The Government of Canada has launched a new funding competition, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, for national scale initiatives in automation and digital technology applications in the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Funding of between $10 million and $50 million will be provided to a successful applicant in the competition.

"Canada's agriculture and food processing sectors have always been fertile ground for innovation," said AAFC Minister Lawrence MacAulay. "By bringing together private sector companies, post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations, our government is ensuring Canadian farmers and producers have the latest tools and technologies to take full advantage of the digital age."

The government is seeking applications for funding from networks and consortia of private sector companies, researchers and non-profit organizations that will work collaboratively to develop and deliver automation and digital technology applications for the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Government is seeking proposals for the development and delivery of large-scale, disruptive approaches to automation and digital technologies with applications in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

Proposals should:

- solve problems through the use of data and technology in the agriculture and agri-food sector, such as automation and robotics, precision agriculture platforms, data and digital solutions, sensors, interconnected software and hardware, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain;

- include collaborations between businesses (including small and medium-sized enterprises), post-secondary institutions, research institutes, and non-profit organizations from multiple sectors across Canada;

- generate strong economic and social benefits, such as private sector investments in R&D, the creation of new intellectual property and innovations, and the development and implementation of new products, processes and services; and

- bring about positive environmental impacts, such as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, food waste, water usage and energy consumption.

Applicants will have until January 11, 2019, to submit a declaration of intent. The information contained in the Declaration of Intent will be posted online in an effort to foster collaboration among potential applicants.

Applicants will have until March 1, 2019, to submit a full application for funding under this competition.

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