U of G, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre Ink New Partnership



    VINELAND, ON, May 6 /CNW/ - Officials from the University of Guelph (U of
G) and the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre today signed a research
partnership agreement to collaborate on national and international
industry-driven horticulture research initiatives.
    The agreement, signed by Kevin Hall, the U of G's vice-president
(research), and Jim Brandle, Vineland's chief executive officer, is expected
to yield new ideas and products for Canada's grape growers and winemakers,
fruit producers and professional landscapers, ranging from new fruit cultivars
with health-boosting antioxidants to wider food choices at the supermarket.
    Both partners will conduct research and develop products for the
multi-million-dollar agri-food industry, said Rich Moccia, U of G's interim
associate vice-president (research) agri-food and partnerships.
    "Signing this new agreement takes us in a brand new direction," Moccia
said. "It takes the best of the capacity of the University of Guelph and the
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and establishes a partnership to
explore and use the latest technologies to improve products, quality and
choice and to increase economic wealth."
    It also promotes building private- and public-sector partnerships,
funding intellectual capacity and human resources, and allowing for more rapid
commercialization of research technology.
    "The signing of this partnership agreement with the University of Guelph
is an important milestone for us at the Vineland Research and Innovation
Centre," Brandle said. "We're very pleased to be able to work with the caliber
of faculty scientists, researchers and staff who are on site at Vineland as we
move to deliver on our industry-driven research priorities."

    
    The agreement builds on research collaborations involving U of G faculty
members in the Department of Plant Agriculture and will allow Guelph
scientists to explore new research collaborations at Vineland, especially in
three main fields:
    -   Consumer insights and product innovation. A new sensory analysis
        laboratory, directed by a sensory and consumer science expert, will
        allow researchers to conduct consumer and marketing tests of new
        wines, juices and horticultural products.
    -   Applied genomics. A world-leading researcher in applied genomics will
        use biotechnology and plant breeding to help develop horticulture
        crops to increase yield, resist diseases and meet consumer demand.
    -   Horticultural production systems. Researchers in Guelph and Vineland
        will develop horticultural technologies and production methods,
        including cultivation techniques, greenhouse technologies and pest
        management.
    

    Established in 2006, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has
received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural
Affairs (OMAFRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Both levels of
government will continue to fund Vineland research over a five-year period.
    Under the new agreement, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will
receive about $1.75 million a year through the existing University of
Guelph/OMAFRA partnership agreement for agri-food research, teaching and
laboratory services.
    The Vineland research station has existed for more than 100 years. More
than 150 new varieties of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants have been
developed there. In the 1960s, it was grouped under the Horticultural Research
Institute of Ontario, along with research stations in Simcoe and the Holland
Marsh. All three stations were transferred to U of G's Department of Plant
Agriculture in 1998 as part of the original agreement with OMAFRA.
    Recently, U of G researchers based at Vineland have developed varieties
of fruits for Canadian growers, including peaches, plums, grapes, cherries and
pears. They have also studied mushroom production, cultural management of farm
and orchard varieties, and environmental management.

    About Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

    Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is an independent, not-for-profit
organization established as a world-class centre for horticultural science and
innovation. In its capacity to enable and foster relationships with industry,
academic and government, Vineland works to deliver premium horticultural
products and production innovations. Vineland brings a global perspective to
the horticulture industry and offers a broad range of lasting benefits both
locally and internationally. Vineland's research priorities align with
industry needs and its outcomes focus on the growth of the entire horticulture
industry.





For further information:

For further information: Darlene Webb, director, public relations and
communications, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, (905) 562-0320, Ext.
766, darlene.webb@vinelandresearch.com, www.vinelandresearch.com


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