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Organic Science Cluster III

About Organic Science Cluster III (OSCIII)

Organic Science Cluster III is a joint initiative led by the Organic Federation of Canada in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada at Dalhousie University to serve the needs of Canada’s organic sector.

OSCIII Projected Timeline

Component Target Date
Research priorities draft released by industry March 13, 2017
Deadline for LOI submission April 10, 2017
LOI Applicants notified, full proposals invited May 5, 2017
Deadline for researchers to submit peer reviewer suggestions May 18, 2017
Activity proposal submission June 11, 2017
Notice of acceptance, revisions, and other details July 31, 2017
Deadline for letters of support confirming matching funding August 31, 2017
Revised activity proposal submission with all documentation August 31, 2017


Should you have any questions about Organic Science Cluster III, please do not hesitate to contact:

Canadian Organic Research Needs and Priorities

The organic sector has been undergoing a national assessment of research priorities. While a full assessment is not yet complete, preliminary results of the research needs assessment have identified priorities that can help inform applications to Organic Science Cluster III. These priority areas are outlined below and are also available as a PDF. A more detailed report will be available at a later date.

1. Increasing competitiveness through improvements in productivity, production stability and resiliency with climate extremes and/or quality of product, including:

  • Breeding - Developing/identifying crop cultivars and livestock that are: adapted to regional organic management, resilient to pest pressure, adapted to use nutrients/feed efficiently
  • Pest (disease and insect) management strategies - with an emphasis on prevention and cultural strategies, for
    • livestock (e.g. mastitis, lameness, external/internal parasites, etc.),
    • horticultural crops (e.g. apple scab, blight, rots, nematodes, powdery mildew, wireworm, spotted wing drosophila, Colorado potato beetle, flea beetle, thrips, etc.),
    • cereals and pulse crops (e.g. fusarium head blight, seedling blight, root diseases, white mold, etc.)
  • Weed management strategies - cultural and mechanical practices for in organic field and horticultural crops with emphasis on perennial weeds (e.g. Canada thistle, field bindweed); impacts and alternatives for plastic mulch use in horticulture
  • Cropping systems strategies – cover crops and green manures, intercropping, development of climate resilient systems, greenhouse systems
  • Soils, including:
    • effects of management practices on the form and quantity of soil organic matter,
    • practices to improve soil health and linking soil health with productivity, product quality and ecosystem services (e.g. clean air, clean water, water storage, etc.),
    • improved soil fertility management with crop rotation and soil amendments
  • Livestock feed - Alternative feed sources to reduce grain/concentrate use, including food waste, forages, insect protein; improved pasture management to maintain productivity and quality of feed while maintaining or improving biodiversity
  • Improving quality of organic products
    • improved nutritional value through management practices and cultivar selection,
    • evaluating and improving grain cleaning and storage practices
  • Development and application of new technologies to support organic production systems – including soil amendments (local resources/waste recycling), equipment, pesticides
  • Assessment of GE contamination risks to organic production systems, evaluating the effectiveness of mitigation practices and development of improved practices.

2. Advancing public good through characterization and improvement of:

  • Agroecosystem function – nutrient cycling and movement, carbon life cycle and energy use analysis (whole system)
    • carbon balance of organic production systems in Canada
  • Ecosystem services – carbon sequestration, soil health, biodiversity, and pollination
    • soil health in tillage-based systems
    • using buffer zones to boost biodiversity – costs, impacts
  • Nutritional benefits of organic.
  • Note: Characterization of the environmental impacts of organic systems is a high priority, and is encouraged to be included as a component of all research projects as appropriate

3. Supporting organic sector evolution through:

  • Assessments of the sustainability of organic agriculture production systems and practices to improve sustainability
  • Application of holistic principles to find solutions that close nutrient/energy cycles - integration of crops and livestock, recycling of waste by-products (especially local/regional waste)
  • Improvement of animal welfare – optimizing outdoor access and housing

Researchers may also refer to locally identified priorities, as well as previously completed research needs and priorities assessments.