Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Agri-Food and Sustainable Agriculture
Position # 40019
Acadia University invites applications for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Agri-Food and Sustainable Agriculture. Tier 2 chairholders are exceptional emerging world-class scholars acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to achieve international recognition in their field. We seek an active researcher who will develop an original, innovative research program of high quality and bring a collaborative, multi/trans-disciplinary approach to this position.
This Chair will be based primarily in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science and will be an integral part of a growing collaborative research group focused on agri-food, agri-tech, sustainable agriculture and food systems. The Chair will have demonstrated leadership in one or more of the scientific fields of biology, chemistry, environmental science, food and nutrition and data analytics. Acadia has significant agriculture-related research strengths, including food and nutrition, food product development and sensory analysis, beverage and natural product chemistry, plant development and grape propagation, fungal biology, aquatic ecosystem health, data analytics and integrated pest management. Our rich, collaborative research activities in the agri-food and agriculture sector combines expertise from several disciplines in pure and applied science with business, community development, and sociology.
Candidates should indicate how they will offer research leadership and diversify the portfolio of sustainable agriculture-related research at Acadia and nationally. The Chair will develop and strengthen relationships with regional and national stakeholders and seek external funding to enhance research opportunities and attract diverse new scholars at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. The Chair will play an important role in elevating Acadia’s national and global contributions in research and knowledge dissemination in the agriculture sector.
The Selection Committee will evaluate candidates on the following criteria: 1) demonstrated ability as an emerging world-class researcher who has established research creativity in the CRC theme area; 2) the potential to achieve international recognition in a relevant field in the next five to ten years; 3) the potential to attract, develop and retain excellent trainees, students and future researchers; and 4) the proposal of an original, innovative high quality research program.
The successful candidate will be nominated by Acadia University to the CRC Program for a five-year, one-time renewable appointment. The nomination may be submitted as early as October 2021, with a CRC decision notice to follow six months later. Nominees for Tier 2 positions are intended to be emerging scholars with positions at Assistant or Associate Professor level, or with qualifications necessary to be appointed to these levels. Applicants are normally expected to have a PhD completed within the last ten years; however, in certain instances, candidates that do not fit this criterion may have their eligibility assessed through a Tier 2 justification. Applicants are encouraged to indicate any career interruptions for parental, medical and/or family care and community commitments.
Interested candidates should review the eligibility guidelines for the CRC program to ensure they meet the CRC Tier 2 criteria. Full details on eligibility criteria can be found at
http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/program-programme/index-eng.aspx. For a more complete description of the context of and expectation for this CRC position, please refer to the full Position Profile.
Agricultural food and beverage production in Canada contribute over $100 billion annually to our national economy, employs over 2.2 million Canadians and provides 6.6% of Canada’s gross domestic product. By 2030, there will be 835 million more people on the planet. Few countries are better positioned than Canada to produce and supply more food and to do it sustainably. To this end, we must embrace a culture of innovation across the sector, improve and develop high-quality, healthy, and safe food/beverage while minimizing harm to our ecosystems. We need to maintain environmental stewardship, prioritizing clean air, water and soil and understanding the impacts of climate change.
Acadia University is in the agricultural heartland of Nova Scotia (Annapolis Valley) and has a long history of working with farms and agri-organizations. Acadia is uniquely positioned to support interdisciplinary research on all aspects of the food and beverage agricultural production chain. Furthermore, the United Nations Sustainability Goals are embedded in Acadia’s 2025 Strategic Plan, leading to research focused on greener, inclusive economies, and stronger more resilient societies. Agriculture is also integral to our Strategic Research Plan, strongly supporting innovative research in this sector. Post-secondary agriculture programs in Canada increased by 29% in the past decade, a faster pace than the 21% growth across all national programs; Acadia is motivated to stay at the forefront of this trend. Currently, agriculture-related research forms over 60% of our applied research activities. Our Research Plan focuses on “rural and coastal”, and our proposed CRC aligns well with Acadia’s strategic research themes of Natural Resources and Environmental Resilience; Human Health and Wellness; and Innovative and Enabling Technologies.
Acadia University, founded in 1838, has a long and proud history built upon the tenets of equity and access. Acadia was one of the first universities in Canada to graduate women, and people of African descent and to create opportunities for people to study freely regardless of religious affiliation. We welcome, value and support diversity in our teaching, research and work environments, and seek inclusive excellence in our institutional culture. Acadia University is located in Kespukwitk, one of the seven districts of Mi’kma’ki, homeland of the Mi’kmaq people. We acknowledge the Treaties of Peace and Friendship and are committed to incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing in our research, teaching and administrative structures. Acadia University’s Strategic Plan 2025 and CRC EDI Action Plan publicly articulate our academic community’s commitment to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles in our policies, processes and practices, including the stages of recruiting, hiring, renewing, promoting and retaining Canada Research Chairs. Our pledge to the national Dimensions charter furthers our EDI goals. For details on the Canada Research Chair Program and associated EDI policies and best practices, please go to https://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/about_us-a_notre_sujet/index-eng.aspx
Acadia is uniquely poised to support a Canada Research Chair in the agricultural sector. We have significant agriculture-related research strengths representing several disciplines across the university, including food and nutrition, food product development and sensory analysis, beverage and natural product chemistry, plant development and grape propagation, fungal biology, aquatic ecosystem health, data analytics and integrated pest management. Further, much of the research conducted at Acadia takes an inter- or transdisciplinary approach, with current research projects combining expertise from all three faculties (Arts, Professional Studies, Pure and Applied Science).
