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National Research Council celebrates ag-biotechnology research in Saskatoon


National Research Council celebrates
ag-biotechnology research in Saskatoon

In a somewhat surprising news item carried by MSNBC, the National Research Council recently celebrated its 60-year history of ag-biotechnology in Saskatoon, Sask.

February 16, 2009  By MSNBC

February 14, 2009 

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan -The Government of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) are commemorating 60 years of plant biosciences research in Saskatoon and the 25th anniversary of the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute.

NRC's long history of plant biosciences research in Saskatoon started with its role in the development of canola. Beginning in the 1950s, NRC and its partners developed a new edible oil – canola – from a plant that was known mainly for its use as an industrial lubricant. Today, NRC and its collaborators help the canola industry refine its products with state of the art technologies, which contribute more than $11 billion a year to the Canadian economy.


"The innovations flowing from Saskatoon create jobs, improve the health and quality of life for all Canadian families, and strengthen the economy for future generations," said Brad Trost, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Humboldt, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "Our government is fostering significant advances in health-care research while creating a regional environment that will attract highly qualified research professionals and private enterprises. Budget 2009 – Canada's Economic Action Plan further builds on our science and technology (S&T) commitments through one of the single-largest federal budget investments in S&T to date. The plan announces more than $5 billion in new S&T spending and provides an additional $200 million to NRC to support small businesses in their efforts to undertake and commercialize research."

Building upon its research in canola and plant biosciences, the NRC Prairie Regional Laboratory in Saskatoon became a full NRC institute in 1983 – the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute (NRC-PBI). Now a major research centre, NRC-PBI is recognized worldwide for its research in agricultural biotechnology that utilizes plants to produce bioproducts, healthy foods and supplements for the benefit of environmental and human health.

"For six decades NRC has been an important part of Saskatchewan's science and technology community," said NRC President Dr. Pierre Coulombe. "Our Plant Biotechnology Institute has worked with 90 percent of Saskatchewan's biotech companies. NRC is proud of its many accomplishments that have and will continue to benefit the agriculture industry and the health of Canadians."

Saskatoon is home to the NRC Plant and Wellness technology cluster initiative. More than 60 companies engaged in groundbreaking agricultural biotechnology research and development are located in this city. Saskatoon has fostered this environment where NRC, with its research, world-class facilities, and experience in delivering products to market, can partner with government, university and the private sector to develop marketable products. Saskatoon ranks as one of the most competitive cities in the world for food processing operations.

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