Automation in Ag: Feds to provide $10M to $50M for national initiatives


The news

Between $10 million and $50 million is up for grabs if you’re in the business of  innovation. The federal government has announced a new funding competition geared to spur innovation in the agriculture and agri-food industries.

The money, which is coming from the Strategic Innovation Fund, will be used to support the development of automation and digital technologies. These technologies are becoming a larger and larger part of food production and agriculture in general.

How to apply

Proposals need to address the requirements listed below and be for the development and delivery of large-scale, “disruptive approaches” to automation and digital technologies with applications in the agriculture and agri-food sectors. They should:

  • solve problems through the use of data and technology in the agriculture and agri-food sector, such as automation and robotics, precision agriculture platforms, data and digital solutions, sensors, interconnected software and hardware, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain;
  • include collaborations between businesses (including small and medium-sized enterprises), post-secondary institutions, research institutes, and non-profit organizations from multiple sectors across Canada;
  • generate strong economic and social benefits, such as private sector investments in R&D, the creation of new intellectual property and innovations, and the development and implementation of new products, processes and services; and
  • bring about positive environmental impacts, such as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, food waste, water usage and energy consumption.


“Digital innovation and technologies have the power to improve food safety, reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture and food production, and create good middle-class jobs. Our government is taking action to ensure our agriculture and agri-food sectors continue to punch above their weight in a competitive global market while delivering good, healthy and sustainable food to Canadians and international markets at a fair price.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Canada’s agriculture and food processing sectors have always been fertile ground for innovation. By bringing together private sector companies, post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations, our government is ensuring Canadian farmers and producers have the latest tools and technologies to take full advantage of the digital age.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Through this exciting new competition, we’re bringing together the best of Canada’s digital technology, agriculture and agri-food sectors to create new solutions and opportunities in a fast-changing global market. By doing so, we’re ensuring Canadians are well positioned to lead and create jobs in the digital economy for middle-class families.”
– Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Applicants have until January 11, 2019, to submit a declaration of intent. The information contained in the declaration of intent will be posted online in an effort to foster collaboration among potential applicants. Applicants will have until March 1, 2019, to submit a full application for funding under this competition.

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