NSERC-SSHRC Sustainable agriculture research initiative

Supporting research to initiate or accelerate the development of solutions that will be required for a sustainable, resilient and profitable agriculture sector in a net-zero economy

Research objectives and topics

This funding opportunity for transformative science towards a sustainable agricultural sector in a net-zero economy, delivered jointly by NSERC and SSHRC in collaboration with AAFC, has the following objectives:

  • Support fundamental and applied research to develop a technical path to a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in a net-zero economy.
  • Develop metrics to better understand and report on environment and climate impacts of different production systems and of producers' efforts in adopting innovative practices.
  • Improve ways to transfer science and technology knowledge effectively to the agricultural sector, with a view to accelerate change.

Proposals should focus on developing transformative solutions towards significant reduction of agriculture GHG emissions and propose research required to develop a technical path to a sustainable and resilient sector in a net-zero economy, in research topics such as, but not limited to:

  1. Identification of practices and technologies to enable the sector to sequester carbon effectively (e.g., nature-based climate solutions or technologies that enhance soil carbon sequestration)
  2. Alternative input management tools and technologies (e.g., novel pesticides/fertilizers, improved delivery methods, precision agriculture)
  3. Innovative plant health solutions that reduce the need for added amendments (e.g., biofertilizers, plant gene-editing, nanotechnology)
  4. Diverse production systems (crop, soil, livestock, grassland and nutrient management systems) that maximize environmental outcomes in future climate change scenarios
  5. Development and testing of improved methane and nitrous oxide emission factors, measurement tools and models
  6. Fundamental socio-economic and behavioural research towards increased adoption of practices and technologies that support greenhouse gas mitigation in the agriculture and agri-food sector
  7. Development of metrics to better understand and report on environment and climate impacts, including biophysical and socio-economic

Collaborating with Indigenous communities and/or partners

Researchers proposing research in cooperation with Indigenous groups are encouraged to consult the resources available on SSHRC's Indigenous Research web page.

Collaborating internationally

To increase the impact of Canadian research in the global research community, you may incorporate international collaborations into your project proposal, but these researchers must secure their own sources of funding. You may interact with foreign colleagues in a variety of ways to enhance collaboration and increase your project's impact. Refer to the Tri-agency guide on financial administration for details on the eligibility of expenses you may incur in support of such collaborations.

Collaborating across disciplines

This initiative recognizes the need to bring together the social and behavioural sciences and humanities, alongside the natural sciences and engineering (NSE) fields, to make important contributions to the transformation needed in society. For this initiative, there are no restrictions regarding the balance of project costs between the NSE and the social sciences and humanities fields. Where possible, applicants should distinguish between costs related to NSE research and costs related to social and behavioural sciences and humanities research in their budget justification.

Research costs for collaborations outside the NSE and social and behavioural sciences and humanities (i.e., health) can represent up to 30% of the project costs and must be specifically identified in the project budget justification.

What's next?
Apply now


Application deadlines
Preparatory funding: May 8, 2023, by 8:00 pm (ET)
Full project funding: November 8, 2023, by 8:00 pm (ET)

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