Expanding research at the University of Lethbridge

Mike Mahon, Kim Stanford, Michele Konschuh, MLA Nathan Neudorf (back), Shelley Hoover and Minister Dreeshen (front) announce the transition of agriculture research programs to the University of Lethbridge.

In July, Alberta’s government and the University of Lethbridge signed a $1.8-million agreement, which saw three programs transferred to the university and provided it with the financial capacity to recruit three researchers.

The research programs that now reside with the University of Lethbridge are:

  • Apiculture and pollination
  • Specialty crops and irrigation research
  • Vegetable irrigation and potato production

The three researchers who have joined the university are:

  • Shelley Hoover, apiculture and pollination
  • Michele Konschuh, irrigated crops
  • Kim Stanford, livestock pathogens

These researchers bring world-leading experience and expertise to the university and will create even greater learning experiences for students. Welcoming these researchers to the university brings together multiple disciplines and opens up even more chances for collaboration.

“With this funding, Alberta’s rock star researchers will continue to innovate and develop practical solutions that will make a real difference for our farmers. Alberta farmers win when research is directed to help them be more efficient and competitive internationally.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“Moving these programs directly to the university demonstrates government’s commitment to expanding learning and research opportunities in Alberta’s post-secondary system. These programs will help students learn in real-world situations, while finding ‘made-in-Alberta’ solutions for the challenges and opportunities of these critical areas.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

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, 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 Lethbridge.

“The University of Lethbridge is already a centre for agricultural research in Alberta. The opportunity to add specialized research programs to the already robust curriculum will allow students and faculty the opportunity for better, more focused research. Funding into agriculture research will allow Lethbridge to continue as a hub for the agriculture and agri-food industry while also strengthening our government’s commitment to further both advanced education and agricultural sustainability.”

Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge-East

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.

“The University of Lethbridge is closely connected to southern Alberta’s agriculture activities through its research, teaching and outreach activities. The addition of these three research programs will further our agriculture research capacity on campus, and allow the university to enhance its already close connectivity to this critical industry in the years ahead.”

Mike Mahon, president, University of Lethbridge

“The addition of Doctors Konschuh, Hoover and Stanford will expand the breadth of agriculture research on our campus, while their programs and experience will inform and enhance the greater work of the university’s talented faculty members. Our institution values collaboration and trans-disciplinary research. Having these talented individuals working in tandem with our existing researchers will lead to new discoveries benefiting the communities we serve.”

Robert Wood, vice-president (research), University of Lethbridge

“RDAR is pleased that the important work of Doctors Hoover, Konschuh and Stanford will continue at the University of Lethbridge. Their work will provide a direct benefit to producers, and mentor students who will continue to apply their talents towards a competitive and profitable agriculture industry in Alberta.”

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

Quick facts

  • Founded in 1967 on traditional Blackfoot land, the University of Lethbridge is one of Canada’s top-ranked universities and leading research institutions.
  • In 2019, RE$EARCH Infosource Inc. ranked the University of Lethbridge as one of the top three research universities (undergraduate category) in Canada, a position they have maintained for four consecutive years. 
  • They are also home to a number of research centres and institutes that bring leading researchers together from across disciplines.