USask students training for the future of agriculture technology
April 24, 2023 By Greenhouse Canada
April 24, 2023 – The NSERC CREATE grant in Computational Agriculture will explore the deep-rooted collaboration between plant and computer sciences at USask. The program will aim to enhance the shift towards data-rich processes in the agricultural sector to drive economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability.
Over the course of six years, the program will offer dedicated cross-disciplinary training in agricultural and computer science to 87 students. Students in the computer science program from the College of Arts and Science will come together with students from the plant sciences program at the College of Agriculture and Bioresources to cross-train subjects and collaborate on research in agriculture and technology.
“I think one of the critical aspects of this program is the cross-training component. Plant sciences students will be trained in data science approaches and programming – areas where they wouldn’t [traditionally] have core training,” explained Dr. Ian Stavness (PhD), associate professor in the College of Arts and Science and Enhancement Chair at USask’s Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS). “And the computer science students will get training in biology, plant genomics, and plant breeding and other core topics they haven’t been exposed to before.”
There will be an equal number of trainee students from both streams exposed to the wealth of opportunity in agricultural technology and applying their expertise to agricultural problems.
“As environmental changes put pressure on the agricultural and food production sectors, using data analysis to drive change for sustainability will be key, not only for these students but also for the companies and organizations they will work with during their time in the program,” notes a press release.
Trainees will put their skills to work in professional rotations or company internships and at three training hubs in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The training program will also strengthen the international reputation achieved through the Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre at USask.
The Global Institute for Food Security at USask is also a key partner who will be providing professional development and entrepreneurship training for graduate students in the program.
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