known for its world renowned agricultural industry. From my experience in living in Nigeria and Canada, there are a number of ways both Saskatchewan could leverage its strength in this industry to collaborate with local stakeholders for mutually beneficial ventures. I am excited about the future of food security in Nigeria for a number of reasons.

First of all, as a result of attending the economic summit, the Deputy High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria will be a guest speaker at a Luncheon event organized by the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce in early March 2018. The Deputy Commissioner will be sharing information on market opportunities in Nigeria with Saskatchewan companies and organizations. Secondly, there have been various actions by state governments to drive more investment into the agricultural sector to drive more socio-economic growth. For instance, the Anambra state government increased its budgetary allocation to its agricultural sector by 500 percent and the Ondo State government created an investment promotion agency with agri-business as its top key areas.

What is your role?

In conclusion, when the political and economic state of African countries are compared to that of Western countries it is easy to point to different reasons to explain glaring differences in the quality of live. However, the discourse usually does not highlight that it took groups of dedicated individuals to build Western countries to its current state. I am strongly optimistic that as long as individuals are working towards a sustainable African continent, eventually the African Rising narrative will be a reality for future generations.

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to challenge the African Diaspora whether it is through food security, or with innovative technologies and even through culture and arts — will your footprints be on the path to a stronger, brighter, and sustainable Africa?

About Dolapo

Dolapp and her family emigrated from Nigeria to Canada in 2007, and has witnessed the wonderful support of Saskatchewan people first-hand. At the age of 14, she had an aspiration to join a humanitarian trip to Kenya, but could not afford it until, with the support of her parents and her community, she raised over $5,000 and was then able to join the trip. Since then, with the help of her community, she has raised over $21,000 for various humanitarian and educational projects.

During her high school career, Dolapo travelled to China as a delegate on a trade mission, studied at Columbia University, and won a speech and essay competition, which allowed her to travel to the USA. She gives back to her community by volunteering at her church, Food Bank, creating a social justice club at her former high school, co-founding a med-tech non-profit organization, and assisting newcomers to Canada. Her academic and global philanthropic efforts have been recognized by the Terry Fox Foundation and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce .

She currently studies Economics, with a minor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Saskatchewan, and has represented her school at Model UN conferences in Boston, Ottawa, and Montreal. She is an avid volunteer with the African Students Association and she is currently working for Townfolio, a marketplace for business opportunities and to discover city and towns all across Canada.

In her spare time, she loves to work out, listen to podcasts, and dance.

Visit Dolapo’s Blog (http://dolapofadare.wixsite.com/blog)

Frogs and Food Security – What’s The Connection?

Andrés Posso-Terranova, GIFS Post-doctoral researcher in the area of Seed and Developmental Biology, was recently featured in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix Young Innovators series for research he is conducting into mutated frog genes as part of his lecturer in biology position at the University of Saskatchewan.

Posso-Terranova and his former supervisor José Andrés, have identified the gene responsible for the black blobs and stripes that make the colours on the Colombian dart frog stand out. They found evidence that a single gene called MC1R controls the deep black colour on the skin of these poisonous frogs, and that the disruption of the gene is responsible for the black blobs and stripes. Their results were recently published this week in the international journal Evolution.

Although poison frogs and plants belong to two different groups of living organisms, they both share essential features at the molecular level. Therefore, the same methods to study their DNA can be used to shed light about the mechanisms behind their adaptation and survival in nature (i.e. disease resistance, adaptation to climatic change, reproductive traits, etc.)

At GIFS, under supervision of Dr. Tim Sharbel, Andrés is studying natural populations of plants that possess high levels of genetic diversity for these valuable traits. The main goal of this research is to identify beneficial genetic variants for their use in plant breeding programs that aim to increase crop performance by exploiting genetic diversity.

Andrés was born in Palmira, Colombia. He has a BSc in Biology from Universidad del Valle, a MSc in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the National University of Colombia, and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Saskatchewan.

Read the full article

Read the original manuscript in Evolution

U of S now accepting applications for major graduate scholarship in global food security

Applications are now being accepted from graduate students for the Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships for Global Food Security for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Value: $40,000 per year

Description:
The Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships for Global Food Security was established through a very generous $1M endowment from Dr. Patrick Man Pan Yuen, MD, FRCP(C) – an alumnus from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, class of 1964 – and an annual matching contribution of $40,000 for 25 years from the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS).

