News Archives: International Team on Site at GPRC to Assess Application
Friday, January 25th, 2013
GPRC hosted an international site visit team on January 18 who were at the College as part of an assessment of GPRC's Technology Access Centre Grant request to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The College is one of six institutions across Canada shortlisted for three available grants, and the site visit is a critical component of the decision process. Results of the application will be known by the end of the federal budget year.
The site visit team included experts from Saskatchewan, US Department of Agriculture, Penn State University, and University of Sussex, England. They were hosted by the Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI), the GPRC Executive Team, and representatives of key support services. The GPRC team provided thorough responses to what was a rigourous inquiry into processes, policies, academic credentials and collective agreements at GPRC.
The site visit team also interviewed GPRC's partners, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada from Beaverlodge Research Farm, Kamie Currie from Rural Alberta Development Fund, and a group of beekeepers from across Alberta who came to GPRC for the visit.
"GPRC was very pleased with the day," says Susan Bansgrove, Vice-President Academics and Research, "and it was a pleasure to meet these experts and respond to their very challenging questions. We are looking forward to the results of this application."
The grant is requested to advance the National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) from diagnostics to become a full technology access centre to include applied research, new bee product development and a more robust training and outreach component. The National Bee Diagnostic Centre, which opened in September of 2012, is a fully-equipped facility which is now funded to provide diagnostic services, but which could also be utilized for related research.
Dr. Shauna Henley and Eric Stromgren are two faculty members whose current projects would be made more robust by this grant. Dr. Henley is exploring viruses that impact honey bees, and her project would identify which viruses are prevalent, and using the molecular DNA/RNA techniques available at NBDC would work to develop techniques to ameliorate the impact of these viruses. Eric Stromgren, an experienced beekeeper and PhD. candidate who is instructing in the Commercial Beekeeping certificate program at GPRC, is planning field research focusing on antibiotic versus cultural treatments for disease control. The hoped-for funding will make these existing projects more robust - and provide exciting opportunities for student engagement in the research.
The site visit team members were:
Dr. Malcolm D. Devine, PhD., of Saskatoon whose expertise includes agricultural biotechnology and pest management, R&D planning and execution, technology acquisition and integration, competitive intelligence and strategic planning in both the private and public sectors.
Glen Schuler, PhD., Director of the Industry Liaison Office at the University of Saskatchewan, who is responsible for the commercialization of new technologies and ideas that originate from the researchers at the University of Saskatchewan. His academic career includes teaching economics and energy related research at both the Universities of Tennessee and Houston.
Dr. Jeff Pettis, PhD., Research Leader at the US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service. Pettis is currently conducting extensive research on honey bee health and the management of honey bee pest and diseases. His research relates to honey bee health versus land use of the beekeeping colonies.
Dr. Diana Cox-Foster, PhD. Professor of Entomology, Penn State, College of Agriculture Sciences, who is currently investigating the interactions of parasitic mite, RNA-viruses, and other microbes in honeybees.
Mr. Norman Carreck, BSc. CBiol, FSB, NBD, Senior Technician (Evolution, Behavior and Environment). University of Sussex. Mr. Carreck kept bees since the age of 15. As an apiculturist in the Planet and Invertebrate Ecology Division for 15 years, he was responsible for maintaining about 80 colonies of honeybees. As well as having been a part of two research groups on pollination ecology and bee pathology, obtaining a National Beekeeping Diploma, Mr. Carreck currently carries out bee research at the University of Sussex and is the Science Director of the International Bee Research Association and Senior Editor of Apiculture Research.
"GPRC is honoured to be among the institutions being considered for this funding," says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO. "The process is intensive and exceptionally thorough, and our team was extremely well-prepared. This could be a very significant achievement for our region."
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Lynne Ness, Corporate Communications Officer
Grande Prairie Regional College