Funding Call

The Opportunity

It is expected that the world will need to feed 10 billion people by 2050. An emerging middle class in Asia and other developing countries will increase the demand for high value proteins and quality food products. As the globe’s arable land base cannot expand much further and water resources are constrained, Canada will be in a unique position to contribute to an estimated 70% increase in global food demand. This increasing demand will be met by bridging the gap between technology providers and traditional resource-oriented industries, resulting in accelerated genetic advances in crops and livestock as well as improved production practices driven by data-based decision making and automation. The world is counting on Canada to find new ways to produce more with less.

Program Overview

CAAIN is a platform to pursue precision, productivity and premiums in agriculture and food within an ecosystem of companies covering complete value chains (from soil through to consumer) and a network of living laboratories (i.e., smart farms). CAAIN funding will allow these groups to come together to develop research and/or innovation projects.

CAAIN’s eight Core Partners span a range of sectors, with expertise in fields such as robotics, automated farming, remote sensing, hyperspectral imaging, and blockchain applications. This diversity positions the 2021 Collaborative Technology Development and Demonstration Project Competition 3 Network to evaluate, approve, and support projects featuring transformational technologies with the potential to provide Canadians exceptional social, economic, and environmental benefits.

With the goal to significantly expand business activities and jobs in automation and data-driven
technologies, CAAIN will:

  • Support research and innovation projects advanced by teams of complementary companies partnering with non-profit and academic institutions;
  • Catalogue data and intellectual property needed to leverage and pilot emerging technologies; and
  • Support demonstration and application of new technologies while enhancing relevant postsecondary
    training.

CAAIN will invest up to $15 million CAD in projects submitted to this Competition. CAAIN’s programs may reimburse Project Partners for up to 40% of eligible project costs.

Investment Areas

Automated Technologies Ecosystem

This Network will mobilize Canadian companies, academic expertise, technology developers and equipment manufacturers from along the agricultural value chain to create a collaborative ecosystem focused on harnessing big data and artificial intelligence to make informed production decisions, developing platform technologies and critical components such as vision systems, end effectors, autonomous platforms and robotic systems. CAAIN’s role is to engage partners who understand the nature of the production and processing problems most worth solving, specifically identifying which automation solution sets yield the greatest return.

  • Bring together producers, processors, retailers, manufacturers, and technology providers to identify and target opportunities for improvement;
  • Assess and prioritize areas for optimization by potential to automate;
  • Identify, evaluate and rank automation solutions; and
  • Develop strategies for deployment of automation solutions.

Through its investments, CAAIN aims to establish Canada as a global leader in agricultural automation.

Data-Driven Decision Frameworks

The agri-food sector has yet to fully realize the positive, transformative power of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence and data-centric technology providers generally lack sufficient agri-food sector expertise and knowledge to provide solutions that address the problems and economic opportunities within the sector. Conversely, agri-food sector participants do not possess a sufficiently strong technology base in these emerging fields to appreciate or understand how to best take advantage of the innovations and transformative disruptions that AI and sensor technologies can unlock.

  • Integrating data streams (computer vision, IoT, product attributes) and artificial intelligence deep learning to find problems, alert producers, and suggest solutions.
  • Data framework development including standardized languages, common protocols and safety requirements to create universal machine data links.
Smart Farm Platform

Creating a Smart Farm platform is central to the ability of this Network to deliver on the potential created by converging the agriculture, equipment manufacturing, food processing, advanced manufacturing and pure technology sectors.

Smart Farms offer the physical context for the integration and application of new technologies. The platform offers a window on the tangible value that integration creates.

Building a national network of Smart Farms that together represent complete value chains in agriculture and agri-food verticals is essential for:

  • Testing and validating new technologies across Canada’s various agroclimatic conditions;
  • Creating a context to demonstrate regionally specific applications; and
  • Educating a workforce at the edge of an evolving sector.

Documents

Deadlines and Timelines

Project Registration Form Submission due
December 1, 2020, 2:00 p.m. MT

Invitation to submit Expression of Interest 
January 2, 2021

Expression of Interest Submission due
February 2021

Invitation to submit Full Project Proposal 
April 2021

Full Project Proposal Submission due
June 2021

Funding decision notification
Summer 2021

Deadlines and timelines may be subject to change.

Need Assistance?

CAAIN encourages Applicants to work with their networks to develop projects that are in line with the strategic intent of the Collaborative Technology Development and Application Project Competition.

If you have questions about eligibility, process, completing forms, etc., please connect via email to info@caain.ca.

250 Karl Clark Road, Edmonton, Alberta