Canadian Horticulture Industry Calls for Improved Access to New Technology and Collaboration in Research, University of Guelph and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre Respond

VINELAND, ON, Feb. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Today Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) and the University of Guelph announce an important new research partnership for the Canadian horticulture industry. Well-respected researcher Dr. Youbin Zheng begins immediately as the Vineland/University of Guelph Chair in Environmental Horticulture. This position will improve collaboration across Canadian research networks and speed access to new technologies and innovations for industry.

"Dr. Zheng will be splitting his time between Vineland and the University of Guelph where some of the country's best work in greenhouse 'intelligent irrigation' systems, water treatment for re-circulation, plant environment interactions, and biocontrol is being led for the greenhouse and nursery sectors. No surprise to anyone but rapid delivery of results is the focus here, and of course the key to industry competitiveness globally," said Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland.

Zheng was an adjunct professor and technical manager of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility in the Ontario Agricultural College's School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph. He will be working side-by-side with Dr. Michael Brownbridge, Vineland's Research Director in Horticultural Production Systems. Together these researchers bring decades of combined experience in green roof technology, greenhouse and nursery plant production, and urban agriculture.

"This is an exciting opportunity made possible by establishing a new type of partnership" said Robert Gordon, Dean of OAC. "As we look at increasing challenges to research funding, it is important to explore creative options for partnerships to support this type of important work."

About Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is an independent, not-for-profit organization that was created to be a world-class centre for horticultural science and innovation. In its capacity to enable and foster relationships with industry, academia and government, Vineland works to deliver premium product and production innovations. Aligned with industry needs, Vineland's research priorities and outcomes are focused on the growth of the entire horticulture industry. Vineland is funded in part by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

About the University of Guelph and OAC

As a founding college of the University of Guelph, OAC has become Canada's largest and most comprehensive institution for teaching, research and service in food, agriculture, communities and the environment.  With the Ontario Veterinary College and the MacDonald Institute, OAC formed the nucleus of the University of Guelph when it was established in 1964. The University of Guelph is consistently ranked as one of Canada's top comprehensive universities. The University's Office of Research oversees a $158 million research enterprise across seven colleges, four campuses, and ten research stations.

SOURCE Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

For further information:

Isabel Dopta, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre | p: (905) 562-0320 x791 | c: (519) 993-1192

Mary Thring, Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph p: (519) 824-4120 x56832

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