Acadia has world-class laboratories and research Centres and Institutes to support and engage the Chair. These include state-of-the-art facilities in the new David Huestis Innovation Pavilion, housing labs for students and faculty engaged in applied research directly beneficial to the agriculture sector. These labs include the Acadia Laboratory for Agri-Food & Beverage (ALAB), a new analytical lab that provides cutting-edge research and analytical services to the Atlantic Canadian wine and craft beverage sector; the Food Formulation Lab, specializing in the creation of new food products from sustainable ingredients and new processing methods (e.g. 3D food printing); and the Acadia Agri-Tech Lab, designed to provide efficacy testing and diagnostics to support the industrial development of new technologies for a wide range of sectors. The Centre for the Sensory Research of Food is located within the newly renovated Huggins Science Hall and provides opportunities to food industries for sensory testing towards developing and reformulating products. Acadia’s KC Irving Environmental Centre has modern greenhouses, growth chambers and laboratories including the Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment (CARE), which focuses on soil and water toxicology. Acadia’s Rural Innovation Centre supports student entrepreneurs and rural start-ups, with a focus on the agri-sector. And the Insect Neuroscience and Ecology Centre (INSECTA) engages in fundamental research in insect chemical ecology to develop new pest management technologies, and directly support Nova Scotia’s agricultural, forest and food industries.
Acadia researchers work with a variety of external organizations to support the Agriculture sector, including well established research collaborations with academic institutions and government research centres such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Research and Development Centre in Kentville, NS. This local federal government Centre focuses its research in three key areas: 1) primary production and integrated crop production technology for the Atlantic region; 2) food safety and quality; and 3) environmental stewardship. Acadia also enjoys strong ties to Perennia Food and Agriculture, a provincial development agency with a mission to support innovation and economic development in Nova Scotia’s agriculture and food and beverage sectors. In this collaboration, Acadia has hosted a Wine Quality Specialist at Acadia as part of a program to establish quality controls and chemical/sensory characterization of NS wines leading to wine standards in the province. We have been working closely with Agriculture-related regional economic industry associations including Horticulture NS, Winery Association of NS (WANS), the Grape Growers Association of Nova Scotia, Food and Beverage Atlantic, NS Department of Agriculture (NSDA), and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to grow expertise and capacity in several key areas.
Acadia faculty members are also involved in a number of sector-based research projects, including projects to optimize grape production and grapevine cryopreservation to ensure that grape growers and wineries in the Atlantic region have access to disease-free planting stock. Data analytics and machine learning are being used by Acadia’s Institute for Data Analytics in partnerships with local wineries to develop a predictive model for grape yield. Acadia provides chemical analysis services to the wine and craft beverage industry through the Acadia Laboratory for Agri-food & Beverage (ALAB), the most advanced institutional infrastructure for this type of work east of the Niagara region in Ontario.
The Acadia Community Farm has been supporting education and research for ten years, bringing students and community members together to grow and support sustainable agriculture and food skills. It provides a meaningful context that attracts students and enables collaboration. The Department of Community Development and the School of Nutrition and Dietetics have established on-going community partnerships for student engagement and learning with the Wolfville Farmers’ Market, providing another valuable context for action research with the agriculture sector. Food Studies, more broadly, is a rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field of inquiry at Acadia.
We are seeking a candidate who engages in interdisciplinary research and industry/community engagement in the agri-food and beverage area. Applicants should bring with them existing networks, ideally scientific and community outreach, that complement and expand existing strengths at Acadia. Our call is broad and may attract applicants from a wide variety of fields within Pure and Applied Sciences, with a focus on agri-food and terrestrial or aquatic food production/harvesting within an ecological and social sustainability framework. A CRC will diversify the portfolio of agricultural research in Atlantic Canada and nationally.
The CRC in Agri-Food and Sustainable Agriculture will seek external funding providing research opportunities and attract new scholars at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. Students and interns will gain practical research skills (research design, data collection, data management, analysis, knowledge mobilization) and become experienced in a rich research environment spanning university, community, industry and government sectors.
The CRC in Agri-Food and Sustainable Agriculture will be an integral part of a growing inter/transdisciplinary and collaborative research group focused on agri-food, agri-tech, sustainable agriculture and food systems. The Chair will have demonstrated leadership in one or more of the scientific fields of biology, chemistry, environmental science, food and nutrition and/or data analytics. Over the term(s) of the CRC, the Chair will build new partnerships and strengthen those we currently have. The Chair will contribute to the positioning of Acadia as a global leader in research and knowledge dissemination in the agriculture sector. Agriculture is central to Canada’s future health and prosperity; this position will capitalize on our unique location by addressing regional problems with global implications.
Living and working in the Wolfville area
The Wolfville/Annapolis Valley region is recognized nationally for an exceptionally affordable, high quality of life, offering an urban lifestyle in a rural setting. The area is known for an abundance of opportunities, for nearby outdoor recreation activities, a vibrant arts community that includes galleries, indoor and outdoor theatre, music festivals, and wonderful food and beverage. To learn more about living in the region, please visit: https://hr.acadiau.ca/employment/living-in-the-annapolis-valley.html.
About Acadia University
The Community: http://wolfville.ca