Palette Skills was thrilled to welcome the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) as a platinum sponsor for our “Create, Compete, Commercialize” pitch night, held on March 9, 2023, and co-hosted by The Knowledge Farm in Saskatoon.
The event was a unique opportunity for participants in Palette Skills’ Automation and Digital Agriculture Specialist program to pitch their innovative agtech business ideas. Finalists got to present ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience for prizes provided by GIFS and other sponsors.
What is the Global Institute for Food Security?
The Global Institute for Food Security is a world-class research and development organization dedicated to addressing global food security challenges. Founded in 2012 through a partnership between the Government of Saskatchewan, Nutrien and the University of Saskatchewan, GIFS has a mandate to discover, develop and deliver new and innovative solutions to sustainably meet escalating global demand for food.
Driven by a vision
GIFS is driven by a bold vision of a world where everyone has access to safe and nutritious food. To achieve this vision, GIFS works to enhance food security by forming partnerships to conduct cutting-edge research and develop innovative solutions to enhance plant breeding programs, increase agricultural sustainability and productivity, improve the nutritional value of crops and more.
Building the agtech ecosystem in Saskatchewan—and beyond
Agtech—or agricultural technology—is an increasingly important sector in Saskatchewan. The province is a major producer of crops such as wheat, canola and pulses, as well as livestock. The use of sophisticated technology in agriculture has the potential to improve productivity, increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact, all of which are critical for meeting the growing demand for food while addressing sustainability concerns.
GIFS’ contribution to agtech includes its work in plant phenotyping and imaging, genomics and bioinformatics, biomanufacturing, digital and precision agriculture and plant and soil science. The institute’s scientists use state-of-the-art technologies and tools, such as drones, sensors and high-throughput sequencing to analyze information that contributes to plant improvement, accelerated breeding and more.
Today, you can see these tools at work across GIFS’ technology platforms, which includes the Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory (OPAL) — Canada’s only laboratory providing integrated omics analyses and precision agriculture technologies.
Catalyzing innovation in agriculture
GIFS is an ‘agriculture innovation catalyst’ that makes connections across the agrifood ecosystem to advance innovation and bridge the gap to commercialization.
Its new biomanufacturing program, which is currently being developed, is an example of that. Combining the strengths of GIFS’ platform technologies in engineering biology, sequencing (OPAL), data management and analytics and cell biology, the biomanufacturing program will rapidly scale the research and development of new products, providing agrifood partners in Saskatchewan and beyond with greater capacity and access to new technology.
Building talent and capacity together
Palette Skills continues to build an ecosystem of partners in industry, government and education to help build and scale the talent Canada needs. Palette Skills has established itself as a leader in developing new ways to upskill workers and transition talent into high-demand roles in fast growing industries. Recently tapped as a national delivery partner for the federal government’s Upskilling for Industry Initiative, Palette Skills looks forward to collaborating with the Global Institute for Food Security and other partners to create a Canada where all people and organizations thrive as the result of a globally competitive and inclusive economy.