Designing Crops for Global Food Security
P2IRC combines the sciences of plant bioinformatics and genomics with crop phenotyping (the identification of useful traits) through the use of advanced image acquisition technologies, high-performance computing, and impactful socioeconomic analyses.
By 2022, P2IRC intends to create a unique global resource for plant breeders seeking to develop new crop varieties at an unprecedented speed and scale.
Technologies and expertise developed at P2IRC will elevate Canada’s position as a global powerhouse in agricultural research and lead to commercial spin-offs involving field and aerial sensors, satellite imaging, robotics, and big data analytics.
P2IRC’s seven-year innovative research and training program, Designing Crops for Global Food Security, will transform crop breeding and provide innovative solutions to national and global food security.
The program builds upon GIFS’ focus on computational agriculture to enhance the U of S biosciences cluster—one of the largest clusters of food-related researchers in the world.
Structure and Governance
With U of S Vice-President Research, Karen Chad, providing oversight, P2IRC is managed by Maurice Moloney, Executive Director and CEO of GIFS. P2IRC's leadership is building a talented and multi-disciplinary team across the U of S campus and with collaborating Canadian and international universities and centres.
The governance structure of the program includes four advisory committees—an Executive Research Committee (ERC), an International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC), an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC), and an End-User Committee (EUC). The ISAC has attracted nine internationally renowned scientists in genetics and phenomics, bioinformatics, crop science, imaging techniques, and computer science. The formations of the IAC and EUC are underway.
P2IRC International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) Members
- Mario Caccamo: Head of Crop Bioinformatics at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany
- John Doonan: Professor of Genomics, Director of the National Plant Phenomics Centre at the University of Aberystwyth
- Christophe Godin: Research Director in Plant Modeling and Computer Science at Inria, Head of the Inria/Cirad/Inra Virtual Plants team
- Bronwyn Harch: Professor, Executive Director at the Queensland University of Technology Institute for Future Environments
- Peter Langridge: Emeritus Professor, Plant Genomics Centre at the University of Adelaide, South Australian Scientist of the Year (2011)
- Victor Malka: Head of the Schwartz/Reisman Laboratory for Intense Laser Physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science
- Tony Pridmore: Professor of Computer Science and Leader of the Computer Vision Laboratory at the University of Nottingham
- Ulrich Schurr: Professor and Leader of IBG-2: Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich, Founding Director of the Bioeconomy Science Center, Coordinator of the German and European Plant Phenotyping Networks
- Jean Susini: Director of Research for Life Sciences at the European Synchrotron
- The program involves partnerships with six Canadian universities, three international universities, and more than 15 private and public organizations, including the National Research Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
- The research involves scientists from a wide range of centres located at U of S including GIFS, the Crop Development Centre in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, the Canadian Light Source, and the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation. The Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy is P2IRC's lead partner on policy research.
- Over the program’s seven years, more than 60 grad students and 35 post-doctoral fellows will be trained at P2IRC. Five new faculty positions are also planned.
- A total of 14 research proposals across the four themes have been received, subjected to rigorous international peer review, and funded.
- P2IRC is now accepting applications for postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, research associates, technicians, and developers.