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GIFS: Connecting with the World to Achieve Global Food Security

The latest annual report from the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) presents a two-year highlight of the advancements the institute has made in building its research programs and expanding its partnerships locally, nationally and in almost 30 countries around the world. Founded in 2012 to perform research that will help deliver transformative innovation to agriculture in Saskatchewan and other parts of the world, GIFS has been building an interdisciplinary foundation for agricultural innovation to help move the industry forward and feed the world’s growing population.

“The last two years have seen significant growth for GIFS; we have more than doubled our staff strength and established important research areas to advance food security. As we round up on our first phase of operations and prepare for the future, we look forward to even more growth and an expansion of our collaborations with diverse sectors and partners—to help deliver sustainable outcomes to the diverse challenges of global food and nutritional  security,” said Director of Strategic Partnerships and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Visscher, CBE. A Board member of GIFS since 2015, Visscher served as Interim Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for GIFS during the reporting period.

Diverse research program areas

GIFS’ research program areas are focused on creating technologies that transform the way agriculture is carried out in Saskatchewan and Canada, and then transferring the most appropriate of those technologies to other parts of the world that can benefit from these solutions. Current research themes highlighted in the report include:

  • Reproductive biology, focused on creating stronger plant seeds;
  • Roots-soil-microbial interactions, focused on revolutionizing and improving plant roots; and
  • Digital agriculture, focused on tools to accelerate and enhance plant breeding.

In addition, GIFS manages the Plant Phenotyping and Imaging Research Centre (P2IRC)—a digital agriculture research centre funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), and located at the University of Saskatchewan.

Partnerships from east to west

GIFS’ researchers are collaborating with more than 240 research institutions, universities and agricultural industry experts in almost 30 countries around the world, to provide ingenious science that delivers sustainable food security for the world. The institute works with diverse and multidisciplinary partners within the University of Saskatchewan, including the Colleges of Agriculture and Bioresources, Arts and Science, Biology, Computer Science, the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and more. Other partners located on campus include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Light Source, the National Research Council, and the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.

Internationally, the report highlights GIFS and its affiliate researchers’ global collaborations, stretching from as far Australia to Argentina and several countries in between. These partnerships involve research institutes, agricultural industry experts and more.

Learn more about GIFS’ advancements in the 2017-2019 annual report.