Innovation through Scholarships and Knowledge Translation and Transfer

Photo of a group of university students

OMAFRA recognizes that support of young people who are the future generations of researchers, policymakers and innovators in agriculture and agri-food is one of the most effective ways of moving research results into practice. That is why the Ministry contributes over $1 million annually to the Partnership's Knowledge Translation and Transfer Programs and Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship Programs.

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Why Invest in young People and Knowledge Transfer?

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) - University of Guelph (UofG) Partnership Agreement is the cornerstone of Ministry-supported research and innovation because of the unique capacity the university offers in specialized expertise and research facilities. U of G researchers collaborate with others in Canada and around the world to solve the complex and multi-disciplinary challenges of safe, efficient food and agri-products production.

But research is only the beginning. The next step - mobilizing those research results - is key to innovation in Ontario's agri-food industry. It's a priority for OMAFRA and the 'Knowledge Translation and Transfer' program ensures that research outcomes reach stakeholders who can make use of the new information.

Knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) programs

OMAFRA provide funding for the transfer of research knowledge to participants in agriculture, agri-business, agri-food industry and rural sectors. OMAFRA research funding programs, include funds for KTT activities.

Funding for KTT is provided in two streams at the University of Guelph. One stream provides funds for KTT activities in projects that are funded through the Partnership research program.

The other stream is the Agri-Food and Rural Link KTT program that provides funding for projects that focus on KTT alone. The program accelerates the transfer of research knowledge into use i.e. gets the 'science off the shelf' and into the hands of those who need it.

Agri-Food and Rural Link KTT program success story

Photo: The Soybean Aphid Advisor mobile application.

Photo: The Soybean Aphid Advisor mobile application.

The Agri-Food and Rural Link KTT program funded a project in 2011 whose goal was to create a mobile application to help producers control soybean aphids in their crops. The research was conducted by Dr. Rebecca Hallett in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. Her project's goal was to develop a dynamic action threshold calculator (DAT) that could aid growers and crop consultants in decision-making about the need to treat soybeans against soybean aphids.

End result: The "Aphid Advisor", a pilot decision-making cell phone application which helps producers and crop consultants determine whether or not they need to treat their crops for Soybean Aphids. The application can be used by iPhones or Blackberries.

Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship program

Graduate student working in a lab

Young people are our future researchers, policy makers and innovators in agriculture, agri-businesses, agri-food industry and rural sectors. Programs that support these young people are an effective way of moving research results into practice.

The Highly Qualified Personnel Program provides scholarships for Masters and Doctoral students working in program areas that relate to OMAFRA research themes and priorities.

The program offers a new course for students entitled 'The Integration of Science and Business in Agri-Food Systems' that will teach students about business, commercialization and societal interactions within the agri-food system. HQP students will also complete a work semester with a government, industry or community partner that connects well with the student's research interests and future career goals.

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