• Niagara College receives grant for cannabis research

Le Collège Niagara reçoit une subvention pour la recherche sur le cannabisRecherche

Publié le 12 avril 2022 par AQIC

Niagara College gets research funding for cannabis, craft beer

Niagara College is welcoming an investment of more than $4.4 million to support cannabis and hemp research and a college-led project benefiting the craft beer industry, as well as an expansion of the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation. 

The funding is provided by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. 

The money will support the college’s role in the cannabis industry, a separate effort from its academic program, which in 2018 was the first in Canada. 

The newly announced funds earmark $641,800 over a two-year period to address challenges and continue advancement in the cannabis industry, said a news release. This will provide research support in cultivation, as well as business and marketing, and will provide new applied research experiences for students within the college’s schools of environment and horticulture and business and management.

The new funding supports research in sustainable cannabis production, cannabis variety and growth trials, integrated pest management, and business and commercialization solutions.

Kimberley Cathline, research program manager for the college’s agriculture and environmental technologies innovation centre, in an interview said the cannabis industry has had a “lack of research” since legalization in 2018. 

In March 2021 the college expanded its cannabis education capabilities to include a Health-Canada-approved CannaResearch Bunker at its Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, funded through the research council. The space provides specialized equipment to grow crops, complete trials and conduct research in partnership with industry. It offers a controlled, sterile and isolated growing space.

Integrated pest management is an important component of how the money will be spent.

“This is one area where they need a lot of support,” Cathline said. 

Biocontrols and a “holistic” approach to sustainable growing processes will be a focus, she added. 

The college’s role in the craft beer industry is also being supported by the new funding. 

An applied research and technology partnership grant of $1.8 million over two years will help fund a project to support the Canadian craft brewing industry by improving quality assurance and control measures in small- and medium-sized breweries. 

The project will be led by Niagara College through its Canadian food and wine institution innovation centre, which is home to Canada’s first teaching brewery, as well as its renowned brewmaster and brewery operations management program. It will involve Durham College, Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick’s CCNB-INNOV and Olds College in Alberta.

The college is “absolutely thrilled” about the support, said centre manager Lyndon Ashton, adding that since the 1980s the craft brewing industry has grown to 24 per cent of all beer made in Canada.

“Of key importance now for the growing industry is developing a systematic way to increase quality assurance and consistency in the products sold to the public,” said Ashton in the release. 

The the funds will be used to develop industry standards and guidelines with college and industry experts that will be proven in partnership with 16 breweries across Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta. Analytical testing at key points during the project will gauge the effectiveness of the standards. 

SONAMI, a Niagara College-led network of nine post-secondary institutions across southern Ontario, will receive $2 million in funding, also over two years, to expand into four strategic sectors for targeted growth: transportation (auto parts and aerospace manufacturing supply chains); energy systems (energy storage, renewable energy production); food processing; and medical devices. 

Through the grant, at least 42 applied research projects will be conducted with industry partners in the four targeted sectors.

SOURCE: Welland Tribune