Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced investments totaling $3,451,167 for two projects to support innovation, skills development, and growth in the digital agriculture industry.
The University of Winnipeg (UWinnipeg) will receive $2,451,167 to work in partnership with Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative (EMILI) to promote machine learning and grow the digital agriculture industry in Manitoba. In addition, JCA Electronics will receive an investment of $1,000,000 to commercialize a tablet-based precision agriculture platform for farm operators to wirelessly manage implements for seeding, planting, and spraying applications.
UWinnipeg physics professor, Dr. Christopher Bidinosti is leading the UWinnipeg project along with applied computer science professor, Dr. Christopher Henry. Their research team includes experts from UWinnipeg, Red River College, the University of Saskatchewan, Northstar Robotics, Sightline Innovation, the Canola Council of Canada, and Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers.
It is anticipated that the UWinnipeg project will lead to partnerships, both between businesses and with academia, the creation of 180 Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) jobs, training for 100 HQPs, assistance to 165 small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the delivery of training sessions and two conferences to over 400 individuals.
“Our government is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy. These two projects will help grow the digital agricultural industry in Manitoba, boosting economic growth and creating good, middle-class jobs for Canadians,” said The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada.
“Academic institutions like the University of Winnipeg, and companies like JCA Electronics are developing and delivering high tech, digital tools, and technologies that will better equip Canadians farmers as global leaders in the international ag-marketplace,” said The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre.
The WD funding announced today provides a significant boost to UWinnipeg’s digital agriculture project, which also received support in the form of a $250,000 Weston Seeding Food Innovation grant and a $200,000 Mitacs Accelerate grant, earlier this year.
“This exciting project is an excellent example of how UWinnipeg researchers are making an impact. This partnership will result in enhanced productivity and will create new opportunities for growth,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Winnipeg.