Animal health research boost for University of Calgary

L-R: Dr. Baljit Singh, Minister Dreeshen, Jennifer Davies, Ashley Whitehead and Ed McCauley of the University of Calgary.

The $3.44-million agreements were finalized in March and will help the faculty launch a pilot project to expand its diagnostic service unit for animal disease diagnosis and welfare until February 2024.

This will create an animal disease and diagnosis welfare capacity at the university, which will provide diagnostic pathology, bacteriology and other testing services to the province’s veterinarians.

The pilot project is a made-in-Alberta solution for quicker, more affordable results for vets and producers, and greater learning opportunities for the university’s students.

“Our livestock producers take great pride in caring for the health and well-being of their animals. Increased access to quick and affordable diagnostic testing will support them in managing their livestock health, so they can continue to put safe, quality food on the tables of Canadians.”

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Quick, readily available animal health diagnostics are essential to helping Alberta’s vets support our agriculture sector. This agreement will ensure the University of Calgary will be able to substantially increase their capacity so that they can better serve our farmers and ranchers.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“For generations, the University of Calgary has been a global leader in animal care, diagnostics and research, and moving these programs will help push for more engagement and real-life solutions that benefit farmers, consumers and the entire agricultural industry.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

“Calgary is already home to one of Canada’s leading veterinary medicine programs and expanding the university’s enhanced animal welfare and disease diagnosis capacity is a natural fit. This investment in agriculture research supports our province’s livestock sector and creates jobs, keeping highly skilled workers employed right here in Alberta.”

Jason Luan, MLA for Calgary-Foothills

Research is key to the success of Alberta’s farmers and ranchers. It draws in strategic investments that create high-quality and rewarding jobs while ensuring agriculture continues to lead Alberta’s economic recovery.

This agreement is a part of the Alberta government’s commitment to ensuring farmers and ranchers lead agriculture research priorities – not government. Establishing Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), an arm’s-length non-profit corporation, is a first step in making sure research funding priorities are producer-led. Over the long term, RDAR will assume ongoing responsibility for the funding agreement with the University of Calgary.

Under this new model, agricultural research in Alberta will lead to tangible benefits for farmers, including higher profits, a more abundant food supply at lower cost for Albertans and ultimately a higher quality of life in rural communities.

“With this new support from the provincial and federal governments, UCVM will set new standards of excellence in efficient diagnostics, animal welfare and food production. By supporting livestock health and combatting antibiotic resistance, we are also benefiting human health and environmental health as interconnected elements.”

Edward McCauley, president and vice-chancellor, University of Calgary

“We are grateful for this significant investment. This is a major step forward as UCVM looks to position our diagnostic services unit as a centre of veterinary diagnostic excellence in order to support Alberta’s farmers, ranchers, and livestock industry.”

Dr. Baljit Singh, dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary

“Funding projects for increasing animal health is a priority for RDAR. I’m very pleased that this important work will be centred at the University of Calgary. And as a veterinarian, I appreciate how the results of this work will benefit vets, producers and students, who will apply their passion in the future. RDAR is where big ideas grow.”

Dr. David Chalack, interim board chair, Results Driven Agriculture Research

Quick facts

  • The grant is comprised of:
    • $2.04 million from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership
    • $1.4 million from the Strategic Research and Development Program
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the aim of strengthening the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity.
  • Programs and activities are focused on:
    • Growing trade and expanding markets
    • Innovative and sustainable growth of the sector
    • Supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector
  • In Alberta, the partnership has committed a federal-provincial investment of up to $406 million over five years towards strategic programs and services that are aligned to national objectives and tailored to priorities in Alberta.