Where’s the beef?
A&W has made a substantial investment in the Canadian beef industry with a $5-million donation toward the University of Saskatchewan’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE).
The unique centre will foster innovative research, training, and outreach to meet the needs of both livestock producers and consumers in Canada, while also helping to sustainably produce food for a growing world population.
The donation will be used to fund the construction of the Livestock and Food Building at the LFCE site near Clavet, create a community outreach and engagement program, and establish a visiting fellowship in One Health research. The new building will be completed in the spring of 2018.
Better technology for better plants
Two University of Saskatchewan computer scientists are among the first grant recipients of Microsoft’s AI for Earth program.
Valued at $10,000 each, the grants enable the research teams to use new Microsoft technology to improve plant breeding by creating new ways to analyze plants and automatically identify traits related to plant growth, health, resilience, and yield. The investment will help researchers better analyze plant genomics associated with crop traits, such as flowering time yield, and resistance to stress from drought.
Ian Stavness, associate professor in the U of S Department of Computer Science, will use Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources to create new ways to analyze images and videos of plants and crops to automatically identify traits related to plant growth, health, resilience and yield.
Using the Microsoft technology, computer science professor Tony Kusalik aims to uncover the relationship between plant genes and desirable traits.
“We hope the new Azure AI cloud computing platform will help us to enhance deep learning to recognize complex patterns in plant genes so that we can find desirable ones,” said Kusalik. “Finding the links between plant genes and favourable crop traits will help breeders speed up their breeding programs.”
Donor-funded dentistry clinic open for business
The campus community has a new reason to smile, as Clinic 120—the College of Dentistry’s new general practice residency clinic—is officially open.
Spanning three treatment rooms and loaded with some of the newest and most modern dental technology available, the clinic began taking patients in September.
The clinic—which is separate from the Dental Education Clinic where students practice under supervision—has provided a significant transformation for the residency program. While residents get plenty of experience in trauma and surgical procedures, this clinic allows them to also keep up-to-date with their general dentistry skills and provides them with an opportunity to become familiar with new technology before they enter private practice.
Construction and equipment was almost entirely funded by individuals in the dentistry profession, who were eager to see a state-of-the-art clinic added to the infrastructure of the college.
Dr. Steve Arcand, who is currently in the residency program, was one of the first dentists to practice in the new clinic.
“We get to work with some of the most modern technologies, equipment, and instruments, so without the donations coming from alumni, that wouldn’t be possible,” Arcand said.
U of S institutes, researchers awarded $5.5 million in federal funds
In November, the University of Saskatchewan was awarded $2.7 million in funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada for water security and food security research, and a similar amount from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for 45 U of S faculty and students.
A $1.37-million grant for the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) to establish the Smart Water Systems Laboratory (SWSL) and a $1.35-million grant to the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) to create an Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory (OPAL) are part of what will be a $15.5-million investment in these signature areas of U of S.
“With the impact of climate change becoming starkly clear, food security and water security have emerged as key imperatives. The crucial federal investment toward these new state-of-the-art facilities will support cutting-edge research that will build a sustainable water future for Canada and help feed a hungry world,” said U of S vice-president research Karen Chad.
The 15 Insight and Insight Development Grants awarded by SSHRC cover the gamut of research, including the impact of socio- economic, geographical and cultural factors on household food insecurity of Syrian refugees in Canada; political involvement and activism of Indigenous women in Canada’s West; and creating consumer-oriented value in genetically modified foods and exploring consumer attitudes and willingness to pay.
“The investment in social sciences and humanities research affirms the valuable contribution our researchers make in influencing public policies and helping Canadians to understand each other and our communities,” Chad added.
One of the cutest research projects on campus was featured in Maclean's magazine when it profiled research beagles at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and the important role they play in pet nutrition.
WCVM professor Lynn Weber has been conducting research with the dogs since 2009. Initially, her team—which included graduate student Jennifer Adolphe (MSc’08, PhD’13), now an animal nutritionist working in Ontario—examined whether dried field peas were a healthier option in dog food than rice.
"I got to learn how to formulate pet food and the role that nutrition plays in dogs," Adolphe told Maclean's.
Weber's research group is currently working with a second team of beagles to further explore the health benefits of a grain-free diet by replacing traditional starches with pulse crops (such as lentils or fava beans). The third group of pups is expected to arrive this year.
Merlis Belsher Place construction hits halfway mark
A new home for Huskies athletics and community sports at the University of Saskatchewan is on time and on budget.
