Two U of S researchers honoured with 2015 Award of Innovation

Two University of Saskatchewan researchers who discovered a natural way for wheat and pulse crops to better handle stressful conditions like drought and heat have won the 2015 Innovation Place-Industry Liaison Office Award of Innovation.

The winners and recipients of the $5,000 award are agriculture scientists Vladimir Vujanovic and Jim Germida, recognized for their work that will generate fungi-based technologies to help improve yields as well as heat and drought-tolerance traits of wheat, corn, canola, barley, soy, and pulses. These crops account for $150 billion in annual global production, including $15 billion of Canadian crop production.

The fungi developed by the researchers are known as endophytes, micro-organisms that grow inside host plant tissues and have evolved to work together with the plant.

The announcement was made last night at Prairieland Park at the Celebrate Success Awards, an event sponsored by the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce and PotashCorp.

"The technology developed by this year's award winners has the potential to increase the comparative advantage of Western Canadian agriculture," said Thomas Roberts, managing director of the U of S Industry Liaison Office (ILO). "The ILO's business is the active promotion of research translation, delivering results of the university's research enterprise to the public, and commercial vehicles are often the most effective in accomplishing that."

The Award of Innovation honours U of S researchers who have brought new and commercially viable technology to the ILO for development into marketable products or services.

"Innovation Place facilitates and encourages the success of the technology sector in Saskatchewan by providing the infrastructure that advances the movement of research out of the lab and into the marketplace," said Van Isman, president and CEO of Innovation Place. "Partnerships between the university and Innovation Place provide the foundation for transforming innovative ideas into viable commercial products."

In addition to cash prizes, the winners will be recognized with a trophy and photo on the "Award of Innovation" wall at the Industry Liaison Office.

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For more information, contact:

Thomas Roberts
Managing Director Industry Liaison Office
(306) 966-8751

S.P. (Van) Isman
President and CEO Innovation Place
(306) 933-6258
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