September 15, 2016 - The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $10 million over seven years to bring one of the world's most respected experts in food security to
Canada. A recognized leader in crop adaptation to marginal soil environments, Leon Kochian will become the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Food
Systems and Security at the University of Saskatchewan.
The United Nations estimates the world's population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Ensuring sufficient nutritious food will therefore be one of the greatest
challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Working out of the university's Global Institute for Food Security, Kochian will lead a multidisciplinary team
to unlock the secrets of a plant's "hidden half"-the root system-an unexplored aspect of plant breeding.
His research will develop new root-based approaches to crop improvement that will enable breeding for improved root system structure and function, producing
new varieties with higher yields and greater capacity to thrive in difficult conditions. Kochian will identify and map the genes linked to root system
traits that are specifically responsible for nutrient and water uptake under drought conditions. He anticipates this research will enable increased crop
production in less fertile areas.
Leon Kochian is the University of Saskatchewan's second CERC after Howard Wheater, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Water Security. He becomes the country's 27th CERC.
In total, Leon Kochian's research will receive support worth almost $21 million. The Government of Canada is also providing $800,000 through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The balance will be invested by the Global Institute for Food Security ($7 million) and the University of Saskatchewan ($3 million).
Government of Canada brings world-leading food security expert to the University of Saskatchewan
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