The multi-sport facility features two full-size ice surfaces and two full-size basketball courts, as well as dressing rooms for Huskie hockey, basketball and soccer teams, in addition to spaces earmarked for alumni, o cials, physiotherapy services, Campus Recreation and a dozen dressing rooms for community groups and teams. The main arena will initially feature seating for 2,614, with 3,546 in total following the completion of Phase 2 of the project.
The project kicked off on Oct. 13, 2016, with an historic $12.25-million contribution from Merlis Belsher (BComm'57, LLB'63), an accomplished local accountant, businessman and philanthropist who provided the largest single donation from an alumnus in U of S history.
Fundraising through the Home Ice Campaign—which featured former Huskie and long-time Canadian Olympic hockey coach Dave King (BAPE'71, BEd'72) serving as honourary chairperson—wrapped up in the spring of 2017 after reaching its goal of $29-million.
Meanwhile, long-time U of S supporters and alumni Ron (BE’62, DCL’13) and Jane (BEd’62) Graham, who have given close to $20 million to the university, donated $4 million to fund construction of the new basketball facilities at Merlis Belsher Place.
Taking care of business (accreditation)
The N. Murray Edwards School of Business has earned accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.
Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools. Synonymous with the highest standards of quality, AACSB accreditation inspires new ways of thinking within business education globally and, as a result, places Edwards among the top five per cent of business schools worldwide. Today, 810 institutions across 53 countries and territories maintain AACSB accreditation in business.
From humble beginnings as the first accounting school in Canada, the Edwards School of Business continuously strives to offer high-calibre business education that alumni and employers value around the world.
The distinction is the hallmark of excellence in business education and is also a provincial milestone, explained dean Keith Willoughby. “We are committed to continuing to develop business professionals to build nations through community engagement and providing an outstanding student experience.”
One Day for Students
Students, alumni, and the campus community came together on March 14 to answer the question “How do you give” and gave in support of students facing financial crisis, raising $46,436 for the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust.
Professor Emeritus Kay (PHD’65, DSC’16) and Dora (BEd’69) Nasser, U of S alumni and philanthropists, matched all donations to the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust, and were so inspired that they also matched the additional $5,345 donated to other U of S priorities on One Day for Students, bringing the total raised to $103,695 from over 500 donors.
The tremendous support of the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust means more students will have peace of mind, knowing there is a community willing to help them through an unexpected financial hardship so they can focus on their studies. To learn more about the day visit give.usask.ca/oneday.
A matter of equity
Sociologist Elizabeth Quinlan has received a national award recognizing her work promoting equality and justice.
Quinlan (BSc’89, MSc’93, PhD’04), an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and an associate member of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, accepted the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Equity Award at a CAUT meeting in Ottawa last November. In her nomination, Quinlan was cited as a “fearless” researcher who combines academic scholarship with effective work for the betterment of society. She is active in promoting fair hiring practices and combating sexual violence.
Quinlan was a driving force behind the 2016 stage production With Glowing Hearts: How Ordinary Women Worked Together to Change the World (and Did). Based on Quinlan’s research into the historical role of women in Canada’s labour movement, the play received the Best of Fest Award at the PotashCorp Fringe Festival and brought awareness of a little-known chapter in history to a large audience.
Quinlan is a founding member of the Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Among other roles, she has served in the Women’s Reference Group of Saskatchewan’s Labour Force Development Board and been a board member of the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre and the Saskatchewan chapter of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women.
U of S a key partner in supercluster
The University of Saskatchewan will be a pivotal partner in Canada's agricultural supercluster—Protein Industries Canada—announced in February by Innovation, Science, and Economic Development minister Navdeep Bains.
The industry-led supercluster will create new products that add value to crops such as wheat, canola, and lentils and other pulses, generating over $700 million in new commercial activity over five years and approximately 4,700 jobs over the next decade. The supercluster involves more than 120 corporate, industry, and post-secondary partners, with total cash, in-kind venture capital investment from partners of $400 million.
Protein Industries Canada is a pan-western Canadian cluster, covering Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The consortium includes small to large-sized enterprises, academic institutions,
and other stakeholders involved in crop breeding, agricultural crop production, food and food ingredient processing, and their supporting services companies. Plant-based protein is a $13-billion market of which Canada currently has a minimal share.
With world-leading expertise in plant genetics and breeding, crop production and processing, and molecular imaging and analysis, the U of S is set to help train hundreds of students—across multiple disciplines such as IT, business leadership and plant sciences—as innovative leaders in the plant-based agri-food sector.