Building links with industry and knowledge transfer to industrial end users are key priorities of the RQR.
The NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) program is a major source of complementary and collaborative funding to the RQR. Eight CRD grants, valued at >2.3M$, were held jointly between RQR scientists and their industrial partners during the 2014-2016 reference period alone. This funding mechanism has been, and continues to be, a major avenue through which the RQR builds links to industry, draws investment from the private sector, and generates patentable intellectual property. The possibility exists for further development of new collaborative industrial projects across the three axes of the RQR, particularly in genome editing technologies, development of new pharmaceutical tools to improve reproduction, and studies of toxicology and remediation of xenobiotic influences on reproduction.
The RQR Knowledge Transfer Committee, which includes members from the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries, works continuously to increase the visibility of the RQR to its end-users and to develop new opportunities for RQR scientists. The KT Committee organizes workshops, with the invited participation of RQR members, members of the KT Committee, and selected individuals from industry (pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and agricultural) and government, as well as representatives from the industry liaison office from each university in the network. These workshops serve to establish and enhance communication between researchers and potential end-users, and identify current barriers to KT (intellectual property concerns, immaturity of the technology, information gaps, etc.). Workshops include sessions on patenting and on opportunities and mechanisms for seeking joint grants. Further contact is achieved by RQR member attendance at end-user meetings.
The KT Committee assures that the researcher(s) and end-users are in contact, and where necessary mediates discussions and preliminary negotiations. As an additional mechanism of exchange, RQR members give presentations to end-users such as MAPAQ, goat producers, dairy producers, beef producers, and feed companies in the province. Specific topics have included the emerging role of epigenetics and how it can impact livestock production across generations.
The KT Committee further oversees the production of a KT newsletter, REPRODAction, which highlights RQR research with contributions from industrial partners.