June 24th, 2024

Alberta Innovates offers grants for agriculture technology projects

By Tim Kalinowski on July 13, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Alberta Innovates is looking for the latest in market-ready agricultural technologies to continue to help the province’s producers lead the world in ag. tech.
“Technology is driving the sector right now in agriculture,” says Alberta Innovates program manager for Smart Agriculture and Food Virgina Mulligan. “You see it in other countries like what they are doing in Europe and North America in the U.S. They are moving ahead with technology. It is very important that Alberta doesn’t lag behind in that area. We have an amazing agriculture sector in the province, and we certainly don’t want to lag behind. We are supporting people that have amazing ideas.”
This year $2 million in grants are being made available to small and medium-sized businesses and research institutions for smart ideas. The grants could be up to $500,000 each depending on the quality of the proposals received, says Mulligan, the case to be made for their marketability, and the business plan received from the applicants.
“The great advantage of getting funding from a grant is they don’t have to pay them back,” says Mulligan. “They are based on performance. The way that it works is we give the money in installments. First at the moment they sign the agreement, and then the other installments based on how they are performing.”
This is the second year Alberta Innovates is offering its “Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge (SAFDAC).” Last year eight projects from both the private and post-secondary research sectors, including Lethbridge College researcher Chandra Singh’s wireless monitoring and automated aeration control system for storing sugar beets in outdoor piles, received grants for over $3 million.
Mulligan said they had 49 applicants for the grant funds last year; so competition was pretty stiff.
“We actually got an overwhelming response,” she confirms. “We were very happy.”
She is hoping for a similar response this round.
For more information on the Smart Agriculture and Food Digitalization and Automation Challenge visit albertainnovates.ca/programs/smart-agriculture-and-food-innovation/smart-agriculture-and-food-digitalization-and-automation-challenge/
Deadline for expressions of interest is Aug. 13.

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