The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) officially opened the NRC Institute for Nutrisciences and Health (NRC-INH) in Charlottetown for the study of plant and animal based compounds and their potential uses for health problems.
The facility represents an effort on the part of Canadian federal and provincial governments to boost collaboration between business and institutional research so as to promote new industries in the region.
"The work of our scientists will support the growing functional food and nutraceutical sector and create new opportunities for agriculture and agri-food producers," said minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, Chuck Strahl.
Provinces in Atlantic Canada have secured special government funding in recent years following an ebb in the fishing industry that led to an economic slump in this region. This coincides with a federal push to bolster the country's agricultural sector as a whole.
Canada elected a conservative prime minister in January 2006 who ushered in a new funding era, including over $3.5b destined to an agricultural sector that overwhelmingly gave its vote to the new administration.
This NRC-INH facility will enable nutriscience companies in the early stages of research to collaborate with scientists on research topics, with the aim that this effort will lead to marketable products that will allow Canada to further capitalize on the global nutrition market.
In particular, NRC-INH will be looking at infection and immunity-related issues, neurological problems and complications related to obesity.
The facility, located on the University of Prince Edward Island's campus, will support 60 scientists, technical staff and students, but by 2008 the number is expected to rise to over 100.
The NRC-INH was established through a cooperative funding arrangement between NRC, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Province of Prince Edward Island, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the University of Prince Edward Island.