The committee will advise the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation on how best to strategize around different aspects of innovation
By Jackie Clark
The Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) announced the formation of a new International Research Advisory Committee (IRAC) in a release on Jan. 19. LRIC drives improvement in the livestock industry in Ontario by connecting various stakeholders, providing services and coordinating strategic focus.
The new committee is chaired by Jim White, a consultant and former animal health industry executive, and made up of experts from across the spectrum of the livestock industry in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The LRIC board put together this committee to reflect an evolution of the mandate of the IRAC that mirrors a shift in LRIC itself, from prioritizing research to “a bit more focus on innovation,” Mike McMorris, CEO of LRIC, told Farms.com.
“We want international experience, and we for sure want research, but we also want innovation. People that have been involved in bringing things to market,” he said.
“To me, research is part of an innovation system,” McMorris explained. “Funding priorities, project management, commercialization, and extension … those are the key parts of a successful innovation system.”
The committee will meet quarterly, and break into teams of two to study and present an international perspective on one of those aspects of innovation as it relates to the Ontario livestock innovation system.
“We really want them to give us recommendations, as LRIC, on what we should be doing, but more broadly, how do we improve our system here,” McMorris said. That advice will help LRIC translate those recommendations to the whole system, including academic, government and industry groups.
A current top priority is funding strategy for livestock innovation, due to the huge cost the COVID-19 crisis has imposed on governments.
“When governments find that they’re short on funding one of the areas that they cut tends to be research,” McMorris said.
In the coming months it will be more important than ever for industry stakeholders to prove the value of research and innovation in the livestock industry, he added.