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Students and Training Programs

Funded in part by a seven-year, $76.7 million dollar contribution from the Canada First Research Excellence fund, Food from Thought has allocated nearly $4 million for graduate student initiatives.

Research scholarships and practical training in partnership with Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance

Image of students with caption "preparing the next generation of agri-food researchers"

The way that we produce our agri-food products and services, and what we produce, has shifted enormously and will continue to change as we move into the next five, 10, 20 years and beyond. New technologies, approaches and consumer preferences are influencing the food value chain, requiring new and different skills for those entering the agri-food workforce. Through highly unique experiential training and education initiatives, the University of Guelph is filling this need by equipping its graduates to enter a dynamic industry.

To expand our ability to provide high-quality training to students, Food from Thought has redesigned its scholarship training program, beginning with the 2019 academic year. Through a new partnership with the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, successful recipients will now be part of a newly designed Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Scholarship Program.

The new program brings together and aligns the former FfT Research Assistantship Program and the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance-led HQP Program. This redesign enhances the training experience for scholarship recipients while maintaining the core objectives of Food from Thought’s original Research Assistantship. Enhancements to the program include multi-year scholarships with increased annual amounts, eligibility changes to allow both those entering their graduate course and those already in-course, and an expanded experiential learning course (for credit).

The HQP Scholarship Program supports graduate students with research and career interests aligned with the objectives of the Food from Thought Program and the Alliance. In Food from Thought, this includes transforming our understanding of agri-food and the ecosystems we depend on for food through the lens of innovative, data- and digital-based approaches, including but not limited to artificial intelligence (AI), farm management tools, policy, social sciences, and precision agriculture.

Applicants for the scholarship should both show excellence in their academic studies (a minimum 80% or equivalent GPA is required) and demonstrate strong initiative, leadership and entrepreneurship qualities. This program is seeking students with potential to make significant contributions to the field of agri-food and to excel in their research and careers.

The program is competitive, admitting a small number of students per academic year beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, with a scholarship of $20,000 per year to master’s students and $25,000 per year for PhD students.

Scholarship recipients will take an Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Agri-Food Systems course, which involves completing a team challenge project in collaboration with an industry partner, or participating in a workplace experience program. Students will receive ongoing mentorship and skills development in design thinking, project management, communications and media training, and entrepreneurship and commercialization. The course will culminate with an awards luncheon in September, allowing them to showcase work. The HQP cohort will complete their experiential learning in the program alongside the Arrell Scholars.

If you’re interested in applying or if you supervise graduate students whose research interests match the HQP Scholarship Program requirements, visit the program page.

Conference Bursaries

Food from Thought provides bursaries for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows four times per year to present their research at conferences, promote knowledge mobilization, and develop partnerships for the Food from Thought program. In response to the increasing demand for participation in virtual conferences, the previous program which included bursaries for those travelling to conferences to present research, has been expanded to also include on-line attendance.

Applicants must be either a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow working directly on a Food from Thought-funded research project, an Agri-Food Alliance HQP Scholar, or an Arrell Scholar working on research related to agriculture. Successful recipients must establish relevance to Food from Thought research and objectives in their application.

Upcoming Conference Bursary deadlines:

  • September 30th, 2020
  • December 15th, 2020
  • March 15th, 2021
  • June 15th, 2021

Graduate students or postdoctoral fellows working on Food from Thought research who would like to apply for funding are invited to do so by completing a Conference Bursary application form and forward their signed and completed form to

*Note: This is a fillable form most compatible with Adobe Acrobat

Compilation of 16 research assistants selected for Research Assistantships

Food from Thought Welcomes New Research Assistant Cohort for September 2018

The University of Guelph has selected sixteen outstanding graduate students to receive exclusive Food from Thought Research Assistant awards for 2018-19.

Two students pet cows in their pens

Graduate research funding program

Outstanding students with entrepreneurial vision

Students stand in front of a seed mill

FeedBack Blog

FeedBack is a graduate student blog.

Food from Thought has allocated nearly $4 million for graduate student initiatives.