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CIFST Webinar: Building a Competitive Production Systems in Ontario's Agrifoods Sector: Accelerating the Adoption of Automation and Robotics Technology

  • 26 May 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM
  • Webinar

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  • FREE for CIFST members in good standing

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Topic: Building a Competitive Production Systems in Ontario's Agrifoods Sector: Accelerating the Adoption of Automation and Robotics Technology

Technology adoption is one of the most pervasive challenges limiting the global competitiveness and productivity of Canada’s agri-food sector. Despite increased public investment over the past two decades in research and technology development, the agri-food sector in Canada has a lackluster record of adoption, which is jeopardizing its ability to compete globally and to meet new domestic opportunities.  Identifying what is and is not being adopted by who and why or why not is critical to developing provincial, regional, and local policies, strategies, and programs that de-risk and accelerate the development and adoption of these technologies. This presentation examines survey findings on the barriers/drivers constraining/promoting innovative/disruptive technology transfer and adoption in Ontario’s agri-food sector, with a focus on automation and robotics. The presentation highlights interesting patterns, trends and relationships that appear to shape technology adoption, concluding with some policy implications for government and other stakeholders in the agri-food sector. 

Event Details:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. EST

Our Speakers:

Dr. Charles Conteh, PhD, Associate Professor & Director, Niagara Community Observatory, Brock University


Dr. Charles Conteh is an Associate Professor of Public Policy & Management in the Department of Political Science at Brock University. He is also the Director of the Niagara Community Observatory (NCO), a public-policy think-tank working in partnership with Niagara and other communities in Canada and the United States to foster, produce and disseminate research on current and emerging issues.

Dr. Conteh’s research interests are in the areas of Canadian and Comparative Public Policy, with a focus on innovation policy in agri-foods, advanced manufacturing and the digital sector. Dr. Conteh currently investigates how local, provincial and national agri-food innovation systems in Canada are reinventing themselves in the face of emerging global economic opportunities and challenges.

Dr. Conteh and his research team at the NCO are currently conducting a three-year study funded under OMAFRA's Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative. The project is titled "Building a Competitive Production Systems in Niagara and Ontario`s Agrifoods Sector: Accelerating the Adoption of Automation and Robotics Technology."

Dr. Conteh has published 6 books and over 40 journal articles in international and national academic journals and other publication venues. 

Jeffrey Boggs, Associate Professor & Associate Director, Niagara Community Observatory, Brock University

Jeff Boggs is an economic geographer with an interest in policy-relevant regional development research. He is an Associate Professor in Brock University`s Department of Geography and Tourism Study and the Associate Director of Brock’s Niagara Community Observatory. His degrees are all in Geography (BA, Indiana University, 1993; MA, Indiana University, 1997; Ph.D., UCLA, 2005). During that time he examined the economic conditions preceding German (re)unification and the locational dynamics of Germany’s book trade. Since then he has turned his focus on Canada. He is a mixed-methods researcher, having used and taught quantitative and qualitative techniques in numerous projects and courses. His interest in agricultural innovation stems in part from his experiences growing up in rural Indiana and observing the wider impact of the Rust Belt economic restructuring on local farmers, many of whom also held full-time manufacturing jobs. Jeff lives in St. Catharines, Ontario (the second warmest place in Canada!) with his partner and child.

Margaret (Amy) Lemay, Research Fellow, Niagara Community Observatory, Brock University


Amy Lemay is a Research Fellow in the Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University. Her research focuses on trans-scientific issues—real-world challenges where science is necessary, but insufficient for finding solutions and therefore must be considered with broader social and political contexts.  She is multi-disciplinary scholar developing policy and practice solutions for improving the adoption of agri-food innovations.  As a science advisor for 20 years, Amy has worked at the frontiers of agri-food science and innovation putting research into action to harness the promise of science in service to society. Amy has a B.Sc.Agr. in Environmental Biology and M.Sc. in Agriculture Entomology from the University of Guelph and a PhD in science policy from the University of Toronto.  She is a graduate of the Rural Ontario Institute Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program and the former George Morris Centre Canadian Agri-food Executive Development Program.  She has served as the University of Guelph Agrologist in Residence.


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