News Archives: GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre Receives Prestigious Federal Grant
Released: Friday, June 21st, 2013
The GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre is proud to be among the six Canadian research facilities to receive a Technology Access Centre (TAC) Grant from the Government of Canada through the College and Community Innovation (CCI) Program. The grant of $350,000 per year for the next five years will enable the NBDC to move from diagnostics to become a full technology access centre. The TAC grant to GPRC was among those announced today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), from Conestoga College in Ontario.
As a Technology Access Centre the functions of NBDC will expand to include applied research, new bee product development and a more robust training and outreach component. The NBDC, which opened in September of 2012, is a fully-equipped facility which is funded to provide diagnostic services, and which can be utilized for related applied research. The Technology Access Centre will be managed by the existing NBDC team, led by Dr. Carlos Castillo.
Dr. Shauna Henley and Eric Stromgren are two faculty members whose current projects will be made more robust by this grant. Dr. Henley is exploring viruses that impact honey bees, and her project would identify, using the molecular techniques available at NBDC, which viruses are prevalent in the region, with the aim to develop practices 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 funding will make these existing projects more robust – and provide exciting opportunities for student engagement in the research.
“Collaboration between university and college researchers and the private sector is vital to improving the quality of life of all Canadians, while building a strong economy,” said Minister of State Goodyear. “The College and Community Innovation Program supports the deployment of the talent and knowledge developed in our post-secondary institutions while providing invaluable industry experience for students. This is win-win for all involved and our Government is proud to support these partnerships.”
"I am very proud of our Government's investment in practical sciences. This commitment will benefit honey producers in the Peace Country and throughout Canada," said Chris Warkentin, MP for Peace River. "Our partnership with GPRC has proven to be a success and I am very proud of this innovative project. This investment will enhance honeybee diagnostic services in the Peace Country. As Peace Country residents, we share the growing concern of health challenges in honeybee populations and we are proud of our leadership in finding solutions to these challenges."
Technology Access Centre Grants provide funding for core operations of centres established by colleges to address the applied research and innovation needs of local companies. TAC capabilities may include advice on specific company challenges, specialized technical assistance, applied research and/or development projects for companies, and/or specialized training.
“We are absolutely delighted to be among the recipients of this funding,” says Susan Bansgrove, GPRC Vice-President Academics and Research. “The application process was rigourous, and GPRC worked very hard to be among the successful applicants for the TAC Grant. We are very proud of the many exciting applied research projects in which our faculty is engaged, and it is most helpful to have the added opportunity presented by this five-year grant.”
In January, the College hosted an international site visit team. GPRC was one of six institutions across Canada shortlisted for three available grants of $1,750,000, and the site visit was a critical component of the decision process.
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 representation of beekeepers from across Alberta who came to GPRC for the visit.
“GPRC is honoured to be among the successful applicants,” says President Don Gnatiuk. “This opportunity provides an extremely important support to the honey producers of our region, and enhances the research and learning opportunities for our faculty and for our students.”
The CCI Program is managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (COHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).