The Baxter Scholarships are intended to reward achievement and to recognize graduate students from the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong involved in research and study in any pertinent academic department of the University of Saskatchewan provided that the student’s primary supervisor is a GIFS member or associate member. The Baxter Scholarships may be of interest to students in a variety of disciplines, including Agri-Food Policy, Food, Health and Nutrition, Genomic Sciences and Biotechnology, Agronomy, Chemistry, Plant Sciences, Soil Sciences, etc.

In each of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years, there will be one scholarship of $40,000 awarded.
Beginning in 2019-20 and continuing for 22 more years, there will be two scholarships of $40,000 each awarded.

Eligibility:
• The student must be registered full time in a graduate degree program or have been recommended for admission to a graduate degree program in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
• The student’s primary supervisor must be a member or associate member of the Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan.
• The student must have a minimum entrance average of 80%. When determining eligibility, only whole terms (not partial terms) are used to obtain a minimum of 60 credit units on which to compute the student’s GPA. Courses with grades of Pass, Credit, etc. are not included when computing the student’s GPA.
• The student must be a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or Hong Kong.
• Master’s students are eligible to hold this scholarship for a maximum of two years if they meet the renewal criteria.
• PhD students are eligible to hold this scholarship for a maximum of four years if they meet the renewal criteria.
• A student who receives the scholarship as a Master’s student and converts to a PhD program is eligible to hold the scholarship for a maximum of four years if they meet the renewal criteria.
• A student who receives the scholarship as a Master’s student, completes their Master’s program, and applies for a PhD program is eligible to re-apply for the scholarship but can hold the scholarship for a maximum of four years in total if they meet the renewal criteria.
• In order to be eligible for renewal of their scholarship, the student must remain in full-time studies, must maintain good academic standing and an average of 80%, continue in a program as identified above, continue to have their primary supervisor be a member or associate member of the Global Institute for Food Security, and uphold the spirit of the award.Annually, the student must submit to the Chair of the Award Committee a one-page report describing their research progress. The Award Committee must also receive a letter from the Chair of the student’s Advisory Committee stating the unanimous recommendation of that Committee for renewal of the student’s award.

Additional Information:
• Master’s students are eligible to hold this scholarship for a maximum of two years if they meet the renewal criteria.
• PhD students are eligible to hold this scholarship for a maximum of four years if they meet the renewal criteria.
• A student who receives the scholarship as a Master’s student and converts to a PhD program is eligible to hold the scholarship for a maximum of four years if they meet the renewal criteria.
• A student who receives the scholarship as a Master’s student, completes their Master’s program, and applies for a PhD program is eligible to re-apply for the scholarship but can hold the scholarship for a maximum of four years in total if they meet the renewal criteria.

Apply:
For the 2018-19 academic year, applications must be received by January 15, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Click here for a list of gifs-members-associate-members.

Click here to Apply Now

GIFS receives $1.35 million in federal funding for Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory (OPAL)

GIFS has received $1.35 million grant from the Government of Canada to create an Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory (OPAL).

Read more

International conference leaves scholarship award winner optimistic for the “science of the future”


Erin J. Hopkins

At the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), educating the next generation of scientists and researchers is a top priority. And as the Institute works toward its vision of creating ingenious science that delivers sustainable food security for the world, there are many opportunities where that education can occur.

This July, GIFS awarded a scholarship to University of Saskatchewan (U of S) student Erin Hopkins to travel to the Planting Seeds for the Future II conference, hosted by Nestlé in Lausanne, Switzerland. Nestlé is the world’s largest food company, and the conference was held to connect farmers, academics, industry representatives, NGOs and intergovernmental organisations to help answer the question: How can Nestlé help shape the future of food systems?

Students interested in competing for the scholarship were asked to submit a one-page essay addressing the topic: What is the role of a multi-national company in meeting global food security needs?

Erin, who earned a U of S Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 2014, was the successful candidate. Erin is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy under the supervision of Dr. Michael Nickerson, Associate Professor at the U of S. Dr. Nickerson is also Lead Researcher on a GIFS’ funded research project entitled: Development of innovative therapeutic food products for treating malnutrition and responding to emergencies within high risk communities.

After returning from Switzerland, Erin provided a review of her conference experience. GIFS wanted to capture her thoughts to share with others, and so the following is an extract from Erin’s review:

Was there any specific idea or concept about the future of food systems that sparked your interest in competing for the GIFS scholarship to attend the Planting Seeds for the Future II conference?

While my background is somewhat in agriculture, it tends to relate more to product end-use and development in comparison to the initial production. I applied for the GIFS scholarship because I felt it was a wonderful opportunity to get to meet people from across the world and discuss a global perspective on food security, especially those from industry. Also, because I’m primarily in an academic setting, I wanted to learn more about current research into food security and I felt that this was a good opportunity to get exposed to the work that was being done around the world in different areas/fields related to food security.

