Niagara College pot program get a $641,000 grant from federal agency


Published April 18, 2022 at 11:39 am

Niagara College students cultivate cannabis in their Niagara-on-the-Lake campus' CannaResearch Bunker. (Photo: Niagara College)

Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus will see a cash infusion of $641,800 over a two-year period for research and development “to address challenges and continue advancement in the cannabis industry” aimed at their Commercial Cannabis Production program.

The grant was one of three that the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) earmarked for the college.

The college said, “This (grant) will provide research support in cultivation, as well as business and marketing, and will provide new applied research experiences for students within the College’s schools of Environment and Horticulture, and Business and Management.”

Kimberley Cathline, Research Program Manager of the College’s Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC), added, “The funding for sustainable cannabis and hemp production will be instrumental in allowing our AETIC and Business and Commercialization Services (BCS) teams to fully operationalize and support industry needs through the increased ability to execute more research projects.”

With the funding, the college will be able to “operationalize its dedicated cannabis space and begin assisting companies with cultivation-related challenges. It will support research in sustainable cannabis production, cannabis variety and growth trials, integrated pest management, and business and commercialization solutions.”

In 2018, Niagara College made headlines around the world when it launched the first Commerical Cannabis Production program in Canada.

Over the last three years, the College has also been helping industry partners and associations address challenges and continue advancement in cannabis through course-based research projects.

In March 2021, the College expanded its on-campus cannabis education capabilities to include a Health-Canada-approved CannaResearch Bunker, funded through NSERC’s applied Research Tools and Instruments Grants program.

This dedicated research space provides specialized equipment to grow crops, complete trials and conduct research in partnership with industry. It offers a controlled, sterile, and isolated growing space to perform safe, secure, and dependable research projects.

The college also has an Industrial Hemp licence, which is significant for research and academic endeavours, providing hands-on learning and research opportunities that enable students to advance Canada’s hemp and cannabis industries. Students learn to grow cannabis/hemp in a controlled environment, in a greenhouse and outdoors.

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