Generating Value for All – Funding Innovation


It all began with a value chain symposium held April 4 and 5 in Winnipeg.  The objective was to bring the crop value chain together in the same place to make substantial progress towards three goals:

1. Reach a common understanding of how research and plant breeding is funded in other countries

2. Reach a common understanding of how research and plant breeding is funded for different crop kinds in different regions in Canada

3.  Develop a set of principles for a possible funding mechanism in Canada

It was a very well attended symposium with participation from plant breeders, researchers, funding institutions, producers, the seed industry, educational institutions and federal and provincial governments.  It was also a very successful symposium, surpassing the goals that were established.  The process doesn’t end with the symposium.   A working group has been established to, with continuous input and feedback from the value chain, develop a “strawman”  proposal for a Canadian mechanism to fund research and plant breeding, which will be presented to the larger symposium group this fall.   This process will be completely transparent and input will be sought and encouraged from all who have an interest.  Reports of the working group meetings; requests for input etc. will all be posted here.  So check back often.

June, 2014 – The work group has developed a concept for a Technology Value System.  We encourage interested parties to discuss and provide opinions and ideas so that it can be further fleshed out.   Informal discussions have been held with a number of organizations and with the federal department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.  You can find the synopsis here.

November 25, 2013 – Participants and those invited to participate in the April value chain symposium were invited back to Winnipeg on November 25, 2013.  At that meeting,  which was facilitated by Warren Wilson of Intersol, the work group provided an update on its work, and presented a proposal for consideration and discussion.

  • Find the presentation that guided the work group member presentations here.
  • Find the very broad conclusions from the meeting here.

A more detailed report will be posted in the near future.


August 22 and 23, 2013 – The work group met face-t0-face in Winnipeg to begin to assess the elements of different funding models and proposals.   The facilitated session began with presentations from the Western Cereals Consortium, the University of Saskatchewan and the western cereals commissions.  The presentations provided information on mechanisms to fund innovation, which had not been fully explored by the working group.   There was also a presentation on Plant Breeders’ Rights and the UPOV Convention, to clarify the impact that UPOV could have on royalty collection mechanisms.   You can find the presentations by following the links below.

Following the presentations, the work group spent the better part of the day assessing elements of different proposals and mechanisms against the goals established by the value chain process for a funding model; and against the principles defined for the process.   A work plan was set by the group, with the result being the presentation of a proposed funding model to the larger value chain group on Friday November 15 in Winnipeg.

August 9, 2013 – Overview of existing funding systems.  This background paper was put together at the request of the working group.  It summarizes some of the funding models that are in place, in Canada and internationally.   Find it here. The working group will receive additional informaiton on Canadian systems and proposals at a meeting August 22 and 23 in Winnipeg.

June 27, 2013 – During its second meeting the working group began to discuss elements of a possible “Made in Canada” funding model.   The gruop also refined the principles against which any proposed model should be compared.  The group also begin to identify the resources and expertise on which it will need to call.   You can find the meeting report here.

May 3, 2013 – The working group has had its first meeting.   The focus of this first meeting was to clarify the objective, scope and reporting process for the  “Technology Value System” process.   Also, to inform, clarify and help to focus the work, the working group has developed an initial glossary of terms which will almost certainly be expanded as the work proceeds.  Find the report of the first meeting here.

April 12, 2013:  Funding Innovation, the next steps – A message to symposium participants outlining the next steps in the process, including the establishment of a working group, and how the process will made inclusive and transparent can be found here.

April 4 and 5, 2013:   Funding Innovation – Progress through Plant Breeding and Research – All of the presentations, the reports of breakout sessions and conclusions can be found here.