Two of Alberta’s premier agriculture applied research institutions are coming together to ensure the province’s agriculture industry has access to world-class researchers, resources and data. Lethbridge College and Olds College have signed a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) focused on applied agriculture research, which will benefit both institutions as well as the province’s primary producers, businesses and agencies throughout the agri-food supply chain.
To launch the agreement, both colleges have signed on to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), becoming the first two colleges in Alberta, and among the first colleges in Canada, to sign the accord. Both colleges are committed to supporting sustainable practices, in particular the stated SDGs of zero hunger; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; responsible consumption and production; and partnerships.
“Both Lethbridge College and Olds College care deeply about creating real-world solutions for our province’s agriculture industry and leading the way into a sustainable future,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “By clearing the path for our applied research activities to easily collaborate and share information, producers and others in the agriculture industry will benefit, which boosts our province’s economy. And we are making our partnership even more powerful by signing the SDGs accord and showing commitment to being leaders in sustainability.”
Olds College and Lethbridge College will work together to identify joint projects, refer companies to each other based on the best fit with infrastructure and research expertise, and share relevant data and data networks. With both college’s boasting agriculture-based Technology Access Centres, which offer industry support through fee-for-service research activities, Lethbridge and Olds will work collaboratively to provide an attractive, consistent and competitive fee structure for industry partners.
“Olds College and Lethbridge College have a history of addressing the key issues and opportunities of Alberta’s agriculture sector, including through our growing applied research programs,” says Stuart Cullum, President, Olds College. “Our impact is significantly enhanced through collaboration and information sharing and this MOU formalizes our intent to work more closely in support of Alberta’s agriculture industry and our province’s economic recovery. By signing the SDG Accord, we also are embracing the leadership that the agriculture sector demonstrates and our roles in enhancing it for the benefit of our industry, our institutions and our students.”
The MOU initially covers a three-year period and will be governed by a joint committee of representatives from both institutions.
Agriculture research teams at Lethbridge College operate under the Integrated Agriculture Technology Centre (IATC) within the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The IATC connects small- and medium-sized enterprises in the agriculture industry with the technologies and research expertise at Lethbridge College to enhance their productivity, competitiveness and innovation results. Lethbridge College has been recognized as one of Canada’s fastest-growing research colleges while earning its highest ever placement in 2020’s annual ranking of Canada’s top 50 research colleges. The college placed 26th on the top 50 list released by Research Infosource and ranked third in research income growth.
Olds College is known for high-tech, hands-on agriculture education and innovative applied research that lays the foundation for solving real-world problems in farming, food and land. Olds College Centre of Innovation and Smart Farm are accelerating the development and adoption of technologies and practices that result in improved productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agriculture and agri-food industry through industry-driven applied research. Olds College has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges by Research Infosourse. As Canada’s Smart Agriculture College, Olds College is working to achieve its social purpose of transforming agriculture for a better world.