LRIC Early Career Research Award launched

Up to $70,000 available for building knowledge and capacity in Ontario’s livestock sector

A new research award valued at up to $70,000 is available to faculty from the University of Guelph who are participants in Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC)’s Early Career Mentorship Program.

LRIC, Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS), Western Fair Association (WFA), Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) and Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) have all contributed to creating this award to support a research project or program that will foster and build knowledge and capacity in the Ontario livestock sector.

LRIC launched its mentorship program in 2020 with the goal of bridging early career University of Guelph faculty to the livestock industry by deepening their understanding of its research needs, as well as building important relationships with industry. The second cohort began in September 2021.

“This award is designed to reward creativity and industry focus while encouraging cross-sector and cross-discipline approaches to the big issues facing the livestock sector,” says pork producer Tara Terpstra, an LRIC board member who also sits on the mentorship steering committee. “Complex issues like climate change, antimicrobial resistance or animal health need multifaceted solutions that draw on expertise from many different areas, and we hope this award will encourage more unique collaborative approaches.”

“I was part of the first mentorship program cohort and found it to be an invaluable experience to meet people from across the livestock industry and gain a better understanding of what the industry needs and how that can be translated into a successful research proposal,” adds Dr. Jennifer Ellis, assistant professor in the University of Guelph’s Department of Animal Bioscience and mentorship program steering committee member. “Flexible funding opportunities like this new award are particularly important for new faculty who are just starting to get their research programs established.”

Funding decisions will be made by a selection committee of LRIC and stakeholder representatives. Proposals are due in early May, with the top five invited to make a presentation to the selection committee. The award(s) will be presented at the LRIC Annual Meeting on June 9th.

“LRIC has been a tremendous supporter of research at the University of Guelph and of early-career faculty through first its mentorship program and now by taking the lead on developing this new award,” says OAC Dean Dr. Rene Van Acker. “We also appreciate the vision and foresight by industry partners like Grand River Agricultural Society and Western Fair Association, as well as our colleagues at Ontario Veterinary College, in contributing financially to this initiative.”

Established in 2012 with support from Ontario’s beef, pork, dairy and poultry sector organizations and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, LRIC’s mission is driving innovation. The organization takes a value chain approach to research and innovation by providing leadership in research priority setting, coordination and process, identifying and communicating emerging issues, and strengthening networks across the sector. For more information, visit

GRAS is pleased to be able to contribute to helping the careers of future leaders in agriculture.

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