Overall, how did you find your experience?

My experience was overwhelmingly positive. The conference brought together speakers and minds from a variety of academic and industrial fields which was especially interesting. Not only did it illustrate the interconnectedness of the issues surrounding food security, but it also showed how work in these areas can perhaps be applied to other fields which they were previously not used in. I am so thankful to GIFS for sending me to Vevey to participate in this conference, and to Nestlé for hosting it.

Was there anything that surprised you about current food systems and the challenges we are facing in global food security?

One of the things that surprised me was the complexity of the issue of global food security, and the fact that the narrative is split into so many different paths for which there is no single solution. Also, that experts in the field seem divided about ways to reach solutions (for example, animal and plant proteins is still a hotly debated topic). There seemed to be a great sense of dread about the reality of what is happening in the world and how quickly we must act on the problem. However, overall I felt there was a much greater sense of optimism that these solutions can be reached if we work together to devise creative solutions.

What did you learn that makes you optimistic about our solving food security issues?

The first day of the conference had a strong focus on production, sustainability, and their importance to food security, and I really appreciated the discussion surrounding issues related to soils, technology, and possible improvements. There was such a wide variety of speakers and presenters from various industries, academic, and non-for-profits from around the globe that brought different perspectives on an issue that requires local input to solve global questions related to food security. The mandate of GIFS is to help solve this global issue. And they are bringing together the greatest research minds in the world to act upon the perspectives that were discussed at the conference; they are taking action to deliver sustainable food security for the world.

Erin J. Hopkins

Erin received a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture with Great Distinction in Food and Bioproduct Sciences in 2014, and is currently pursing a Doctor of Philosophy in the same area. She is the winner of various scholarships for academic achievement including the Harris and Lauretta and Raymond Earl Parr Scholarship, S.N. Horner Scholarship, and the Albert and Beatrice Trew Memorial Scholarship to name a few. She has also been the recipient of various awards such as the Molson Canada Award of Excellence for academic achievement from a convocating student, the Molson Book Prize for academic achievement in Food and Bioproduct Sciences and the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award.

As part of her Ph.D. research, Erin is currently studying the effects of enzyme treatments on low sodium bread properties and dough characteristics. Her undergraduate senior research thesis included a study of the mechanical and water vapour barrier properties of emulsion-based soy-protein edible films containing omega-3 rich flaxseed oil. As an undergraduate research assistant, Erin carried out surface charge and hydrophobicity measurements on pea protein isolates from different cultivars.

Erin also obtained industry experience working with Alliance Grain Traders conducting product development of pulse based food ingredients focusing on functionality testing and preparation of model food systems.

Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre (P2IRC) named a 2017 STIC Award Finalist

The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) is pleased to announce that the Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre (P2IRC) has been named a finalist for a 2017 Science, Technology, Innovation and Collaboration (STIC) Award by the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA).

The STIC Awards celebrate the brightest minds in the Saskatoon Region and honour the people, projects and products that contribute to the Saskatoon Region’s world-class science and technology cluster. The STIC Project Award recognizes a project that has the potential to contribute significantly to its sector.

The award finalists will be celebrated at an event being held Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in Saskatoon.

P2IRC is funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), is managed by the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), and located at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

U of S now accepting applications for major graduate scholarship in global food security

Applications are now being accepted from graduate students for the Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships for Global Food Security.

Value: $40,000 per year

Number offered: One each in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, two in each of the following school years.

Description:

The Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships for Global Food Security was established through a $1M endowment from Dr. Patrick Man Pan Yuen, MD, FRCP(C), an alumnus from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, class of 1964. The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) will provide an annual matching contribution of $40,000 for 25 years.

Over the next 25 years, the Baxter Scholarships will reward achievement and recognize graduate students from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Hong Kong involved in research and study in any pertinent academic department of the University of Saskatchewan. The student’s primary supervisor must be a GIFS member or associate member.

Eligibility:

  • The student must be a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or Hong Kong.
  • The student must be registered full time in a graduate degree program or have been recommended for admission to a graduate degree program in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
  • The student’s primary supervisor must be a member or associate member of the Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan.
  • The student must have a minimum entrance average of 85%. When determining eligibility, only whole terms (not partial terms) are used to obtain a minimum of 60 credit units on which to compute the student’s GPA. Courses with grades of Pass, Credit, etc. are not included when computing the student’s GPA.
  • The student cannot hold any other scholarship while in receipt of a Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships in Global Food Security.

