Sept. 17, 2019 ≥ Three of Canada's leading post-secondary agriculture institutions team up for a one-of-a-kind training opportunity and competition this weekend at Lethbridge College. McDalBridge brings together students from McGill University, Dalhousie University and Lethbridge College to create innovative solutions to Canadian agricultural challenges. The event will take place from Sept. 20 to 22.
Funded by Farm Credit Canada, five students from each institution will spend three days in instructional sessions, workshops and tours. The students will divide into five cross-institutional teams and use diverse regional backgrounds to collaborate and provide solutions to agricultural issues. The groups will present early prototype pitches to a panel of industry experts Sunday afternoon.
The program builds on Lethbridge College's successful Agriculture Entrepreneur in Training (AgENT) extra-curricular program that allows students to work with industry mentors to produce solutions to agriculture industry challenges.
"Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario give us a great agricultural cross-section," says Megan Shapka, Lethbridge College manager of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "Each region has different crops, industries and agricultural methods. By combining unique viewpoints, we hope the students can reach a new level of collaboration and create group inspired solutions."
Teams will work with industry mentors throughout the weekend, with a goal of creating a culture of creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators. Students will be provided with industry challenges and are expected to design sustainable solutions that respond to community needs. The wrap-up showcase event will give local producers a chance to share feedback individually with student teams.
"This cross-institutional collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for students," says Dr. Kenny Corscadden, Associate Vice President ≥ Research at Lethbridge College. "It's also a chance for our three institutions to work alongside, share ideas and position ourselves as innovators and leaders in Canada's agricultural sector. I look forward to all of the ideas that are generated by this partnership."
Farm Credit Canada committed to McDalBridge as a two-year pilot project. Students will work in The Pivot, Lethbridge College's newly created student entrepreneurship and innovation incubator space within the Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE). Students will also take part in a "plot hop" organized by Farming Smarter, and tour the college's Aquaculture Centre of Excellence.
The Centre for Applied Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a catalyst for economic growth, sustainability and social development in the region that brings together community organizations, researchers and students to collaborate on projects that use new or existing knowledge to solve real-world challenges with immediate practical applications.