National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC

April 18, 2008 13:59 ET

Saskatoon's Plants for Health & Wellness Industry Gets Boost from Government of Canada

$5 million committed to building public-private S&T-based partnerships

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - April 18, 2008) - The Government of Canada today announced that it is investing $5 million in the development of plant-based products that improve the health and wellness of Canadians. Representing the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for NRC, the Honourable Carol Skelton, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, confirmed support for NRC's Plants for Health and Wellness cluster initiative at an event with local private sector, government and university stakeholders.

"Saskatoon is an excellent example of a city that has mobilized public and private sector entrepreneurs to capture the ingenuity of the province's agricultural base and become a world leader in agricultural biotechnology products," said Mrs. Skelton. "Guided by our Science and Technology Strategy unveiled in May of last year by Prime Minister Harper and reaffirmed in Budget 2008, we are committed to bringing people, knowledge, and entrepreneurial drive together to turn science and technology developments into innovations that solve problems and create opportunities for Canadians."

NRC's Plants for Health and Wellness cluster initiative is a public-private partnership that between industry, universities and colleges and all levels of government, which is focused on building a competitive advantage for Canada through discovery and innovation. Cluster building activities in Saskatoon have attracted risk capital and highly qualified people to the region, and have enabled the private sector to make greater investments in R&D.

"NRC's cluster building activities in Saskatoon are focused on ensuring that groundbreaking R&D is making its way out of the labs to the marketplace, and into the hands and homes of Canadians," said Dr. Pierre Coulombe, NRC President. "We have proven that this regional approach to boosting Canada's knowledge, people and entrepreneurial advantages works."

The three year investment announced today is part of a $118 million envelope for NRC initiatives that support innovative communities across Western and Central Canada- Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies in Vancouver; Nanotechnology in Edmonton; Plants for Health and Wellness in Saskatoon; Biomedical Technologies in Winnipeg; Photonics in Ottawa and Aluminium Transformation in the Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean region.

In addition to six Western and Central Canada technology cluster initiatives, NRC also supports clusters in Regina: Sustainable Infrastructure; Fredericton/Moncton: Information Technology and e-Business; Halifax: Life Sciences; Charlottetown: Nutrisciences and Health and St. John's: Ocean Technologies.

About Functional Foods, Nutraceuticals and Natural Health Products

- Functional Foods - Functional foods are foods consumed as part of a usual diet that have a known health benefit and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions (e.g. calcium-enriched fruit juice).

- Nutraceuticals - Nutraceuticals are products isolated or purified from foods that have a known health benefit or provide protection against chronic disease (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids, lycopene, carotene).

- Natural health products - Natural health products include vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines, probiotics, and products like amino acids and essential fatty acids. They are available without a prescription and include nutraceuticals.

About Saskatoon's Plants for Health and Wellness Cluster

Saskatoon is home to more than 60 companies engaged in ground-breaking agricultural biotechnology R&D - 30 percent of Canada's activity in the field. Saskatoon's plants for health and wellness cluster has expanded into many markets that respond to consumer interest in products that improve health and wellness. These markets include functional foods, nutraceuticals and plant-made pharmaceuticals. The cluster ranks as one of the most competitive cities in the world for food processing operations. Annual revenues from the cluster total nearly $1 billion.

Contact Information

  • NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute
    Wilf Keller
    Acting Director General
    Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice
    Minister of Industry
    Deirdra McCracken
    Press Secretary
    National Research Council Canada
    Leslie Meerburg
    NRC Media Relations
    National Research Council Canada
    Natalie Hall
    NRC Media Relations