Renewal Criteria:

  • In order to be eligible for renewal of their scholarship, the student must remain in full-time studies, must maintain good academic standing and an average of 80%, continue in a program as identified above, continue to have their primary supervisor be a member or associate member of the Global Institute for Food Security, and uphold the spirit of the award.
  • Annually, the student must submit to the Chair of the Award Committee a one-page report describing their research progress. The Award Committee must also receive a letter from the Chair of the student’s Advisory Committee stating the unanimous recommendation of that Committee for renewal of the student’s award.

Additional Information:

  • Master’s students are eligible to hold this scholarship for a maximum of two years if they meet the renewal criteria.
  • PhD students are eligible to hold this scholarship for a maximum of four years if they meet the renewal criteria.
  • A student who receives the scholarship as a Master’s student and converts to a PhD program is eligible to hold the scholarship for a maximum of four years if they meet the renewal criteria.
  • A student who receives the scholarship as a Master’s student, completes their Master’s program, and applies for a PhD program is eligible to re-apply for the scholarship but can hold the scholarship for a maximum of four years in total if they meet the renewal criteria.

Apply:

For the 2017-18 academic year, applications will be received from July 11 to August 18, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Click here for a list of Global Institute for Food Security Members and Associate Members.

Click here to Apply Now.

Press Release: U of S alumnus establishes major graduate scholarship in global food security

U of S alumnus establishes major graduate scholarship in global food security

SASKATOON – Today the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) celebrates the establishment of the Dr. Donald Baxter Scholarships in Global Food Security, made possible by a $1-million gift from Dr. Patrick Man Pan Yuen, a distinguished pediatrician and U of S alumnus living in Hong Kong.

Dr. Yuen has named the scholarship fund in memory of his mentor Dr. Donald Baxter, who taught neurology at the U of S medical school when Yuen was a medical student.

“This $40,000-a-year award is the largest donor-funded graduate scholarship ever offered at the U of S and we are extremely grateful to Dr. Yuen for making this major investment in young academic talent that will advance our global research collaboration in our signature area of food security,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad.

The gift will be matched by the U of S Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) through an annual contribution over 25 years. One to two graduate students from either mainland China or Hong Kong will be awarded $40,000 a year to study at the U of S for up to three years under the supervision of a GIFS researcher.

Maurice Moloney, GIFS executive director and CEO, noted that China has become an international leader in the area of agricultural research.

“This very generous gift will ensure that we make the most of productive collaborations and the talents of graduates from both countries working together in pursuit of a common goal—to bring global food security to both developed and developing regions for future generations,” he said.

Back in 1963 at the U of S medical school, Yuen and Baxter co-authored a research paper, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, on age-related neurodegeneration in brain cells.

“I was completely thrilled,” Yuen recalled. “I learned from him the great importance of being meticulous and taking great pride in everything you do.”

Dr. Patrick Yuen

Dr. Patrick Yuen

Yuen returned to Hong Kong in 1974 and became a pioneer in the fields of pediatric oncology and hematology, serving as founding chair of the Hong Kong Paediatric Haematology & Oncology Study Group in 1993. In 1995, he became the pediatrician in charge of The Lady Pao Children’s Cancer Centre, a leading cancer centre in South East Asia. In 2006, he was elected the Outstanding Asian Paediatrician by the Asian Pacific Pediatric Association.

Baxter went on to become director of the Montreal Neurological Institute where he made a significant contribution to the field of neurology and brain research.

“Dr. Baxter will always be a great teacher to me. I owe him a great deal,” Yuen said.

Yuen’s experience as a pediatrician has led him to believe that food security and nutrition are of utmost importance to the health of future generations.

“Throughout my medical career, I have come to the conclusion a medical doctor can really save relatively few of his patients in his lifetime. By offering to help set up research in increasing food production to combat hunger, far more lives can be saved,” he said. “I cannot think of a better place in the world than the University of Saskatchewan in fulfilling my wishes, since the place is well known as a major player in global food security.”

The scholarships will be awarded to high-achieving graduate students undertaking research at the U of S in areas such as seed and developmental biology, root-soil-microbial interactions, and related digital and computational agriculture. In the event that there are no suitable candidates from China or Hong Kong, the scholarships can be awarded to qualified Canadian students to carry out research in China.

Applications will be accepted starting July 10 through the College of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies.

“I know that my husband would be very honored that Dr. Yuen has named this scholarship after him and that the legacy of their work together at the U of S will be exciting research opportunities for graduate students from China today,” said Dr. Baxter’s widow Anne Baxter, who attended the celebration.

