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Press Release: U of S Agricultural Economist to Lead Ag Sector Communications Project

April 21, 2006

A University of Saskatchewan agricultural economist has been awarded $300,000 from the federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for a three-year project designed to help the agricultural sector, universities, and government exchange information and adapt within a rapidly changing agricultural environment.

The multidisciplinary project will be led by professor Murray Fulton and will involve some 22 other U of S researchers in a variety of disciplines including soil science, the study of cooperatives, commerce, and law.

"Professor Fulton's project presents an exciting opportunity to build upon interdisciplinary research success in areas of innovation, rural economies, environmental issues and governance, and to disseminate this knowledge to Prairie communities at a time when they are under extreme stress," said U of S Vice-President Research Steven Franklin.

The $300,000 comes through SSHRC's new Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS) program and will be matched by the U of S, bringing the total for the three-year project to $600,000.

"This extremely important research communication project is ideally suited to the University of Saskatchewan which is recognized internationally for its research strengths in agriculture and the rural economy," said Franklin.

The U of S is one of only 11 universities to receive KIS Grant funding, from a field of 86 applications across Canada.

"New technologies, new marketing systems, new competitors, and new regulations are dramatically changing agriculture and how rural economies operate," said Fulton. "Given these tremendous challenges, there's an overwhelming need to improve the way everyone involved, from farmers to policy makers, communicates. Information and ideas need to flow in all directions - not just from the 'top' down."

The project's academic expertise, drawn from the U of S, will be matched with a long list of non-academic partners such as major producer organizations in the crop and livestock sectors.

The result will be the development of practical new models for ongoing dialogue, regular opportunities for industry, government, the agriculture sector and academia to meet and present ideas on key issues, a series of short policy briefs, an interactive website, and a wide variety of events and activities.

The SSHRC KIS grant program is new this year and designed to improve the transfer of knowledge between universities and the non-academic community. SSHRC is an arm's-length federal government agency that funds university-based research and graduate training through national, peer-reviewed competitions. SSHRC also partners with public and private sector organizations to focus research and aid the development of better policies and practices in key areas of Canada's social, cultural and economic life.


For more information, contact:

Murray Fulton
Department of Agricultural Economics
College of Agriculture
University of Saskatchewan
Phone: 306-966-8893
Email: Click to email Murray Fulton


Jennifer W. Webber
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
Phone: 306-966-1474
Email: Click to email Jennifer Webber


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