Designing Crops for Global Food Security

Plant Phenotyping and Imaging
Research Centre (P2IRC)

P2IRC is a digital agriculture research centre funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), managed by the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), and located at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

Accelerating crop development by linking specific genes to desired traits

P2IRC was founded in 2015 with $37.2 million awarded to the U of S by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). The CFREF helps Canadian universities gain global competitive advantage and implement large-scale, transformational, and forward-thinking institutional strategies. 

The P2IRC research program is comprised of four key themes that will generate a range of data-rich technologies, products, and services. These will fundamentally transform seed and plant breeding of large-area crops essential to global food security, including wheat, canola, and lentils.

As a leading agricultural hub tackling global food security challenges, by 2022, P2IRC will be the unique resource for plant breeders around the world.

Research Themes


Leveraging the power of precision digital phenotyping and genomics for crop breeding.

Image Acquisition Technologies

Using advanced imaging techniques, including synchrotron and next-generation technologies, to understand crop characteristics.

Computational Informatics of Crop Phenotype Data

Understanding how digitization can provide pathways to revolutionize plant breeding.

Societal and Developing World Impact

Creating solutions in the digital agriculture space to catalyze technological adoption, secure social license, and clear regulatory and IP hurdles in target markets.

Dr. Maurice Moloney
Program Director, P2IRC
Executive Director and CEO, GIFS

“I invite you to be a part of this exciting and rewarding work that will put Canada in a leading position worldwide in digital and computational agriculture, provide next-generation technologies to Canadian companies, and enable breeders in developing countries to participate in the crop genomics revolution, and ultimately, help GIFS feed the world.”

Dr. Karen Chad
Vice-President Research, U of S

“The University of Saskatchewan is home to one of the world’s largest hubs of food-related researchers. Our expertise in world-class plant breeding, agronomy, and computer science—along with Canada’s synchrotron, a cyclotron, and engineers skilled in advanced sensor technology—positions the U of S to lead in this critically important area.”

This research is underway thanks in part to funding from the
Canada First Research Excellence Fund.