GROW Barley Funding

Grant for Research Optimization of Western Barley Agronomy

Call for a Program Lead

Deadline for submissions is now closed.

Intent:

There is a deficit in agronomic research in barley in western Canada. Good agronomy is critical to improve competitiveness with other crops and exporting nations. Significant investments are made in barley variety development. Without adequate agronomic research, the yield gap will remain wide.

In response to this gap, the barley industry has worked together to develop a solution. This fall, the industry is launching a Grant for Research Optimization of Western Barley Agronomy (GROW Barley) which will provide a commitment to an agronomic researcher who will, in collaboration with the funders, develop a barley agronomic research program.

The application process for researchers is competitive. The funders are seeking dynamic agronomic researchers to apply to the program, with their vision for a 7-year research program that will address the most relevant needs in the barley industry, as identified by the National Barley Research Strategy. The vision will establish a framework that will guide the development of research projects over the course of the Program. Projects will be developed in collaboration with funding partners. The location of trial sites will be across the Prairies, with locations approximately representative of the barley producing area.

Agronomy researchers are invited to apply to lead this program to develop agronomic practices and solutions that will keep barley as a competitive crop choice for prairie farmers.

Funding Availability and Requirements:

The industry partners have pooled resources to commit $1.6 million over 7 years to GROW Barley. The funding will be awarded to an individual researcher to build a barley agronomic research program that can address production issues across the prairies. There is a requirement that the researcher seek funding from additional sources, with a cash investment at least matching the funding partners’ original investment. The program lead’s employment (compensation and contract terms) is the responsibility of their institution.

Funding partners’ commitments include:

  • SaskBarley – $750,000
  • Alberta Grains – $650,000
  • Manitoba Crop Alliance – $100,000
  • BMBRI – TBD

The program investment may be directed toward technician salaries, equipment, direct costs of research or other necessary research expenses.

Additional sources may include the Agriculture Development Fund, Agriculture Funding Consortium, RDAR, NSERC, other research grants and industry investments. Leveraging beyond the minimum 1:1 ratio, including in-kind contributions, is encouraged.

The research program is expected to be primarily focused on the Prairies, so it will require strong collaborations across the prairie provinces.

Barley Funders:

Over a relatively short existence, the Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC) has become a leading funder in barley research. CBRC was formed initially to continue core breeding agreements as the commissions took over that role from Western Grains Research Foundation. The founding members of CBRC include provincial barley commissions from the prairies: Alberta Grains, Manitoba Crop Alliance and SaskBarley. The Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI) has invested in barley research for over 75 years and is collaborating on this important initiative.

Each CBRC member participates in research calls led by the Agriculture Development Fund, the Agriculture Funding Consortium, as well as other opportunities, including Manitoba SCAP, AgriScience Clusters and more. Through these calls, the barley commissions co-fund projects that impact barley farmers with partners including, but not limited to, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture, Western Grains Research Foundation and Results Driven Agriculture Research.

Despite these avenues to support research, agronomic research projects in barley are limited. Barley agronomy advanced notably in earlier barley cluster programs, but more recently the focus has been on breeding and disease management.

There are excellent agronomic researchers in Western Canada and barley agronomy deserves their attention. Providing core program support presents an opportunity to generate significant advances in barley agronomy in the short term and will build interest and capacity for continued interest in barley agronomy beyond this program.

Strategy:

On behalf of the barley industry, the Barley Council of Canada and BMBRI facilitated a National Barley Research Strategy in 2021. The strategy identifies many gaps for which agronomy will be one of the solutions. The themed priorities include: yield, lodging, barley pests (disease, insects and weeds), harvest and post-harvest management, and sustainability. More specific details on targets and gaps within each of the theme areas is included in the strategy document.

The research priorities and strategy documents are meant to provide a high-level overview. The goal is to develop agronomic practices that benefit barley farmers, filling research gaps that will ensure barley continues to be a competitive crop choice for farmers.

Program Review:

The initial application will form the framework for the 7-year program. The framework will guide the development of research projects over the duration of GROW Barley. Projects will be developed in collaboration with investors.

The funders will convene a steering committee to review applications to the program, who will select a candidate in consultation with the funding organizations. The steering committee will also review and meet with the lead researcher annually to discuss progress and project plans. The lead researcher will provide an annual program update, work plan and draft concepts of projects for review.

Timeline:

  • September 15, 2023 -Program launches – open to all qualified candidates. The program information package will be circulated via email and social media.
  • November 15, 2023 – Applications are due at 5:30 PM CST.
  • December 2023 – The funders will review and share the application with other experts in the industry as part of the review and selection process. The review process may include a presentation to the funders and/or other experts by the lead applicant to describe their vision for the program. Presentations and other follow-up will occur in December 2023.
  • February 2024 – The funders will award GROW Barley in February 2024, so the program lead is able to develop letters of intent for the 2024 calls for research and to initiate some research trials in 2024.
  • March 2024 – Finalize 2024 work plan
  • April 2024 – First research season
Call for a Program Lead

Deadline for submissions: November 15, 2023 at 5:30 PM CST