New institute tackles food security issues

Following the establishment of the Global Institute for Water Security and the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, the university is moving forward with a new entity to address the challenges of food security here and around the world.

By Colleen MacPherson

The Global Food Security Institute (GIFS) received University Council approval June 21. According to its goal statement, it "will contribute Saskatchewan-led solutions for feeding an expanding world population."

In the works since April 2011, the GIFS will build on strengths across the academy and aligns with the identification of food and bioproducts as a signature area of research at the U of S. Its three main areas of focus will be: creating technological innovation in terms of crops and cropping systems; addressing the science and policy questions that affect the global food supply system; and connecting Saskatchewan issues and know-how to other parts of the world.

An executive director, who will report to the vice-president research, will lead the institute. The proposal for the GIFS states that as a Type B centre, it will provide a framework for cross-discipline and cross-college research. The Council documents go on to say that about $100 million is spent annually in several U of S colleges and schools on a broad range of research, teaching and training activities related to food security. The institute will also build partnerships with other academic institutions as well as government and the private sector.

Seven academic units along with the Office of the Vice-President Research are contributing $160,000 for development costs of the institute, said the Council documents. Over the longer term, funding the GIFS is expected to also come from external partners and various funding organizations, said the council documents. n