About the University of Saskatchewan:

Set in an architecturally stunning century-old campus in Saskatoon, the U of S is the core of a dynamic research hub working to address critical challenges faced by people locally and around the world. World-class research centres include global institutes for food and water security, the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, the Crop Development Centre, and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), plus an impressive array of national and provincial bio-science research labs. With stellar research teams and annual research income of more than $200 million, the university has earned a place among the U15 group of Canada’s top research universities.

More information is available at: www.usask.ca

About the Global Institute for Food Security:

The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) performs discovery research that aims to deliver transformative innovation in agriculture in both the developed and the developing world. To address these issues, GIFS research focusses on three areas: Seed and Developmental Biology, Root-Soil-Microbial Interactions, and Digital and Computational Agriculture. GIFS was founded as a public-private partnership among PotashCorp, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Saskatchewan and is based at the University of Saskatchewan. It is the home of leading researchers and has attracted over $100M in funding to date.

For more information, visit: www.gifs.ca

For more information, contact:

Murray Lyons
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
Office: 306-966-1851
murray.lyons@usask.ca

Sara Alexander
Director of Marketing & Stakeholder Relations
Global Institute for Food Security
Office: 306-966-3704
Cell: 306-250-9910
sara.alexander@usask.ca

Press Release: Global Institute for Food Security Appoints Top International Science Advisory Panel

View International Scientific Advisory Panel

The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan announces today that it has completed the appointment of a full International Scientific Advisory Panel, which will provide scientific advice, feedback and oversight to GIFS research in the areas of seed and developmental biology, root-soil-microbial interactions, and digital and computational agriculture.

“We are honoured to have attracted such an extraordinarily talented group of scientists from around the world,” said Maurice Moloney, GIFS’ Executive Director and CEO.

“Their expertise covers botany, plant science, genetics, chemistry, entomology, molecular biology and leadership in industrial agriculture and in regulatory affairs. Many members of the panel are pioneers in their fields, members of the Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and winners of major awards and honors including the Wolf Prize for Agriculture, the U.S. National Research Initiatives Discovery Award, American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Gibbs Medal, the Belgian Francqui Medal, and Companion of the Order of the British Empire. ”

Members of GIFS International Scientific Advisory Panel (ISAP) appointed by the GIFS’ board of directors include: (Biographies to follow.)

  • John Pickett, CBE, DSc, Fellow of the Royal Society – ISAP Chair
  • Julia Bailey-Serres, PhD, Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Richard (Dick) Flavell, PhD, DSc, CBE, Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Margaret Gadsby, MSc, former Vice-President Bayer Crop Science, Regulatory Affairs (Seeds)
  • William Lucas, PhD, DSc, French National Academy of Sciences
  • Kiran Sharma, PhD, Principal Scientist – ICRISAT (CGIAR)
  • Joerg Bohlmann, PhD, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
  • Gijs van Rooijen, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Genome Alberta

“The entire membership of the advisory panel is excited to be involved in the research program taking place at GIFS,” said John Pickett, chair of the GIFS International Scientific Advisory Panel. “Food security is of the utmost importance, and GIFS is addressing it by attracting researchers who are at the top of their field and by working collaboratively with the most knowledgeable research groups and institutes globally. We’re delighted to be involved in GIFS’ work.”

“The appointment of such an august scientific advisory panel is an important milestone that underscores the high-level international research and global partnerships of the Global Institute for Food Security,” said Karen Chad, U of S Vice-President Research. “We welcome the panel members to the U of S community, and are indeed privileged to be the beneficiary of their vast experience and tremendous knowledge.”

About The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS):

The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) performs discovery research to deliver transformative innovations in agriculture in both the developed and the developing world. To address these issues, GIFS research is focussed on three areas: Seed & Developmental Biology, Root-Soil-Microbial Interactions, and Digital & Computational Agriculture.

GIFS was founded as a public-private partnership between PotashCorp, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Saskatchewan. It is the home of leading researchers and has attracted over $100M in funding to date.

Visit www.gifs.ca for more information.

About the University of Saskatchewan:

Set in an architecturally stunning century-old campus in Saskatoon, the U of S is the core of a dynamic research hub working to address critical challenges faced by people locally and around the world. World-class research centres on campus include global institutes for food and water security, the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, the Crop Development Centre, and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), plus an impressive array of national and provincial bio-science research labs. With stellar research teams and annual research income of more than $200 million, the university has earned a place among the U15 group of Canada’s top research universities. More information is available at: www.usask.ca

For more information, please contact:

Sara Alexander
Director of Marketing and Stakeholder Relations
Global Institute for Food Security
sara.alexander@gifs.ca
Office: 306-966-3704
Cell: 306-250-9910